Who are you guys?
1980 volkswagen golf for sale
"My first car was a 1977 LX Torana. I lived in Yass at the time and there wasn't much else to do except have a hoony car," the 38-year-old graphic designer says. "I had a friend who had a Mk 1 Golf and I used to pay out on him about its lack of power."
However, he soon short-shifted into a Nissan Pulsar SSS and "got into hot hatches". "My wife, Charmayne, and I then bought a Mk 4 Golf GTI and I started looking into early Golfs a bit more," he says. "I figured I wanted a Mk 1 GTI and I knew there were only a few in Australia as they were never imported here by the factory.
"What really got me thinking about it was that there was a chance Charmayne would get a job in London and I could buy one there and have it for three years then bring it back with us."
However, the job never eventuated and it was some time before the Murrays fulfilled that GTI dream. After the Golf came a Mini Cooper S, then they added a Mk 5 Golf GTI, sold the Mini and added an Audi S3. In 2009, the planets were aligned and a silver 1980 Mk 1 GTI became the third car in the hot hatch Murray stable.
"We just happened to have enough money sitting there to buy the car at the time," he says. "You can't pick and choose these things because they are so rare. There are only about 15 to 30 in Australia. It was just good timing."
Murray bought the right-hand-drive GTI in Sydney for $7500. "In Australia you would never get what I think it would be worth in the UK, but they are rare and quite a classic car," Murray says. He has traced its history through several owners, including the first who brought it out from the UK in 1995 with about 90,000 miles (144,840km) on the odometer.
After years of researching the vehicle, Murray reckons he's become a bit of an expert on the GTI. "The first few that went to the UK were professionally converted to right-hand drive and it wasn't until 1979, I think, that they factory made them in right-hand drive," he says. The car is in "fairly original condition" and he wants to keep it that way, including reupholstering the seats with the original tartan cloth.
The Mk 1 is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with a meagre 82kW of power and is one of the first models with a five-speed gearbox. "It's fast for what it is," he says. "It's gutless in some ways but for a 30-year-old car it's pretty good.
"I like the fact that it transports you back in time. My first car was of a similar era so it takes me back to my youth. Modern cars have all this insulation and safety stuff, but with the GTI you feel and hear everything and I like that. It's good for a Sunday drive. But as an everyday car I wouldn't like it."
The legend of the GTI Golf began in 1974 as a secret "Sport Golf" project. VW engineer Alfons Lowenberg wanted a Golf that would appeal to younger buyers, so he started work on a test GTI with a Weber dual carburettor on the Golf's 1.6-litre engine, a body kit, lowered suspension and a sports exhaust.
When research boss Ernst Fiala first drove the car he complained about the noisy exhaust. "Undrivable, this car!" he declared. The car was made quieter and more comfortable and in 1976 the first GTIs were produced with an initial target volume of 5000 as a basis for approval for legal motorsport registration. So far, VW has produced nearly two million Golf GTIs over six generations.