Volkswagen GTI: An Oldie Mit A German Twist

May 30, 2010

I spent the better part of today driving around in classic cars, none of them was younger than 38 years old, and they made me feel young, proud, happy and inspired as I drove each of them. Inspired enough to post this blog, which is semi-related to the cars I drove today as their collective nation of birth--Germany, and the subject of this blog is the first generation Volkswagen GTI. So the short version is, a good friend of mine who is a) much smarter then me by a factor of at least 26, and b) is way more successful at making oodles of money than I could ever have been even if I had won the national super scratch n' sniff lotto 50 times over, collects classic cars, and does what anyone should do with a classic car--he drives them. He doesn't let them sit around gathering dust. And he gave me the great privilege today to drive a few of them.

So while a few of us spent a few quality hours clearing the carburetors at elevated speeds and thusly filling the ozone with enough unburnt hydrocarbons to lay waste a watershed or at least enrage some crunchy 'green' dude on his bicycle saving the earth one frog at a time, I had a chance to mull over in my shoddy, under-utilized, gooey gray matter some other classic cars I'd like to drive, and one kept coming popping into my head--the first generation Volkswagen GTI.

That car, weighing 2,200 pounds, was one of the cars I recall fondly from my youth, and whenever I see one today that has survived a salt-strewn winter up where I live, I look longingly at it and sing the song that has stuck with me from the very first Volkswagen GTI commercial I recall seeing as a pimple-ridden, hormone-filled, teenage youth. That commercial, which you can watch below, is simple yet brilliant. The ad agency took two GTIs and flung them around a track like mad men on ephedrine, nothing new there--but the best part is the music. They brilliantly chose to mash up, steal, appropriate, re-engineer the Ronny and the Daytonas song "Little GTO" into "Kleiner GTI" (Little GTI). The lyrics if you speak German are actually pretty good, they rhyme well, they make sense, and actually ad to the commercial's appeal. That song and commercial stuck with me for over 25 years and thank goodness for youtube--that is where I found it again. And as I watched it over and over again, I smiled like a beer-soaked frat boy who had just got some lovin' while at a kegger.Enjoy it, I think it's priceless.

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