- Post is under moderationSuitably attyred / #1983-Porsche-944 / #Porsche-944 / #Porsche / #1983
Owned by Glen Waddington
Two kids, two mortgages, two oldish potential money-pits in the garage… And it’s been an extremely busy year. So much so that the 944’s road tax became rather suddenly due, at which point I realised it needed an MoT, too. And it failed.
Nothing major, thankfully, but, even without any other work, the need for four new tyres meant I’d have to save up for a while. Before you knew it, late summer had turned into deep winter.
I booked the Porsche in with Templeton’s Garage (www. templetonsgarage.co.uk), my local performance car specialist, owned and run by my mate Stuart Templeton. He’s serviced and worked on my BMW a couple of times, and it’s come back feeling so much better as a result. And he knows 944s as well as he knows E30s…
First I wanted to sort my tyres. Handily, Vintage Tyres of Beaulieu (www.vintagetyres. com) is run by another mate of mine, Ben Field – we used to work together years ago on another magazine. I’d bumped into him at Goodwood Revival, and our tyre conversation grew from there: which make to go for? And which size?
The latter was something of a mystery. It’s well-known that some Porsches of that era ran bigger tyres at the back, and the Michelin handbook states that standard-fit OEM front tyres for an ’1983 944 should be 185/70s. Only mine was on 215/60s all-round. Hmm.
The Porsche-approved fitment is a Pirelli but, well, I told you about my financial commitments earlier. So Ben did some digging and suggested Continental Premium Contacts in the 215/60 size. But then he discovered that Dunlop makes a matching set (185/70s plus 215/60s, V-rated for 15in wheels) in its new Sport Classic range. And they’re much better suited to my budget than the Pirellis or the Avon ZZs that are also available in that combo.
But then I did some digging. I discovered my original dealer brochure, which states that 185s are standard and 215s optional – though, unlike with the 911s of that era, they’re not mixed. I have a Porsche certificate of authenticity too, which lists the options my car was fitted with at the factory. Bingo! It should be on the 215s after all.
So, 911 owners, you now have an option other than Pirelli for your odd-sized tyres. And, while I’ll report more on their ultimate grip next time, I have a set of Dunlops that look suitably period, are quiet, ride well, and have proved suitably safe in recent cold, damp weather.
As for the rest of the works, Stuart discovered that the 944 was running lean and turned up the wick a little. That, and fresh sparkplugs, seem to have liberated more power! It revs much more keenly, and sounds sharper and deeper as it digs in from around 2500rpm.
All four brake calipers have been rebuilt, and now bite harder. Best of all, my 944’s strange tendency to tramline and to weight-up in corners is now banished. Perhaps the tyres (29psi front, 36psi rear) are due some credit. But I reckon that refitting the front anti-roll bar the right way round certainly has something to do with it…Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPorsche 944 Evo
The 1980s 944 may have not have been as critically acclaimed as the 911, but this one can certainly eat more than a couple for breakfast.
RETRO RIDE: PORSCHE 944 TURBO. WORDS: Daniel Bevis. PHOTOGRAPHY: Ben Hoskin.
TIME LAPS Ill-informed bores have been slagging off the Porsche 944 for far too long. It’s time for someone to redress the balance…
Old skool 8-valve lump is modified to perfection… although Patrick is building a newer 16-valve unit as we speak.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain,” said Benjamin Franklin, “except death and taxes”. That’s what’s known as an immutable constant, a perennial given. But his scope isn’t really broad enough, is it? The universe is packed with such generalisations, harnessing received wisdom to propagate the myths of pseudo-truism. Dropped toast always lands butter-side-down, cats always land on their feet, decrepit billionaires always have hot young wives with plastic embellishments… and, as any ill-informed pub bore will tell you, the 911 is the only Porsche worth having.
These are the sort of dumbwads who’ll gleefully refer to any other model from the marque’s history as a ‘poor man’s Porsche’ – surely one of the most execrable phrases a person can utter. It’s absurd. The new Cayman GT4 could tan many a contemporary 911’s backside all day long, and this behaviour resonates through Stuttgart history. The much-maligned 924, for example, was actually a peach of a thing with a gorgeous chassis. (And if that pub bore berk uses the phrase ‘van engine’, be sure to grab him by the hair and rub his face in the complementary peanuts.) Its successor, the 944, was rather a rum cove too; a luxury-sports poppet with lusty, bigcapacity four-bangers and oodles of puppylike eagerness. It fairly strained at the leash to go horizon-chasing.
Of course, there will always be naysayers and negative nellies. The 911 fanciers (you know, the ones who’ve never actually driven them but have seen them on Top Gear) will still want to put the boot in to the poor, misunderstood 944. But sod that – life’s too short for that sort of negativity, so we’re cranking this argument up to the next level: behold, the Porsche 944 Evolution.
OK, sure, this isn’t a production-spec 944 – quite a long way from it, in fact – but you are reading a modified car mag after all, you knew exactly what you were getting into. What we’re looking at, in essence, is the final and definitive answer to the question of the 944’s credibility. What began as a car that was already of little trouble to the weighscales now finds itself liberally adorned with such ounce-shavers as carbon-fibre doors and polycarbonate windows, and its power output has spiraled to an otherworldly 505bhp at the wheels. There is much to trouble the laws of physics here.
When you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find two indelible words at its core like ‘Herne Bay’ through a stick of rock: Time Attack. And all suddenly swims into focus. ‘But wait – what exactly is Time Attack?’ we hear you ask. Well, that’s a good question, thanks for joining in. The answer, in short, is this: Time Attack grew from Japanese race cars of the 1960s, that were built to celebrate the art of the aftermarket tuner – the doors were open to everyone from low-budget home-spannerers to big-bucks corporate showcases, with everyone racing on, as it were, a level playing field. This is very much the ethos of the series today.
You just need to start with a production car as a project base, and then the tuning potential is near-limitless. Throw in a load of horsepower, tinker with the chassis and drivetrain, develop some custom aero, do whatever it takes to make the car as fast as it can physically be.
Time Attack today exists in numerous series across the globe, with competitors bracketed into various groups; ‘Clubman’, for instance, is a UK class for cars with basic modifications – rollcages are merely ‘recommended’… the ladder climbs through ‘Club Challenge’, ‘Club Pro’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Pro Extreme’, with the cars getting incrementally madder as you go. In essence, then, Time Attack is the dream series for aftermarket tuners – you can do pretty much what you like to the car without having to worry about a governing body disqualifying you for running the wrong thickness of head gasket or a frowned-upon diameter of air intake.
It follows, then, that cars built for this series tend to be somewhat on the bonkers side. But you’d deduced that from looking at the photos, hadn’t you?
