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Europe’s Best Selling Car Turns 45 Years Old

By Phil Gardner | April 18, 2019


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Many happy returns to the world famous Volkswagen Golf

Europe’s Best Selling Car Turns 45 Years Old

On Friday the 29th of March 1974, production began of a new hatchback that would replace the much adored Volkswagen Beetle. Little did the team at Volkswagen know that the model they started constructing on that day would go on to become Europes most successful car of all time, with over 35 million units built and sold worldwide over the next 45 years.

The Golf was initially sold either as a 2 door or a 4 door model with a folding rear row of seats and a big 300-litre boot. It was delightfully functional and extremely practical - two of the key pillars at the core of the Golf’s values.

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The Golf has gone on to shape the modern automotive landscape in more ways than you can imagine. The mark 1 GTi was the first proper ‘hot hatch’ that revolutionised what buyers can expect from a day-to-day run around vehicle. Every GTi since has pretty much been the best among its peers at providing genuinely thrilling driving experiences while not compromising on usability and family appeal.

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Even this side of the millennium, the Golf paves the way for other brands to follow. The e-Golf has quickly become one of the most desirable and appealing models across the reasonably-priced electric car market. Under stringent, ‘real-world’ testing the new e-Golf will return a wonderful 144 miles from a single charge and it still boasts the selling points of the regularly powered Golf. It’s unassuming, desirable, well built and easy to drive.

The current ‘Mark 7.5’ model is on the way out now, which is a shame because it’s a truly magical piece of kit, but it makes way for the new Mark 8 model. Just one last hurrah for the 7.5 will come in the form of the new GTi TCR - an over the top GTi model which takes touring car cues and puts them in a frankly outrageous package. This new TCR model will put out a colossal 286 horsepower through the front wheels thanks to a better-tuned 2.0 litre GTi engine and a sonorous stainless steel exhaust system. The steering has been tweaked for more aggressive driving and the brakes have been upgraded too - it really is one of the best proper hot-hatchbacks of all time, and it’s on sale now.

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We touched on the new Mark 8 there. It’s coming. The new Golf has been spotted in undisguised testing, just a few weeks after the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this year. We anticipate the new Golf will be out on sale in Autumn of 2019. The new model will be notably longer than the outgoing model, and the spy shots show an angled C-pillar which boasts a bit more of a pronounced rear end than what we’re used to with Golf models of the past. The company’s chief of design has made it clear that there will be a revolution in interior design with this new Golf, although there have been no sneak-peeks just yet, this could be a very big change - possibly the biggest design-shit in the 45 years of the Golf’s life so far. It will be a totally digital cabin with the only analogue control being the steering wheel… Sounds futuristic, we’ll have to wait and see what they’ve got in mind!

The first Mark 8 models will go into production in June of 2019, in the same Wolfsburg plant where the first Mark 1 models went into production all those years ago. How wonderfully fitting. Happy Birthday, Volkswagen Golf.

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