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October 2015

Uncle Rob was a happening guy in the ’80s.

His engaging personality, the right haircut and the keys to a certain red hatch- back made him a hit with the ladies. Fresh out of high school, I figured he was someone I needed on my male role-model list.

I worked on my conversation skills, grew a mullet and started saving for the hatchback. Of all the weapons in his considerable lady-killer repertoire, I coveted Uncle Rob’s Opel Kadett GSi the most. With its 1,8-litre engine delivering a mighty 85 kW, it could just dip under 10,0 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint and the speedo would nudge 200 km/h if you were as brave and daring as my uncle.

I also had a Kadett, but it was the boxy, previous- generation 1,1-litre base model and the ladies did not like it all that much. I would eventually scrape together enough money to make a down payment on the closest GSi equivalent I could afford – the 160 GSE – and soon after met my wife. High five, Uncle Rob.

One of our cover cars this month made me think of him. Like his GSi, the Honda Civic Type R will be coveted by many a young man, but that’s about the only thing the GSi and Type R have in common. It’s a real eye-opener to see just how much more powerful and faster hot hatches have become over the last 30 years.

The Type R produces nearly three times as many kilowatts as the GSi, but even that power peak is shy of the outputs achieved by a crop of hyper hatches spearheaded by the Audi RS3, Ford Focus RS, Mercedes-AMG A45 and upcoming Golf R420.

Can you imagine what Uncle Rob would’ve gotten up to in those?

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CAR magazine