With just 1250 Oettinger GTi’s produced, this French exclusive model is surely one of the rarest available

The Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI needs no introduction. The car that many view as the initiator for entire hot hatch segment, the Golf GTI completely rebuilt our idea of what a fast car was. A car that was not only fast, but frugal, practical and easy to drive. Volkswagen had barely begun shipping the Golf GTI when VW France decided it wanted more of them, and this Oettinger mode was the answer.

The standard 1.6-liter inline-four from the original produced a healthy 110-horsepower, which for a car that weighed just 810kg was pretty excitable. The engine was extracted from the Audi 80 GT, a move that was unheard of in this era of small underpowered hatchbacks. Then a particular company in Germany, Oettinger, was drafted in by VW France to wave its tuning wand over the little pocket rocket.

1981 Volkswagen Golf GTi Oettinger

The end result is pretty legendary, and somehow VW France avoided being caught by the German head office. 1250 units were agreed upon for production, and the car would only be sold for the French and Swiss markets. Twin overhead cams were stuck in to raise power to 136hp, giving the little puppy a mighty 160hp-per-ton, the same figure you get in a modern day Toyota GT86.

Along with your heavy dose of power, customers were also treated to a suitable BBS kit, including some flared wheel arch extensions and appropriate badging. Inside some red dials added some heat, along with some auxiliary gauges to really put you in the mood and add some lead to that right foot.

The example here is evidently a very loved little car. The first owner kept it as a faithful companion all the way up to 2009, with the second and third owners parting company within a few years between them. With 154,000km, this car has proven reliability, with photos suggesting that figure shouldn’t worry any potential buyers in the slightest.

Gallery: 1981 Volkswagen Golf GTi Oettinger