- Post is under moderationRetro Cool More-door Mk2 featuring 16v on ITBs and centre-lock mag wheels. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrick Hille.
Unstoppable VW modder Dominic Timmermeister has somehow squeezed a race car’s soul inside this super-early base-spec Mk2. How? With extreme wiliness. Why? Well, why not?
Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, the DTM, has always been the BTCC’s shoutier, more aggressive cousin. Pumped up silhouettes packing insane horsepower; the very mention of those three iconic letters conjures images of Germany’s finest – caricatures of Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Audis, Opels, all kicking ass and taking names across the Fatherland and beyond. But in the late 1980s, the Americans invaded… spectators watched agog as Ford rolled out the most powerful car on the grid, the Mustang GT, ejaculating a filthsome 520bhp all over the startline. Ruch Motorsport led the charge, with Gerd Ruch the main man behind the mighty Mustang’s chunky wheel, desperately trying to hold on as the bucking bronco terrorised the raceways of Western Europe.
Meanwhile, somewhere else in Germany and entirely detached from the smoky crucible of DTM, a little old lady, sweetly smiling, was innocently pootling around town in her pride and joy, an early Mk2 Golf in a rather spiffy shade of Irish green. An early adopter, she’d put an order in for one of the very first Mk2s, a boxfresh 1983 three-door in unashamed poverty spec: wind-up windows, brown dash, the full spectrum of beige tones. It was an unusual car splashed on a palette of mundanity; low-spec but deliberately eye-catching in its offbeat colour choice. The car was loved, cherished and looked after. An object of pride; nary a scuff, scrape nor car park ding to spoil the originality.
Fast-forward a generation or so, and we weirdly find these two entirely disparate worlds unexpectedly colliding, thanks to serial #VW perv Dominic Timmermeister. This is a man who knows his way around a rattly old Dub, having owned 40 or so in various states dotted along the awesome>wonky spectrum. Resident of the Lower Saxony municipality of Bad Laer, he’s been the curator and resurrector of a couple of dozen Golfs alone, and one day in 2013, during an idle flick through the online classifieds, he spotted an opportunity that was too good to pass up. “I saw this Irish green car for sale, and I just had to buy it for the colour alone,” he laughs. “I love the Mk2 Golf, especially the early models like this, so I had to make it mine.”
These early Type 19 Golfs are a riot of detail for the truly nerdy minutiae spotter; while the overall form is familiar, they don’t have the central VW badge on the rear panel, they have quarterlights with mirrors set behind them, the indicator stalks are smaller, they don’t have seatbelt adjusters or speakers in the doors… all pernickerty stuff, but this matters to fullyfledged retro obsessives. And so the act of finding a fully original survivor, complete with wind-up windows and the kind of upholstery that’d make a killing in a boho Shoreditch boutique under the banner of ‘shabby chic’, was understandably something rather exciting for Dominic… not that he intended to keep it all original, of course. This isn’t that sort of magazine.
“I guess the overall theme of the car is a sort of undercover retro with race car parts,” he grins, and that’s very much the kind of place we want to be. You can’t exactly call it a sleeper as the wheels are a bit of a giveaway – it’s more an updated survivor with a contemporary twist. Think of it as being the sort of canal boat or ice cream van you’d see on that George Clarke show on TV (you know, the one where he has to refer to every room he ever sets foot in as “an amazing space”, to keep reminding you what the show’s called), whereby an iconic technological relic is repurposed for modern living. What Dominic’s done here is to reboot the earliest Mk2 he
could find for a 2017 audience. And if you think it’s just a case of stop, drop ’n’ roll, perhaps you should start by taking a peep under the bonnet. Now, in the swirling mists of time, story details tend to ebb away until you’re forced to deal with the apocryphal, at least in part. No-one but the very dorkiest keeps fastidious records on base-model runarounds, so we don’t know which engine that little old lady originally spec’d (or, indeed, if there was any little old lady involved in the story at all – but shhh, don’t ruin the imagery), although it’s safe to assume that it was probably a Moulinexspec 1.3 or something. Who cares? Doesn’t matter. For what resides in its place, in a bay now artfully smoothed and pepped up with a fresh coat of Irish green paint, is an ABF. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s the code of the 2.0-litre valver motor you’d usually expect to find inside a
Mk3 GTI 16v, where it’d whistle out something on the amusing side of 150bhp. Dominic’s chosen to augment this with a set of slurping, gargling Jenvey throttle bodies too, with #KMS-management overseeing proceedings, so it’s safe to assume that peak power is somewhat elevated here within these salubrious surroundings. He’s seen fit to stuff in some spikier Cat Cams as well, along with a race-spec exhaust manifold, to feed into that original brief of somehow fusing the DTM with a grocery-spec granny-hatch. It shouldn’t work, but by thunder it does.