This project is the work of Paul McKinnon and his team at Evolution Custom Industries (ECi). And it’s pretty obvious for anyone with the power of sight that they’re about as far removed as it’s possible to be from the day-to-day sensible-trousers efficiency of Stuttgart, and that’s quite possibly what allowed their trains of thought to go so very wild with this car. The company’s bread-and-butter comes from hot rods and custom bikes, but their extensive skills in fabrication meant that the creation of this feisty 944 Evo wasn’t too much of a stretch.
The car belongs to a customer of theirs, Patrick Garvan, who’d been quite happily using the car as a street-and-track dualpurpose machine until one unfortunate day when he spanged it into the wall at Sydney Motorsport Park, and a certain amount of remedial work was required. Employing an admirable ‘Why not?’ mentality, he decided to go all in with the build, eradicating the element of road-biased compromise and making the thing as fast as it could physically be. With sights firmly set on Time Attack, Patrick briefed ECi to just go nuts and see what happened.
…and what happened was, er, rather a lot. The car still runs its proper turbo four-pot motor (stroked from 2.5- to 3.1-litres not via a stroker crank, but a natty integrated deck plate and Darton sleeves), although it’s now stuffed with bona fi de race-bred kit – forged pistons, knife-edged crank, mind-boggling fueling, the works. It’s dry-sumped and ready to rock. The aforementioned peak power figure speaks for itself, really.
The most noticeable transformation, of course, concerns the body. Time Attack cars are famously extreme, designed to eke out every iota of downforce, and this 944 is no exception: a full-on widebody kit is joined by copious carbon-fibre, wings, splitters, canards, vents… it’s as subtle as being smacked in the head with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
Naturally, with this sort of vastly increased horsepower and downforce, some manner of chassis upgrades were called for, which is why you’ll find the 944’s guts bristling with whacking great Brembos, a 968 transaxle, Eibach springs on Moton shocks, and antiroll bars like a weightlifter’s wrist. The interior is equally businesslike, as you’d expect, with little more than a sturdy cage and a set of buckets and harnesses to spoil the clinical minimalism of the thing. Oh yeah, and there’s air-jacks underneath. Y’know, because race car.
So what does this all tell us about immutable truths and received wisdom? Well, quite simply, it’s all a load of cobblers. Sure, the 911 is a formidable machine, but it’s not the only option. Just ask Patrick Garvan; his 944 eats 911s for breakfast (quite possibly in a literal sense, it really is mad enough). And the scary thing is, given the relentlessly evolutionary nature of Time Attack, you can guarantee that he’s far from finished tinkering with it.
TECH SPEC: #Porsche-944-Turbo / #Porsche-944-Turbo-Tuned / #Porsche-944 / #Porsche / #Garrett / #Porsche-944-Evo
TUNING: 3.1-litre four cylinder turbo, integrated #Performance-Developments deck plate, line bored, pinned girdle, #ARP head studs, custom flywheel, #Cometic head gasket, knife-edged and balanced crank, Arrow rods, CP forged pistons, ported alloy race heads, Ferrera valves, titanium springs and retainers, CPE hydraulic camshaft, #Petersons 3-way dry sump, #Garrett-GTX3582r turbo, Turbosmart wastegate and BOV, #Bosch-HEC sequential ignition, #Motec-M400 management, #Bosch in-line fuel pumps, #Evolution-Custom Industries surge tank and 3-inch turbo-back exhaust, Porsche 968 6-Speed H-pattern transmission, CEP 4-1 stainless headers, custom 5-paddle race clutch, #KAAZ-LSD , custom transmission cooling system.
CHASSIS: 11.5x18-inch #Fiske-Mach-V in anodised black, Yokohama AO050 295/30 tyres, #Eibach springs with Moton Club Sport 2-way shocks, Tarrett anti-roll bar, 330mm discs (front) 298mm (rear), Brembo 4-pot calipers and PFC pads.
EXTERIOR: #Broadfoot-Racing front bumper, widebody kit by I.F.C., front splitter, D9 GTR headlights, Van Zweden carbon bonnet, custom carbon doors, custom wheel tubs, ducted cooling cores through bonnet, GT Racing rear guards, rear stock diff user, DJ Engineering rear spoiler, gloss black respray by Motographics.
INTERIOR: Cobra Evo seats, full rollcage, suede dash, Sparco harnesses, Motec SDL gauges and shift lights, Tilton pedal box, air jacks.
THANKS: Paul McKinnon @ Evolution Custom Industries, Buchanan Automotive, Dave McGrath @ Custom Engineered Performance, Neil Harvey @ Performance Developments, Mike Warner @ I.F.C. USA, Simon McBeath @ Aerodynamicist UK, all my friends and family - especially my longsuffering partner Helen.
There’s actually light aircraft with smaller wings… and the odd 747!
Designed to eke out every iota of downforce!
WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE THAT ENGINE?
This motor is, in short, a work of art. While it would have been easy to hoik out the stock lump and start afresh with something bigger or more modern, ECi have instead retained the 2.5-litre turbo engine and refined every individual element. It now displaces 3.1-litres, but instead of achieving this with a stroker crank it uses an integrated Performance Developments deck plate and Darton sleeves to increase bore and stroke. The crank has been knife-edged and mated to forged CP pistons and Arrow H-beam rods; at the opposite end we find extensive headwork with oversize Ferrea valves with titanium springs. Throw in the usual spiky cams, serious bolts, custom exhaust and chunky intercooler and you have a recipe for success. Oh yes, and the turbo… it’s a #Garrett-GTX3582R-turbo , which brings the twin guns of improved tractability and massive horsepower potential. The system’s designed to run E85 biofuel (there are three fuel pumps and massive 2000cc injectors), and Motec management keeps it all in check.
That, folks, is how you squeeze over 500bhp from a 944 engine. And that’s just for starters…
Huge 11.5x18-inch hoops get plenty of rubber on the tarmac
DRIVER: PATRICK GARVAN
So why a 944, Patrick, rather than a 911?
“Well, I did initially want a 911, but it was way out of budget. But after a chat with a Porsche mechanic, Bruce Buchanan, I learned that the 944 Turbo was an affordable choice with a lot of potential. The upgrade costs were more reasonable, and there was a lot more scope for modi¬fication.”
What inspired you to build a car for Time Attack?
“My original brief to ECi was to build a full-on door-to-door race car, but after evaluating the potential damage and repair costs, Time Attack made a lot more sense. I already had a bit of experience with it, and I also really like the format, with its more liberal rules and focus on aerodynamics.”
Ah yes, that aero - tell us about that.
“There’s a #DJ-Engineering rear wing, and a #Broadfoot-Racing front bumper with ECi’s own splitter; the pop-up headlights have been swapped out for flush D9 GTR items, and there’s various flics and canards – a piece from here, a piece from there, you know how it is.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGT Track Evening - Open Evening
The Drive-My summer track evening at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent proved a great success, drawing in a fine mix of Porsche cars. Story by Simon Jackson Photography: Rachel Johnston, Simon Jackson
Soon after the pandemonium of #Le-Mans , another thrilling track-based event took place back in June, and it too featured a brace of hard-charging Porsches. Brands Hatch in Kent was the venue for the Drive-My track evening, a gathering of like-minded Porsche enthusiasts (both participating and spectating) on a sunny Monday evening. A favourite amongst professional, club and amateur track drivers, the Brands Hatch Indy circuit was opened up for a field of Porsche cars at our exclusive event. With an open pit lane and a realistic decibel limit, the evening was an affordable one and proved popular with Porsche fans from all walks of life.
