04 August 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Limited edition with punch: 1978 Polo RX

Limited edition with punch: 1978 Polo RX

One of the 1970s stars of Volkswagen’s rejuvenated and company-changing range of new front-wheel drive and water-cooled cars, the lifespan of the Mk 1 Polo was only six years, but a small number of special editions were wheeled out in that time to either bolster interest and create something special – Polo Jeans, 1976 and 1978 – or to rekindle demand towards the end of its life – Polo LX, 1981.

There was another, more elusive limited edition, though – the Polo RX. Not to be confused with the 600bhp Polo RX rallycross car of today, the 1970s Polo with the similar name had around ten times fewer horsepower and looked a lot less extreme. Only available in Belgium during 1978, production was limited to 1000 examples only.

Sports styling
Sports styling took nods from the Golf GTI – then only two years old remember – and previewed the Polo GT which arrived a year later in 1979. A matt black rear window surround matched the black-painted metal bumpers perfectly, while stripes in a similar shade emblazoned with the ‘RX’ legend adorned the side panels. A large badge on the front grille left cars in front in no danger of what was behind them, while under-bumper front fog lights further added to the menace.

While the appearance of the Polo RX was similar to the later GT, the engine was, too. A 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit taken from other models in the Volkswagen range was installed in the RX’s engine bay, and made the same 60bhp as the ‘proper’ hot Polo, too, with 0-62mph coming up in 12.9 seconds. Inside, occupants were treated to dark-coloured padded seats, a rev counter and a water temperature gauge.

The brochure promised: ‘The “RX”, a special edition of the Polo. With much punch.’ There was more: ‘The Polo is like no ordinary vehicle. But here is really something extraordinary.’ The RX certainly worked its magic on Geoffroy Thirion, who has owned the Polo RX featured in the photos here since 2012. Geoffroy is from Belgium and likes the fact that the RX is so rare, even more so that it was a limited model for for his own country.

Rarest Polo models
Probably one of the rarest first-generation Polo models, Geoffroy has lusted after one since he was a young boy: ‘Since I was a kid, one of my dreams was to one day be able to make the acquisition of a Polo RX – they have become so rare! To my surprise, while rummaging in period magazines at the 2011 Techno Classica Essen show, I came across the photo of a Polo RX. A year later I managed to buy one!’ he enthuses.

Geoffroy’s car has worn various wheels over his five-year ownership, from the standard 13-inch steel wheels (not as nattily painted as the red and black rims on the GT), through red cross-spoke alloys, to ‘telephone dial’-style rims. It also has a spoiler from the Polo GT nestling under its front bumper. The car sits alongside his 1979 UK-specification Polo GLS in his garage, and is an award-winner, too, having won the Best in Show’ prize at the 2015 WPG20 show in Belgium which celebrated the Polo’s 40th birthday.

With only one other Polo RX owned by a member of the Belgian Typ86.be Polo forum, the question is where have the other 998 cars got to? We suspect by the age – 38 years is a long time in first-generation Polo circles – that sadly many are no longer with us, but it doesn’t stop us holding out hope that one day, a collective rasp of RXs will line-up in all their red and black-striped glory.

Once that has happened, we need to look out for the perhaps even scarcer ‘J’ and ‘CLE’ special edition first-generation Polo models, as well as the ultra-rare 850cc-engined version sold in selected Scandinavian markets and early ‘square-roof’ cars… Find out more about the Mk1 Polo special editions here.

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09 September 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Owner profile: Geoffroy Thirion’s 1979 Volkswagen Polo GLS

Geoffroy Thirion is a European Polo enthusiast. Currently residing in Belgium, he is an active member of the Typ86.be club and owns an immaculate 1979 Polo GLS. What’s so special about a Polo GLS in Belgium? This one is right-hand drive and an ex-UK car, that’s what…

1979 Volkswagen Polo GLS: Geoffroy Thirion

Geoffroy first saw ELF 247T on a trip to the UK in September 2007. He was visiting the annual Beaulieu Autojumble held at the National Motor Museum in Hampshire, and the low-mileage silver top-spec Polo was for sale. What immediately struck Geoffroy was not only was the immaculate, but is was also registered the same year as when he was born. He had to have it! ‘I did not hesitate to import into Belgium,’ he says.

