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1982 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1

After the distinctively cheeky character and idiosyncratic mechanicals of the rear-engined aircooled Volkwagens, getting into the firmly-bolstered plaid-clad drivers’ seat of this Golf GTI MkI feels like a total culture shock. Everything is angular, futuristic, hinting at computerised systems and digital precision, created in the same kind of ultra-rational post-oil-crisis idiom that produced things like the Porsche 928 and W126 Mercedes-Benz S-class. Only in-house stylist Herbert Schäfer’s contribution, the gearknob – Schäfer was a keen golfer – hints at any notion of fun. And yet in the Eighties, the Golf GTI would define driving excitement.

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