Every decade sees the birth of a great car. In the 1970's it was the VW Golf MK1. It was the replacement for the VW Beetle and was a modern front wheel drive vehicle. It was however, the car released in 1976 that really shot the VW Golf to fame: The GTi. A small, affordable hatchback that effectively killed off the entry level sports car segment of its time. Weighing in at only 850kg, the 84kw from the 1588cc motor pushed it from 0-100km/h in 9 seconds. Enough to shame many a luxury car at the traffic lights!
Fast forward a few years and the Golf was being manufactured right here in good old SA. They were made as an entry level, locally manufactured vehicle catering for the masses. No frills, no fuss. Just an A to B car. They continued making them from 1984 up until August 2009. I don't think there are many people living here that have not owned a Golf 1 at some stage in their life! I had one for 3 years myself. Still like them.
They are still immensely popular among the younger crowd. The type of guys that prefer spartan interiors and don't need things like air-con and power steering. Most of these cars are heavily modified though. Turbo charged motors, NOS systems, slick tires etc. are but a few things passionate Golf owners add on. There are places that sell almost any conceivable after market accessory for your Citi Golf. Places like http://www.autostyle.co.za/ will gladly help you pimp your ride! Anything from LCD screens to light up, colored exhaust tail pieces. Customizing rules!
Now, back to business! I got to shoot 2 Golfs yesterday afternoon, the 2 and 4 door variety.
First off, it is one beautiful looking piece of old school machinery! The product of 5 years of love,sweat,blood and tears. The owners bought it as a mere shell. A rolling chassis. Almost scrap metal! But through their passion for racing and for these cars, it emerged, like the proverbial phoenix rising out of the ashes! Spending some time with them during the shoot, it's clear how much they love their cars. It's a way of life for them, racing,modifying,repairing. They talk fast and drive even faster! On the subject of speed, let me say this: I am no stranger to breaking speed limits, ( I used to ride bikes!) but these cars scared the living shit out of me!
Allow me to elaborate : We start off down the road, calmly, in first gear. The driver gradually builds the revs taking it to around 4 thousand RPM. At this point, he holds it there for a few seconds then kicks the accelerator violently into the floor board unleashing all manner of hell! The motor screams like a banshee getting a prostate examination and it appears that the steering wheel has now transformed itself into a writhing crocodile, which the driver is busy, matter-of-factly, wrestling with.Through some miracle of God, we manage to get into 4th gear without crashing and as I glance at the speedo, I notice 180km/h is indicated. WTF! At some point, all my internal organs were wrapped around my spine! Thank God for other cars because we had to slow down until we got to the spot where would be shooting. One thing I must add, this guy knows how to handle his car. Watching him take the copious amounts of torque steer in his stride left me impressed. All that power going to the front wheels makes the car behave like a Bull terrier chasing a rugby ball and it takes some skill to keep the car pointing straight. Here are some numbers for those that like numbers:
Model: 1980 MK1 2 Door.
Motor: 2.0 l, 16v, Throttles, naturally aspirated. Runs on Ethanol.
1/4 mile: Best 13.6 @ Tarlton raceway. Let me put that in perspective for you: A BMW M3 V8, stock standard, at Highveld altitude will do 13.8-14.1 SEC 1/4 mile. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Model: 1992, a 2 Year labor love!
Motor: 2.0l 16v Single throttle, Naturally aspirated, Ethanol.
1/4 mile: 13.4 sec Tarlton.
Yes, 13.4! It feels even faster when you sitting in it! (Trust me, my heart rate only returned to normal this morning!)
I really loved the color of this car, it just popped so nicely in the late afternoon light.Stunning car! And did I mention fast?