SOTW: VW Citi Golf

With the arguable exceptions of the VR6 and 16-valve GTI models, the Mk3 VW Golf is generally regarded as the least desirable of all the iterations of VW's family hatch.

So a 1996 Golf, on the face of it, is not going to make a particularly grand SOTW. But there was a Golf product around in 1996 that we reckon makes a worthy (and rare) Shed of the Week - the South African-built Citi Golf.

Okay, so it's hardly rare in SA, where it was produced from 1984 right up until August 2009, and where 375,000 examples of what is essentially a facelifted Golf were churned out over the course of a quarter of a century, but here in Blighty it's hardly a common sight.

The Citi Golf is also a fascinating insight into how cars could have been had all the pesky safety features (multiple airbags and electronic acronyms have no place here) not wormed their way into the modern automobile. In fact, even the final Citi Golfs, a 1000-run special edition released last year, the only concession to modern vehicle safety was a driver's airbag.

The result is a family hatch that weighs in at less than 900kg, while its cousins who travelled down another evolutionary path entirely tip the scales at around 1400kg.

The result, we're told (nobody in the PH office has driven one) is a rather sparky handler and sprightly performer. We'll let the truly Queef-esque hyperbole of one South-African reviewer, who tested the final edition for TopCar magazine, explain:

"In a world of more powerful, more sophisticated and more intelligent metal, it takes just one blast from a traffic light and a tight corner or two for a seasoned driver to recall why the Citi still owns the lower rungs of the 'enthusiast's car' ladder.

"Pin the clutch to the footwell, keep the throttle steady at a virile 3500rpm - more than that will incinerate the rubber - and ease off the clutch till all that's holding you back is the handbrake. Then pin the throttle to the Mk1 branded floormat as you simultaneously dump handbrake and clutch. Whooooar. No chirrup from a nannied set of traction-controlled front tyres; instead you're deafened by the banshee squeal of rubber fighting for and losing and finding grip on tar, before the Mk1 Citi is catapulted on its charge forward."

We doubt that our Shed would earn such scintillating prose from our South African chum, being as it is rather older, and possibly not possessed of the 100bhp 1.6 that had him so dribblingly excited. In fact, the 1.3-litre motor is hardly likely to elicit drooling enthusiasm from anybody, but at least the car's handling should remain as engagingly sprightly.

But apart from the less-than-desirable engine (though the idea of a manual choke and a four-speed transmission is perversely appealing), only than a couple of small rust patches and a ripped driver's seat seem to spoil this Citi Golf's party.

It's got some history (even from before it was imported to the UK in 2000), its 64,626-mile odo is reasonably light, and it's got plenty of tax and ticket left. As a quirky way to go shopping, it's got more than a little semi-retro appeal. And you try finding a decent Mk1 Golf GTI for 950 notes...

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Advert is reproduced below

VW Golf Citi 1.3 £950 (1996)
64,626 miles £950

Sellling my white Mk1 golf Citi. Imported into UK 12/05/00 from South Africa where they are manufactured (1996) 
Its had 3 owners including me. 104,006 Km (64,626 miles), Some service history from SA and Uk. 

Tax - Exp. 31/05/11 
M.O.T - Exp. 26/08/11 

I have had work done on the exterior of the car. This includes 

BBS RA's fitted 
Black side trim added 
New front wing P/S 
Machine polished all over, tailgate resprayed 

I have also had a new exhaust fitted recently 

5 door 
CD player (Can also supply original cassette) 
Manual Windows 
Manual Choke 
4 speed 

Bad points 

two surface rust patches 
small rip on drivers bolster 

Email me or ring me if you're interested 




P.H. O'meter

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Comments (163) Join the discussion on the forum

  • mfmman 22 Mar 2011

    KM666 said:
    And heres something i think is based on a Talbot Sunbeam pickup, ultimate "Rat Look" project car smile :

    Edited by KM666 on Tuesday 22 March 23:08
    Think it's more Hillman Hunter, but mechanically not entirely disimilar

  • KM666 22 Mar 2011

    Tallbut Buxomly said:
    You have GOT to be kidding me???
    Surely everybodies scived off school at least once when they were young?
    sts and Giggles really.

    On topic however, I do like how you can still buy older style cars brand new elsewhere, this is a personal favourite of mine:

    And heres something i think is based on a Talbot Sunbeam pickup, ultimate "Rat Look" project car smile :

    They also seem to make an E class.

    Edited by KM666 on Tuesday 22 March 23:08

  • Alfanatic 22 Mar 2011

    KM666, your last few posts have been much easier to read, thanks very much for making the effort.

    To comply with Riggers's instruction: um, I didn't see many rusty Citi golfs in SA ... but then again, Alfas don't rust much in JHB either whistle

  • Tallbut Buxomly 22 Mar 2011

    KM666 said:
    So if your a few years older than myself you'll have probably missed out on the restructuring of 'sets'.
    The abolishment of abilty based groups and a push to get everybody at least 3 GCSE's (Some of the GCSE's were unfailable, ICT for example was a half hour exam with no coursework to hand in, if you turned up, you got a C).

    You'll probably have missed out on the changing attitudes of school teachers who began to consider themselves more like college tutors. (i.e. taking the attitude that if you didnt turn up that was down to you - instead of before when they'd come into town or the park looking for you)

    Not a great atmosphere for exam-time and for what was a fairly disruptive yeargroup as it was, giving off the impression that they dont care and we could do what we want would only lead to trouble.
    You have GOT to be kidding me???

  • Riggers 22 Mar 2011

    KM666 said:
    Riggers said:
    Right. Let's get this clear. You are perfectly entitled to write however illiterately (and that's what it is - so please don't take offence) you like. I honestly don't mind.

    However, if I couldn't use spelling, punctuation and grammar correctly (at least most of the time), I would not be able to do my job properly. So yes, it really does matter to me (but, like I say, what and how you write is entirely up to you smile ).
    But your trade is the English langauge, that is how you earn your money.

    What about this. Say you go to the pub, you expect the guy behind the counter to know how to pull a pint yes? But then should all the punters be expected to share that knowledge too? Most people would say no.

    Some will make a better job of it than others, same as some people will read through what they write before posting. Others just want to drink down the foamy mess of a pint and have a butchers around.

    If your trade is the English langauge and still you make some mistakes (suggested above) is it unreasonable to assume somebody who isnt trading off the English langauge will have a much more lax attitude toward it.
    Absolutely - I think we're talking at cross-purposes here. what I mean to say is that while you're welcome to post how you wish, it matters to me - both professionally and personally - to be as accurate and clear as possible in my own posts and articles, I have no wish to criticise that SPaG of others.

    I have, in short, no problem with your foamy mess of a pint - If that's how you want to drink (like your metaphor, by the way). smile

    Anyway, can I now don my mod's hat and ask that we now talk, in however tangential a way, about the Citi Golf, please?? (Applies to everyone...)

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