Author: Kevin Clemens, Softbound, 126 Pages, ISBN: 9781583881583, 1st Edition, 2006
Thirty years after it first appeared, the Volkswagen Golf is now entering its fifth generation. Born out of desperation, at a time when VW was facing questions of its continued existence, the Golf (and Rabbit, as it was first known in North America) ultimately proved to be the successor to the fabled Beetle and the savior of Volkswagen. It would prove to be so again and again over the next three decades, through a succession of economic crises and company chairmen.
It seems that everyone has a Volkswagen story. For older generations, that story usually revolves around the original air-cooled Beetle; its engine in the trunk, its lack of heat, its legendary reliability, and ability to be repaired by just about anybody. As with every myth, the cars get better every time the stories are retold. Younger generations will vividly recall the VW Rabbit. For a college student, they were ubiquitous. A Rabbit would hold a week's worth of laundry, deliver 30 mpg, handle like a demon, and, as long as you remembered to check the oil religiously, run forever.
When the Rabbit QTI came out, a whole new generation of automotive enthusiasts was born and they discovered the joys of driving a small fast car.
The Volkswagen Golf and its Jetta sibling were the first real sport compact cars and created an entire automotive tuner aftermarket devoted to making them go quicker, handle better, and look different. In the 1990s the company created another crisis for itself by ignoring the movement that its cars created. That it has returned to embrace its place as a builder of "driver's cars" may ultimately be its salvation. Through it all, there have been Golfs for commuters, Golfs as family haulers, and Golfs For hell-raisers.
This is the story of the Golf, how a few good men created it, how it evolved through five generations, and what its survival has meant to the company that produced it. As this book was written, the fifth generation of Golf was being readied for production.
All indications are that this next generation will be a worthy successor to the Golfs that came before it: the cars that saved Volkswagen.