We look at the original hot hatchbacks of the 80’s
The hatchback was an innovative concept brought in during the 1970’s and fully developed by the eighties into performance hot hatchbacks. Light and practical, the hatchback was ideal for families and the younger driver.
This era brought out the best out in manufacturers, who were competing with each other to produce a best seller.
Crowned as the original hot hatchback, Volkswagen proved with the Golf GTI that speed and performance were both great sellers back in the late seventies. The theme continued right through the eighties with everybody wanting this hot hatchback. A total of 1,573 cars were sold in 1979, a number that would triple within two years. In 1984 the VW Golf GTI continued as the Mk II, with further revisions being made to the next evolution of performance Golfs. With a new chassis structure, a 1781cc engine and increased performance developing 112bhp. This gave a 0-60mph time of just 8.5 seconds, which was impressive back in 1984.
The Volkswagen Golf has seen its way through five decades now and is still going strong with over 1.7 million sold since its launch in the UK. It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Audi’s brand new rally car was produced out of homologation. Originally, just 400 were built for regulation purposes. This all-wheel drive, turbocharged monster was a rally champion through the early eighties, with the competition unable to catch this new innovative design. Okay, strictly it’s a coupe by name, but in reality it’s a hatchback and the first to combine four-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine.
The Quattro’s production peaked at 11,452 from 1980 to 1991, and in that period very little changed in its appearance. In 1989, a 2226cc 20v engine producing 217bhp replaced the original 2144cc 10v version. The Quattro was the king of rally and without this spectacular feats of engineering, the Subaru Impreza WRX wouldn’t have ever existed.