In 1974, Volkswagen democratised the world of sports cars with the introduction of the first generation of the Scirocco. The Scirocco was designed to be a safe, fuel-efficient, affordable sports car that could be fit for year-round everyday use. Since then the Scirocco has evolved, leading to the launch of its third generation incarnation that was unveiled in the Middle East earlier this year.
Today, Scirocco, a name that refers to a hot desert wind that the Sahara sends in the direction of the Mediterranean, stands for a true cult car.
World premiere of Scirocco I in 1974
The Scirocco debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1974. It succeeded the Karmann Ghia, internally designated the Type 14, that since 1966 had written automotive history with a fascinating design and proven Beetle technology and affordable prices. Like the Type 14, the Scirocco, developed under the code name EA398, was created at Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany.
While the Karmann Ghia tended to appeal to female customers, the Scirocco, designed by Italdesign in Turin, appealed equally to female and male car drivers. This was due to its clear, defined edges, emphatic wedge shape, low belt line and taut rear end, of which the design originated from the same form language that Giorgio Giugiaro also favoured for the first Golf.
In 1976, Volkswagen achieved a marketing coup. Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover issued a special series of 50 identical cars for the newly established Junior Cup. Beginning in the summer of 1976, Volkswagen offered the 110hp engine in the Scirocco GTI for regular street use. The GLI version also had 110hp under its flat hood, but it emphasized luxurious attributes with its bronze tinted windows, high-end fabrics and metallic paint. For the 1978 model year, Volkswagen subjected the Scirocco to a careful model facelift. The engine line-up was now 50hp, 70hp and 110hp.
The Scirocco II follows in 1981
The second generation Scirocco was based on the engineering platform of the Golf I; like its predecessor, it was being produced again at Karmann. The overall softer lines of the Scirocco II had a very elegant effect and also offered more space for people and luggage. In addition, aerodynamics was further optimized and more fuel-efficient powertrain technology was introduced. In July 1985, the most powerful production Scirocco of its times appeared: the GTI/GTX could move at 208 km/h with a 1.8 litre, 16-valve engine and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.1 seconds.
From 1983 to 1987, Volkswagen introduced a number of special models onto the market within a short period of time. In 1985, Volkswagen demonstrated – with its special edition “White Cat” which was only available in “Alpine white” – that the trendy colour white was not just a phenomenon of our times. The Scirocco “Tropic” of 1986, on the other hand, made a colourful impression with the colours “Madison turquoise” and “Kiwi brown” on the outside; inside it had seat covers with “Olive/turquoise” stripes. A special attraction of the “Scala”, launched in the same year, was its all-around spoiler/body kit painted in car colour.
Starting in 1989, two engines were offered on the Scirocco: a 1.6 litre, 72hp and a 1.8 litre engine with 95hp. The last version built, the “GT II 16V”, was sumptuously equipped with steel sunroof, tinted glass, power steering and height-adjustable sport seats.
In the last model year, three-point seatbelts were added to the rear bench seat as were side turn signal lights. But the days of the second generation of Scirocco cars were numbered – the last of 291,497 units built left the assembly plant halls on 7 September 1992. Looking back, the Scirocco was clearly an exceptional success for nearly two decades. And now it’s time to continue this brilliant outcome; the third generation of the Scirocco has the potential to do just that.
2008: The return of the Scirocco
34 years after the world premiere of Scirocco I at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen presented the Scirocco of the new era in its third generation in August 2008 at the same place. The new Scirocco extends the tradition of its predecessors with its pure driving pleasure, a new powerful design, high-end technologies such as DCC adaptive chassis control and the new 7-speed DSG dual clutch transmission. In addition, the third generation of the Scirocco provides exclusive use of efficient turbo engines with up to 147 kW / 200 hp power, space for four adults despite its sporty image, an extremely high level of safety and the everyday utility that is typical of all Volkswagen vehicles.
In early 2009, the hugely anticipated third generation Scirocco was unleashed on the roads of the Middle East. Stefan Mecha, Managing Director of Volkswagen Middle East, said, “The Scirocco has always had a great fan base since its launch in 1974. Today after the comeback of this cult car, we have witnessed how the new Scirocco has invigorated the loyalties of its original supporters as well as attracting new interest with its modernised styling cues. We are confident that the Scirocco will continue to be a success story and achieve more awards after BBC Top Gear’s 2008 Car of the Year title”.
The Scirocco has been in the spotlight at a cult event for car enthusiasts in Austria, where Volkswagen presented the world premiere of the racing version of the Scirocco GT24 with the blue-white finish that sits so low on its extended wheel. The race car remained unmistakably a Scirocco from every angle; however the racing version was produced even wider, longer and lower than the original manufactured Scirocco. The 325 hp Scirocco draws its power from only two litre displacement: the 16-valve direct injection engine with a turbocharger and intercooler delivers its maximum torque of 340 Newton metres beginning from only 2,100 rpm. Gear changes are executed by a dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which is also available for the production model.
Car enthusiasts and Scirocco fans will have the opportunity to see the special race edition of Scirocco GT24 which will be showcased at the 2009 Dubai International Motor Show, taking place from 15 – 20 December 2009.
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