VW Derby, 1979
The Mk I Polo, a rebadged version of the Audi 50, was introduced in 1975. The differences between the Audi and VW models were minor, with the Polo being cheaper and much more basic. The two cars were initially sold along side each other, but the Audi 50 never sold as well, and was withdrawn in 1978. The Polo was manufactured at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg. In 1977, the Derby sedan was released, which was simply a Polo, identical to the hatchback from the C-pillar forward, with a large boot attached (an old Audi proposal, but never sold by this brand).
When first on sale the range topping car, the LS model, featured the 50 PS (37 kW) 1043 cc engine found in the Audi 50. Other specifications included parking lights, rear wash wipe, sun visors, chromed bumpers and 4.5J X 13" wheels. The N model was the basic starting spec lacking many of the features of the LS. In 1979 the GLS was introduced, replacing the LS as the range-topping car; specification upgrades included chrome headlight and grill surrounds, sunroof, a cigarette lighter and chrome wheel trims.
895 cc, 1093 cc and 1272 cc engines were used, with the smaller one used only in the Polo hatchback, and the 1272 cc only in the Derby, Audi 50, and the rare Polo GT. Different levels of compression were used on each size to achieve different power outputs, and the variations are numerous, often differing depending on the country of sale, ranging from 35 to 60 PS (26 to 44 kW).
Mk IF (1979-1981)
The Mk I Polo and Derby were facelifted in 1979 (Mk IF) with plastic bumpers, a different front grille and a revised dashboard. The round headlights of the Derby were replaced with square ones, bringing it inline with the similar Golf-based Jetta sedan.
Further models were added including CLS, S and an out run LX model. The Mk I's production run finally ended in October 1981 with over 500,000 Polos sold worldwide.