Ah yes, and we were talking about the DTM, weren’t we? The relevance of that shall now all become clear – although, to be fair, we imagine you’ve already guessed: it’s staring out at you from beneath the arches. Yep, in a world of fake centre-lock caps on humdrum four-studs, Dominic’s gone all-in here with a quartet of genuine, bona fide, retro centre-lock race wheels. A set of Rennsportmafia adapters work with M72 nuts to ensure that our man’s now a dab hand with that comically large wheel spanner you see lying around pit garages, but that’s not all. This is no ordinary set of race rims, scavenged hungrily from eBay like so many others; no, these have a tale to tell. “These wheels have a real history,” Dominic enthuses. “They originally ran on Gerd Ruch’s DTM Mustang GT.” You see how it’s all tying up into a neat little package?
“I had a pretty clear vision for how I wanted the car to turn out, right from the moment I got it,” he continues. “I visualised how it should be, Steffen Wiewel of Wiewel Motorsport helped with the engine conversion, and I worked hard over the course of six months to make it happen. That said, a lot of it happened more or less randomly; finding the car in itself was unexpected, then the wheels… a lot of it was down to luck. I’ve always been a fan of Ronal Racing rims, and I love the whole race wheel trend in the #VAG scene right now, so it was great to be able to buy a set of wheels I loved with true pedigree and a story behind them.”
Of course, you can’t just slap on a set of wheels and let that be that, there’s the ever-present spectre of fitment that needs to be respected. In this case, Dominic went for an extraordinarily deep tuck, ramming those old-skool rollers way inside the arches and slathering them in just the merest suggestion of rubber, a simple and almost entirely invisible 165- section smidgeon, to ensure a slender delicacy that complements the purity of the small-bumpered ’83 (check out the sneaky way the wheels are built, too – “they’re 0” outside, 6.5” inside,” Dominic tells us with a wink). And naturally, given the retro vibe of the thing, this car’s rolling static – on H&R’s revered Deep coilovers, which do wonders to accentuate the spiralling kaleidoscope of tuck. And just for good measure, hashtag-because-racecar, Dominic’s hidden a set of G60 brakes in there, to haul up the popping, crackling aggression of that ABF in short order.
This car, then, wears two distinct hats. One is that of a concours retro survivor, showcasing the simplicity of everyday West German motoring back before the Wall came down – it even has beaded seat covers, just like every single Berlin cabbie used to have. The other is a rather more boisterous and colourful hat, deliberately ruining the former’s affectation of ‘concours’ by fundamentally altering the car’s character: like a bodybuilder barely containing his muscles inside an unlikely woollen cardigan, it’s a race car hidden inside a little old lady’s shopping car. And that’s probably one of the coolest kinds of race car there is.
We love the juxtaposition of the old lady-spec interior and screaming ITB’d ABF up front.
This car also gave us a reason to use the word ‘juxtaposition’ too, so that’s nice…
/ #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-Syncro-Mk2 / #VW-Typ-1G / #VW-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VW / #VW-Golf / #1983-Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-ABF /
Dub Details #1983
ENGINE: Rebuilt 2.0-litre 16v #ABF , #Jenvey throttle bodies, #KMS-ECU , #Cat-Cams, race- spec exhaust manifold
CHASSIS: 6.5x17” #Ronal-Racing centre-locks, #Rennsportmafia adapters and M72 nuts, 165/35 Nankang Noble Sport NS20s, G60 brakes, #H&R Deep coilovers
EXTERIOR: Original Irish green paint, engine bay smoothed and repainted
INTERIOR: All original, beaded seat covers, Raid wood-rim steering wheel
SHOUT: Steffen Wiewel from Wiewel Motorsport – without him the motor wouldn’t have been possible, Daniel Liedtke from OEM Equipped for parts supply, Jörg Ballermann for the supply of lips and screws, Alexander Kiefel from Rennsportmafia for the central locking adapters, Heiko Borchardt for help and tips for the conversion
“love the Mk2 Golf, especially so I had to make it mine the early models”
You know that ‘old’ smell that all early VWs seem to magically have? We bet this car smells amazing inside.
6.5x17” Ronal Racing centre locks are actually from Gerd Ruch’s DTM Mustang GT race car from the late ‘80s. That is super, super cool.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe American Dream It’s not just the #USA where it’s all about the green
VW Golf GTI RETRO RIDE: GOLF MK3 WORDS: Midge. PHOTOGRAPHY: Dan Pullen.
Right, who’s gonna be the first on Facebook to say “that’s not retro”? Well it is, and this fresh Mk3 couldn’t minter if it had a hole through the middle… or if it was a Polo.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at an immaculate American Golf here, one we had to fly all the way across the pond to shoot. But no. It’s actually a European car. A UK car in fact – the steering wheel’s on the correct side and everything.
You see, squatting on Corvette wheels, with its funnysized numberplate and running lights in the front bumper Adrian May’s VW appears to be as American as handguns, hamburgers and dying of heart attacks, quiet suddenly, on the toilet. There’s even a cute (not to mention legally required) sign on the driver’s mirror warning, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Handy eh?
The truth is, though, even if you happen to be called Brad and live in Wisconsin, this still wouldn’t be a easy car to build. So it’s all the more surprising that the whole lot was put together in sunny Chelmsford… and not the one in Massachusetts either.
