Mk1 Golf Cabriolet still classy after 24 years
I must admit to hankering after a Mk1 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet in my dream garage, as I think the angular Giugiaro-penned lines have stood the test of time well.
It still looks reasonably contemporary, considering it was launched in the late seventies.
Fast forward to 2011 and the UK launch of the latest Golf Cabriolet, where Volkswagen had wheeled out the latest addition to its heritage fleet - this 1987 Clipper.
After trying the new Golf drop-top, it seemed foolish not to have a go in the car that started it all and see if the driving experience has aged as well as the rest of the car.
On the outside, all the unique Golf convertible design details are here that I remember from the Siku model I had as a kid. These include the Cabriolet's massive roll bar, the distinctive hood hump and those dinky MK1 rear lights.
Inside, it's very typical 80s Volkswagen, with the grey cloth trim for the sport seats wearing the cars 93,000 miles usually well. The Golf Mk1's dashboard maybe angular compared to the new car, but it oozes quality and the GTi-like four-spoke steering wheel is nice to hold.
Look closer at the dash and the square instruments are surprisingly easy to read, even if the bank of coloured lights in between them isn't. The original 80s Blaupunkt tape player is still present, but I can't believe how light the doors are and how delicate the switchgear feels.
Even after 24 years and 90,000+ miles, this well-kept example surprised by how sprightly and smooth the 1781 four-cylinder petrol engine felt; the majority of its 89bhp still felt intact. Yes the gearbox has a long throw, but it's slick and helped me make brisk progress.
In fact, the biggest let downs of the whole driving experience have to be the brakes (or lack of them) and the scuttle shake.
However, the brakes, which are lacking in feel and power are a known Golf Mk1 fault. Plus, I had to remind myself that this was a 24 year old car, that cannot really be compared with its modern brother because technology and safety standards have moved on.
Still, the way the dashboard and steering column shake when going over bumps is a little alarming!
So, the Cabriolet, like the Golf Mk1 is an iconic modern classic. With total sales of around 1.42 million, like the Beetle before it, the Golf has earned it's place in Volkswagen convertible history and I still want one.