The Formula Vee cars marked Volkswagen’s first step in racing, but the original Scirocco was one of the brand’s first successful race car based on a production model. The first race-bound Scirocco was developed by Eckart Berg, the manager of Solex’s racing department, and presented in 1974, the same year the street-legal version of the coupe debuted.
The model displayed in Volkswagen’s Zeithaus museum was built in 1975. It’s equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to develop 170 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. That’s plenty of grunt in a stripped-down coupe that tips the scale at just 1,700 pounds (775 kilos). The four-cylinder sent the Scirocco on to a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h).
The Scirocco dominated the 1.6-liter class of the German Circuit Championship in 1976 and 1977. Its success convinced Volkswagen to become more involved in motorsports; Klaus-Joachim Kleint became the first rally driver awarded an official Volkswagen contract in 1977. In the late 1980s, the second-generation Golf GTI competed in the World Rally Championship, and a heavily-modified, twin-engined Golf with a combined output of 650 horsepower tackled Pikes Peak.