The South African Citi Golf / PATINA


A new VW is here. Golf. The Volkswagen compact. A lot of power, a lot of space, a lot of fun. The Volkswagen Golf Mk1
was first released in Europe in May 1974. Since the 50s, Volkswagen had been looking
for a replacement for the Beetle, which started to struggle more and more
in an innovative and competitive market. Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design
proved to become a huge succes… and saved Volkswagen from
bankruptcy. In 1984 the Mk1 Golf was replaced by Golf 2. But this was not the case in South Africa… Introducing, the Citi Golf. Having been fascinated with this story for years, I decided to track down John Lemon. He’s an independent historian
for Volkswagen South Africa… and back in 2009 he wrote a book about the Citi Golf. Head on over to our Instagram
for a chance to win a copy of this book. Look, Volkswagen South Africa was serious about
getting a replacement for the beetle… with sales beginning to drop off fairly drastically. and they couldn’t get Golfs… because Volkswagen in Europe
were just so inundated with production… that they had no spare capacity
to supply South Africa with the Golf. Which they needed so badly to help them as well
because they were also in a bad financial position. and anyway, eventually, after four years , 1978… The Golf eventually came to South Africa
and caused an enormous stir! By 1980, Peter Searl, M.D. of Volkswagen began
to realize that Golf 1 was not going to be around forever. And was going to be replaced by Golf 2. Which was much more expensive. So Volkswagen basically would lose their vehicle in the lower end of the market. So they needed a cheaper car to take that on. Peter Searle got his design department to design
what would have become, if it had ever materialized… Econo Golf! It was a cut down Golf 1. With all the trim removed, chrome removed…
and all that sort of thing. Their new advertising agents,
Rightford Searle-Tripp Makin, they sent people. and one of the guys, Mel Miller, was horrified… when he saw this Kalahari beige car! His comments were: “You cannot sell a good car with bad advertising… or a bad car with good advertising.” And that basically put the end
to the Econo Golf story. Mel Miller, remembered an ad campaign that he’d done
for an opposition company to Volkswagen… And he’d taken the colors from the
Muizenberg in Cape Town, little houses along the beachfront… and a lot of them were red, yellow and blue. And these bulbs, red, yellow and blue,
went of in Mel Miller’s head… And then someone came up with the idea
of putting the white panels on the doors… and the white panel on the deck lid at the back of the car. Well, that transformed the look of the Golf absolutely! Its sales took off literally right away. Oh really, it was quite incredible
how quickly it got to the top of the market. I can go right to the end and say that 500k Golfs
-Golf 1 and Citi Golf- were produced. And Citi Golf was 277k of those 500k. They laughed when somebody said:
“It’s a new city car and it should outlast Golf 2.” Well, it outlasted Golf III, Golf IV Golf V…I think even Golf VI. As far as visual differences
are concerned, there were some. Like the hockey stick in the rear quarter panel. Because the dies were wearing out
and that panel was inclined to buckle a little bit. So they put the hockey stick in there
to actually strengthen the panel. And then the front fenders were modified slightly,
down towards the front edge. And the grill slightly as well. One of the big changes was the dashboard. Volkswagen here, got their guys in the product development department
to design a new dashboard. So they looked around and eventually found… -it was either from the Skoda
or one of the other Volkswagen group cars- they found a dashboard that
could be modified to fit the Citi Golf. There were certainly
some special models that came out. Like the Blues… They made a special one for Billabong.
That came as a solution from one of the ladies. And then it was Bafana Bafana…
and there were a lot more… The CTI… Well, here was something really aimed at the younger guys who wanted some speed under their shoes. It really really grew from a 1100 cc and a 1300 cc engine,
to 1500, 1600, 1800… And all the performance that went with it. So Golf just didn’t stand still. The 2000s were quite hectic for Citi Golf.
For a number of reasons… These EU2 emissioin laws were coming into force. And they had to get Citi Golf into line, otherwise
they had to withdraw it completely from the market. They got the problem sorted and Citi Golf carried on. But with exchange rates
and spare parts becoming a problem… body panels, all that sort of thing… It eventually became necessary to discontinue Citi Golf. In August 2009, the last Citi Golf left the line. They wanted to build something very
special for the last Citi Golfs. Two colors, a metalic blue and a dark black color. And they would have special trim
and special little badges and everything. They built a thousand. And each one was individually numbered
from 1 000 down…to #1. They’ve got ‘the Last One’.
It did a whole tour around the whole country. A nd people signed on it, their names and little comments and so on. It is just covered in color! And the response it got from people
all over the country was absolutely incredible. I play this game and I always try to guess
how many Citi Golfs I’m going to see… between my destination and where I left. It often surprises me …where I say:
“Oh okay, I’ll see about six.” And then it works out
to ten or twelve…or whatever. Quite unbelievable…
that there are so many around. I’ve seen any South African, any and all,
driving Citi Golfs. So you can’t pin the car down
to one particular kind of owner. It’s not like the beetle, where people react
when they see the beetle shape. But a lot of people know the Citi Golf
and they know the red, yellow and blue ones. And react to them. But the normal Citi Golf…
like the Chicos or the Blues or whatever… people just take them as being normal motor cars,
not anything special, you know… It will change. It’s changing already… it’s changing already. Where people are loving their Citi Golfs. Even after all these years.

