Yes, it’s been 45 years since the very first Volkswagen Golf rolled off the production line in Wolfsburg. On 29 March 1974, VW’s plant officially started production of the successor to the Beetle.

Since then, more than 35 million units have been sold around the world, with the eighth-generation model set to be unveiled towards the end of 2019.

Back then, the Golf was offered in two- and four-door guise, featuring a 300-litre luggage compartment and a foldable rear bench. Engine options included a 37 kW 1,1-litre four-cylinder petrol unit and a 51 kW 1,5-litre four-cylinder petrol powerplant. Drive was sent to the front wheels via either a four-speed manual gearbox or an optional three-speed automatic transmission.

VW says “in purely mathematical terms”, a new Golf has been ordered somewhere in the world every 41 seconds, every day, without interruption, since the start of production 45 years ago. That’s an average of around 780 000 vehicles a year.

“The Golf is at the very heart of our brand. It stands for progress and technology like no other car. For example, the Golf made safety technology affordable for millions of people for the first time. Thanks to this, it made its mark on an entire generation,” said Ralf Brandstätter, chief operating officer at Volkswagen.

“For seven generations, the Golf has made a contribution to the development of Volkswagen as a brand and as a group – into one of the most important automotive producers in the world.”

VW promises the upcoming Golf 8 will “remain a key product pillar” of the brand, boasting “state-of-the-art drive, assist systems, infotainment and operating systems”.