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Golf GTi
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Golf GTi

Golf GTi (Germany, 1976)

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Mk1

Not wanting to relax just yet with VW Golf’s instant worldwide success, the GTI version of the Golf was released in 1976 (Europe) as Volkswagen’s first sports model. It would then arrive at the North American market by 1983. This Golf version was also greatly admired for being the first hatchback-type sports car, responsible for the start of the “hot hatch” genre of vehicles. It has been considered the third best car of the 80’s.
Iconic as it became, a cult has grown up around the GTI and many other brands’ manufacturers tried to compete with it with similar models. Indeed, the GTI version of the Golf caused an effect on the automobile industry: a great part of all car producers started creating sports versions of their most sold small hatchbacks, ever since.
Plus, it was a reasonably accessible car in terms of price, so it wasn’t too hard to get one. The goal was actually to give this economic and accessible car a higher performance.
From 1980, there was the convertible version of the GTI, too, built with a transverse roll bar and a body reinforcement. This Cabriolet would be sold until 13 years later on.



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Engine and Transmission

The GTI was one of the first small sports cars that included fuel injection, increasing its 1588cc engine’s power output up to 108hp. This front-wheel drive car had a water-cooled engine and a four-speed gearbox.
The Rabbit GTI version (North American) had a 1.8L 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which functioned through unleaded petroleum fuel and produced 90hp through a five-speed transmission.



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Chassis


Platform The Mk1 Golf GTI is based on an A1 platform.   Suspension Built with gas dampers and a stabilizer bar both in the front and in rear axis, providing a more stable suspension.   Steering (no data)   Brakes GTI Mk1’s brakes consisted on air-vented discs in the front wheels and some big disc-drums in the rear wheels.



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Body and Design

There are two main types of the Mk1 GTI: three-door and five-door hatchbacks.
The GTI’s exterior design was car designer Herbert Shuster’s task. It had several different aspects from the standard version, mainly a more pronounced spoiler under the front bumper, a red line over the grill and the VW badge in black. GTIs were initially sold in no more than two different colors: silver or red. Later on, the black also was available.
It also came with sports seats, a three-spoke steering wheel, a golf ball-shaped gear knob, larger tires, small rear lights and an early style dashboard, which included round clocks. The GTI buyer could opt for alloy wheels if desired.
However, in those times you couldn’t yet find airbags, seat belts or air conditioning system – the regular “stuff” we are used to nowadays without even think about it – on these cars.
The Golf GTI would start a whole new genre of sports car as a hatchback model, becoming the leader on that genre’s market. Resemblances of this sports type of car still exist nowadays, only in the form of improved lines and engines.



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Motorsport

The Golf GTI started competing in races around 1981, by the time Volkswagen Motorsport was placed in Hannover.



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Trivia

The Golf GTI came out as the world’s first rather small sporty car.
Auto Express magazine stated the Golf GTI Mk1 as the greatest car of all times, in 2004.



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