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Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI (1976 - 1983)

Last updated 12 May 2017

Brilliant to drive, great performance, and utterly classless
Poor brakes, potential for rust


The Giugiaro-designed Golf was exactly the right car at the right time, but it was in GTI form, from 1976, that it was most impressive. It was created by combining the Audi 80 GTE's engine with the lightweight three-door Golf bodyshell - and originally conceived as a low volume limited edition. The car that first earned the term ‘hot hatch’ used a Bosch fuel injection 1588cc engine to pump 110bhp through its front wheels and the tight and nimble handling meant all this could be used to the max.

The UK didn't get right-hand drive GTIs until 1979, but sales took off regardless as the fast Golf had the market to itself. A 1781cc engine and quad headlamps marked out 1982’s 1800 model, and the beginnings of the hot hatch craze was fully underway..

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