R.A-S.H: The Volkswagen CITI Golf

CITI1

This series has gallivanting all around the globe so far, but this is our first visit to South Africa, where we’re off to see, er, a Volkswagen. Yes, a German car, built in South Africa, using tooling that may possibly have been brought in from Pennsylvania. Well, maybe.

An intriguing proposition, but not as intriguing as the fact that this brochure, for the Volkswagen Golf MK1, dates from 1998, a full 24 years after the Golf went into production.

CITI2

“Proud and bold. In full, larger-than-life colour. And it’s here to stay”

Yes indeed. With CITI Golf production commencing in 1984, by ’98 it had stayed quite a long time already, and was destined to remain available in South Africa for fully another eleven years.

“Packed from front to back, door to door with more creature comforts than you can imagine”

Those creature comforts ran to a 5-speed gearbox, a rev-counter and a centre console with cup holders. Enough to make the car bearable, and there was a degree of future proofing, too, with “a power point for cellphones”. That’s so much more palatable to 20th century health-consciousness than a “cigar lighter”, isn’t it?

CITI3

“Backed by solid German under-the-skin engineering”

German (and Italian, natch) in design, of course, but there are no claims given as to how much of this car actually came from Germany rather than being locally sourced. But there was still Essence of Deutsche in its DNA.

In the range there was Chico, Chico Lux (with alloy wheels and twin headlamps,) a sporty Citi Sonic (with the same 1.3 or 1.6 engines but sporting a “golf ball” aluminium shifter handle and silver instrument dials, plus lowered suspension and a bee-sting antenna), and the Deco model, which seems to have leather on the seats and steering wheel, but nothing else in addition whatsoever.

CITI4

The brochure comntinues with a tiresome pun-based theme that makes discomfitingly reminds me of my own wordplay. Sorry about that. And the Pennsylvania connection? Well, Wikipedia offers the following:

“After its closing, VWoA sold the welding line, tooling and other production equipment from Westmoreland Assembly to First Automobile Works of Changchun, China. Unverified reports suggest the actual stamping dies for the Rabbit and Rabbit Pickup may have been used to start Volkswagen Caddy and Citi Golf production in South Africa”

OK, that doesn’t account for the four years between CITI Golf production beginning in ’84 and the VWOA Westmoreland plant closure in ’88, but, hey. I still love the idea of a 2005 MK1 Golf.

CITI5

(Disclosure: All images are of genuine original manufacturers publicity material, photographed by me, in my back garden. All copyright remains property of VW, who would probably not be suprised how much I would rather own a 2005 MK1 Golf than anything they make today)

About RoadworkUK

RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.

7 Comments

  1. I love how ludicrously long VW kept things in production. You can still buy a brand new Type 2 van today! Provided you live in Brazil, though you only have until the end of the year.

  2. The publication art seems extremely outdated for 1998…it feels much more '80s than '90s. Which, ironically, makes it perfect for its subject matter.
    But can someone explain to me why I want my car to be in a gumball machine or blended into a slushy?

        1. So we have Golf, We have balls, And we have a blender full of Juice. It must be Cruising Time!

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