A Brief History of the Scirocco

The three generations of Scirocco at their Geneva launch in 1974, 1981 and 2008.


The Scirocco, known internally at VW as the Type 53, was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1974. Based largely upon the Mk1 Golf, the Mk1 Scirocco was manufactured exclusively at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück. Legendary Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Scirocco’s ‘folded paper’ styling. Early Mk1s had twin wipers before being updated to a single wiper. A mild facelift took place in 1978. This included fully plastic covered wrap around bumpers, wraparound front indicators, new trim around the side windows and new seats. More than 500,000 units of the Mk1 were produced before its demise in 1981.

Comparison of the early and late model Mk1 Scirocco.


The second generation Scirocco of 1981 was a re-body that still utilized the Mk1 underpinnings. Manufacture was again entrusted to Karmann. Styling was an in-house affair by Herbert Schäfer, giving more rear headroom and luggage space than the Mk1. Aerodynamics were also improved. The Mk2 started life with a single wiper but soon gained a twin wiper. Over the course of production the Mk2 was not face lifted, but did gain body kits and various rear wings. A larger fuel tank increased the car’s range, this necessitated using a space saver spare wheel. Over 290,000 Mk2 Sciroccos rolled out of Osnabrück before the end of production in 1992.

Comparison of the early and late model Mk2 Scirocco.


The Mk3 ‘New Scirocco’ first saw the light of day as the IROC concept in 2006. The 2008 production version retained much of the external styling, but with a more conventional nose that became the new ‘face’ of the Volkswagen range. Marc Lichte headed the design team for the Mk3 Scirocco. Manufactured in VW’s Palmela plant in Portugal, the New Scirocco was enthusiastically received by the world’s motoring press. A face lifted version will be premiered at the 2014 Geneva motor show, 40 years after the launch of the Mk1 at the same event.

Comparison of the early and face lift model Mk3 Scirocco.