It is one of Germany's favorite cars: The Golf and its sporty version the Golf GTI. The little racer was launched in 1976 and still has cult status.
It has not been an easy year for VW, which is still reeling from the emissions scandal that rocked Germany's biggest car manufacturer. But in every cloud there's a silver lining; as the company looks back at eight decades of growth, its most popular model celebrates its 40th birthday: the VW Golf GTI. Thousands of GTI fans are meeting at the Wörthersee this week to celebrate.
As it is a special birthday, VW is going to present a world premiere during the festival in honor of its best-selling model: The limited edition "Clubsport S2", a Golf GTI "like never before" according to the company. It is said to have 310 hp. Such announcements can make the heart of every GTI fan beat faster. For nostalgics, Volkswagen is bringing all seven previous GTI models to the festival.
The career of the small sportscar began in 1974. At the time, six designers were on a secret mission to create a new model that would make a mark. From the outside, it looked like a regular Golf, but the surprise was under the hood: 110 hp and a maximum of 182/h. Opel and Ford could not keep up with the mid-sized car.
The interior of the GTI was also very striking. A red strip on the front grille panel, a golf ball on the shift knob and sports seats with Tartan: The new VW model was well received by the customers. Initially 5,000 cars were planned, but by now the two-million mark has been crossed.