The Golf is not something normally associated with the world of Initial D. After all, a FWD German hatchback is about the last thing you’d want to race down Mount Haruna. However, it’s this car, specifically the Mk4 Golf GTI, that was chosen for one of the most interesting projects of the 2022 Essen Motor Show.
The world of Initial D brought a specific look to the car world, one which only recently began being replicated in the real world. Basically, the artist of the manga created a specific way to suggest speed in still photos, using reflections on paint and hash marks.
We’ve seen graffiti artists replicating this on top of flat color wraps using black markers, and it’s this design that we see replicated on the Mk4 Golf GTI. The livery mixes just a couple of simple shades of blue to mimic light reflections. The windows are blackened and the panel lines are done in black as well, with hash streek marks, all meant to show the VW is moving even while standing still.
On top of this, the guys at HOWDEEP worked their lowrider magic. Air suspension from Air and Statics helps this classic icon to sit on top of Turbofan wheels. They have also been painted to match this Initial D style.
And I know this car doesn’t belong in the world of drifting. Maybe it would fit better in the Initial D author Shuichi Shigeno‘s more recent racing series, MF Ghost. There’s also Wangan Midnight, or maybe a new IP needs to be created, filled with German autobahn racers.
Yes, the Mk4 Golf GTI is both a classic and an icon
The Mk4 is probably the least understood and loved generation of the Golf and GTI, right up there with the Mk3. The first two have that classic style with round headlights, and the Mk5 is where the modern revolution began. This generation is looked down on because VW toned down the boy racer style for upmarket comfort and refinement, but that’s precisely what makes the GTI popular nowadays.
As a result of its lack of popularity, the Mk4 is probably the rarest GTI model on the used car market. A couple of models do stand out, namely, the 2001 GTI 25th Anniversary Edition, dubbed the 337 for the U.S. market, which also received its own 20th Anniversary Edition a year later.
These Mk4 GTIs come with the very earliest versions of the 1.8-liter 20-valve engine which brought turbochargers to the hot hatch masses. For some reason, the Golf isn’t as popular as the Audi TT, which could be down to it only having 148 hp (150 PS) on early models. However, the 2001-2003 production batch did bump that number up to 177 hp (180 PS), and these things are super-easily tuned.