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3.2 BJS 24v VR6 engined 1992 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk3

While VW really seems to have got its act together these days with its new-wave hot hatches, there are some — like Melis Julevic — who believe you still can’t beat the old-skool way. We tend to agree…

315hp home-built Volkswagen Golf Mk3 Euro-tourer

After a string of bad luck with cheap Mk3s, Luke Cartwright pulled out all the stops with the third in the line-up – a 315hp home-built Euro-tourer, built to be driven but with a finish to rival the best in the scene.

260bhp 1.8-litre KR 16v engined 1982 Volkswagen Golf Mk1

When we first featured this iconic Mk1 Golf way back in 1999, it was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Almost a quarter of a century later, amazingly, the car still remains the GOAT. Here’s why…

Baja Bug lowrider - Volkswagen Beetle

What do you get if you cross a Baja Bug with a lowrider? Neil Hansford may well have the answer…

330bhp 1.8-litre BAM engined 1991 Volkswagen Golf Mk2

Taking a blow torch and paint stripper to your mint, corrosion-free shell sounds pretty mental to most people, but when Simon Andrzejewski set out to build his perfect VW show car, it somehow made perfect sense…

174bhp 1978 Volkswagen Golf VR6 2.8 Mk1

When the owner of high-end trimmers, Carsdream set out to build his vision of the perfect Mk1, we expected it to be the stuff of dreams. It didn’t disappoint…

770bhp reworked 1989 Volkswagen Golf Rallye Mk2 gets 4Motion 2.5T

What do you do if you love the visuals of the Golf Rallye but you long for the unique sound of a five cylinder turbo? German VW fanatic, Marc Herbrik appears to have the answer…

1700bhp RS3-swapped Volkswagen Golf R Mk7

Dripping with carbon fibre and re-engineered for almost four times its factory horsepower, Tom Parker’s RS3-swapped Golf R is a luxurious daily driver with hypercar-baiting potential.

2004 Volkswagen Lupo GTI

By the turn of the new Millennium, the Golf GTI had bloated into a very different beast indeed. After the Corrado was killed off in 1995, everfaster yet lardier Golfs took its place. Some sported five- or even six-cylinder engines, but their weight, luxury and price left them a far cry from the 840kg 1.6-litre flyweight that dropped jaws back in 1975.

1992 Volkswagen Corrado VR6

By the late Eighties, performance-car magazines regularly persisted with rumours that Porsche was collaborating with VW with the intention of building a front-wheel-drive coupé. In reality, covert photographers had snapped the Herbert Schäfer-penned VW Corrado on test. It didn’t actually contain any Porsche parts, but it did mark a corporate sea-change. Given VW’s engineering origins there had always been moments of co-operation between the two companies, and as the Audi-engined Porsche 924 was dropped from Porsche showrooms in 1985, a gap opened up for a sub-Porsche über-VW coupé, something more sparkling than the dated Scirocco. Something a generation of yuppies weaned on Golf GTIs might move up to instead of the ubiquitous BMW E30 3 Series.

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.

1972 Volkswagen 1200 Beetle

It just means ‘People’s Car’, and yet Volkswagen signifies so much more. There’s no shortage of rivals with reliable, cheap utilitarianism at their core, but few have managed to unite counter-culture hippies and surfers with City yuppies and boy racers within their embrace. There’s every chance your first car was a battered Golf – the same thing Prince Michael of Kent uses as a runabout. To investigate this curiously classless appeal, we have gathered six VW icons. There’s the Beetle that began it all, and the Camper that kick-started the ownership cult. The Karmann-Ghia made a glamorous push upmarket, a theme that hit its zenith with the Corrado VR6. And then there’s the Golf GTI, the car that defined the hot hatch. We’ve also included a Lupo GTI, which proved that there was virtue in going back to basics after years of growth. So which will convert us to the cult of VW, and how do you buy your way in? Time to take the wheel and find out.

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 Camper

Clambering aboard this split-window Type 2 Camper – and you really do have to climb up into it, it’s surprisingly high off the ground – the thing that surprises me most is how far removed from the Beetle it is. I know it’s built on that car’s floorplan and shares its engine and gearbox. But it’s testament to the ingenuity of VW’s platform engineering that the thing it reminds me most of is not a car, but the 201 bus to Stamford.

1967 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia 1500

Is this a sports car or just a Beetle in a tuxedo? It’s odd, but no other car in this group – not even the Golf GTI – has quite such a weight of expectation hanging over it quite like the Karmann-Ghia. Given that the Beetle on which it’s based was a Ferdinand Porsche design, and the 356 was created using much of the same thinking and raw materials. Even the Karmann-Ghia’s suspension layout with torsion bars front and rear is similar. Is this sporty coupé and roadster take on the Beetle a decent substitute for a real Porsche? If so, £6k for an average one never looked so cheap.

T2D 90s-look Volkswagen Beetle – the type 2 Detectives loads do it again!

Remember that time we invited the air-cooled kids from T2D along to the UK’s premier water-cooled show with their Brasilia and they won Best of Show? Well, they’re back pushing the boundaries ones again…

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