Josef Juza may not own the world’s largest private collection of Volkswagen Golfs – but with 114 examples, many of them rare and odd, it’s hard to imagine a more passionate fan.
Juza, a chimney sweep from Austria, began his collection as part of his job, driving a second-generation, European-spec VW Caddy pickup for work. From there the collection began to grow; a normal Golf for the family, a Cabrio for summer, a GTI for driving fun and even a Golf Country for wintertime, or as Juza calls it, “the right Golf for every occasion.”
“When I sat in a Golf for the first time I just had the feeling that this car had been built for me alone,” Juza says. “The seat position, driving fun, everyday usability — it was all exactly as I like it.”
Then, at a car show in the mid-1990s, Juza picked up his first Mk1 Golf with a dovetail spoiler. That sparked the collection that now fills a warehouse outside Vienna. How it grew so fast will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever been tempted by shopping online: “I only had to have a quick look on the Internet and I soon found another great vehicle that cost practically nothing,” Juza says. “The transport was often more expensive than the price of the vehicle.”
Today, several of what Juza calls his “Golf Pack” stands out as rare and desirable examples. Start with one of the oldest, a 1974 pre-production Golf fitted with a forward-sliding door. There’s not one but two early all-electric Golfs, known as CitySTROMer I and II, which used gel-electrolyte batteries. Juza has one of only 71 Golf G60 Limited models, which were hand-built by Volkswagen Motorsport and produced 207 hp from a supercharged four-cylinder engine, and a slightly less-rare 1989 Rallye Golf, the 181-hp race-bred model.
From there, things can take a turn for the weird. Juza owns two of the three stairway cars built off VW Pickups that were used by the Bremen airport, and several campers. And then there’s a first-generation GTI that was customized by a German tuner for a Middle Eastern sheikh with wood inserts, topgrain leather and that most important of mid-80s luxury items, a carphone.
“These are all mementoes for me of a certain time,” Juza says. “Back then you were the king of the disco with a Golf like this.”
If taking care of 114 vehicles sounds like a challenge for one man, it is. Juza plans to open his collection to the public as a sort of Golf museum next spring, with more space for display. And when asked which five he would take above all others, Juza has an answer that offers a bit more perspective on his attachment:
“I think I would close down the entire collection,” he says. “I would prefer to do without all of them than have to choose just a few.”