Dewald Hattingh with the impeccable Golf GTi from 1989 that readers will see around George now and then. Dewald gives it a regular outing, but it is not used as a runabout car. Photo: Anica Krüger
MOTORING NEWS - The lovingly cherished Volkswagen Golf has had only two owners, of which Dewald Hattingh is the second. Autodealer Southern Cape caught up with Dewald for a quick chat about his car and an even quicker drive which proved amazing in the best sense of the word!
The VW GTi 1,8 16V Executive 1989 model was and still remains a cult car - a real modern classic amongst collectors.
Dewald reckons it is one of two iconic cars that stand out over the last few decades: the Mini Cooper and the VW Golf 1,8 GTi 16V. The Mini Cooper because it established front wheel drive performance and the Golf Gti 16V because it out-accelerated and out-handled most of its larger car performance competitors. The 16V Executive was the high end version of South Africa's VW top "pocket rocket".
The range of additional luxury and comfort features is quite astonishing and includes leather seats, power steering, air conditioning, electrical windows and a radio/tape player for the driver who likes to combine luxury with performance. The Golf also has remote control central locking.
"Because of its smaller dimensions, the 16V Golf GTi has more of a performance image than the Jetta 16V version. The 16V badges on the rear and front confers a load of street cred to owners of this rather special Golf," Dewald smiles.
A look under the bonnet shows the car is badged on the plenum chamber of the legendary DOHC 16V. Added to that is fuel injection distribution and stainless steel braided fuel tubing. The four valves per cylinder improves combustion and gas mixing. The 1 800cm³ offer an impressive 102kW at 6 100r/m with a peak torque of 168Nm at 4 600r/m. This is enough to give the GTi 16V real take-off punch. This information comes courtesy of the car's original service and owner's manual which is in pristine condition.
VW has capitalised on the high performance image that this kind of muscle calls to mind. The car is discreetly badged. Inside, the seats are immaculate black leather trim except for the off-white roof lining.
Even though the car is a product of the previous century, all the controls and switches are conveniently grouped together within easy reach of the driver and the trip computer is operated off the windscreen wiper.
The four-spoke steering wheel sits very easily under the driver's hands. The red 16V logo is just off the centre of the steering wheel, which also adds to the sporty appearance of the interior. The 16V Executive offers power steering and overall the car has excellent acceleration, plus the excellent road holding power for which the VW GTi is famed.
Time spent with this little big monster was good fun - just too short.
When asked the big question - whether he would sell - Dewald smiles enigmatically. "Not easily," he says. "But to quote Sean Connery - never say never!"