1979 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.6 Mk1 Series 1View vehicle description
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The Volkswagen Golf GTI was the original hot hatchback. And while there had been faster and better handling cars before - and there had never been any shortage of cars that were more commodious - nothing had ever driven and performed quite as well as this while managing to seat five people and their luggage in relative comfort.
That it was also cheap, super-reliable, started and idled fuss-free in even the coldest weather, was as happy to be driven on the ragged edge as it was to amble around the city, and provided class-leading economy were unexpected bonuses. The Golf GTI literally rewrote the book on fast, affordable, sensible motoring.
Unveiled in 1975, the first right-hand-drive cars arrived in the UK in 1979 fitted with a four-speed gearbox. While the early car’s acceleration was very good, the limitations of the close-ratio ‘box were readily apparent at high speed and later models enjoyed a five-speed gearbox. This combination of a long-legged gearbox and free-revving 1600cc fuel-injected engine is thought by many to be the perfect MK1 Golf GTI specification, even if the later 1800cc cars enjoyed a little more mid-range torque and another couple of bhp.
Of course, even the early car’s 110bhp is plenty in a vehicle that only weighs 840kgs, especially when the lowered and stiffened suspension endows it with the agility of otter in a bath of warm KY jelly.
The interior is funky without trying too hard and the heavily bolstered seats and large rev counter - plus playful touches like the golf ball gearknob and, for the later cars at least, a red stripe around the dashboard - served as the pattern for all that followed.
As did the car’s exterior, which was discreet to the point of near invisibility – and who’d have thought that all that was required to get out hearts beating faster in the greed-is-good and more-is-always-better eighties was a set of black wheelarch extensions, and a red stripe around the grille?
And no, we know the brakes weren’t up to much but, just like the original Mini, you quickly discovered that you didn’t need to brake half as often in a GTI as you did in other cars…
PATINA PICKS: https://picks.getpatina.com/2016/09/vw-golf-gti-everything-life-bloody-awesome/
You are looking at the famous ‘ENT 847V’, possibly the most well-preserved, most original, and best known MKI Golf GTI on the planet. An early four-speed, 1600cc example, its originality and condition will be sure to thrill and delight enthusiasts who are looking for the very purist iteration of the car that sparked a revolution.
Built at the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg on Monday the 18th of June 1979, ENT 847V has chassis number 1793609609 and engine number EG152405. A VW Heritage Certificate of Authenticity confirms this is a ‘matching numbers’ car.
The car was despatched from Germany the following day and shipped to Grimsby. It was registered on the on the 24th of August 1979 and then sold by Kennings Shrewsbury Motors to a Mr. Thomas Hutchinson of Tamworth Street in Duffield, Staffordshire on the 1st of September 1979.
Thomas purchased the car for a total price of £5132.39 including number plates and delivery – and he was given £2130.39 on the car he traded in against it, a five-door Golf LS, registration number JKW 61P. The original yellow sales invoice is present.
Mr. Hutchinson used the car only sparingly until he passed away in 1990. His widow could hardly bear to part with her husband’s pride and joy but it was eventually passed into the custody of a good family friend, a Mr. John Cooper of Derby.
John was a garage owner and former motorcycle circuit-racer who won the British Championship six times. The Golf had only covered around 14,000 miles by this time, and John nurtured it until the 3rd of July 1998, when the car was sold to a Mr. Nick Hudson of Brailsford, Derby for the sum of £7500.
(Neither John nor Nick registered the car in their names, and so there are still only 3 registered keepers, albeit 5 custodians, including the current vendor.)
The car was then dry-stored and placed on SORN between 2003 and 2015 as a static part of a collection of very early MK1 Golfs owned by Mr. Rajan Paymaster. Rajan did show the car regularly, albeit taking it there by trailer, which means that it was not driven on the public highway during his ownership.
In the care of the vendor since February 2015, it still shows an almost unbelievable 16,897 miles on the odometer.
Now lightly recommissioned, it is a ‘reference quality’ car that is said to be even better than the example that is on display in the VW museum in Wolfsburg.
On the Outside
The black (Schwarz L041) paintwork is in fine condition and is thought to be original. A sympathetic recommissioning by renowned MK1 Golf experts Crazy Quiffs of Wallingford in the spring of 2015 (and only 550 miles ago!) has left it in a stunning condition. Any stonechips were carefully touched-up in order to preserve the originality of the paintwork, and the few minor blemishes it has were carefully conserved.
