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Would you spend new VW Golf GTI money on a box-fresh Mk1?

The original hot hatch… now a £28k-£32k auction buy. Worth it?

Published: 17 May 2018

The best VW Golf GTI you can buy right now is the Mk7.5 Performance Pack, preferably with a manual gearbox and three doors. It’s got 245bhp, a limited-slip front differential, and carries you aloft a tartan seat from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds. It’s the quintessential hot hatch. Or is it?

The new Golf GTI can trace its lineage back over three decades, and, of course, seven and a half model generations, to the original Mk1 Golf GTI. Launched at the 1975 Geneva Motor Show, the very first version of the icon boasted 110bhp from its 1.6-litre engine, a dimpled gearknob, and a 0-62mph sprint of around 9.0 seconds.

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So, if you had between £28,000 and £32,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you’d obviously buy the new one, wouldn’t you? Okay, it weighs 500kg more than the old-timer, but it’s roomier, safer, and has USB sockets and cupholders. A no-brainer…

Perhaps not. There’s a minty-fresh 1978 Mk1 VW Golf GTI going under the hammer at the H&H Classics Motor Sport auction in Surrey, UK on 5th June 2018. Can you guess what the price estimate is?

VW didn’t officially start importing right-hand drive Golf GTIs into the UK until 1979 – this one’s a left-hooker, and especially early. It’s one of just 22 GTIs that crept over to British shores in 1978, to impatient buyers who couldn’t wait to kickstart the UK’s hot hatchback obsession. It’s a delightful example: it's just been treated to a full restoration, with everything in "excellent" working order. It's even got a Volkswagen Museum certificate confirming the factory build date and numbers and so forth. There can’t be many older veteran GTIs than this left in such top nick…

So, we return to our original point. Is the best Golf GTI you can buy right now the latest one? Between £28k and £32k will buy you a very nicely specced new MK7 GTI – but we wouldn’t blame you for being very tempted by its great granddad instead…

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Read Top Gear's VW Golf GTI Mk1 review here

Note: pic 1 is a stock image - pics 2-5 show the actual auction car mid-rebuild

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