Happy Birthday to the Volkswagen Golf!

VW Golf MK 1

The VW Golf is 40 years old and still as popular as ever, Volkswagen certainly have something to celebrate, after all this iconic little car is the most successful European car of all time. A true pioneer from the Mk I to the Mk VII, the VW Golf has always been at the cutting edge of technology and more than 30 million vehicles sold shows just how much this car is loved

Mk I – Wolfsburg, 29th March 1974, the very first production model Golf rolls off the assembly line. VW Design and Giorgio Giugiaro were the designers and they were in the unenviable position of following after the world’s previously most successful car, the VW Beetle. The Beetle had rear wheel drive and a rear mounted engine, the Golf was completely different with its front wheel drive and transversely mounted front engine, but as we all know, the Mk I was a huge success and October 1976 saw the production of the one millionth VW Golf. The first Golf GTi arrived in 1976, considered by most to be the original “hot hatch”, this model was also an enormous success, the diesel powered Golf D also arrived in this year. 1979 saw the arrival of the much sought after Golf Cabriolet followed by the turbo diesel version – the Golf GTD in 1982

Mk II – The more rounded features of the Golf Mk II replaced the sharper design of the Mk I in August 1983, although some considered this model to be rather matronly compared to its predecessor, with the Mk I remaining the firm favourite of boy racers to this day. The Mk II was also more spacious and comfortable, it just felt more “grown up”. It was this model that saw the introduction of the cat converter, power steering (PAS) and anti lock braking (ABS)

Mk III – The Golf Mk III arrived in August 1991, this model had square head lights and was extremely advanced in vehicle safety features, including front air bags (1992). Other features introduced in the Mk III at various stages were cruise control and the VR6 engine, 1991 saw the oxidation cat converter for diesels and in 1993 the Golf TDi arrived


Mk IV – The Golf Mk IV was launched in autumn 1997 and was the 2001 bestselling car in Europe. Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) was introduced in 1998 “Electronic Stabilisation Control detects critical situations to stop skidding before it begins”. The Golf 4MOTION also arrived in 1998, the Golf FSi and the 155mph Golf R32 debuted in 2002 and the dual clutch gear box (DSG) made its first appearance in the R32 in 2003

Mk V – 2003 saw the arrival of the Golf Mk V, this model boasted many improvements in performance, security, safety and comfort. Seven speed dual clutch gear box (DSG), four link rear suspension, bi xenon headlights, side air bags, panoramic sliding sunroof to name but a few. In 2006 the TSi twin charger arrived and the Golf Plus was also introduced, followed in 2007 by the Golf BlueMotion and the CrossGolf estate car

Mk VI – Introduced in 2008 the Golf Mk VI had further advances to safety, performance and fuel economy, this model achieved the maximum five star EuroNCAP rating. The Mk VI also incorporated new technology, including Park Assist and Light Assist automatic main beam management

Mk VII – The last Golf model to date, the Mk VII, arrived in September 2012. Improvements had again been made in areas of safety, performance and fuel economy and this model also bristled with the latest automotive technology.

We can expect to see the arrival of the new all electric Golf during 2014, along with the Golf GTE hybrid.

The TV ad that said “if only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen” was absolutely spot-on and this iconic car has gone from strength to strength, often leading the way in performance and technology. The Mk I Golf remains as popular today as it was when it made its debut back in 1974, it seems that the name “Golf” will always be considered as a name to trust whilst still managing to stay trendy and fashionable.

Special Thanks FotoSleuth for providing the image.