As decades of car manufacturing and innovation have passed, Volkswagen still lives on, having established their brand as manufacturers that have historically and continuously pushed boundaries. The Golf MK1 is an embodiment of that. It was a car that played a role in Volkswagen’s rise to prominence and a car that survived decades of global economic uncertainty and yet which remarkably, is thriving today. The Golf series, time and time again, became a staple in modern family life, a staple that still exists today thanks to masterful foresight of VW. Over 460,000 units were produced, making it one of the most successful cars in history.
The Golf MK1 was the successor to the Beetle, it was intended to be Volkswagen’s next chapter, inspiring newer generations of consumers. Actually, it did more than that as it also inspired the future of compact motoring. Car manufactures from all over the European continent came out with Golf inspired hot hatches. The design aside, it’s functional foundation of front-wheel drive, air-cooled front engine was revolutionary at the time transitioning VW from air-cooled rear engine, rear-wheel drive.
Golf MK1 Features
“So the MK1 was born, and as was the universal love for these compact cars and their approachable design.”
The MK1 was originally a 3-door hot hatch until later models became featured with 5-doors. The front grille featured its hallmark red accent around it with the VW logo on the front and the side featured black decals. Generally, the car was inspired by the Mini Cooper as VW saw the demand for accessible compact cars for the European market. So the MK1 was born, and as was the universal love for these compact cars and their approachable design.
The MK1’s interior is indeed compact, as expected from a compact car. The boot and rear seat space is fairly roomy too however, considering it is such a modestly sized car. The car came in a variety of metallic colours which is nice considering the inside interior is bleak to say the least. The seats were trim patterned and colour fitted to the cars colour. The cozy cabin was largely hard plastic and consisted of a glove box, radiator, clock, speedometer and fuel gauge. The window pillars were very thin which promoted great visibility.
The driving experience does have a fun element to it, the size of these cars allow them to be zippy and agile. The overall performance is not exactly mind blowing, nor should that be expected with a family friendly car. The steering is heavy and needs some muscle to use with addition to the rear-drum brakes which also require some leg muscle to use as they are not going to stop as much as the driver would like.
The 1 litre engine used 2 barrel carburettors. They were water-cooled inline four cylinder four-stroke engines with an overhead camshaft. The car came in auto and 4-5 speed manual transmissions and the suspension was semi independent. All this made for a modest performing car, nothing to write home about but nothing to be ashamed about. The car was designed for the modern family and was a formidable commuter, perfect for inner city get arounds or country strolls.
The MK1 saw massive commercial success in its history. The Golfs we see today have evolved somewhat into newer, sleeker and more comfortable versions. Those additions however, can be attributed to the dated yet important MK1 with its rear to front wheel evolution, compact nature and approachability. When the MK1 was initially introduced, it came at a time when VW’s mainstay Beetle became stale and dated amongst popular opinion. The Golf series still breathes today with no end in sight and remains one of the most loveable cars in automobile history.