A photo for Sunday: A DTW icon in an atmospheric setting.
If one must be confined somewhere, there are worse places to reside than the picturesque Co. Cork harbour town I increasingly call home. Owing to matters which surely don’t require elaboration under current circumstances, I have been spending considerably more time in the anteroom to the Wild Atlantic Way than strictly intended at the start of the year. Still, one makes of things what one can.
Everything looks better against a decent backdrop, and while the Volkswagen Golf really does personify the term ubiquitous, there was something about the quality of evening light, combined with the timeless silhouette of the fourth-generation model that caused me to pause and rummage conspicuously for my phone during my (2km max) evening walk.
Actually, perhaps in light of the recent nomination of this iteration of Golf for the title of BCITW, and this model’s undoubted durability (both in the intended meaning of the term, not to mention stylistic terms), I’ve found myself once again second-glancing the many Mark IV Golfs I encounter upon my (constrained) travels, and appreciating how gracefully Peter Schreyer’s design has aged.
In a similar manner to which every iterative Porsche 911 is in effect a retro-homage to the original, so too is the Golf. But of all eight distinct generations, the Golf 4 is, as I have pointed out in the past, the Golfiest Golf of the lot. Flippancy aside, I would go so far as to ascribe to the model, a similar design for the ages accolade to that of the Mercedes W201 – and believe me, that is praise indeed.
Like that 1982 landmark from Bremen, while one can wish that the Golf IV had been a little more exciting from a dynamic perspective, neither car was about apex-shredding, or Nordschleife-baiting for that matter, even if the more emboldened versions paid at least lip service to the notion. These were serious cars for grown-ups.
The Golf 4 was not faultless, but it remains mighty difficult to argue against, either as design object, or indeed as consumer durable. But as brand-Golf begins its slow recession in commercial, not to mention iconic terms, we can perhaps begin to acknowledge the fourth generation’s true significance to the pantheon. Because, unlike some of its latterday rivals, it never required a picturesque backdrop to help sell its wares.
For decades, the Golf has been, in Europe at least, something of a talisman; an unchanging, unchangeable part of the fabric of life. But as the eighth generation stutters into a shattered market, one has to wonder if the recipe has fallen flat. Timing is everything and for Golf VIII, could it really be worse?
Cometh the hour, cometh the car. The future isn’t Golf-shaped.