“My first car was a very rare, Australian-built—with sunroof—1967 Beetle, which I bought and restored when I was 16,” Mark says. My mother and father both had Beetles. My father was born in Germany and lived there until his early 20s and my wife’s father had 13 Volkswagens in South Africa.”
The IT company director, pilot and father of two has owned, driven hard and cared for multiple iterations of Golf GTI, including such rarities as an original VR6 Mk3 (“the first ever six-cylinder hot hatch!”). Few Australians are more familiar with the marque—and Mark’s son Max (pictured above), a walking encyclopaedia of all things GTI, extends the lineage.
“The 16-valve was the pinnacle in series production of the Mk2,” Mark says, so when the opportunity came up last year to acquire his from Darwin (it had been privately imported into Australia in 1996 from the UK), he went to collect it.
“I had the chance to drive it at up to about 170km/h on the unrestricted Northern Territory roads,” he says. “You can still tell the advantages the engineers took from being so close to the autobahns!”