1981 Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Matching numbers in good condition – plenty of new-old-stock bits

1981 Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI – Today’s Tempter
1981 Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI – Today’s Tempter

Debuting at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mk1 VW Golf GTI was a vast departure from the rest of the mainstream Golf range.

The car originated as a backroom skunkworks project between VW’s Press Department head Anton Konrad and VW Engineer Alfons Lowenberg with development starting back in 1973. Originally powered by a 1.6lt inline-four with a higher compression ratio, and initially mated to a close-ratio four-speed manual gearbox; in 1979, a five-speed manual came as standard, and three years later, the engine grew in displacement to 1.78lt with compression increased yet again.

Externally, the GTI was distinguished by black plastic wheel arch flares covering larger wheels, and the GTI-hallmark red accent around the front grille.

Original production was never expected to exceed 5000 units, the production homologation requirement for Group One Production Touring Car racing.

Ultimately, the car was a success beyond expectation, eventually reaching a production total of 462,000 units, and spawned the "hot hatch" movement that lasts to this day.

This Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI was built in 1981 for the 1982 model year. Originally delivered to Singapore, the car was imported to Australia in 2006.

The seller reports the car to be in good condition and in matching numbers.

The listing stipulates an enormous amount of maintenance and replacement parts – true to original and often utilising new-old-stock factory components.

A rebuilt engine head, new-old-stock exterior and interior trim, upgraded brakes and new suspension see the car very well-kept.

A few points of attention are outlined in the listing, such as worn driver’s seat bolster, bare carpet in rear passenger side, air-conditioning requires re-gassing and the paint is not perfect concours condition.

Overall, the car looks good, with the current owner clearly maintaining it to a passionate standard. It may not be 100% original but as a useable weekend car and project, it could be worth investigating.

The car is based in Queensland and is listed for $17,000.

You can check out the full listing here!


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