Taking to the track were both older and newer Porsche models, from track-biased #Porsche-944 s to fire-breathing GT3s, Boxsters, Caymans, 968s, air-cooled 911 SCs and water-cooled Carreras, which created a truly colourful and diverse sight on the Kent circuit’s glistening asphalt. After a briefing by the Brands Hatch team and a couple of sighting laps behind a safety car, the throng of Porsche cars present were free to take to the track, coming and going as they pleased throughout the evening.
At first the circuit was packed with the sound of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines, with every driver getting to grips with the famous venue’s layout. But as time passed the numbers on circuit dwindled, and those experienced hands wishing to push on were able to do so, with some impressive lines and committed treatment of the loud pedal. For the novices, of which there were several, this also provided breathing space with which to learn the circuit and how best to extract their car’s potential, pushing beyond that which would be possible on the road. Steadily growing in confidence, those new to circuit driving put in commendable performances gradually building pace and exploring different lines into the various corners.
As cars darted in and out of the pit lane, the garage complexes were abuzz with driver swaps and setup tweaks, those who had come merely to spectate were able to grab a cup of coffee from the track’s pit facilities and to sit and watch from wherever they pleased – even the pit wall itself. Cameras and smart phones were wielded by most in attendance, and it was great to see so many people enjoying their evening!
One thing that is wholly apparent from an evening such as this is the camaraderie and friendly nature of Porsche owners, with many swapping stories about their experiences on track, or simply chatting ‘Porsche’. This atmosphere prevailed on track too, with all drivers displaying admirable patience with one another and allowing room for fellow participants. We were glad to not witness any intimidating driving as can so often be the case, almost definitely the result of our evening being a ‘Porsche only’ event – no sign of pesky Caterhams or rude Radicals here! As the evening drew on, a hardcore mix of participants pounded around the track getting the most from their attendance. We saw everything from #Porsche-991 s to #Porsche-911SC s being driven as they were intended, but there were also some quick Caymans and Boxsters being put through their paces – these cars make such fantastic track day machines and are that bit cheaper to purchase and run than a #Porsche-911 . The sight of a few 968s went down well too, the model is known for its ability on track and the owners of these particular cars showed they knew exactly what they were doing displaying some nicely executed lines.
From the feedback we received everyone involved seemed to enjoy the experience, which means we hope to bring you similar events in the future, though bigger and better than anything we’ve tackled before. Keep a watchful eye on this space…
Below: Those in attendance received a free copy of #Drive-My and some just couldn’t wait until they got home to read their copy…
From 991s to #Porsche-968 s, there was a great variety of metal on track, and a good mix of #Porsche cars off track too…
We were glad to see a diverse mix of road (above) and track-orientated (below) machinery in attendance.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPORSCHE 924 SUPER TOURING
Long-distance racers and station-wagons? That’ll be #DP-Motorsport ! Back in #1981 , they specialised in slant-nosed 930 conversions and 935 endurance racecars. They also built eight Cargo shooting-brakes based on the 924 Turbo. Words: Johnny Tipler. Photography: Antony Fraser.
Sports estates: style icons or practical load carriers? Just how valid are they, based on models designed for speed and sport? I’m not so sure, given that I can accommodate a five-piece drum kit in a 911, and a comprehensive Lidl shop aboard a Boxster. This is true of a frontengined Porsche too, and that suggests an estate-bodied sports GT is merely an aesthetic evolution or spinoff without any real practical benefit. Fair enough, then. But this Porsche station-wagon is not only a looker, it has an intriguing provenance too. Say hello to the DP Motorsport #Porsche-924-Turbo-Cargo .
We’ve braved the wintry North Sea crossing aboard Stena’s luxury liner, and we’re viewing the car at Johan Dirickx’s 911Motorsport garage near Antwerp, Belgium. Set amongst a coterie of supremely indifferent 911 RSs, it’s an unusual object, though sleek and individual enough to hold its own, cheeky monkey. You get the feeling though that Johan is tolerant of it, rather than effusive. ‘It’s kind of cute looking, it drives well, and it’s something rather special and distinctive,’ he admits.
The maker’s prefix gives the game away. Partly: DP Motorsport made its name producing slant nose bodies for the twinturbo 935 racing cars – notably the Kremer K3 and K4 run by Kremer Racing in the late-’70s and early-’80s, Le Mans winners with Klaus Ludwig and the Whittington brothers in 1979. Serious pieces of kit, as are the prototype bodyshells that DP produce today for race teams and specialists, alongside more frivolous fare such as cosmetic ancillaries like mirrors, wings and spoiler kits for production Porsches. Back in 1981, this expertise enabled DP to create its take on the sports estate, based on the 924 Turbo, which they endowed with the optimistic though no doubt tongue-in-cheek nomenclature, the Cargo. ‘I always loved shooting-brakes,’ says Johan, ‘and I thought it was a fun idea to make a sportscar into a shooting-brake. As we’ve seen more recently, Porsche played around with the Panamera as a shooting-brake, so it’s a kind of style that people seem to like; but actually there’s not much more room in this than there would be in an ordinary 924.’
Of course, its flared-out wheelarches reminds us straight away of the 924 Carrera GT of 1980, essentially a 924 Turbo with glassfibre-reinforced polyurethane wings and valances, though in fact it’s less fussy, with just the single NACA duct in the bonnet and fewer slats and vents. Johan used to own a pukka 924 Carrera GTS, and out of interest he put the wheels of that car onto the 924 Cargo and discovered the body was significantly slimmer than the GTS’s. ‘Basically it’s a 924 Turbo that Ekkehard Zimmerman widened to get the look of a 924 GTS, but when we measured it we noticed that it’s much smaller.’ Finished in sober silver, it’s easy to mistake it for a 944 today, so accustomed are we to the broad flanks of the front-engined Porsche. That’s when viewed from the front. But where do you look for inspiration for the lift-up tailgated rear?
Sure, there’ve been a few precedents over the years, most notably the #Reliant-Scimitar-GTE ; you might recall the Triumph TR4 Dove, the Volvo 1800ES and the Sunbeam Harrington Alpine; or perhaps the Aston Martin DB6 and DBS Estates, and the Jensen-Healey GT, Lotus Elite Type 75, Gilbern Invader GTE and the Jaguar XJS Lynx Eventer also spring to mind. Some might cite the Kamm-tailed Ferrari 250GT ‘Breadvan’ as a stylistic cue, although that never had any pretentions as a load carrier.