It’s easy to see that the challenge here must have been as much about the geographical location as the all American inspiration behind it. Sure, this may be one of the cleanest USDM-styled cars I’ve ever seen, period. But the fact it’s been painstakingly crafted on our shores suddenly opens up a whole new background of pain for the owner. I mean, nowadays the majority of these Mk3 parts are hard enough to get hold of in the land of Mom’s apple pie, but over here it’s almost impossible. And we all know that ‘impossible’ in the UK is actually spelt EXPENSIVE.
Adrian knows these facts all too well. It’s taken him nearly a decade to track down the right base car, with just a few of the right USDM parts, to even make a start on building his dream motor. Finding a suitable Golf was a ‘Wanted, dead or alive’ kind of deal, a veritable needle in a haystack. But amazingly this one even came freshly painted in almost the right colour. Not quite the 911 Green he was dreaming of, but an extremely closeshade of VW Camper Green. How’s that for fortunate? I suppose watching and waiting for that long has also been about damage limitation in the wallet department. With a project like this you could easily find yourself shelling out over 700 quid for an unpainted front bumper alone – and that’s in the Queen’s money, not the President’s. There’s no denying spotting a Mk3, complete with the sortafter US bumpers and a tailgate is a lucky find. But the fact Adrian literally buys and sells cars every other day seems to make it feel even luckier.
Statistically speaking, working in a huge VW breakers, he’d always be the bloke to get his hands on something like this, but it’s still taken a fair amount of time. And that gives you an idea of just how rare these things are. Anyway, when you talk to a bloke who’s personally owned over 150 cars you expect him to be at least 70, not a 30 year old who just can’t help himself. Like I said, he buys and sells a lot of motors but none of it’s for massive profit, it’s more for the simple love of driving different cars. In fact, Adrian says he’s happy getting “a drink and a bit of free motoring out of it” and that’s hardly in line with the usual American dream of amassing an almighty stack of green bills. I mean, wasn’t it uber Yank capitalist, Gordon Gecko who said “Greed is good”? I guess he may have been right for Wall Street, but it doesn’t look like that’s what’s going on here. In fact, I know Adrian’s been offered some serious cash for his Golf, on more than one occasion, so what makes this car different to the other 149? It’s his ultimate dream build, the one he wants to keep.
It’s easy to see why too, this little VW compact isn’t overly outlandish or ridiculously flashy and he’s not gonna feel a right plum driving it. Even though the final bill would make anyone’s eyes water it’s understated enough not to be vulgar. And that’s the whole point.
American-inspired isn’t usually a byword for class and restraint, but that’s exactly what Adrian’s achieved. You could almost call this car Euro-style. Although I like to imagine it’s simply the perfect mix of both.
One thing’s for sure, like many a great Euro ride this Mk3 is all about the finer details. It’s not just the obvious stuff like the more recent 911 Green respray, Konig recliners or Chevrolet Salad Shooters that are so sweet they actually make your teeth hurt (which is pretty novel for something with the word ‘salad’ in it’s name). Look closer and you’ll find a multitude of other stuff Adrian’s added along the way, many being all too easy to miss the first time around. Take details like the Polo rear door handles, US Spec centre console and all those DIY skinned carbon parts, did you immediately spot them? There’s a whole lot more besides.
Personally I like to think I know my VWs, I’ve had more than a couple myself, but I’m not all that confident I’d even notice most of the mods if they hadn’t been pointed out. And that’s just one thing that makes this a great car.
The truth is this car has been built in a way that can only be done by a bone fi de VW expert, and that even includes the choice of engine. Of course, most people believe that the top-of-the-range VR6 is the lump to have in the Mk3 but Adrian makes a good argument for the smaller GTi power plant. As he explained, Volkswagen engineers had to physically detune these 2-litre ABF motors to 150bhp otherwise they would have made around 170bhp. Not good when your flagship 2.8-litre model only puts out 174 and is far heavier. Arguably these 4-pot cars were always a better choice over the big 6-cylinder, especially with some light tuning. But let’s just say that, naturally, Adrian’s engine has been treated to a full complement of tweaks to ramp up the power even more.
What’s also not immediately obvious is just how low this car is. With some top notch KW coilovers this thing is actually in the weeds more than just about any static dropped Mk3 out there. You may think you know different but bear in mind that US bumpers come up about 4-inches higher than their European counterparts. With a normal UK bumper and splitter it’d actually be touching the floor!
I guess with the cash Adrian’s sunk into this modern classic, it may have been cheaper to emigrate but that’s kind of missing the point. What’s important is that, in USDM terms, this Golf is about as close to genuine as it’s possible to be outside of North America. I’m sure when Adrian gets round to the final phase of a full cage and left-hooker conversion even the biggest VW nut will have a job telling the difference.
