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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.

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