One for the bucket list: Volkswagen Mk1 Golf GTI
One of these days.
…the GTI had character, spunk, and guts, and it had them in spades. The 1.8-liter, fuel-injected four doesn’t mind being lugged–its torque curve is flatter than a Nebraska afternoon–but you don’t care, because for some reason, all you want to do is go humming toward the rev limiter. You want to beat the snot out of it, shift, and then beat the snot out of it again. There’s a chunky, rubber-mounted, Beetle-like feel to everything that convinces you that the GTI can take anything you can dish out. The whole car feels indestructible.
By modern standards, the GTI’s front struts and rear torsion beam aren’t sophisticated, but they get the job done with touches of brilliance–lines are easily tweaked midcorner with a flex of your right foot, and front-end grip is eye-opening. The unassisted steering is blissfully transparent, and a cheery pitter-patter makes its way from the pavement to your fingers in every corner. The whole package prompts feats of strength; it cries out for full-throttle, giant-killing, lift-a-wheel heroism. From behind that meaty four-spoke wheel, anything is possible. Possible, that is, so long as you don’t drive . . . nice. Sam Smith (source).