A GTI on steroids with a documented win at Hockenheim

Launched in 1974 as a replacement for the dated Beetle, the Volkswagen Golf became a big hit and quickly transformed into a legendary nameplate that has soldiered on over eight generations.

Although the first-gen Golf was developed as a humble daily driver, Volkswagen also launched a beefed-up GTI model. In addition, the boxy hatchback was converted to race spec as early as 1975. The first Golf race car ever built just showed up for auction at RM Sotheby’s, which will attempt to sell it during an event in Essen, Germany, on June 24.

The first Volkswagen Golf race car ever built looks mean and you can buy it Exterior
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Needless to say, this race-spec Golf looks notably more aggressive than its road-going sibling, even when compared to the GTI version. It features wider fender flares and an extended front apron, while the bumpers were removed.

The cabin was stripped off and fitted with an FIA-spec roll cage and a race-spec driver’s seat. Like many race cars from the 1970s, it rides on BBS wheels. The race car was originally homologated with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder rated at 162 horsepower. That’s notably more than the entry-level Golf, rated at 50 horsepower, or even the Golf GTI, which came with a 1.6-liter good for 110 horses. The engine was later swapped with a 1.8-liter four-banger rated at 175 horsepower.

The first Volkswagen Golf race car ever built looks mean and you can buy it Drivetrain
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This Golf was the first ever to hit the race track.

It was first shown at the Zolder circuit in October 1975, but its first race took place later in the year. According to RM Sotheby’s, this Golf went on to win a race at Hockenheim with Bernd Lilier behind the steering wheel.

The first Volkswagen Golf race car ever built looks mean and you can buy it Exterior
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The race car was fully restored by Marcus Nothelle in 2011 and it’s ready for immediate use. There’s no estimate as to how much it could fetch when it goes under the hammer, but it could become the most expensive Golf Mk I ever sold. If you’re interested in this race car, be prepared to pay in excess of €50,000 (around $55,000).

Source: RM Sotheby’s

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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