In many ways the Mk1 Scirocco marked the start of an era. In 1981 it was the first of the iconic wedge shape that would be later improved upon, in a bid to create a genre of cars that would stand out as the ‘fun’ models.
Over two generations and 19 years, a total of 77,460 Sciroccos were sold in the UK alone and its reputation as a “car to drive” was complete. The fact is, the Scirocco was and still is appealing and delightful. A small coupe that proved that even when modestly powered, a front-wheel drive vehicle could be a huge amount of fun, it was the first in VW’s new generation of front-wheel drive offerings. It was expertly styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro and engineered by Audi.
VW were determined to make the Volkswagen Scirocco a success, so spurred on by the collapse in negotiations with Porsche over co-producing the 924, VW commissioned Karmann to assemble its first ever sports coupé.
The result was the Scirocco. Based on the floor plan, engine and suspension of the Golf, which it preceded by some months (styled as well by Giorgetto Giugiaro), VW had high hopes for its Karmann Ghia replacement. The underpinnings were extensively reworked so that they could ensure it would not be a mechanical replica of its hatchback sibling. For them it had to be a uniquely different car in both handling and ride.
Hard Work Great Results
All the hard work paid off. The Scirocco is a joy to drive and a piquant reminder of an earlier era of driving, when cars were fun and perhaps slightly less safety conscious. With a 1.6l engine it may not be the heftiest, but it is awesomely stylish.
When it was originally launched, buyers had the choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 50bhp 1093cc engine and a 1471cc unit, which was available with either 70bhp or 85bhp. Front disc brakes came fitted as standard and all models had rack-and-pinion steering. All had single overhead camshafts and were water-cooled. Standard models also featured a four-speed gearbox, but a five-speeder was available, as an option, along with other ‘extravagances’ such as air conditioning. We had a five-speed gearbox on the VW Drive Day.
Capable of reaching 60mph in 8.8 seconds and boasting a top speed of 115mph, the Scirocco was a top performer in its time. It also returned 30mpg and was considered cheap to run.
From 1974 to 1981 the Mk1 Scirocco had a number of trim options, but the true king of the range was the Storm. Launched in the late 1970s as a UK-only model, the Storm package bestowed a Scirocco with full leather trim, a front body-coloured Zender spoiler with integrated airdams and multi-spoke alloy wheels. The version we drove was the final Mk1 Scirocco Storm, produced in 1981, which was considered the climax of the first generation of this beauty.
If you were going to purchase a modern classic that is simply a lot of fun to drive, this would definitely be one of our recommendations and at £12,000, it could be considered a steal.
Check out our in-drive review on it: