As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the best CCs to come across in Israel are mostly found in small, quiet and hidden streets, where their owners can park them with relatively less fear of vandalizing. Such is the case with this quite well preserved Mk 1 Golf I happen to stumble upon, curiously not far from another CC I wrote of before (though I doubt these two belong to the same owner).
Moving in closer, and that looks to be a preserved example of a really rare car in Israel:
Frontal look reveals new, LED headlights. These look as though they have round DRLs in each light, although I’m not sure. And note a descendant in the background – almost the same color too.
From this angle, the top is most visible and it’s color is quite flattering the exterior brown of the car. Much better than the mundane black most convertibles come with. Evident of course are the Israeli period-enforced rear reflector stickers.
Although not a clear photo, I had to include this because of the 1980s GIANT speakers so many hatchbacks were treated with at the time. I myself treated some of my cars to similar units, and they were Da Bomb (or so we felt at the time).
From the side this Golf looks to be in a very good condition, although I can’t be sure if it had gone through a restoration of some sort. Being a 1986 model, it naturally benefited from improved rust proofing the Golf undergone starting from 1979. And those wheels are very hansom, and familiar to any Mk I aficionado.
In Israel, the Golf (in all generations) was an extremely successful car – by the late 1970s and into the 1980s, enough time has passed since the Holocaust to make people feel comfortable to buy German cars. However, back in the days of the first generation it was nearly impossible to purchase either the GTI or the convertible – those were imported privately by individuals who had money. The official importer didn’t want to know (or service) such cars, and in all honesty, there wasn’t much demand for hot hatches at the time in a country so far behind in all matters of automotive culture. Of course, nowadays you can import them as classics, and some GTIs do arrive into Israel from time to time. Convertibles – not so much, which contributes to the rare status these cars achieved.
Nevertheless, I have managed to photograph several convertibles over the years, not surprisingly at classic car meetups – here they are, along with other Mk I photos for your pleasure:
The black 1984 car was imported into Israel when new, while the white car was imported in recent years. Most of these cars were treated to various changes, and almost all had had their wheels replaced, as you can see.
Here’s another “original” Israeli car, again with wheels I can only refer to as… weird. Also, I hope the owner doesn’t count on pulling the car (if needed) using the small blue shackle hanging from the towing point.
Rounding off the convertible photos is this 1990 Golf, again with after-market wheels. By the early 1990s, the Israeli importers decided to comply and import the convertibles (and GTIs) themselves, so this is quite possibly an original import of the era.
Moving on to hatchback photos, this 1979 car is a definitive example of the best seller Mk I Golf – a base five door hatchback, in cream. Yes, cream!
You wouldn’t believe how popular that color was – most VWs in Israel at the time, from Golf through Jetta to Passat wore cream. And no, this isn’t the same Golf as the car above it. This one has had a restoration done and treated to a more modern-sized wheels. Those retro-styled items are common within Mk I owners, and rightly so – they look so much better than some of the convertibles’ wheels above.
But as popular as the five door hatchback was, now the sought after collectable Mk I Golfs are three doors, preferably GTIs, of course. This is again an untouched example, save for those same wheels.
When have you last seen a green German car? A 1982 GTI, again with non-original wheels, although I think these are actually VW items – perhaps a Mk III Golf.
And here’s a Golf I captured in Austria whilst visiting Salzburgring for some classic racing (wrote a post about it). This one has had all sorts of tasty touches done, and notice those wheels again.
And if I mentioned racing, there was a Mk I representative among the contestants, a very muscular 1977 Golf, which reminded me of the late 1970s Gr. 2 racer:
Looking at it now, that orange Golf I photographed is more purposeful, and probably much faster than the Kamei GTI that raced in period (above photo is off Google).
I’ll finish the post with this photo of Old vs. New, showing the Mk VII Golf against the first generation. Not much has changed, eh?…