Here's Where VW's Tartan GTI Seats Originate From

The iconic 'Clark Plaid' seats found in modern and classic Golf GTIs alike can be traced back to a trained porcelain painter who'd been inspired by her travels through Britain
Here's Where VW's Tartan GTI Seats Originate From

After running a Mk7.5 VW Golf GTI for the best part of two months, there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of: I love the tartan seats. They’ve been a fixture on various hot Golfs starting with the Mk1 GTI, and have even made appearances on various cooking Polos. But where did the idea come from?

It can all be traced back to Gunhild Liljequist (below). A trained porcelain painter and the first woman to work for Volkswagen Design when she joined in 1964, Liljequist would later be tasked with designing various elements of the first Golf GTI’s interior.

Here's Where VW's Tartan GTI Seats Originate From

She came up with the simple but brilliantly effective idea of having a golf ball-style gearknob (a concept that was mocked, initially), and the tartan seat pattern which would become known as ‘Clark Plaid’.

Speaking around the time of the Golf GTI’s 40th anniversary last year, Liljequist said:

“I took a lot of inspiration from my travels around Great Britain and I was always taken by high-quality fabrics with checked patterns. The remit was as follows: we are making a sporty Golf, which nobody knows about yet.

So I approached the task from a sporting angle. Black was sporty, but I also wanted colour and quality. As such, you could say that there is an element of British sportiness in the GTI.”

Here's Where VW's Tartan GTI Seats Originate From

The original fabric was plucked from the archive and used to create a modern interpretation of Clark Plaid for the MkV GTI, and following this revival, the classic tartan look remained for the GTI versions of the MkVI and MkVII Golf. It’s expanded beyond the GTI too, with different interpretations available in the GTD and GTE.

The design isn’t something that’ll be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s undeniably iconic, and set to stick around for a while.



What’s going on with CT this week.
History of Volvo.
History of Seats.
Next it’s history of floor mats.
Or history of armrests.

06/26/2017 - 14:56 |
172 | 4

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

No,it will be the history of the history of something that a car manufacturer did.

06/26/2017 - 14:58 |
10 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

No. Its history of Seat, seats, and Volvo

06/26/2017 - 15:03 |
56 | 2
Mehdi Behira

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

HIstory of Car Throttle posts on history, then some posts about the history of those.

06/26/2017 - 15:22 |
22 | 2
Alex Webster

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I can see it on top ten comments, “this week had a lot of talking points”

06/26/2017 - 15:33 |
4 | 0
I hate everything that I have posted here and I want to die

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

History of Metal
History of Rubber
History of Plastic

06/26/2017 - 17:36 |
12 | 0

Lol, love that pattern…

06/26/2017 - 15:02 |
8 | 2


06/26/2017 - 15:24 |
4 | 2
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

VW calls it ‘Clark Plaid’ in most of the recent press material that I’ve seen

06/26/2017 - 15:45 |
10 | 0

You can’t trust a person that says they don’t like a GTI or the tartan inside one

06/26/2017 - 15:58 |
20 | 2

I’d prefer leather seats in something like a GTI. But I ain’t gonna say anything cuz I’ve never driven a GTI

06/26/2017 - 21:44 |
4 | 0

The one car where choosing leather seats is definitely doubtful

06/28/2017 - 10:43 |
0 | 0

Mh i don’t know, but i still think they look like some granpa’s trousers, just like this granpa umbrella 🤔

12/17/2017 - 19:58 |
0 | 0

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