This car paper model is from IRP, the designer is DIL. The first Golf (VW internal designation Typ 17) began production in 1974, although it was marketed in the United States and Canada from 1975 to 1984 as the Volkswagen Rabbit and in Mexico as the Volkswagen Caribe. It was a water-cooled, front wheel drive design in a hatchback body style. It featured firmly sprung and damped, independent Macpherson strut front suspension and semi-independent Twist-beam rear suspension, that gave crisp handling and good roadholding, without being too uncomfortable. The Golf was Australian Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1975 and Irish Semperit Irish Car of the Year for 1978 and British magazine's Car of the Year for 1981. The Golf name is derived from the German word for Gulf Stream — and the period in its history when VW named vehicles after prominent winds, including also the Passat (after the German word for Trade wind), Jetta (after the Jet stream), Bora (after Bora) and Scirocco (after Sirocco). "Golf" is also a sport, a theme that is shared with the Volkswagen Polo. Much was made of the pun in advertising and special editions (Golf Match, Driver, etc.) and the 'golf ball' gearchange knob on the early Golf GTI.
The Golf was designed by Italian automobile architect / designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, of the ItalDesign design studio. Giugiaro had also designed the Alfasud and the Lotus Esprit Mk1.
The car changed little before being replaced (in Europe) by the Mark 2 version in 1984. However, air conditioning became available as an option on the domestic market in August 1975. The possibility to retrofit the installation, together with a larger battery, was offered to existing owners.
Contrary to popular myth, the Mk1 Golf GTI was not the first hot hatch by quite a margin. The Renault 5 Alpine (called Gordini in the UK) comfortably predates the GTI, and is actually slightly faster than the Mk1 Golf GTI, managing 0-60 mph in the same 9.6 seconds or so as the first 1600 GTI, but squeezing out a further 2 mph (3.2 km/h) over the Golf. Nevertheless, the Golf GTI was perhaps the first hot hatch with mass market appeal, and many other manufacturers since have created special sports models of their regular volume-selling small hatchbacks. The idea behind was rather straightforward - take a basic-transportation economy car and give it a high-performance package, making it practical and sporty. It was one of the first small cars to adopt mechanical fuel injection for its sports version, which raised power output of the 1588 cc engine to 110 PS (81 kW; 108 hp). In 2004, Sports Car International declared the Golf Mk1 GTI to be the 3rd best car of the 1980s.
There was a minor facelift in 1980 which saw the adoption of larger rear lamp clusters (more in line with Giugiaro's original concepts), moulded black plastic bumpers, a new dashboard with a more modern-looking instrument display featuring LED warning lights, and for US versions rectangular headlights.[via wikipedia]