Volkswagen Golf GTi Advert 1984

Black VW Golf GTi from the 1980s

There's no doubt that the 1980s was the decade of the hot hatch, and the VW Golf GTi was the ultimate model to own. The Mk1 model had car nuts foaming at the mouth when it launched in 1976, but when the Mk2 came out, it set the standard for 80s hot hatches. 

The Mk2 launched in March 1984 in the UK - it had already launched back in September 1983 in all left-hand drive markets. A TV advert featuring a man who is down on his luck, was used to promote the latest model. You can watch this further down this page.

Firstly, we see him in his tuxedo and leaving the casino after gambling £1million on black. Unfortunately for him, it came out red! He also married a "sex kitten" (according to the narrator) just as she turned into a cat. I'm pretty sure that this line would definitely not be allowed in any adverts today and if it did, then the PC brigade would be complaining to OFCOM in their droves!

But that's not the end of it, oh no!. He also invested in gold, just as everyone else was pulling out - silly man! 

However, we soon discover that he drives a VW Golf GTi, after he pulls out from behind what looks like a vintage Rolls Royce. The narrator tells us "Everyone must have something in life he can rely on". Well, we all like a story with a happy ending.

Of course, the GTi wasn't the only hot hatch in town, and you or your parents/grandparents may well have driven one of the many other popular models such as the Peugeot 205 GTi, Renault 5 GT Turbo or the Ford Fiesta XR2 with its iconic pepperpot wheels. My Dad bought a white XR2 and it certainly made me popular with the other kids. Sadly, he only kept it for about a year, which applies to just about every car he bought - we certainly never had the time to get attached to any one model!.

I had a friend who bought a second-hand Renault.GT Turbo, and I remember when he drove us to a nightclub one weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and gave several impressive demonstrations of its acceleration. Unfortunately, after leaving the club, when we returned to the car park at around 2AM, his beloved car was nowhere to be seen! So we spent the next hour or so inside a police station - what a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning! It turned out that a gang of car thieves from Birmingham had stolen it but my friend did get his car back, although he soon got rid of it after this.

The Golf GTi featured an 8-valve, 100hp, 1.8 litre fuel injected engine, although an even beefier 16 valve version launched in 1985, which could reach 137 MPH.

The Mk1 and Mk2 models are easily recognised by their round headlights, and I find these more appealing to look at than the more rectangular ones introduced on the Mk3 which launched on 1991. Personally, I think the Mk4 is the ugliest model, though. Can A VW ever really be ugly? Well, I guess not, but the front end just looks very unappealing to me.

So was the Mk2 the best ever model? According to popular opinion it most definitely was!

Renault 25 advert from 1986

1987 UK Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 Front
Vauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a British Golf GTi 1987 model photographed in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

Red VW Golf GTI (1987)
Modified 1987 GTi