In our next installment of unusual and forgotten cars, our attention once again turns to 1970s Germany, where Frankenstein-like innovations seemed to be the order of the day.
One of the these was the VW “Golf 928” – which appeared to be a regular Golf 1, but packed a 4.5-litre V8 engine upfront.
How on earth did they fit a 4.5-litre V8 engine from a Porsche 928 into the cramped engine bay of the first-generation Golf?
The answer came from Guenter Artz, the manager of a Volkswagen dealership in Hannover, Germany, when he decided to prototype the Rabbit (the Golf 1 was called the Rabbit in the USA) into a super-sleeper.
The challenge was greater than shoehorning a large Porsche engine into the front of a small family hatchback, however.
Starting with the Porsche 928 chassis and drivetrain, Artz elected to recreate the body of the Golf around it.
Only the doors, side panels, headlights, and tail lights of this prototype remained original Golf 1 items, while the rest of the car was custom fabricated to fit.
The whole car was 22cm wider than the original, and stood slightly taller to keep the proportions intact.
Inside, the complete interior of the 928 was retained – seats, dashboard, and steering wheel – with the idea that its buyers still received the luxury of the Porsche with the inconspicuousness of the Golf.
It was said that in this prototype headroom and rear legroom was better than in the car it borrowed much of its underpinnings from, and predictably it handled well.
But it was in the performance department that it stood head and shoulders above almost everything else.
The 178kW engine shot the car to 100km/h in just 7.6 seconds, and onwards to a top speed of 230km/h.
At nearly three times the price of a standard Porsche 928, though, the Golf 928 was never going to be a big seller.
Artz’s dealership anticipated that at least 10 of these cars would find homes, but in the end just two were reported to have been built: the original Golf 928 and a subsequent model based on a more powerful 928S for racing driver Louis Krages.
Despite the lack of sales, it is admirable that a project like this was undertaken.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s it took a great deal of engineering to produce unicorns like this, which we’re grateful to look back on.