And it really is in a remarkable condition. The paintwork gleams, and the silver pinstripes that run down the side of the car both top and bottom hint at its performance. There are tight, even panel gaps and the flanks are free of ripples and the sort of car-park dings that we would have previously said were inevitable.
And it’s not just the condition of the panels and paintwork; aficionados will be just as impressed by the details that mark this out as a very early right-hand-drive car. Features like the small, early-type rear light clusters along with the fact that no rear fog lamp has ever been fitted.
Refuelling brings to light the early, non-locking fuel cap, while peering under the bonnet reveals the flat slam panel and early radiator complete with integral expansion tank.
Genuine ‘Wolfsburg’ mud flaps have been fitted from new, but period-correct poverty makes its presence felt in the lack of an aerial or even a passenger door mirror.
Speaking of which, it also sits on its original 5.5j x 13” steel wheels. These have been recently refurbished and powdercoated in the correct shade of Volkswagen silver. Cheap they may have been but they are, to our eyes at least, a much more interesting option than any of the three different styles of alloy wheel that were offered in the following four years, and add to the car’s wonderful stance, something the deep, two-piece chin spoiler helps.
The wheels are cloaked in new Continental tyres in the correct 175/70 size as well, but then you’d guessed that by now, hadn’t you?
On the Inside
The interior is hugely original and still has many of the features that are unique to the very earliest cars. These include the silver and black tartan seats, descendants of which are fitted to sporting Golfs, even today.
Being a very early car the seats feature the original coarse weave of bolster material. The carpets are the original flock-type, while the seat belts are the Toric T-76’ buckle-less jobbies that were only fitted for a short time.
Other signs of an early car are the absence of a sunroof or radio, both staples today but expensive options when the Golf was new. Wonderfully, the car even still has the original ‘Kennings Shrewsbury Motors’ and windscreen-mounted ‘running-in’ sticker. Even the plastic heel mat on the driver’s carpet is unworn and undamaged.
The ‘full’ golf ball gearknob is present and correct too, another delightful feature that still makes an appearance four decades later. The steering wheel is the correct ‘Wolfsburg’ three-spoke item, complete with deeply recessed hub, and the centre console is home to the OE oil temperature gauge and clock. It really is remarkable to see how far – and how little – things have changed in the intervening forty years.
Almost as remarkable as seeing how well the Golf has stood up to four decades of use, albeit very gentle. It’s almost pristine in there, and the only sign of age we can see is the seat trim, which has faded slightly to a greenish tinge.
This is very common and inevitable, and we applaud the car’s previous owners for leaving them in their original condition, a state of affairs that will allow the new owner to decide which path to take with regard to maintaining or retrimming them.
For what it is worth, if it were ours we’d source a spare set of seats and have them retrimmed, retaining the originals for posterity. Having your cake and eating it, as it were.
Enthusiasts will know that the four-speed Golf GTI was only offered in the UK for three months, moving thereafter to a five-speed gearbox. While the latter is more civilized the former is much rarer and highly prized, not only for its novelty value but because it endows the lithe little Golf with a sprightly feel that some feel the later cars lack.
The car’s 110bhp and sub-1,000kg kerbweight give it a decent power-to-weight ratio and the 1.6-litre GTI has a top speed is in the region of 113mph, and it fizzes its way to 60mph in around nine seconds.
Other original features include:
• No electronic ignition module
• Radiator with integral, not remote, expansion tank
• VIN stamped on driver’s side front strut top
Having been on static display for a number of years, the car required light recommissioning when the vendor bought it. This comprised £7,400-worth of work during which the underside of the car was fully refreshed. During this process, no corrosion was discovered other than very light surface rust to some of the suspension components and tin ware, and the car has never had any welding whatsoever.
All four plastic wheel arch extension were removed in order to check for possible corrosion hiding beneath – there was none. The car was carefully undersealed and enthusiasts will be delighted, but not surprised, to hear that all the rare early original parts were powdercoated and reused rather than replaced.
However, the dampers, brake components and lines, and the fuel lines were replaced for safety. The engine was also removed and received new valve stem seals, along with a new water pump and coolant hoses.
Finally, the engine’s tin ware was removed for cleaning and powder coating and it was given a full service. The gearbox was also rebuilt as it had become slightly stiff during lay-up, and the clutch assembly replaced.
