Car of 1979 VW’s flood­gates open

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

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.

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