The Volkswagen Scirocco is a "Sports Coupe" produced by German manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) from 1974 until 1992. Because the model was highly successful, and helped bolster VW's reputation, a third generation was released in August 2008.
Volkswagen began work on the car during the early 1970s as the replacement for the aging Karmann Ghia coupe, and designated it the Typ 53 internally. By hand-building the vehicles down the road at the Karmann factory, they could test the mechanical portions of the new Volkswagen Golf before it went into production quantities. VW chose to use the A1 chassis shared with the Golf/Rabbit and Jetta (which was not introduced until 1979, well after Scirocco was planned) to underpin the new Scirocco, although most every part of the car was re-engineered in favour of a sportier drive, and the model's all-new styling, penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro, was sleeker and sportier than that of either the Golf or Jetta. The model went on sale in Europe in 1974 and in North America in 1975. Mark I models featured a range of four-cylinder engines with displacements from 1.1 to 1.6 L (1.7 L in North America), all featuring a single-overhead camshaft and two valves per cylinder.
The Scirocco MK1 was featured in the 1978 Zombie film Dawn of the dead by George Romero, where it is seen driving amongst the zombies within the shopping mall.
During the production of the Mark I, there were subtle changes to the body and trim. In 1977 (1976 was first year) the conventional two wiper system changes to a single wiper which parks on the passenger side of the windscreen. In 1978 the separate front side marker and turn signal, changed to a combination wrap-around orange lens. Other mid-life changes include chrome bumpers with rubberised end caps to a plastic one-piece wrap around bumper. In 1979 the one-pieces "flag" style outside mirrors transitioned to a two-piece shrouded mirror. There were also special variants throughout the Mark I production. Most distinguishable by paint schemes and trim, there were special versions called "Sidewinder", "Sidewinder II", "Champagne Edition", "Champagne Edition II" and the "S". The Champagne Edition II only came in white with black accents and the "S" versions came in three colours, white, black and red with unique colour accents.
A heavily re-designed "Mark II" variant went on sale in 1982, although it remained on the Mark I platform. One unique feature of the Mark II was the location of the rear spoiler midway up the glass on the rear hatch. A mid-cycle update occurred in 1984, which included minor changes over the 1982 model: removal of the outlined "SCIROCCO" script from the rear hatch (below the spoiler), a redesigned air conditioning compressor, and a different brake master cylinder with in-line proportioning valves and a brake light switch mounted to the pedal instead of on the master cylinder. Half way through the 1984 model year, a new space-saver spare wheel was added, that provided room for a larger fuel tank (with a second "transfer" fuel pump). Leather interior, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, and a manual sunroof were options for all years. Engine power and torque steadily increased over the years. 1982 and 1983 models produced and of torque. The engine code was EN. The 1984 models produced and torque, the engine code was JH. In mid-1986 a 16-valve model with and of torque was released in the United States and Canada, which included a full body skirt, larger rear spoiler, and tear-drop shaped wheel slots, and vinyl on the B-pillar, to distinguish it from Mark II 8-valve models. The 16V engine code was PL.
Although the 16-valve engine brought added performance to the range, it proved a somewhat questionable choice in the North American market, as later A2 Golf GTIs manufacturered in the USA were available with a more powerful 16-valve 2.0 L motor. This was, however, not questionable at the time since the 2.0 L 16V engine did not show up in North America until 1990, two years after the demise of the Scirocco. Still, the European 1.8 16V that was fitted into the Scirocco GTX 16V model developed , surpassed only by the A3 generation 2.0 16v with .
Scirocco sales continued until 1988 in the United States, 1989 in Canada, and 1992 in Germany.
The Scirocco was replaced by the Corrado in the VW line-up.
A concept of the 2008 Scirocco was shown at the 2006 Paris Auto Show, called the Iroc, later the name was expanded to Scirocco. It is said to share more in spirit and name rather than form with the original design. The 2008 Scirocco will receive the option of four petrol engines and two Diesel engines: Volkswagen's TSI twincharged straight-4 producing , and , and the 200 hp 2.0T FSI engine (currently featured in the Mark V Golf GTI, the Passat and Jetta) and common rail 2.0 TDI engines producing and (currently featured in the Tiguan)
In April 2007, VW America's vice president, Adrian Hallmark, stated that his company did not want to bring the Scirocco to North America since it would likely have a negative effect on GTI sales. It was later stated that the final decision would be made in 2008 by Martin Winterkorn (Volkswagen's CEO), not Volkswagen of America.
In the 24 Hours Nürburgring in May 2008, three new Volkswagen Scirocco did very well in the field of over 200, among them many high powered cars, finishing 11th and 15th, with veteran Hans Joachim Stuck driving both cars (and Carlos Sainz the slower one). The direct competitors, two Opel Astra GTC driven by drivers selected from 18,000 hopefuls in a year-long TV covered process, were beaten decisively.
It is the first generation of Scirocco not to be assembled in Germany.