Is this the best example of the original hot hatch?

A perfectly-preserved original 1979 Volkswagen Golf GTI is heading to auction with online classic car auction house, The Market. The car, arguably the original 'hot hatch' has just 17,000 mils on the clock and has had just three registered owners since new.

It was originally bought for £5,132.39 in September 1979, but is now expected to sell for between £31,000 and £42,000 when it heads to the online auction block between 19-25 March.

"This is possibly the last opportunity that any of us will ever have to own what is still an essentially brand-new, unrestored, reference quality Golf GTI Mk1 – and not just any GTI, but the very purist, earliest model of the car that blazed a trail for everything that came thereafter," said Tristan Judge, director, The Market.

The car, bearing the registration plate, ENT 847V, is well-known and has featured in a number of specialist magazines and TV shows, including 'The Car’s The Star' on the BBC in 1995 with Quentin Willson, and on 'Clarkson’s Car Years' in 2000, again on the BBC, this time with Jeremy Clarkson.

1979 Volkswagen Golf GTI 1.6 Mk1 Series 1

It's finished in black with the iconic tartan-trimmed seats in black and silver. It has the small, early-type rear light clusters, non-locking fuel cap, Wolfsburg three spoke steering wheel, genuine Wolfsburg mud flaps, Toric T-76 buckle-less seat belts, and a golf ball gear knob.

It also comes with a Volkswagen Historic Vehicle Certificate, a brand new-in-box Corgi scale model of the car, and an extensive collection of paperwork including its original bill of sale, original log book, brochure, original VW publicity photos, old MOT certificates, bills, correspondence with the BBC, and all of its old road tax discs.

1979 Volkswagen Golf GTI 1.6 Mk1 Series 1 Vanguard replica

This model is particularly rare being a four-speed model. That was only available for three months in late 1979 before it was replaced by a five-speed model. Like other early models, it's missing a sunroof, rear fog lamp, radio, aerial, or passenger door wing mirror – all were expensive options when the car was new.

The car underwent an extensive £7,000 restoration in 2015, which involved a strip of the underside of the car and replacement of dampers, brake components and fuel lines, while the engine was removed and cleaned and the gearbox rebuilt.

"This is a true collector’s car and a genuinely unrepeatable opportunity," added Judge. "It is also road ready. We believe this amazing Golf GTI will be hard fought over when the auction takes place, potentially providing the opportunity to set a new record price for the model."

Gallery: UK's best preserved Golf GTI MK1 up for auction