On a recent trip to drive the new MKVI GTI, I also had the opportunity to drive the 1981 MKI GTI – the OG GTI -the one that started it all. As soon as I opened the door was instantly struck by the smell…not a foul smell mind you… but that ever so distinctive eau de older model Volkswagen.I It is the scent that reminds me of why I fell in love with Volkswagen in the first place, one that I was greeted by every time I entered my 84 Rabbit L and later in my 91 Corrado. A sweet smell with notes of grease, gas, decay of foam that as soon as it enters your olfactory senses you recall the car’s personality and frustration of ownership.
As I sat in the seat, that smell brought back a flood of memories: some good and others I would love to forget. After reminiscing for what seemed forever I decided to give the MKI a once over before I took it out for a spin. After careful inspection, I realized it was from the Autostadt in Wolfsburg and was most likely a museum piece. No pressure there. At that point I decided to take it for a spin and the MKI did not disappoint - it was everything I had remembered. I am still amazed how one vehicle can cause excitement and fear at the same time. In an age where 300 horsepower is the norm and electronics control everything, it was nice to be reminded how something so simple is just as fun to drive. Call it back to basics or what you will, but a reconnection with the past has also reconnected me with the road.