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Gallery: 20 landmark Golfs in 30 million sales

News that the 30 millionth Volkswagen Golf rolled off the line at Wolfsburg had the HJClassics team thinking about the production milestone that marks this car out as such an enduring success since the launch of the Mk1 in 1974.

It wasn't a technical or engineering pioneer, though - there were plenty of other mid-sized hatchbacks before the Golf - but it was a perfect case of a right-first-time product that kick-stated its maker's future fortunes - so much so that it underpinned the Volkswagen Group's relentless growth into arguably the world's largest car company today. The Golf did popularise the hot hatch and four-door cabriolet in the '80s, and V6 and super-green diesel hold-alls during the 1990s.

Enjoy then, our gallery of some of the classic Golf's finest moments...

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1969: Volkswagen EA266 Prototype

By the late 1960s, and with the popularity of the Beetle and its rear-engined off-shoots waning, Volkswagen's search for a replacement was becoming increasingly desperate. The company's head, Dr Kurt Lotz, approached Porsche for help, which devised the EA266.

It was mid-engined, powered by a 1588cc straight-four mounted under the rear seat. It was one of several projects and, eventually - following a change of management, as overtaken by the boxy front-wheel drive EA276 and subsequently EA337, which was evolved into the Golf. Word is, this mid-engined, Porsche-developed car was a brilliant drive - but expensive to make.

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