Before the now ubiquitous plaid that VW brought back to modern GTI seats, there was its lesser-known plaid cousin that 'sportifyed' the interior of the Mk1 GTI, a car that would change the hot hatch industry forever.
In 1974, a few Volkswagen staff members started developing a secret plan to make a sporty version of the Golf. Initially dubbed the Super Golf, it took a year for them to show the higher-ups their clandestine project. Having finally received the green light, it was immediately fast-tracked for a world premiere in September 1975 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The media response was stellar, and in June 1976, the moderately priced GTI was launched in Germany.
The initial run was planned to be 5,000 units. What they didn't plan for is that the combination of cheap, fast, lightweight and practical was something the world had been holding its breath for a very long time, one of those 'I didn't even know I wanted one until I saw for the first time' type of situation. With sporty upgrades galore, including tartan sports seats and a golf ball gear knob, the 182 km/h little hatchback blew everyone's expectations and sold almost half a million cars. It not only introduced the hot hatch segment to the world, but it also created a dynasty that some 50 years later is still going strong - at least if you leave out a couple of generations that were what you'd call in golf lingo, bogeys and duffs.
The plaid seats. Decades of technological advancements and evolution in design mean that almost any part you can think of in a modern GTI is substantially different from the Mk1. Except for the checked fabric of the seats that are still very much a part of the GTI's character. Gunhild Liljequist was a porcelain painter that joined VW's design team in 1964. A long-time admirer of classic Scottish clan tartan patterns, she's the brain behind many of the sporty details of the Mk1 GTI's interior and several other VWs in the following decades.
The 'Clark Plaid' variant has been revived by VW for the Mk5 and has since become one of the GTI's most popular seat fabric options - and an inspiration for one of Heel Tread's earliest and most popular models. Now, it's time we give the stage to its lesser-known plaid cousin. The black, red, and yellow tartan seat cover may not have received has much acclaim in recent years, but he sure was there from the very beginning and made for one of our favourite Mk1 GTI interiors.
80% Combed Cotton, 17% Polyamide, 3% Elastane. We use seamless knitting to create a sock with no stitches.
Wash inside out (40ºC/100ºF max). Do not tumble dry, iron, bleach or dry clean.
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