The first Golf – Birth of the icon


Volkswagen is preparing a major update for the Golf. The world premiere is coming up in November. It will be the update of a style-icon. Head of Design at Volkswagen Klaus Bischoff says: “There are only a few cars in the world other than the Golf which have so consistently continued to develop their design from generation to generation.” Bischoff goes on to explain: “Vehicles which successfully manage an evolution of their design over decades have the potential to one day be celebrated as an icon. The most prominent example of such a development is the Porsche 911; in the high volume models segment, however, the Golf is clearly a member of the automobile Hall of Fame.”

Retrospective: 1974. The year when ABBA won the European Song Contest with “Waterloo” and Germany won the World Cup for the second time. The year when Muhammad Ali defeated George Foreman in the most legendary boxing match of all time. The year when Volkswagen presented the first Golf.

The first generation was an instant success; the successor to the Beetle achieved sales of 6.99 million. Klaus Bischoff says: “The step from the Beetle to the Golf was revolutionary. The change from the air-cooled rear engine to the water-cooled front engine created a completely new vehicle layout.” Round became square – a paradigm shift. Bischoff, Head of Design at Volkswagen explains: “The main design elements of the Golf Mk1 were the side profile with its upright, solid C-pillar; the distinctive wheel arches; and the horizontal front with the slim grille and downwardly protruding head-lights – present to this very day in every Golf.” These are stylistic features of the most successful compact car design in the world.