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Volkswagen Golf

A1 Golf (Mk1) Series III

Volkswagen logo1 Jun 1979

The most visible changes were the adoption of large, plastic bumpers front and rear, a black plastic rear valance and slightly altered cabin trims and colours.

But the most welcome was the improvement to the 1.6-litre petrol engine. Minor exhaust and tuning modifications restored its responsiveness back to pre-July ’76 levels.

Once again the Golf was sold in petrol GLS three and five-door hatchback and diesel GLD five-door hatchback guises, with the former available with a three-speed auto as well as the usual four-speed manual gearbox.

However currency-led price hikes and the arrival of inexpensive front-drive alternatives from Japan – such as the Mazda 323 from 1980 – sounded the Golf Mk1’s death knell.

The GLS petrol range had vanished by ’81, while the GLD soldiered on without any significant change until late ’82.

From then until 1990 the only VW sold here was the T3 Transporter (Kombi) commercial vehicle range, although over the same period its upmarket Audi brand started its long journey from obscurity.

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