It’s hard to imagine a world today where sport is not a dominant cultural force, up there alongside music, fashion and technology, but until the 1970s it just wasn’t. Depending on the social profiles of the players, sports were either played out behind a purple rope or in regional ghettos, and support was largely indistinguishable from sectarianism. It was either elite or it was ugly. The last thing sport ever looked like becoming was a ‘lifestyle’ choice, something that would affect and influence almost every area of what we wear and, indeed, what we drive.
Cars and chronographs have a shared history; the use of the former exploded exponentially with the spread of the automobile out of Europe around the start of the last century. Of course, by the 1970s, car manufacturing was a global business: the Americans made extravagant cars, the Brits, clever cars, and the Italians, fast and beautiful cars. But still no one nation ‘owned’ cars the way the Swiss owned watches. No one nation built the ‘best’ cars. But that was about to change, with the birth of ‘the German car’ as a cultural trope in its own right. And, it just so happened that sport as a lifestyle choice was at the heart of it, with the car that defined the era being the Volkswagen Golf GTI.