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#222, Author Russell Hayes’ new book: everything VW Golf

The VW Golf is the third best-selling car in history, behind the top-selling Toyota Corolla and Ford F-Series of pickup trucks. More than 35 million of the versatile vehicles have sold since the car’s debut as a 1974 edition.

With the motoring icon approaching its 50th anniversary, author Russell Hayes has expanded and upgraded his book The Volkswagen Golf Story to include the full Golf 7 range and the latest incarnation, the Golf 8. The new edition is available from Behemoth Publishing 

Co-host Bruce Aldrich is on assignment, so I interview Hayes this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast.

Russell Hayes has authored his eighth book and second on the VW golf.
Russell Hayes has authored his eighth book and second on the VW Golf.

“Europe has always been the Golf’s natural habitat; it’s been one of the top sellers for a long time and I believe it still might be right now, ” said Hayes while describing details of his eighth book. “But in the U.S., it’s had a very interesting up and down career.

VW: The long winding road

“Although largely it’s been replaced by the Jetta, I found the story of the Golf in the U.S. very interesting because they built them here between 1978 and 1987. It was trying to be a homegrown Golf and it was quite different than the European one.”

As Hayes details in Episode #222, VW Golf buyers in the U.S. eventually decided they’d rather have a European edition and U.S. production shutdown.

The marketing for the second edition of The Volkswagen Golf Story elaborates:

“The Volkswagen Golf is a motoring paradox, seemingly never really changing its look but always pushing technical development forward as a ‘classless’ car which still carries a ‘premium’ feel about it. While the VW Golf wasn’t the first front-wheel-drive hatchback, its interpretation established the template for others to follow and the benchmark by which they are still judged today.”

VW: Lots of key industry players

Author Russell Hayes discusses the history of VW in his book Volkswagen Beetles and Buses.
Author Russell Hayes discusses the history of VW in his book Volkswagen Beetles and Buses.

From the development of the first VW Golf to interviews with key figures — Volkswagen’s first designer to its former chairman — the book is the definitive history of the iconic vehicle.

A London-based motoring author, Hayes has written eight books, including the first edition of The Volkswagen Golf Story in 2014. He has also written about the VW Beetle and Type 2 van. Other subjects have been as mixed as Lotus, the Ford Cortina, Aston Martin V8s and the Earls Court Motor Show.

Hayes, also a guest on The Weekly Driver Post on Episodes #209 and #153, was formerly a motoring journalist for British magazines and national newspapers. He has also worked for TV programs such as Top Gear, The Car’s the Star and Driven.

VW: The little car phenomenon

Please join me for an intriguing 30 minute-episode as Hayes and I discuss the phenomenon of the Volkswagen Golf.

Hayes was also a guest on:

Episode #209: The Big Book of Tiny Cars

Episode #153: Volkswagen: Beetle to Buses, Smaller and Smarter.

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The podcast is in its fourth year, and we’ve had a diverse collection of guests — famous athletes, vintage car collectors, manufacturer CEOs, automotive book authors, industry analysts, a movie stuntman and episodes from auto shows and car auctions.
Please send comments and suggestions for new episodes to James Raia via email: [email protected].

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