THE LAND OF LITIGATION
The Americans certainly have some strange regulations for cars. Things like high bumpers, mandatory reflectors and having the steering wheel on the wrong side. But, considering you don’t need an MoT and can drive at 16, they have some pretty metal driving laws still on the books too. In California it’s illegal to jump from a car moving more that 65mph or to shoot any mammal, apart from a whale, from the window of your car. In Rhode Island you’re required to make an audible noise when passing another vehicle and both Tennessee and Mississippi have laws that mean female drivers need a male flagger walking in front of the vehicle. In Oregon you have to yield to pedestrians when you’re driving on the pavement and in Kansas you face three months in the slammer for squealing your tyres. Our favourite law though has to be from Minneapolis, where you can’t drive a red car on Lake Street at any time. Watch out for that one, the police have guns you know.
Ultra-rare BBS wheel is an addition for the purists
DRIVER: ADRIAN MAY
You must be pretty dedicated to change the Camper Green paint to 911 Green?
“It’s actually the colour I’ve always wanted. But I changed it mostly because the car got nicked and banged up, so I had to have it repainted anyway.”
With those rare parts you were lucky to get it back at all!
“I know. Although it was only gone for three hours. I got a call from a mate asking who just drove my car past him, so it didn’t take long to find it.
I don’t think the kid was expecting us on his doorstep quite so soon anyway. He didn’t exactly have time to strip it.”
Blimey, I suppose you had to sort him out and bury him in the breakers yard like in the movies? “Let’s just say he paid for the damages and the paintjob and no one’s seen him since.”
“Of course I am. It’s Chelmsford not Compton.”
TECH SPEC: #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-GTi-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-GTi / #VW-Golf-GTi-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf /
TUNING #ABF 2.0 16v, ported throttle body, short shift, Superchips remap, 4,2,1 manifold, gold heat reflective wrap, Ramair filter, de-cat and centre exhaust box delete, US-spec radiator cover.
CHASSIS 8.5 and 9.5x16-inch diamond cut Corvette Salad Shooters, 25mm G23 adapters, #KW-Variant 1 coilovers, VR6 288mm brakes.
EXTERIOR US-spec rear tailgate, rear bumper, front bumper with running lights and driver’s mirror, VR6 highline rear badge, smoothed washer jets, smoothed front wings, Votex rear spoiler, Cl lights all round, Polo rear-door handles, E-code headlights, Kamei front air intakes, anniversary black front badge, resprayed in Porsche 911 green.
INTERIOR #BBS steering wheel, Konig R5000 front seats, US-spec cup holder, obd cover, central locking switch, rear seats and centre console, carbon fibre skinned rear view mirror, centre gear stick surround, mirror blanks and sunroof switch, Polo GTi seatbelts, black headliner, grab handles and sun visors, Porsche floormatts, Audi TT pedals, Mk3.5 gearknob, VR6 Highline doorcards.
THANKS Elliot at Wheel Whores, Dave blows for countless hours working on the car, Howard and Russel for the paintwork when car was stolen, Ricky cooper for detailing the car and C for all her patience.
In a tuned state the 2.0 16v lump is arguably a better choice than the VR6!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDutch #1977 #VW #Scirocco 16v Mk1 is so clean you could eat your dinner off it!
/ #Volkswagen-Scirocco-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Scirocco-I / #VW-Scirocco-Mk1 / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Typ-53 / #VW-Typ-53 / #Volkswagen-Scirocco-Typ-53 / #Volkswagen-Scirocco / #VW-Scirocco
Our resident ’Rocco guru, Sean Fleetwood, was chomping at the bit to write a feature about this stunning Dutch Mk1 and we can see why. Its owner, Tom Klein, has taken things to a whole new level! Words: Sean Fleetwood. Photos: Oliver Verheij.
To think Tom carried out 99% of the work on this car himself is insane. We’re not worthy.
As the beer flowed at The Phirm’s christmas party Elliott made his move: ‘‘Sean, we’ve got another Scirocco coming up; would you be interested in covering it for us? It’s a really special car and it made quite an impact at Edition.’’ As DRIVE-MY resident ’Rocco nut it was an easy decision to make and straightaway I knew which car he was talking about…
Back in September, while I was once again unable to get to Edition 38’s event, my iPhone buzzed… and then buzzed again… and then again. It was my Facebook page lighting up with shots from the show of yet another stunning Mk1 Type 53 (that’s a Mk1 Scirocco to you and I ~ Ed).
Along with many who were at the event my first thought was that it must be the much anticipated Mk1 being built by UK resident and DRIVE-MY regular Simon Sweetland finally making its debut. The look, the finish and the obligatory Ronals all pointed that way. However, this stunning beast instead proved to be the latest creation from the guy responsible for building a certain white Mk1 Jetta that had made such an impact at Overstone Park a few years previously and that actually belonged to his friend Oliver Verheij (the same guy taking the snaps today). Hailing from Groenlo, a small Dutch town near the German border more famous for being the original home of Grolsch lager, Tom Klein Gunnewiek had already established quite a reputation for himself, building and painting (in his spare time!) a string of highly regarded and widely acclaimed show cars. This included his own VR6-propelled Mk2 Golf as well as a succession of other sweetly modified ’70s and ’80s Veedubs before attention finally turned to his next personal project, assuming he could track down one of the holy grails for us lovers of German metal: a Mk1 Scirocco.
