Popularly referred to as the German “People’s car”, Volkswagen can be traced back to 1937, when the company was created as the “Geselschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagen mbH”. The name was later shortened to “Volkswagenwerk GmbH” and its headquarters established in Wolfsburg. Initially, the Volkswagen plant was meant for mass production of the average German’s ideal car, as per Hitler’s dictation. However, after WWII broke out, the plant’s production transitioned to armaments and the cars under the Volkswagen logo were taken over by the Third Reich army.
The British subsequently assumed control of the plant after the war and began producing the Type 1, popularly known as the Beetle throughout the world. The car remained a consumer favorite even through the sixties and seventies, primarily due to its reliability, reduced fuel consumption, and easy maintenance. Although it was replaced after being rendered irrelevant with time, the Beetle played a significant role in establishing Volkswagen in the automobile market. These are our pick of the top 10 Volkswagen car models of all time.
1. 1975 Volkswagen Golf GTI
Officially unveiled at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Volkswagen Golf GTI actually arrived in the UK market in 1977. Only 34 units were produced (all left-hand drive), which were sold in the first tentative year. The car used a 1,588cc four-cylinder engine with K-Jetronic fuel injection, with which it generated 110PS at 6,100rpm and 103 pounds feet of torque at 5,000rpm.
At 810kg unladen weight, the GTI could sprint from zero to 60 mph in nine seconds on its way to a top speed of 110mph. The car was an instant hit. Once the right hand drive cars made their way into the UK in 1979, a reported 1,573 units were sold that year. The figure had tripled within two years.