Optional and desirable
The third owner of the car, Geoffrey knows what he likes most about the small VW from the 1970s. ‘They remind me of my childhood and transports back me in time,’ he remarks. His particular Polo GLS has the optional and desirable sliding steel sunroof as well as an extra mirror on the passenger side and driver and passenger window deflectors.

Geoffroy had problems importing the Diamond Silver car into Belgium due to customs clearance issues. Only the third owner of the car in 36 years, he intends to keep ELF 247T standard and as much in its original state as possible. His only plan is to make it more well-known through national and international Volkswagen rallies.

A lovely-looking and highly original car, it’s a shame the UK lost this Mk 1 Polo from its shores. However, in Geoffroy, we know it has a very enthusiastic and caring keeper and therefore a safe and welcoming home for years to come.

1979 Volkswagen Polo GLS: Geoffroy Thirion

POLO GLS: RANGE-TOPPER
Following the launch of the Polo N and L in 1975, the Polo GLS was launched in 1979 and superseded the LS which was introduced in 1976. Equipment highlights included chrome headlight and grille surrounds, polished hubcaps, a quartz clock, a trip mileage recorder and a cigarette lighter.

A coveted factory-fitted steel sunroof was an option and the Polo GLS shared its 50bhp 1093cc engine with the defunct LS. A corresponding version of the Derby saloon was also launched, but was fitted with the sunroof as standard as well as a larger 1272cc 60bhp engine.

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25 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

’40 Years Polo’ exhibition opens at AutoMuseum Volkswagen

The 'VW 80' is an eco-Polo prototype. A Derby Cabrio can also been at the AutoMuseum Volkswagen exhibition

We’d heard earlier in the year that a special exhibition celebrating 40 years of the Polo was to open in the famed AutoMuseum Volkswagen, and on 23 July a small gathering of enthusiasts were in Wolfsburg to mark the start of the jubilee display.

21 special Polos
The ’40 Years Polo’ exhibition runs until 4 October at the former Odermark factory Dieselstrasse site in Volkswagen’s home city. Twenty-one special Polos are on show. The display largely focuses on the early Mk 1 and Mk 2 cars, but later models can be seen among the museum’s regular exhibits.

As well as production cars, unique prototypes can be seen, too. As well as the well-known 1983 rear-engined rear-wheel drive Polo Sprint built to evaluate handling characteristics and the 1985 G40 endurance record-setting car, one very special Mk 1 Polo features, awaken from its slumbers from the annals of Volkswagen’s heritage collection.

Eco-Polo prototype
The ‘VW 80’ eco-Polo prototype is fitted with a supercharged three-cylinder diesel engine, much the same technology as in the later Öko-Polo (Eco-Polo) from 1987, which is also on display. The VW 80 Polo dates from 1980 and looks odd with its faired-in front grille section, half rear wheel arch covers and aerodynamic body kit.

Other highlights include a Mk 2 Polo designed by Rainer Buchmann. On sale in limited numbers during 1986, the BB Polo Paris features a digital dash, uprated sound system, alcantara Recaro seats and very unique square-edged body kit.

Motorcycle and sidecar
The first Mk 2 Polo GT is also on show, as well as the VW Motorsport-created wide-arch Polo G40. One of the least known Polo exhibits is the motorcycle and sidecar, which was built by Volkswagen employees.

Our friends at the VW Polo IG Germany e.V. have helped bring the special Polos together, so the exhibition is one of the most diverse collection of early models. A special brochure is also available for €5 which describes all the exhibits in fascinating detail.

We’re heading over to Wolfsburg for the day in early September, so will report back in greater detail. We’d really encourage a visit anyway, as it’s a fascinating place full of unique production cars and prototypes and really is a must-visit place for Volkswagen fans. Head over to the AutoMuseum Volkswagen website to find out more.