Regular readers and anybody with an interest in early water-cooled VWs will be painfully aware of how few of these pretty and still dynamic little cars remain. While half a million examples of the more shapely precursor to the Golf were built between 1974 and 1981, barely 150 cars survive here in the UK.
Over on mainland Europe, while more do live on, it’s not usually the work of a moment to track down a viable Mk1 down either. Indeed, when Tom first started looking he was faced with the usual selection of rusty basket cases. After one particular two-hour drive across the Netherlands he was about to walk away from yet another bag of bones example when, to his delight, the seller let him know of a fellow resident in his town who might be worth tracking down.
Suitably connected Tom met up with a chap who had imported a 1977-spec, small indicator, chrome bumper, 1.6-carbed GT from Germany back in the mid ’90s. This guy had then begun hoarding a selection of spare parts to enable an eventual restoration that, sadly for him, never quite occurred. Thankfully fully dry stored all those years, on inspection the GT revealed itself to be an almost rot-free basis from which Tom could finally get his ’Rocco project under way – assuming he could extract it from a very reluctant seller.
With an encouraging word and a stern glare or two from his wife the owner finally agreed to let the car go. A deal was struck and Tom picked the car up a week later. From this point in the story, autumn 2013, the Mk1 then sat, happily secure but largely ignored, in the workshop while Tom tended to everyone else’s cars. Come April 2014, however, he had finally created a gap in his busy schedule and the transformation commenced.
The best news was that remarkably little corrosion existed (by Mk1 Scirocco standards) on what had clearly been a very carefully stored car. This meant Tom could focus on perfecting as opposed to repairing.
Engine-wise his original plan had been to go down the 16v turbo route but, after a couple of false starts, he secured a very much breathed upon ABF on throttle bodies courtesy of Van Kronenburg Autosport (VKA). Based out of Geldrop since 1992, VKA has carved out a superb reputation for itself, in the Netherlands and beyond, building and modifying engines for fast-road and track use alike. Mated to a G60 gearbox (itself controlled via a very tasty CAE Ultra Shifter) and a modified Powersprint exhaust, Tom assumes it’s good for 210bhp. This represents a pretty healthy increase on the original factory output for an ABF of 148bhp and, let’s not forget, this is pushing along a car that weighs barely 800kg. Powerful but not ridiculously so.
Running gear-wise Tom has followed a welltrodden path with trick Wilwood calipers and G60 288mm discs up front with a combination of Mk2/Mk4 Golf hardware at the rear to give a more modern all-round disc brake setup. Maintaining the all important stance, H&R Ultralow coilovers and adjustable top mounts have been deployed and, when the car gets driven in anger proper, a set of Mk2 Scirocco anti-roll bars keep things steady around the wobbly bits.
Externally Tom had originally planned on building a red car but, once cleaned up, there was something quite appealing about the still reasonably crisp factory Diamond silver finish (a classic colour on these cars). Cue a change of plan that retained the metallic look but with a twist: a sumptuous coat of Porsche Polar silver after an all over full-on bare metal restoration. Inside Tom has kept things beautifully simple. Along with the aforementioned CAE gear stick only a few extra dials and a QSP steering wheel detract from a gloriously factory-fresh (in 1977) look and feel. You don’t need to throw a ton of cowhide at these cars to make them stand out and the ’77-spec tartan Tombstones combine perfectly with the gleaming silver exterior.
As stunning as the car is it wasn’t all plain sailing. What project ever is? All the work you see in these shots has been completed by Tom himself and that includes the skin-shredding smoothing exercise carried out on the engine bay before the fully detailed and chrome adorned power unit was fitted.
More problems arose when the ET40 17’’ Ronal Racing wheels mounted on 185/35 rubber were first fitted. Subsequent extra front arch work would be required in order to accommodate them. This, along with some minor rubbing on the coilovers (also since resolved via a bit of spacing) contributed to the car being trailered to its Edition 38 debut a mere 16 months after the build had started. Given Tom has a day job and the level of detail he has applied to the Scirocco, that’s a stunningly quick turnaround. Similarly impressed, the judges at Edition awarded the Scirocco ‘Second Best in Show’. Impressive. Having also squeezed in an appearance at Essen before Christmas, Tom is really looking forward to a full season of trips to shows with the Scirocco, this time under its own power. Let’s hope for those of us who missed it last year that he includes a late summer return trip to Overstone Park for E38.
The balance Tom has achieved between stock and uprated parts is absolutely faultless. Money can’t buy good taste but Tom was clearly born with it!
17” Ronal Racing wheels look stunning but took a fair bit of squeezing under the reworked front arches.