As you’d expect, Porsche itself was not oblivious to the concept. In 1984, Dr Ferry Porsche was presented with a one-off 928S station wagon for his birthday, which is on display in the factory museum, by which time the DP Motorsport Cargo had been on the streets for four years. But Porsche was never seriously tempted to make an estate version of their other front-engined cars.
That left the way clear for aftermarket tuners to take up the baton – two in particular. On your marks, Ekkehard Zimmermann, founder of Overath- (Cologne) based DP Motorsport, and Günther Artz of Autohaus Nordstadt in Hanover. The Zimmerman estate cars were based on the #Porsche-924-Turbo and 944, while Artz targeted the 944 and 928 as well. Artz was slightly more prolific, creating maybe twenty 924 Turbo estates to DP Motorsport’s nine. While DP Motorsport is best known for its renditions of the 930 in slant-nose 935 guise, Artz was more catholic in his choice of subject matter, even creating a mid-engined VW Beetle on a 914/6 chassis and a Mk 1 VW Golf on a 928 shell. Artz’s 924 Combi aped the 924 Carrera GT’s rear wheelarches, and cost Dm63K (£23,500) in 1981.
Founded in 1973, DP Motorsport (the initials stand for Design und Plastik) is still going strong, run by Ekkehard’s son Patrick, prototyping bodyshells for racecars and specialists and creating and supplying accessories such as mirrors and spoilers for most Porsche sports models.
As well as the Le Mans win, DP Motorsport milestones include the Kremer K4, Kremer CK5 Group C car, the DP 935 II, a road-going 962 in 1991, and the twinturbo 996 DP5 of 2005. ‘Zimmerman was an aerodynamic genius,’ vouchsafes Johan, ‘and he developed the aerodynamics of the 935s. He made the bodies for Kremer Racing, and he made the DP 930s, the 935s, the Kremer K1, K2, and K3, which were all an evolution of the theme, and there was a very intense collaboration between Zimmerman and Kremer. And in that respect the 924 Cargo, which was produced at pretty much the same time, has a rather interesting pedigree because if you put it alongside the 1979 Le Mans winning K3 you have the same logo and the same development.’
I spoke with Patrick Zimmerman, son of DP founder Ekkehard, to find out how the Cargo was made. ‘We first developed small modification parts for customers who wanted to embellish their vehicles, such as front spoiler, rear rack and sills, and as interest grew we expanded our program to include full fronts, wings with half sills, large rear tail panel, bonnet and doors. For the 924 and 944 Cargo, the entire roof, tailgate, side panels, B-pillar, C-pillar and tailgate inner frame were modelled as a clay buck and pared away to achieve the desired styling.’ More fundamentally, the rear roof panel and tailgate section is mounted on a steel subframe with corners braced across the angles, and welded onto the base 924 shell. Each car took around four months to build, and that included fabricating the cabin upholstery in-house as well.
The initial idea to create a 924 Combi was Ekkehard Zimmermann’s. ‘We built a total of nine Cargos,’ Patrick explains, ‘and two or three of those were 944s, done around #1988 .’ So at least six were 924 Turbos. ‘We would only modify the 924 Turbo engine and suspension if asked to do so by the customer.’ The first DP 924 Cargo’s design received TüV approval, which worked for the rest of the series. Some DP Motorsport cars have a DP VIN plate, some have a Porsche VIN plate, which is what our subject car presents. Chassis number is WPOZZZ93ZCN100203.
DP Motorsport took commissions from owners who fancied the shooting-brake look, rather than buying into a new car on a speculative basis. According to Patrick Zimmerman, one reason for the popularity of sports station wagons was Scandinavia’s idiosyncratic tax laws. Sports cars attracted high taxes as luxury vehicles, whereas a Combi was taxed as a truck. However, at £13,101 on top of the purchase price of the 924 Turbo it was an expensive conversion in the first place. The later 944 S2-based dp44 version created in 1988 is conceptually similar, using the rear roof section of the VW Passat Variant as the basis for the conversion, supported on a similar tubular steel subframe as the 924 Cargo’s to provide structural rigidity.
Like other specialists including Ruf and TechArt, DP Motorsport would take on a client’s newly acquired car and get to work on it. ‘I think this one was already converted from new,’ says Johan, ‘because it was first registered in Belgium and when the car was new you could not cut it up and then register it afterwards, so I think the car was like this from new because it was a unique homologation to get it on the road back then. It’s pretty well built, too,’ he reflects; ‘it’s all good quality and you wouldn’t think of it as being a kit car, you’d rather assume that it was built in the factory as a prototype.’ The conversion appears not to have affected the weight of the car at all. According to the documentation, the Cargo tips the scales at 1500kg, and the gross weight of a standard 924 Turbo was the same; odd, in view of the polyurethane panels.
Our feature 924 Cargo was first registered on 11 September 1981. Two years ago, Johan’s curiosity was aroused by the red dp44 on DP Motorsport’s website when he was considering buying a slantnose 930. ‘They told me they still had a Cargo kit available to build another one, so I was thinking of commissioning the transformation of my 968 Club Sport into a Cargo, and then my mechanic Joe (Pinter) told me there was this silver 924 version for sale in Belgium. It was standing in a junkyard, and apparently the owner was about to move to Majorca and was clearing out. I bought it basically because I wanted to make a service vehicle for the garage out of it, but actually as a service car it just doesn’t quite make it! The idea was to drive it around and to service our clients when they were doing a rally, carrying material in the back, but it’s not really big enough.’
Johan walks me round the car, and we tap the panels to identify those which are polyurethane and which are steel. The roof is half and half: the original section over the two main seats is steel and rearwards from the B-pillar it’s polyurethane. ‘They cut the original shell away across here and bonded on the flat rear section to create the estate car look,’ observes Johan. ‘If you look very carefully you can see the line across the roof where both parts have been bonded together. You can see where it looks to be rippling slightly.’ The front and rear wings (fenders), valances at both ends, the rear tailgate, all are polyurethane. The doors are steel, as is the bonnet, and that seems quite odd in itself, because if you are going to the trouble of making polyester wings, roof and front panel, then why not make a polyester engine lid? A ‘secret’ button in the driver’s door frame opens the rear hatch, which swings smartly upwards on powerful hydraulic dampers. The cargo deck is neatly carpeted in the same piled fabric that clads the rest of the cabin, and there’s a hatch to a cubby box in the floor and another ‘smuggler’s box’ behind the right wheelarch. A semi-circular hump indicates where the spacesaver spare wheel is housed within the left rear panel behind the inner wheelarch. ‘It’s nicely finished; it’s not what you would call a kit car finish.’ The fuel filler is located in the right-hand rear Cpillar. As for the roof bars, we are sceptical that they would support a packed Thule topbox, and a surfboard would impede the rear hatch opening. Probably ornamental, then. We open the bonnet. It’s a stock 924 Turbo 2.0-litre straight-four, all pipes shiny and clean and very well presented, having been removed in Johan’s workshop while the car was overhauled. ‘We rebuilt the transaxle gearbox, the rear diff, the brakes, but we didn’t do the suspension because I thought it was good enough, and we didn’t do the engine because I thought that was good, too.’