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17 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Owners’ cars: David Peters’ 1984 Volkswagen Polo C

Forget your ‘slammed’ and modified Polos. Bucking the Volkswagen scene trend, David Peters has unearthed a totally standard, base-model Polo C in a rare colour with the intention of a mild restoration and nothing more. Rich Gooding discovers more…

1984 Volkswagen Polo C: 'Barry's unearthing is a true breath of fresh air

It’s not just the sporty Polos which are coveted. David Peters from South Devon spotted ‘Barry’, a 1984 Volkswagen Polo C for sale on a classic car website and just fell for ‘him’. A one-family-from-new car with a genuine recorded 56,000 miles, the Irish Green Polo had been garaged all its life and only used for short trips.

‘Completely original’
‘“Barry” was located in Swansea. It was a long way from south Devon but I had to have him. He was completely original and the family still had the brochure and original receipt of sale plus the dealers keyring and original number plates,’ David recalls.

‘When I went to see him, although he was completely original he was very dirty and in need of some TLC. He drove all the way back to south Devon in holiday traffic – which took 5 hours – smoothly and with no issues at all,’ he continues.

David’s plan was always to make sure ‘Barry’ stayed completely original and standard, and with nothing added that was not available as a factory option, as well as no aftermarket additions. The first thing David did was to strip out the interior and seats and give them a deep clean.

The four-speed base-model Polo had three missing mud flaps, however David managed to find an original set still in the packaging from an online Polo forum. He also sourced a set of original mats and the search goes on to find original parts to replace the worn ones.

Total respray
David says that the major facelift for ‘Barry’ was a total respray as the paint work was too far gone to salvage. Repainted in the original Volkswagen colour of Irish Green, David has yet to find another Polo in the same shade. We certainly think it’s rare, and, as it turns out, is also the colour used on the Polo on the front cover of the Haynes manual for the 1982-1990 models.

The one addition which David has been searching for since he took ownership is an original set of headlight washers, which were fitted to contemporary Polo GL models. He finally sourced a pair from Poland and is very much looking forward to finally fitting them.

David is looking to keep ‘Barry’ for quite some time. And in that period, he fully intends to give the car the love and attention it needs. ‘Barry has recently come out of winter storage and I am looking forward to taking him to as many shows and events as I can,’ David says.

‘Future plans include the stripping and cleaning of the underneath (with every nut and bolt done) plus an engine rebuild to take “Barry” back to as close to showroom condition as possible. I will also keep sourcing rare and genuine parts as well as factory extras,’ he continues.

Pilfered for parts
In a sea of modified and ’slammed’ cars on the Volkswagen scene, we at PoloDriver.com applaud David’s dedication to return ‘Barry’ to ‘his’ previous as-new state and leave it at that. A genuine car from its steel wheels to its rare factory sliding steel sunroof, basic ‘Barry’ is a breath of fresh air.

Young drivers might not see it, but the show scene needs more cars like this, historical documents, and proof of Volkswagen’s past. Its success was built on by cars like this little green 31 year-old Polo, but so many are pilfered for parts or lowered to an inch of their wheel arches. Staying standard is the right thing to do with this car. David, we salute you.

Discover more about the history of the Mk 2 Polo in our heritage pages section here.

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13 April 2015 ~ 1 Comment

Volkswagen Classic celebrates 40 years of the Polo at Techno Classica 2015

Visitors to the Techno Classica classic car show in Essen, Germany from 15-19 April will see seven very special Polos celebrating four decades of the popular model. Volkswagen Classic will showcase the versatility of the Polo and mark its 40th birthday with a host of special brief talks, guided tours and promotions. The ‘40 years of the Polo’ exhibition will feature landmark Polos from the model’s past, both series and prototype cars.