ENGINE: 2.0 16v #ABF engine. Complete rebuild and painted high gloss black, polished and chromed details and custom made parts. 45mm #Jenvey DTH ITBs. Lightened and balanced crankshaft, pistons and rods. Flowed head with custom camshafts, valves and adjustable camshaft wheel. Custom sump. Daihatsu dynamo. Sachs clutch. Rebuilt G60 gearbox, painted high gloss black with chromed and polished parts. Quaife limited-slip differential. Complete stainless steel #Powersprint 60mm exhaust with 4-2-1 manifold. Custom radiator. KMS management system. Cleaned wiring loom. Clean engine bay. Front scuttle tray and heater motor removed. Battery relocated to boot
CHASSIS: #Ronal-Racing , 7x17 ET40 with 0.5j outer lips. 185/35 R17 Nangkang tyres. 1cm spacer at front and 2cm at the back. #H&R Ultra low adjustable coilovers. Chromed adjustable top mounts. Mk2 Scirocco anti-roll bars. All axles, suspension parts, steering and other running gear new or rebuilt and painted high gloss black with chrome details. Wilwood brakes with 288mm Brembo discs at front. Golf Mk4 brakes with Golf Mk2 16v discs at rear. Custom-made pedalbox with brake and clutch cylinders under the dashboard
EXTERIOR: Porsche Polar silver. Side trim, rear logos and wiper deleted. Arches pulled. Bumpers, logo, mirrors, door handles, window trim, roof trim all chromed
INTERIOR: Factory 1977 tartan-spec, black Skai leather headliner. Black CAE shifter. Additional VDO gauges. QSP steering wheel
SHOUT: Yoeri Kox, Roy Verbeek, Bas Rozendaal, Joris Visser, Rick Papen, Twan Niemeijer, Oliver Verheij, Ron Huijzer, Michel Massop, Jos Klein Gunnewiek
Builds this insane don’t come along very often and when they do often take decades to complete, not months! Those factory lines are so perfect why would you change them?
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- Seriously, what is it in the water over in Holland that allows the Dutch to build cars like this over and over again? We mean, if it was a one-off we Seriously, what is it in the water over in Holland that allows the Dutch to build cars like this over and over again? We mean, if it was a one-off we would understand but we think we can all agree it’s more than that, the Dutch seem to just have the art of building world-beating Dubs down to an art form! When we first saw Tom’s Scirocco on the showfield at Edition 38 in 2015 it totally blew us (and the rest of the show) away. This is even more impressive when you take in to consideration the company Tom keeps! Put simply, this is one of those cars that should be on a plinth in an art gallery. Calling it flawless doesn’t really do it justice. In fact, we’re struggling a little to think of any words that really do! The bodywork, the wheels, the stance, the engine, the bay, the interior, the underside of it, the chassis, the inner arches… it’s all just awesome. A stunning example of just how far you can take a humble VW build and a worthy Car of the Year. More ...
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In an age of quick fix builds it’s nice to meet someone who’s been getting stuck in on the same car for years and years like Carl Levy has with his hot rod-inspired Mk1 Caddy. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Nick Williams.
“I got in to VWs when I started my apprenticeship at a VW dealership,” Carl Levy started off. “It was inevitable after that wasn’t it? I was always in to my cars, I’ve got my dad to thank for that. He’s a real hands-on kind of guy, but it was when I started working at the dealership that my interest really focused you could say.”
You might think spending your nine to five turning wrenches on VW’s latest wares could put you off having anything to do with them at home, but for Carl it only fired him up more. “Four of the guys there had old modified VWs, a pair of Mk1s and a pair of Mk2s, so those lads hold a lot of the responsibility for this car,” he smiled. Carl eventually joined the fraternity with a tidy Mk2 Driver, his second car and the first to wear the VW emblem.
Under the guidance of his old-school loving colleagues, the Driver ended up running a 1.9-litre 8v engine on twin 45 Dellortos and then, when its sills gave up the ghost, that engine found its way in to another Mk2 that continued to serve him well.
“One of the guys from the dealership’s brothers owned a Mk1 Caddy pick-up and he brought it in one day and took me out for a drive one lunch break,” Carl remembered fondly. “I couldn’t even drive at the time and it was certainly no show car, but I pretty much decided right then that one day I would own one.”
Fast forward a while and Carl had sold the Golf and started looking for a Caddy, which, as anyone who has tried to buy a Mk1 Caddy before will agree, isn’t the easiest of things to do. With most of them being work vehicles from the day they rolled off the Wolfsburg production line you won’t find one that’s had an easy life that’s for sure. And of course, it’s a Mk1, so rot, rust and just general wear and tear is usually a bigger issue than is ideal. The third thing any potential Caddy buyer has to deal with is that, for some unknown reason, a load of them get modified by people who, how shall we put it? They like to do things their own way…
“I found it on eBay and it was relatively local down in Portsmouth so I decided to pop down to check it out,” Carl remembered. “The most important thing was I wanted a solid chassis, the rest of it wasn’t as much of a concern,” he added. “This one was solid but with the fiberglass Audi RS-style front bumper it had, the limo tints and some seriously dodgy wheels to name just a few of the tasteful things it had, it wasn’t much of a looker! It also broke down between me buying it and collecting it, so it actually came in to my life on the back of a flatbed,” he laughed.
“I had no real vision for the Caddy when I got it though, I just wanted a cool truck, I’m as surprised as anyone it came this far to be honest,” said Carl. One thing Carl was sure of though was that it would be a rolling project. “I didn’t want to shut it away in a workshop and build it over seven or eight years, never rolling it out until it was finished. There are so many builds that go that route and probably half of them will never see the light of day or the road again,” he reasoned. “Plus my budget wouldn’t have allowed it even if I’d have wanted to!”