One of the most prominent features is the five-spoke star-shape German-made AZEV wheels, shod with Hankook 265/40ZR17 tyres on the back and 215/45ZR17 on the front. Johan isn’t impressed. ‘If I keep the car I will put it on Fuchs wheels, but it’s registered with those wheels and I keep them on because every year it has to go back for the MOT and if I put on other wheels they make a real hassle of it. These are 17in diameter, and I want to put on 16in Fuchs wheels but the car is only homologated with these.’ The angle of the front wheels displays a large degree of negative camber, and Johan thinks the suspension must have originally been a little higher than it is now: ‘but it is typically ’80s, and I suppose that was the way we thought our cars should look back then. Now I’ll order adjustable suspension so we can change right height and stiffness, and I think it will be maybe two centimetres higher than it is right now.’
Being a 924 Turbo, the steering wheel doesn’t adjust and it doesn’t have power steering, but in practice it feels pretty good. I’m not conscious of being in the normal 924 seating position, and instead I’m sitting pleasantly low. It’s not like the normal ’70s car where you have to adapt to the seating position. The aftermarket RS-style wheel helps here, and it doesn’t rest on my thighs like the standard one would. The seats look more like 911 items, maybe 930 Turbo, which could fit with DP’s penchant for delivering extravagant 930s and making standard seats redundant. ‘They have the big bulges on the sides, and they look good with the Porsche logo striping,’ says Johan.
The rear seats fold down to make a flat cargo deck, and they also have the Porsche script on them; I think they are probably reupholstered 924 seats. ‘All interior panels are polyester, clad in leatherette, and they are different from the original ones – just check the ribbing on the inner door panels – so DP made those too.’ It’s got electric windows but no sunroof, perhaps because of the dual material roof. All the cabin furniture is present, down to the console ashtray, the switchgear and Blaupunkt radio, and the handbrake is low down on the left of the driving seat. The instrumentation is comprehensive enough, if dated looking: it is simply a typical manifestation of the early 1980s.
Let’s see how this Cargo car goes. The steering’s not too heavy, and you don’t need power steering to move it around, and it manoeuvres pretty well at low speed. I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice the driving position is, the seats are supportive and comfortable, and it’s a neat RS-style wheel, so that on the move, even without power steering, it’s actually very easy to drive and I do rather like it. The urge from the turbo is pretty lively. I’ve got the pop-up headlights on, which helps me locate where the front of the car is, helping pinpoint apexes when turning in. The brakes are firm if not dramatic, though there’s not much feel through the pedal, while the accelerator is decently responsive. The ride over the Belgian pavé cobbles is juddery, as you’d expect, but not so uncomfortable for the passenger. The tiny racing mirrors are not great looking, especially in the context of an estate car, and are not terribly effective in practice. I have to peer into them to actually see anything very much, so I’m relying on ther main internal mirror. There’s a new gearbox selector gate to learn as well, because of the dogleg 1st gear, though I’m familiar enough with the concept from driving early 911s. But this is like a #Porsche-924 or #Porsche-944 gearbox but with a dogleg gate, and though one quickly becomes familiar with it, it does give quite a different impression of the way the car drives. First is easy enough to locate, though, and the ratios are decently spaced for regular motoring. I’m using between 2,000rpm and 4,000rpm during normal progress, and on the country lanes I don’t need really more than 3,000rpm. But for getting the best acceleration out of it I’m going up to 4,000rpm when the turbo chimes in and it really does feel like a sports car. This is a funky little car indeed to drive; it’s quick and its rasping four-cylinder engine provides decent performance once the turbocharger comes into play. Handling is equally competent: there’s no body roll, and it steers properly and responds to throttle induced under- and oversteer, cornering with confidence. The wide tyres provide decent grip and there’s no tramlining effect. It’s a great drive, and seems more nimble than a 944.
When we arrived at Kontich to shoot the Cargo, Johan was deeply ambivalent about whether to keep it or not. His backup plan was to trade it against his “Happy People” Per Eklund rally 911, and mechanic Mike van Dingenen had scrupulously overhauled it to that end. ‘I think it will grow on me over a couple of thousand kilometres,’ he says, ‘so I might as well take it apart and have the engine overhauled.’ As I whizz it to and fro on our photoshoot route for the benefit of Antony’s lenses, Johan watches attentively. I can’t claim my wheelsmanship sways him particularly, but the spectacle does concentrate his mind. ‘I’m definitely going to hang onto it,’ he declares. ‘It will also benefit from more modern suspension; we’ll raise it a little bit and just have fun with it. It’s a little period piece, very ’80s, so it’s very much a symbol of my youth!’ Whether he regresses and takes up playing the drums on account of it is another matter entirely.
CONTACTS: Stena Line, Harwich to Hook-of- Holland: stenaline.co.uk 911Motorsport Blauwesteenstraat 122 2550 Kontich Belgium Tel: 0032 (0) 475 270 404 Web: 911motorsport.be Email: info@911motorsport.Be
Above: Looks great on the road! Left: 924 Turbo engine puts out 170bhp. In reality, load area isn’t much more than in standard 924, although there is a good deal more height. Interior is standard 924 Turbo, but with later steering wheel and 911 seats.
DP Motorsport specialises in plastic mouldings and one off components, so no surprise that the custom made panels are exactly that, or polyurethane to be accurate. The roof panel is half polyurethane, as are the front and rear flared arches and the front and rear aprons.
They cut the original shell and bonded on the flat rear section to create the estate car look, says Johan.
Each 924 Cargo took DP Motorsport four months to build in their Overath workshops. A total of nine were built.
Left: DP Motorsport logo is familiar, while ‘cargo’ logo is typical of the period. Deep dish AZEV wheels have always suited the 924/944 well. NACA duct in the bonnet feeds intercooler.
It’s kind of a stubby looking thing, but very modern looking given its early ’80s build. Handsome too, and you can’t but think that Porsche could have flogged a few of these had they built something similar.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWho said we don’t feature proper performance cars? Certainly not Caste Systems Performance; we have its #VW-Golf Mk3 here and it goes pretty damn well… Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Josh Brown.
We’re not too sure when it started, or even what started it, but we’ve become a little bit obsessed with drag racing here in the PVW office of late. When we say obsessed we mean that not a day goes by that one of us doesn’t call everyone else over to watch a video found on YouTube of something ridiculous doing something equally ridiculous up a quarter-mile strip of Tarmac somewhere. Perhaps it’s all to do with the fact that Elliott and I have been really trying to push the performance side of the magazine over the last couple of years. While we appreciate everything the VW scene has to offer, it’s the ‘proper’ cars that have always been our bread and butter over the years, even if our own project cars don’t always reflect that (did I mention my 700bhp Rallye build recently? ~ Ell).