This work was a prudent and pragmatic move by the owner and one that means the Golf is now much more than a static museum exhibit and can be safely driven on the roads should the new owner want to exercise it from time to time.
The owner tells us that: “I believe the car to be absolutely faultless, and every single thing working perfectly. It still feels tight, and drives exactly how I remember my mother’s old 1981 model did when I collected it for her when it was new.”
The Golf’s MOT certificate expires in May 2020 and it was gained without a single advisory, something it has been doing year after year as far as the online records go back.
The car comes with a number of expired MOT certificates plus invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years. It also has the original blue VAG service system folder with the owner’s handbook, stamped service record book, usual bumf, and all the old road tax discs.
It also comes with the original bill of sale and V5 registration document, plus the original sales brochures and Volkswagen publicity photos from the period. It also has a fitted indoor stretch car cover with the VW logo on it.
The paperwork really is a treasure trove of information about the car but its service and MOT history can be summarized thus:
• 28.08.1979 - Pre-delivery service at delivery miles
• 01.11.1979 - First service at 1,051 miles
• 21.08.1986 - Third service at 12,628 miles
• 22.08.1986 to 23-07-1991 – No paper records
• 24.07.1991 – MOT at 14,288 miles
• April 1992 – Volkswagen Audi Car magazine at 14,296 miles
• 07.07.1992 – MOT at 14,894 miles
• 01.02.1995 – MOT at 14,947 miles
• Summer 1996 - VW Motoring magazine ‘GTI Special’ at 15,205 miles
• May 1998 – Hot Golfs magazine
• 15.03.2000 – MOT at 15,319 miles
• 08.05.2002 - MOT at 15,545 miles
• 2003 – 2015 - Laid-up in a collection and not driven
• 01.06.2015 - MOT at 16,060 miles
• 06.05.2016 - MOT at 16,693 miles
• 09.05.2017 - MOT at 16,718 miles
• 15.05.2018 - MOT at 16,796 miles
• 29.05.2019 - MOT at 16,838 miles
It has also appeared on The Cars The Star with Quentin Willson on the 9th of May 1995, and Clarkson’s Car Years with Jeremy Clarkson on the 29th of June 2000. Videos of its appearance are included in the Gallery, along with copies of its many magazine appearances over the years.
Even more impressive is the fact that the car is so famous and original that there is a limited-edition Corgi Vanguards Classics 1:43 scale model of the Golf. The winning bidder will, of course, receive a brand-new, boxed model of their own.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to the very highest standard over its whole life.
What We Think
Many of us will have driven secondhand MKI Golf GTIs back in the day, doing so not so much to save money but because they were already extinct having been replaced by the heavier, slower, less agile MKII version by the time we could afford to buy (and insure…) one. In fact, the Golf is a lesson in how creeping safety standards and consumer expectations corrupt a car over time, leaving it better equipped and much safer but also less agile, less fun, and less pure.
So, we drove used ones because that’s all that was available back when the MKI Golf GTI might have been appreciated but had yet to appreciate enough to make it worth spending the sort of money on them that would have been necessary to preserve them properly.
Of course, now we’re older and wiser - and possibly a little better off - we could probably afford to restore one, but that’s a fraught process and one that inevitably turns out to be way more expensive than even the most pessimistic projection might suggest.
And anyway, a car is only original once and so the enthusiast with an eye to future values (and the one-upmanship that comes of owning the very best example) will be left reeling by this car’s provenance and condition.
Barely run in, it is possibly the last opportunity any of us will ever have to own what is still an essentially brand-new, unrestored, reference quality MKI Golf GTI – and not just any GTI but the very purist, earliest model of the car that blazed a trail for everything that came thereafter.
It is Ground Zero. Or Genesis, if you like your analogies Old Testament. Possibly unique, a car like this is likely to set a new record.
Does that thought put you off? If so, it needn’t because the cost of owning a car can only be calculated after you’ve sold it - and a car like this is almost certainly going to continue to appreciate.
Which, is a long-winded way of saying that we think the final hammer price will start with a 4. Just. Estimate £31 - 42,000. That’s a lot of money for an old Golf, but a fraction of what you’d be looking at if it had a blue oval on the front grille and this is a far, far better car than anything that came out of Dagenham during the same period.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located in Poole, Dorset; in these more difficult times, we are asking you to thoroughly inspect the gallery. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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