After getting the Caddy running and roadworthy again, Carl set about making it his own. And surprisingly, now that it’s all done and dusted, he managed to stick to his plan of it being a rolling build too! We say surprising because we’ve lost count of the amount of people who say they’re going to do keep a build on the road while they work on it… and then five years later the SORN notices are piling up.
First on Carl’s hit list was the bodywork. The truck had been painted black already but it wasn’t a good job by any stretch. Add the holes left from the dodgy front bumper and it was obvious Carl was going to have to start from scratch. With budget in mind, he split the job in to two halves.
After doing as much prep work as he could himself, the truck was sent off to Elite Panel Craft in Wilton to get the front end sorted out, the holes plated up and a nice fresh coat of Diamond black laid down. On the second visit the GTI arch spats were smoothed and colour-coded, the seams between the rear quarters and the tail-lights were worked over and the bare alley bed was painted in bed liner. With a set of 13” Revolution fourspoke wheels, a nod to Carl’s love of all things old-school, he was happy to take in a few shows that year with the Caddy as it sat.
“In 2012 the interior got a full overhaul, it was time to rip everything out and start again,” he explained. “I had already decided on a black and yellow colour scheme, so all I had to settle on was what seats to go for.” In the end our man settled for a pair of Cobra Classics in black with yellow piping. Retro Retrims, a company who’s name says it all, sorted Carl out with a pair of custom-made doorcards to match the Cobras and while they had the material out, put together a pair of matching B-pillar trims and a complete headlining too. “The roof lining was probably the most challenging part of the interior,” Carl remembered. “All the glass had to come out as the roof lining has to wrap under the seals and be bonded. The roof lining also comes through oversized so had to be trimmed as we went. As the roof lining just sleeves over three metal rods, like an old Beetle or something, the tricky part is getting it even and taught without any sagging.”
When Carl bought the Caddy the engine was like the rest of the car; functional but something of a mess of mis-matched parts. A 2.0-litre 16v was matched to KJET mechanical fuel injection from a KR and a 2.0-litre Passat fuel pump but no lift pump from the tank to the fuel pump housing. This concoction of parts meant that it ran, but under any sort of load it’d misfire due to the lack of fuel getting in to the engine. After trying to sort things out with the fuel system from a 9a 16v and still failing to get it running right, Carl gave up and decided if he wanted to progress, he needed to take a step back towards his beloved carbs. A pair of twin-45s were picked up on eBay and a friend sold on the manifold he had to get them fitted up. Finally, the Caddy’s engine was behaving itself, well, sort of…
“It was pretty tired in general, cylinder three had low compression and the rings were shot,” he remembered. “I did what I could to keep it going for a while as I knew that if I was going to redo the engine it would mean pulling everything out and doing the bay at the same time which is no small job, so there were a lot of shows when the bonnet remained firmly shut,” he smiled.
Eventually though Carl realised that the bay was the last thing on his to-do list that needed ticking off so he couldn’t put it off any longer. At this point there wasn’t much left to do on the rest of the truck and the bay was severely letting the side down. As with everything else, though, Carl had it all planned out before he picked up a single spanner. “With most Mk1 bays, the first thing people do is cut out the scuttle and smooth the whole bay, finishing it in the highest gloss possible with a lot of polished and bling parts. I wanted the total opposite of that,” he explained. “I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop, kind of a hot rod thing.”
So rather than lose the scuttle, Carl decided to incorporate it in to the overall look of the bay by fabricating a covering piece for it. Inside the space went the Caddy’s ECU, ignition setup, TCI pack, coil pack, horn and alarm and much of the loom too. “Doing the bay was a complete step into the unknown for me, and a lot of it pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he admitted. “Yes, I’m a mechanic, so people would think it should be easy but unless you work for a very specialist company, you just don’t do this kind of thing day-to- day. I work for a small VAG specialist so the bulk of our work is standard service and maintenance,” he added. “You just don’t get normal customers wanting engine conversions, smooth bays and wire tucks!”
Once the scuttle area was all sorted, the battery tray was cut out and the battery itself relocated behind the passenger seat, the coolant reservoir was junked in favour of a top fill radiator and the washer bottle was also unscrewed and relocated. “I then lost the bulkhead brake linkage and servo by modifying the steering column and pedal box to run a G60 master cylinder off it on the advice of a friend,” Carl explained. “Then my friend Joe came over and helped me weld all the holes up,” he added before laughing, “and he only set fire to it once too.”
Carl stuck to his budget guns when it came to painting the bay and opted for a few cans of Montana graffiti paint. Being paint designed for outdoor use, it proved plenty tough and looks just fine and you would struggle to tell it wasn’t a pro job to our eyes.
“Sorting the wiring out was a nightmare. It was such a mess, me and my other half Becky spent hours and hours labelling everything up, tracing what went where and then extending what needed to be rerouted,” Carl added. “Just to make it harder for us I wanted every wire to be black too, which probably wasn’t the smartest idea in hindsight!”
