A small and lightweight hatchback with a manual. What's not to love?
The Volkswagen Golf is an icon, just like the vehicle it was initially intended to replace, the Beetle. Even when VW began development of the first-generation Golf in the late 1960s, the Beetle was already three decades old and it made complete sense to retire it as the "people's car." Naturally, it needed an affordable but more modern successor. The original VW Golf premiered in 1974 and was produced until 1983. In the US, it was sold as the Rabbit. The Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed hatchback was not only larger than the butt-engined RWD Beetle, but it was front-engined and FWD. Its design ditched the rounded styling in favor of flat and more angled surfaces, though round headlights were retained.
The simplicity and beauty of the design were immediately recognized not only by the public but also by Giugiaro himself. He has since claimed it was the most important design of his career. Remember, this is the guy who also styled vehicles from some of the world's most exclusive brands, including Bugatti, Maserati, and Lamborghini.
The MK1 Golf's successor arrived in '83 and featured evolutionary styling. VW knew not to mess too much with a good thing, although the new Golf did grow in size. Its wheelbase was slightly longer and overall exterior dimensions grew. Weight also increased by around 260 pounds. Giugiaro was not called back to handle the exterior styling this time around, as VW instead opted to do this in-house.
However, the first-gen's overall look was retained so that the new car couldn't be mistaken for anything other than a Golf. But there was one thing these early Golfs had, along with all subsequent generations including the outgoing seventh-gen, that's no longer profitable: a three-door body style. In this day and age, buyers want the extra space. Pushing the front seats forward to allow rear-seat access is no longer fashionable, at least for economy cars.
VW dropped the three-door Golfs entirely not long ago. The market for classic old school three-door Golfs could, perhaps, increase in demand. It's impossible to predict these kinds of things but given that VW is going at full-speed towards electrification, yesteryear Golfs could find a new following.
This 1987 VW Golf GT would be a perfect candidate and it's up for sale on Craigslist. It's also something of a bargain with an asking price of $7,250. While its odometer reads around 199,500 miles, everything, including the paint and glass, is original. Because this example has been maintained so thoroughly over the years, both the engine and five-speed manual are in solid condition. The GT trim arrived in the US for 1987 and was powered by a 1.8-liter inline-four with about 102 horsepower. This engine has not been modified in any way. She's all stock.
The MKII was also the last Golf to have a carbureted gasoline engine. Fuel injection arrived with the MKIII in 1992. The seller also notes this car's original snowflake wheels are also in fine shape, which is rare given the number of miles it's been driven. Important convenience features like the sunroof and windows are all manually-operated and work as they should. Not only will the new owner be getting a fun-to-drive three-door hatchback with a slick manual, but also its original books and manuals.
They also need to be prepared to receive lots of attention and questions, a fun consequence for owning something this cool.