VW Golf – 50th anniversary

Autoworld Museum, Brussels, Belgium

Until April 28, 2024

Until the early 1970s, VW relied mainly on the Beetle, but both technically and aesthetically, the model was outdated. In 1974, VW presented the Golf (production from March 1974) which changed everything: compact but spacious, front-wheel drive, 2 or 4 doors with rear hatch, light, a line designed by the Italian Giugiaro that was a real masterstroke. Since then, the car has evolved a lot and grown, but remains perfectly identifiable. The current 8th generation has just received an update, while more than 37 million units have been built. The exhibition decoration is based on posters and advertisements extolling the merits of the car, often with a lot of humour.

The car has been available in countless variants, whether in terms of engines (petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric), bodywork (compact, convertible, estate, pick-up, etc.), 2 or 4-wheel drive, not to mention special editions and versions produced for specific markets (USA, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, etc.). The Golf GTI, launched in 1975, revolutionised the world of sports cars, with electronic fuel injection and 110 horsepower for less than 850 kg. Since then, each generation has had its sporty, even radical sometimes, version(s).

For this exhibition, Autoworld has brought together a panel of about fifteen models, covering the different generations and body styles. The sports models are well represented with several GTIs, the 1st generation of course, but also a rare GTI 16 S Oettinger from 1982 or a GTI of the Belgian Gendarmerie.

Among the more powerful Golfs, the 1996 VR6, the first compact car equipped with a V6, features an original architecture with a V at just 15°, while the 160 hp Rally G60 (1989) uses a supercharger and all-wheel drive. Very rare, the R 333 Limited Edition has 333 horsepower. The 333 copies of this special edition will all be sold out in just 8 minutes!

The exhibition also features several convertibles, a “Variant” station wagon, a 4WD “Country”, kind of a precursor of compact SUVs, and even a “Caddy” pickup…

On a very different note, let’s also mention 2 cars that are on display in the competition area until the end of March, a Formula 2 Cooper Bristol T23 Mk2 and a 1970 F1 De Tomaso 505/38 used by the Franck Williams team. They will then leave the museum to take part in historic events in the hands of pilot Paul Grant.

The photos on this page belong to the Autoworld Museum, no right of reproduction without the express permission of the museum.