It was on one of our daily YouTube hunts for anything new from the likes of the Bitburg event in Germany, the VWDRC here in the UK and the Texas Mile that we stumbled across a Mk3 Golf built by a shop in New Jersey called Caste Systems Performance. The black three-door hatch didn’t look pretty – the best drag cars never do – but the way it went down the track when the lights turned green definitely made up for it. After some more digging around we discovered that it was powered by a 2.5-litre five-cylinder, the engine fitted to the Mk5 Rabbits and Jettas in the US (not to be confused with that fitted to the TTRS), albeit a bargain basement five-pot with an enormous turbo bolted on the side of it! Fast-forward a few months, okay, almost a year as it turned out, and we met up with the Caste Systems Performance team at Waterfest last summer to get up close and personal with what the guys reckon might just be the world’s fastest #VW 2.5T.
“I was actually looking for an older Audi shell first as I wanted to use the quattro four-wheel drive,” Caste Systems Performance’s headhoncho James Castellano said. “But then I thought it would be cooler to do a Mk3 so we would have four-, five- and six-cylinder Mk3s running together in the Lugtronic drag racing team.”
Caste Systems Performance (CSP) has been up and running for a decade now, after James left his day gig at a Porsche performance workshop. Originally an air-cooled guy, it wasn’t until his water-cooled-loving buddy Ben came on-board that James started playing around with the later cars. “My father and grandfather owned a used car lot that we affectionately call Pistol Pete’s Used Car Coral so I’ve always been around cars. When I was six my dad got a #1968 Bug for us to drive around in the lot,” James recalled. “My favourite movies back then were the Herbie films so, of course, we painted it like the car in the film. It always broke down so I had to learn to fix it. I’ve still got it today, too, only now it’s #Alpine white with early-1960s panels. I built a 2.1-litre motor on standalone management and ITBs for it and converted it to RHD, too.”
Back to the present day, however, and Caste Systems Performance, now a successful business doing both maintenance work and big builds of all kinds, was looking for a suitable Mk3 to go racing with. “As it turned out, I rebuilt a customer’s transmission and fitted a diff in exchange for the Mk3 which, just to annoy the purists that little bit more, was a sought-after Highline model,” James stated. “The first job was to remove everything that could be removed and replace items with lighter, lowerspec bits from the Mk3 gene pool. Our apprentice was converting his four-cylinder Mk3 in to a VR6 so I swapped the four-lug parts with him and anything else we could that was off the base model. Of course, out came the power windows, locks, the interior… all that stuff.”
The decision to run the Mk5 Jetta’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder was one that started out as most good ideas do: from the desire to be different. “We didn’t want to do a 1.8T or VRT swap as both are pretty common swaps and Ben and I liked the idea of doing something different, plus the 2.5s are dirt cheap to buy,” James explained. “We also thought that the fivecylinder might be a good swap for people to do but after fitting one first-hand we realised there wasn’t going to be a Mk3/2.5 sub-forum on Vortex any time soon!”
James’s plan was to run a 02A gearbox with custom ratio dog-leg gears – a far stronger setup than anything the Mk3 came out the factory with. Bolting the 02A to the five-cylinder was a relatively simple task, too, with the bellhousing being the only thing that needed a touch of adjustment work doing to it so that it would clear the timing covers. “I used the transmission and engine centre line and transmission mount as a starting point and essentially just slotted it in and out to figure out how much of the right-hand frame rail needed to be removed to clear the motor,” James explained. “Then, once that was cut and boxed in, I had to fabricate custom rear and front engine mounts so we could still use the stock Mk3 mounting points. This was probably the hardest part as it was right at the beginning and it’s such a tedious job taking the engine in and out countless times to measure everything up time and time again so it all sits right.”
Of course, with the car being destined for the quarter-mile, the Rabbit’s 07K motor was not going to be just bolted in as it was. In went 83mm 9.5:1 JE pistons, IE Tuscan rods (now R&R aluminium billet rods), Ferrea intake and exhaust valves, IE springs, retainers, ARP fasteners and a set of prototype camshafts. The next stage of the engine build was to make sure the motor was adequately fed with fuel and air so a Weldon fuel pressure regulator, Injector Dynamics 2200 injectors, an IE fuel rail, a Precision intercooler, duel Bosch fuel pumps and a five-gallon aluminium fuel cell were added. As the saying goes, power is nothing without control, so in an attempt to keep the Mk3 in as straight a line as possible, a custom-shimmed Peloquin diff was chosen. The bit that grabs your eye when you look at the motor, though, is undoubtedly the massive turbo and intricate manifold setup that mounts the turbo off to the side. “The turbo is a Precision 67/66 item, which is basically the smallest turbo you can run in the class we race in,” James explained. “It came up for sale used and I figured I’d buy it and then upgrade later. Two years later the car went into the eights on that turbo, the second car ever to do so as far as I’m aware. Like the four-cylinders, the 2.5 sits angled backwards in the bay so there’s not much space behind the motor. Ben convinced me to make my own side-winder header. It was certainly fun trying to figure out the maths to make a five-into-one collector.
“The car hasn’t been on a dyno, it’s only ever been street and track tuned. According to ET calculations it makes 1050whp. It seems anything over 850whp is difficult to put down on a dyno anyway.”
Of course, drag racing is more than just throwing a load of power at a car and keeping your fingers crossed, not if you want to win or stay in a straight line between the barriers anyway. There’s a whole lot of chassis and aerodynamic work, too, stuff that often gets overlooked. “We have an acronym at CSP: WWMMD. It stands for ‘what would Mark Morris do?’. He’s a good friend who really knows his stuff and he’s always pushed the idea of improving weight and aerodynamics on the build from the start,” James explained. So Mk2 Golf front control arms were drafted in to pull the tyres further in-board while the front bumper was widened and a #Porsche-944 front downforce spoiler was affixed to try and keep the front end planted.
The main aims of all the bodywork modifications were simple: to reduce drag and weight. Hence the drilled rear bumper and the smoothed and widened front end. “You would be amazed at the difference even relatively small things make,” James explained. “For example, we had previously already built a bumper up. With it on the car was running low 9s. On the first pass with the new aero bumper the car picked up nearly 5mph, which is a massive difference.” The front subframe is a custom item, built in-house with solid mounts. CSP also fabricated a set of traction and weight bars, too. The wheels? No fancy chrome-plated intricate designs here, just a set of 9x13” Weld drag wheels up front and a pair of 3.5x15” skinnies out back.