36 comments

  • New vid. Now thats a notification I like to see when i wake up. Unique and well produced as usuall.

  • Awesome tribute! Well done. πŸ˜€

  • Absolutely amazing documentary and capturing beautiful Cape Town as well

  • Gunter I am so Happy today. Thank you for coming up with this concept. It took us 3years.

  • Daaaaamn boiiii

  • Fantastic work, great film as always!

  • 100% legendary status in SA. The shape that would never die. Been in so many over the years. Mates cars. My sisters car. A girlfriends mom's car…

    A very cool and unique story.

  • Great piece of history, I got a red citi golf for my first car. Some of the best time of my life were had in it.

  • Wow such an amazing & inspiring story πŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’šβ€

  • Been looking forward to this one. Love the Citi golf, and a brilliant video showcasing it's story. Very unique elements too. Enjoyed!

  • I first learned about the Citi Golf on a trip to Namibia, you'd see them everywhere. Great video!

  • I was raised in a 1990 "CTI" then my parents bought a new one in 2005 and another new one in 2008 then in 2009 or 2010 my father bought number 754 of the last 1000, drove it from Sasolburg to Benoni and parked it. It drives around the block once in 3months and is currently on 180km. Still has new car smell inside. I also have a 1978 1500 automatic that I use once a month on a friday. Pretty much part of who I am as a person.

  • Amazing work guys really. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ They such a huge part of South African culture and we all have memories involving citi golf, for first dates, long family road trips and for me it was learning to drive and getting my license in a citi golf shuttle.

  • Mumbo watches you πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for this video, I live in the U.S. and never heard of this model. As far as the video itself goes…WELL DONE! Looking forward to what you guys put out next but if I could make a suggestion…please don't get Turtle Wax to sponsor your videos and then ask viewers to pay a membership where you get some custom badge for your car, thank you and have a great dayπŸ‘

  • YO JP!!!! You are part of the history books for the future to come, great video

  • Great video. Learned something new. πŸ‘

  • Ralph KΓΆrner

    Thank you for this amazing movie.
    There is nothing more joyful than waking up to a new Patina movie!
    I hope you will upload more often and get the success you definetly deserve for your high quality content!

  • Wow, thanks, nice video and I'm glad I came across this, luv Vw

  • Only the best will last forever!

  • Avesshen Govender

    wow amazing video bud!!! , Where can I get a copy of the Citi Golf book?

  • Such an amazing video, my parents always speak about their Citi Golfs from when they were young, my first car will probably be one. With such an amazing story behind it, it would be a priviledge to get behind the wheel everyday. Iconic is the only word to describe it. LOVE THE VIDEO!!!

    Instagram follow, confirmed.

  • It's always a pleasure to learn about cars you never knew existed and the stories behind them. Thanks for this!

  • Thank you for this. Such an amazing tribute β€οΈπŸ’›πŸ’™ πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦

  • Robin Van De Rheede

    @latelatecustoms

  • My first car was a CTI back in 2005. and now I have a awesome rebuilt 2.0i Chico that I saved from the scrap heap. I work as a mechanic at my own shop specializing mainly in mk1 golfs. they are such a pleasure to work with. I just absolutely love citi golfs!

  • Great video, Gunter!

  • awsome vw citi golf clip makes me love my golf even more

  • Beautiful film. Amazing production, just one thing: Your voice at the beginning doesn’t sound professional and probably costs you a lot of views.

    You got a new sub. Keep improving.

  • My mom used to have one back in the past, I miss those models from VW South Africa.

  • I have one and I love it

  • Y’all deserve so much more attention

  • Great work!

  • WHR do I modify my golf 1 to be more faster,it is a 2006 model carb

  • I have the citigolf in blue, but the face lift not the thin bumpers

  • Keagan Tevin Danster

    What a beautiful story really captured our heritage and love for vw

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