Noted experts and Polo fans from the VW Polo IG Deutschland e.V. club will give the exhibition extra appeal, with knowledgeable guided tours and brief talks in a specially-designated area. Volkswagen Classic says that subjects talked about will range from the Polo’s model history to its motorsport background, as well as technical highlights such as G-Läder or Formel E versions.

THE TECHNO CLASSICA 2015 POLO EXHIBITS

Techno Classica 2015: 1975 Volkswagen Polo

Polo I, 1975, 0.9-litre, four-cylinder, 40bhp
The original 1975 Polo will be represented by an Oceanic Blue top-of-the-range ‘L’ version. Identifiable by its chrome bumpers and matching side trim, this Polo is extra special, as the paint colour was only available at the car’s introduction. The example on display at Essen will also be fresh from restoration. (Image: Volkswagen Classic)

Techno Classica 2015: 1988 Volkswagen Eco-Polo

Polo II hatchback, ‘Eco’ model, 1988, 0.9-litre, two-cylinder, 40bhp
The popular second-generation Polo hatchback will be represented by a special ‘Eco’ model prototype, powered by a 0.9-litre two-cylinder diesel with direct fuel-injection. This maximum-efficiency concept also featured exhaust gas recirculation, a system which opened the clutch and allowed the car to freewheel under its own motional energy, a start–stop system, a G-Läder supercharger, and a semi-automatic five-speed gearbox.

Techno Classica 2015: 1985 Volkswagen Polo G40 'Endurance'

Polo II G40 ‘World Record’, 1985, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, 129bhp
The only surviving prototype from a team of three, this unique Polo has been loaned by the AutoMuseum Volkswagen Foundation. A second-generation coupé, it was used to present the new G-Läder supercharging technology in impressive style in 1985, during a 24-hour world record attempt on Volkswagen’s own test track in Ehra-Lessien. With an average speed of 208km/h, the then record of 168.6km/h in the 1300cc class was shattered.

Techno Classica 2015: 1992 Volkswagen Polo G40

Polo IIF G40, 1992, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, 113bhp
As well as the 1985 prototype endurance record car, a later series production Polo G40 Coupé from 1992 will also take pride of place on the Volkswagen Classic stand. The Windsor Blue car was recently used on the new 2015 Polo GTI press presentation.

Techno Classica 2015: 1998 Volkswagen Polo 'Open Air'

Polo III Open Air, 1998, 1.4-litre, four-cylinder, 60bhp
The third-generation Polo is showcased by a special edition ‘Open Air’ model, which featured an electrically operated folding canvas sunroof. Large enough for even the rear passengers to feel the sun, this car is also loaned by the Foundation AutoMuseum Volkswagen.

Techno Classica 2015: 2007 Volkswagen Polo GTI Cabriolet Concept

Polo IV GTI Cabriolet, 2007, 1.8-litre, four-cylinder, 150bhp
The fourth-generation Polo arrived in 2001, but this car is from the refreshed series which debuted in 2005. At the 2007 Frankfurt motor show, this car was on the Karmann stand, as the coachbuilder built the concept car to demonstrate its cabriolet expertise. The sloping line of the closed roof gives the Polo GTI a coupé-like silhouette – with an intricate manoeuvre, the open roof disappears completely under the rear shelf. The glass rear window is raised electrically for unrestricted access to the boot.

Techno Classica 2015: 2013  Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Polo V R WRC, 2013, 1.6-litre, four cylinder, 300bhp
The latest fifth-generation Polo is represented in World Rally Championship trim. While a concept was shown in 2011, Volkswagen claimed victory in the very first special stage at the Rally Monte Carlo in the Polo R WRC’s debut season in 2013 with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. At the end of the season, both the constructor’s and the driver’s and co-driver’s titles had been secured. The Polo R WRC on display in Essen features both the design and technology of the first championship-winning model.

We hope to bring you photos and a report from this amazing Polo get-together. As well as the Essen exhibits, Volkswagen Classic will also feature further Polo celebrations with a comprehensive online special at volkswagen-classic.com with stories, interviews and reports to mark the car’s 40th anniversary.

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