Inside things look, well, pretty normal actually. “The class we race in has the rule that you need a full interior,” James explained. “So that’s what I have: dashboard, headliner, doorcards, the lot.” In fact, if it wasn’t for the enormous ten-point roll-cage and the pair of Kirkey racing seats it would look almost totally stock. It’s even got a Mk1 GTI steering wheel and stock (albeit Mk3.5- spec) clocks and a 02J shifter. “There’s been a lot of weight reduction work done behind the dash and doorcards, though,” James smiled. So enough of the spec, come on James, how fast does it go? After all, that’s kind of the point here. “The car’s best time is 8.92sec at 172mph. Then, on the next pass, it backed this up with a 8.99sec at 171mph,” he said proudly. “Considering I don’t have any drag racing experience other than driving this car, I think it’s pretty good so far! The car’s not done. I’d like to take another 100lbs out of it if I can and go faster.”
James tells us that he’s also just finished his latest road car project, too: a R36-powered Mk4 R32 with fully functioning FSI: “I was considering buying the Mk7 Golf R estate but when #VW said it wasn’t going to come to the US I figured I’d build the R I wanted: a Mk4 R36. Although I do have a weird desire to put the engine in a Delorean and do all the Back to the Future cosmetics to it one day…”
Bizarre R36-powered Delorean or not, there’s no denying that there is some seriously trick metal coming out of Caste Systems Performance at the moment. If you’re ever on the East Coast of the US and are able to attend an event where the CSP Mk3 is racing, we strongly recommend you do it. Or, if you’re like us, you can always make do with YouTube videos. Just make sure you turn the volume up…
Things might get serious out on the strip but James and the lads at Caste Systems Performance always managed to have a laugh during their weekends at the track.
“The class we race in has the rule that you need a full interior. So that’s what I have: dashboard, headliner, doorcards the lot”
“The car went into the eights on the turbo, the second car ever to do so as far as I’m aware”
Dub Details #VW-Golf-III #Volkswagen
ENGINE: Stock 2007 Jetta 07K block/head, stock 07K forged crankshaft, JE 83mm 9.5:1 pistons, IE Tuscan rods (previously – now R&R aluminum billet rods), Ferrea intake/exhaust valves, IE custom shimmed springs/retainers, IE prototype camshafts, stock main and rod bearings, ARP fasteners all-round, CSP Sidewinder turbo manifold, CSP intake manifold, CSP downpipe with dump tube, A/C delete, custom dual alternator pulley, Precision 6766 BB turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, Injector Dynamics 2200 injectors, IE fuel rail, Weldon fuel pressure regulator, Precision intercooler, 3” intercooler pipework, CSP catch can mounted in the rain tray, dual #Bosch 044 fuel pumps, five-gallon aluminium fuel cell, custom ratio 02A four-speed dogbox provided by Lugtronic, Peloquin custom shimmed diff, Clutchmasters FX725 twin disc and flywheel, DSS axles, Lugtronic ECU, CSP/Zarpspeed wiring harness.
CHASSIS: Weld 9x13” drag wheels (front) and 3.5x15” skinnies (rear), Mk2 front control arms, polybushed, ALRD camber plates, CSP custom front subframe with solid body mounts, CSP custom traction and weight bars, BFI Stage 2 engine and transmission mounts, stock front 10.1 brakes and pads, CSP rear axle beam with polybushing, stock rear discs with Mk4 calipers, hydraulic staging brake, tunnel plated off.
EXTERIOR: Custom shaved and widened front bumper, Porsche 944 downforce spoiler, cut stock wings, sunroof, tray and motor deleted, rear bumper gutted and drilled.
INTERIOR: All stock interior panels and headliner, Mk1 GTI steering wheel, Kirkey racing seats, tenpoint chrome-alloy roll-cage, stock dash, Mk3.5 cabriolet cluster, 02J shifter.
SHOUT: I have to thank my family foremost. I can’t thank my parents enough for allowing CSP to start out of their home garage and supporting my dreams no matter how unconventional they may have seemed. My grandpa for encouraging me to build my first engine, some days it goes between thanks and cursing. My grandma, Mimi, for her support. CSP also would never exist without Ben Zarpentine (let alone the electrical help he’s provided for this car). Thanks to Cecco Deodino, Kevin Black, Mark Morris, Todd Pavics, Tim Mullen, Frankie Criner, anyone who has helped out at the track, Adam Andersen, Lou Alegria, Chris Alegria, Woozy, Al, John LaFrancois and all of the LHVA, Nyol and Junior Parmanan, Duke, Brian and Skyelight Autobody, Corey for the company name, Pete and Dave at Integrated Engineering, Clutchmasters, Lugtronic, Tony and Northside Imports, and anyone I forgot – thank you!
Lose the slicks, decals and the orange hood, paint the intercooler black and this could be the ultimate sleeper… ever!
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFORGE OF EMPIRES
When your family business makes some of the finest #VAG tuning parts on the face of the planet, and your old man and work colleagues recently shifted the scene with their awesome Berg-inspired Mk1, how do you bring your very first car into the world? For Forge’s Zac Miles, he turned everything to ‘11’ in a bid to carve his own mark on the show scene with a purity of vision that belies his tender years. Words: Paul Cowland Photos: Nick Williams (NWVT.co.uk)
I don’t know about you, but my first car didn’t look anything as good as this. It was from the right factory though; a #1972 #VW-Beetle from Wolfsburg, but as for the condition and execution, it was as you would expect for a 17 year old’s first hack. All there, but a little rough around the edges. Still, it got me to work, to shows and all manner of other fun activities, so it can’t have been all bad. For Zac Miles, however, things were to be very different.
As the son of Forge Motorsport founder, Pete Miles, Zac has been immersed in the world of high-level show cars and computer-fed machining since he was small enough to bounce on his dad’s knee. So when it came to buying and fettling his first ride, he had a clear vision in his head, and he was prepared to work hard to achieve it. And that’s something to bear in mind as you read this tale too; don’t go thinking this is a case of daddy’s boy being given the keys to the parts cupboard and company chequebook and told to knock himself out. Nope, I have watched this build from the start, and I can tell you that every single mod has involved Zac’s own money – and considerable amounts of his own blood and sweat in making it happen. The only advantage he has really had along the way is a decent sized workshop to play in and a team of very supportive people around him to lend a hand and spur him on.
The tale starts in a reassuringly familiar way. Father and son buy an old VW with a view to junior learning the family craft over a few familial welding/bonding/cuppatea moments. This particular Mk1 was bought liberally doused in orange paint and with more than enough filler generously sprinkled around each panel to cause a major re-think. It didn’t takeZac long to learn his trade through stripping off the original shoddy metalwork along with his honorary ‘Polish Dad’, Waldemar Pieczonka, and then steaming into a full refit with #VW Heritage panels to get the old girl ship-shape and super-straight. While they were at it, the duo smoothed the bay; adding an inch of steel to the suspension turrets (a tip from Berg Cup fabber, Luke), de-seaming the chassis legs and welding over flat panels.