Finally though, and with their relationship still intact, Carl was ready to put some power back in the Caddy’s bay. The original engine was too far gone so a second was picked up. This, too, was way past its best and uneconomical to repair so the hunt for a third motor was on. Eventually a very low mileage ABF lump was sourced from a friend that had left it sitting unused for close to a decade but with just 15k miles on it. “I took the ABF off him and stripped and rebuilt it, replacing the rings, shells and the oil pump etc even though it probably didn’t need it,” Carl explained. “Then I sent the head off to be skimmed, ported and flowed before getting it back and going over every little bit with 3M matt black texture paint, gold and a few bits in brown to make it pop, painting bits in our spare room and baking them dry in the kitchen!”
Carl’s favourite part of the bay is something that is, well, almost impossible to even spot unless you know it’s there. Deciding that the topmount linkage for the Dellortos was a messy solution, our man set about creating a one-off setup to allow him to run an under-mount linkage instead. Doing this involved creating a one-off reverse mount for the alternator, changing the belt and a whole lot of head-scratching and custom fab work.
“I’ve never seen this done before and people may not notice things like this first time they look, some people may never notice it at all, but when people do notice, it makes it all the more satisfying and worthwhile,” he reasoned.
“Someone once said to me one of the greatest parts of modifying a car is injecting a bit of your personality into it,” he continued. “I completely agree with that and as one of my other greatest passions is American football and I’ve supported the Jaguars since I was a kid and they became a franchise, I feel the little helmet I made in to a catch can is another of my favourite touches.”
Now as we bring Carl’s story to a close, we’ve got to level with you. There is so much to Carl’s build we haven’t covered here, the wheels, the custom bike, the wooden trims on the bumpers, the list goes on. And as much as we hate to leave a story half-finished, we quite honestly can’t fit it all in! You see, when we sent Carl a few questions on his truck we said, like we do to everyone, ‘put as much information in to your answers as possible, it makes for a better feature’. Now, we do this because all too often we’ll get answers back on a feature and we’ve got quite literally one-line responses to work with. Which as you can imagine, makes our lives pretty difficult! Carl though, well Carl went the other way, supplying nearly 7000 words on his truck – possibly under duress, we can’t be sure – typed up by his partner Becky!
“To be honest, a silly goal I set myself a few years back was to get a feature in PVW,” Carl smiled. “I thought it was pretty unrealistic at the time and didn’t see it ever happening, so it’s like a dream that it did and it’s probably my proudest moment with the whole build,” he added. “It’s like reaching the top of the mountain, and as a small fish in a very big pond and means a lot to me.” Carl, it’s been our pleasure!
Custom wooden inset on the front bumper is a nice touch and ties in nicely with the BBS’ centres.
Interior is a lovely place to be thanks to new Cobra Classic buckets and colour-coded Retro Retrims doorcards.
Carl’s other half Becky pulling off the ‘this photoshoot is bloody freezing’ look well…
“I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop”
ENGINE: 2.0-litre 16v #ABF , head ported, flowed, skimmed and diamond cut, twin-45 #Dellorto carburetors, custom stainless exhaust manifold going in to custom Torque Technic stainless exhaust system, Mk2 GTI 8v gearbox with 4+E fifth gear, Bugpack rear mount, #Midnight-Garage Stage 1 mount kit.
CHASSIS: 7.5” and 8x15” #BBS-RM wheels in 4x100 fitment, clay brown centres, polished dishes with gold bolts and centre caps, 280mm #G60 brake setup with Goodrich braided hoses, front coilovers, rear axle flipped with 1.5” lowering blocks and custom adjustable bump stops, rear camber shims.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in VW Diamond black, chrome front bumper, mirrors, wiper arms, grille trim and body side trims, tinted cross-hair headlights, crystal indicators, wing repeaters and rear lights, sliding opening rear screen, smoothed and colour-coded MK1 GTI arch mouldings, custom hand-built aluminium bed bike carrier, rear tailgate Pro Net, Flushed rear panel and fold away number plate.
INTERIOR: Retro Retrims black vinyl roof lining, B-pillar trims and doorcards with yellow stitching, deleted rear-view mirror and sun visors, Cobra Classic bucket seats in black with yellow piping, Momo Jaguar wooden steering wheel, Porsche #VDO voltage and oil pressure gauges.
THANKS: Firstly and most importantly my girlfriend Becky Hill. She has been there supporting me every step of the way, she has spent countless hours of her time off helping out and even down to helping me type this write up, Kleenfreaks and everyone involved for all the support, my bosses Martin Thomas and Mike Fealy at M&M Autos for all the support and use of the workshop, Nick Williams for wanting to do this shoot, Joe Mallet for his welding skills, the Bpc_retro gang and the ‘Causing a Scene’ crew, Andrew Monteith for his stainless fabrication skills, Nick Collins and Lewis Simmons for coming and getting their hands dirty and a massive thank you to all the awesome people we have met along the way – you know who you are!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.