Car of 1979 VW’s floodgates open
The 1970s was a remarkable decade for Volkswagen as it turned around its business – and its vehicles – to feature front-end, water-cooled engines. It had begun modestly with Volkswagen’s takeover of NSU and the subsequent launch of the K70, to be overtaken by the first Passats from 1973.
From 1974, the front-wheel drive Scirocco opened new doors for the company, while at 11.19am on 1 July that year, the last of almost 12 million Beetles left the assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany. The appearance of the Golf in 1974 – marketed as the Rabbit in the US – produced Volkswagen’s real challenger to the Beetle’s long-held crown. The famous hot-hatch GTI followed in 1976.
The Polo (which started life as an Audi 50) supermini joined the fleet in 1975, as did the light truck design the aptly named LT. A notchback version of the Polo – the Derby – made its debut in 1977. In January 1978 the final German-built Beetle left the Emden By the time this Volkswagen publicity shot appeared in 1979, its range included the Derby, Golf, Passat, Polo and Scirocco.
production line, with manufacture continuing in Mexico until 2003. The VAG brand name appeared, a diesel engine version of the LT was introduced, while Volkswagen GB’s headquarters moved to Milton Keynes.
Karmann started work on the Golf convertible in February 1979, the third-generation T3 Transporter vehicles were introduced in August, and production of the Jetta began in Wolfsburg the following month.