Volkswagen golf mk1 50th anniversary
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The Volkswagen Golf turns 50 today

On March 29, 1974, Volkswagen made history by starting production of the Volkswagen Golf, the modern and successful replacement for the Volkswagen Beetle that finally implemented front-wheel drive and a front engine.

At the beginning of the seventies, Volkswagen continued to market the popular Beetle, a pre-World War II design that in 1972 managed to snatch the record for the best-selling car in the world by Ford Model T. Thanks to the start of the oil crisis in 1973, its sales saw a small rebound, but At that point there was no doubt that the charismatic Type 1 needed a replacement. 

cars like the Renault 5 and the Fiat 127 They were proof that the future of economical utility vehicles involved using an engine and front-wheel drive. Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro would be in charge of shaping the compact future of the Wolfsburg company., and in the mechanical section it would mark an important milestone for the brand by using a water-cooled engine and the same “all in front” configuration of the aforementioned Fiat and Renault. It is worth mentioning that the Passat had been ahead of the use of this technique by a year. 

On March 29, 1974, the first Volkswagen Golf left the factory, although its marketing did not start until May of that year. It would be easy to say that the rest is history, but these fifty years have given us a lot. Proof of its overwhelming success was that, in 1976, just two years after its commercial debut, more than a million of these cars had already been sold around the world., and received various names in each market, such as Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States or Volkswagen Caribe for Mexico. At the end of production of this first generation, more than six million Volkswagen Golfs had been manufactured.


The tremendous popularity of the Golf led Volkswagen to develop various variants that would meet the needs of all types of buyers. In this way they were born in 1979 the Volkswagen Jetta, three-volume saloon variants based on the brand's best-seller, as well as the Volkswagen Caddy in 1982, which emerged as a pickup variant before becoming a van in subsequent generations. 

Also very important were the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolets manufactured by Karmann. This company already presented a convertible Golf prototype in 1976, but It would not be until 1979 when this variant finally appeared in the model's catalogue, which took the baton from the iconic convertible Beetles.. The second generation of the Golf appeared in 1983, but the Cabriolet variant continued to be based on the Golf Mk1 body.


We had to wait another two years after the first Golf was launched on the market for the brand to decide to manufacture a sports version. The Volkswagen Golf GTI went on sale in 1976, and created a school in the automobile sector, since the magic formula of affordable compact with sporty features It was copied endlessly by the rest of the manufacturers. 

It is important to mention that previously there were compact sports cars such as the Mini Cooper or the SIMCA 1200 Ti, but What distinguished the Golf GTI from the rest of the vehicles on the market in its category was the use of modern fuel injection., a technology that until then was reserved for sports cars and higher-class sedans. And in this way one of the most iconic sagas in the automotive world emerged; that of Golf GTI.


As happened with other Volkswagen cars such as the Beetle that was manufactured in Mexico until 2003 or the Santana that was in production in China until 2012, The first-generation Golf also had a longer-than-expected production run in the South African market.. 

This country began building the Volkswagen Golf in 1978, but with the arrival of the second generation of the model, the public's response was not what was expected, since the MK2 was somewhat more expensive than its predecessor and what buyers wanted was a model of access that was as economical as possible. In this way they came to the market in 1984 the Volkswagen Citi Golf, which were Golf MK1 that were updated over the years until production ceased in August 2009.

The Volkswagen Golf MK1 from South Africa.
The Volkswagen Golf MK1 from South Africa.


As usually happens when such special anniversaries are celebrated for legendary and significant moderns in automotive history, Volkswagen has announced an edition of the eighth generation Golf that commemorates fifty years of the model of which more than 37 million units have been manufactured, turning it into one of the best selling cars of all time. 

These 50th Anniversary Edition Golfs are already on pre-sale, which can be easily identified by some anagrams that have the number 50 in various parts of the vehicle., as well as a different front. It will be available with two gasoline engines with turbo and two other hybrids that will be 115 and 150 HP. They will have an advanced infotainment system operated by ChatGPT artificial intelligence, which highlights how much the car has changed in the last fifty years, and how much remains to change in the next fifty. Happy birthday and long life to the Golfs!

Images: Volkswagen 

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Written by Javillac

This thing about cars comes to one since childhood. When other kids preferred the bicycle or the ball, I kept the toy cars.
I still remember as if it were yesterday a day when a black 1500 overtook us on the A2, or the first time I saw a Citroën DS parked on the street, I have always liked chrome bumpers.

In general, I like things from before the time I was born (some say I'm reincarnated), and at the top of that list are cars, which, together with music, make the ideal combination for a perfect time: driving and a soundtrack according to the corresponding car.

As for cars, I like classics of any nationality and era, but my weakness is American cars from the 50s, with their exaggerated shapes and dimensions, which is why many people know me as "Javillac".

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