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Crazy Golf: A history of bonkers Volkswagen hatchbacks

Anyone for Golf? Not after you’ve been in one of these bonkers VWs you wont.

The Volkswagen Golf is on the verge of its 40th anniversary, and is still today the practical and sensible German hatchback that the world has come to love. Every now and then however, VW and co tend to go verrückt, and reveal a truly mad Golf. Here's ten of the maddest.

1000bhp Mk1 Golf
Putting 1000bhp in a hatchback is not the German thing to do, really. But as this clip shows, it can and has been done.

Mk1 Golf GTI ‘16s Oettinger’ (Typ 17) ‘1981-83
The GTI 16s Oettinger was the most powerful production version of the Mk1 Golf GTI, with 136bhp at its French owner's disposal. That’s right, it was built and marketed only in France.
Mk1 ABT VW Golf GTI 3-door (Typ 17) ‘1976
Tuning company ABT have specialised in Audi’s of late, however back in ’76 they turned their attentions to the then-new Golf. The result was a low-sprung, wheel-arch flared pocket-rocket.
Mk1 Rinspeed Aliporta (Typ 17) ‘1981
You probably haven’t seen the Rinspeed Aliporta Golf, but now you have, you wont forget it. Designed by Italdesign, the gullwinged hatchback was a sympathy of ‘concept’, with the striking front-lighting helping it appear more Italian fashionista than the German workhorse it was.
Mk2 VW Golf Pikes Peak (Typ 19) ‘1987
In ’87 Volkswagen revealed the borderline-ridiculous Pikes Peak Golf, based on the road-going Mk2 model. Unlike its road-going brother, the Pikes Peak featured two independently working 1.8-litre 16v engines, which combined to produce 652bhp. Were it not for suspension failure, VW may have won too.
Mk3 VW Golf GTI Edition (1H) ‘1994
In ’94, the Golf was already celebrating its 20th birthday, and as a result VW unveiled the 20th Anniversary GTI. The car featured all the usual GTI-trimmings, complete with the BBS RS 722 alloys seen on the VR6. The car was mechanically as far as the Mk3 would get, before the big and scary 21st century came calling.
Mk4 VW Golf R32 (Typ 1J) ‘2002-04
The R32 was conceived following the birth of the Mk4 GTI, however looked much better. In the same way the Mk1 Ford Focus achieved its praise, the R32 appeared pretty and sleek through subtle changes, yet a whole deal sportier than the standard Mk4.
Mk5 VW Golf GTI W12-650 ‘2007
The maddest Golf ever? Most probably, because anything Golf-sized with a twin-turbo W12 engine is going to be undriveable; and it so it was. Torque steer, chronic understeer and a gaping front and rear-end made it both impractical and ugly, yet perfect for this list.
Mk6 VW Golf BTCC ‘2010-13
Volkswagen have tended to steer the Golf clear of motorsport activity on the whole. However in 2010 VW-tuning specialists AmD Tuning entered a Mk6 Golf into the British Touring Car Championship. Built to S2000 regulations, given a two-litre turbo engine and several bodywork alterations, the little Golf held its own for three years straight in the series.
Mk7 VW Golf GTI Roadster ‘2014
Originally conceived for Gran Turismo’s Vision GT series of cars, the GTI Roadster went as well as it looked, with the Touareg’s twin-turbo V6 TSI engine beefed up to produce 500bhp, and helping the car on to a top speed on 192bhp. It’s hard to remember that essentially it is still a Golf…
The future
The Golf GTI turns 40 in 2016, and Volkswagen is readying itself with its latest addition to the range: the 150mph, boost-equipped, 286bhp Golf GTI Clubsport. Beyond that, The R400 awaits, which as the name suggests will pack 400bhp, and have more horsepower-per-litre than a Veyron (125bhp per litre). 
It seems the crazy side of Golf is in good hands for years to come, then.

Words: Joe Diamond

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