Underneath, the legs were also notched, to allow the track rods and driveshafts to still clear on a super-low ride height. This may have been Zac’s first motor, but he had eyes on air-ride from the very beginning.
With a straight-ish set of panel-work and a welded and tidy bay, under Luke’s watchful eyes Zac then began to learn the black art of bodywork, carefully skimming small amounts of filler to get the Golf’s flanks arrow straight, before learning how to prime and guide coat the body to get those crisp Giugiaro lines looking exactly the way the great man envisaged. As level as the Bonneville salt flats, it was then passed over to Adam Speck at Blade Garage to expertly splash on several coats of the stunning Stratos blue that now grace the Golf’s panels.
Although, the end result wasn’t at all the colour that Zac thought that he was getting! “It wasn’t the shade I thought it was going to be,” he grimaces, “but it didn’t take me much more than a few minutes to completely fall in love with the colour. It’s more vivid than we had planned, but having lived with the results for a few months, it actually turned out to be a happy accident!”
The mint shell was then ready for fitting out, with the first job being a set of mahoosive six- pot brakes, that use a sexy CNC caliper and a race-quality two-piece semi-floating disc and bell – measuring in at an impressive 286mm. It’s probably overkill for this car but no-one ever got into trouble with brakes that were too good, did they? Forge has drawn heavily on the knowledge it’s gained of the marque after nearly three decades of tuning excellence and used it brilliantly. The calipers are machined from a solid aluminium 7075 high-grade billet and use heavy duty weather seals to make them a roadfriendly kit, even in the depths of a British winter.
Discs are track-quality and utilise separate bells for optimum heat dissipation, meaning that the kit can easily cope with repeated hard applications without fade. It may be the smallest kit that Forge has ever produced, but like the diminutive Golf itself, it punches above its weight. Out back, Zac sensibly upped the ante of the factory stoppers with Mk2 Golf stub axles, and all new parts all- round. Topped off with a custom set of Hosetechnik braided lines from Forge’s sister company, this was a package ready to stop a train.
The exhaust was next up, and that was down to Forge’s good buddies at Scorpion to sort. A custom system and bracketry was duly fabricated by the Forge team, using component parts supplied by Scorpion, terminating in a wonderfully period-perfect DTM tailpipe and hung on custom bracketry. This is a system that sounds every bit as good as it looks, and when mated to the cleaned and tidied lump that came with the car, things were looking very neat indeed on the drivetrain side of things.
Air Lift provided the suspension with the first kit of its kind in the UK. With plenty of thought going into the fit, Zac’s Golf now has 5” of available travel to its name, meaning it can ride low for scene and show points, or crest speed-bumps without breaking a sweat. Better still, being one of Air Lift’s ingenious ‘indexed’ systems, it can be easily set a precise ride height to allow the suspension geometry to be perfected – and tyre scrub to be banished to a distant memory.
After these items of major surgery, Zac and the Forge team were able to start creating gorgeous little details. Notice the hand-fabbed bumper end caps on the new Heritage bumpers? A great example of what Forge’s talented techs can knock up in a lunchtime or three for beer money – and a wonderful way to reinforce the firm’s reputation for being able to make almost anything out of aluminium! Much work was done here by Zac’s long-suffering colleagues Luke and Rudi. While we are on the subject of neat details, did you spot the Porsche door handles and glovebox lock? Or the bonnet stay and custom Forge Golf Ball gear knob? This is a car that rewards every close inspection with a new find.
For a car that was going to be sitting millimetre-perfect, wheel choice was to be essential. Despite initially thinking about a ‘sensible’ set, cost-wise, Zac quickly had a change of heart. “I saw a set of Rotiform VCEs on a car at Players and I had to think again!” he laughs. “It’s such an instant classic, that wheel. I knew that it would be the perfect choice for the Golf.” Keeping everything in proportion was also a consideration from the outset. Nothing looks worse than a rim that’s clearly too big for the recipient vehicle, so Zac and the Rotiform team started hatching a plan around a set of staggered 16 inchers. “Working out the offset took more than a little head-scratching,” explains Zac. “I knew that we could get a considerable tyre stretch to allow a decent tuck, but I also wanted a fair amount of poke from the rims, too. Then there was the factor of the Forge Big Brake kit up front, which meant we were limited as to what we could achieve, without fouling those big calipers.”
Between the two companies though, this number-crunching was soon sorted, resulting in a perfectly statured 7” front and 8” rear combination which would clear the brakes without issue and allow for a super low stance. Augmenting this would be a carefully chosen set of deliberately mis-matched rubber to allow Zac to get the Mk1 sitting on a dime. This had to be made up of a set of super-narrow 165/40/16 Nankangs out front – as very few manufacturers make this size – and a pair of Toyo T1Rs out back in 195/40/16 flavour. “I wouldn’t normally mix a set of tyres like this on a car,” say Zac. “But I just had to do it this time in order to get the right rubber rake and stance combination.”
Getting them fitted would be down to a brave soul called Ben at Tyre and Battery in Hempstead who had to use the ‘cheater’ to blow them on. It’s not so easy getting a skinny 165 on to a fat 7” rim… even if the end result makes kit all completely worthwhile.
More details followed; worried about a colour clash between the new lairy blue hue and the factory green tinted glass, Zac sensibly opted for a brand, spanking new set of all-clear windows to keep a sharp, clean contrast. It’s a detail that few will notice, but it does add to the overall impact of the car, and it’s a hat-tip for those that seek out the smallest details in a show car.
Speaking of which, this VW was never going to run with its factory pews either, especially not with the Dunsford clan of Cobra Seats fame being so close to the Miles family. A few phone calls and chats later and Zac had settled on a pair of Cobra’s delightful Misano S perches. These bad boys are universally admired and loved across a variety of scenes and have been fitted in everything from Bentley Continentals to high-spec 1200bhp Nissan GT-Rs. Class works anywhere, and these seats are the proof. The Misano uses a rather sexy hybrid composite steel construction, with a polished stainless steel chassis and a high gloss composite backrest for looks that work in almost any Dub, but Zac wanted a little more integration than that, so had the back-rests colour-coded by bodywork painter Adam to tie the inside and outside together. A stunning combination of softgrain Nappa leather and Alcantara, coupled with carefully selected blue stitching in Bentley diamond effect would fit the bill.
Seats this good were always going to look a little out of place against a careworn Wolfsburg dashboard and interior fittings, so Zac also had team Cobra run their sewing machines over pretty much everything else that he could unbolt from the interior. The dash, centre console and arm rests, headliner and even steering wheel all got beautifully upholstered too, giving the Golf an interior demeanour that wouldn’t look out of place in Newport Pagnell’s finest. Cobra’s finishing touch was to use a VW Heritage carpet as a template in order to make an even swankier and plusher version for the car, which when fitted with the customised Retro Retrims doorcards looked simply unbelievable.
To tie everything together, Zac’s final visit would be to the equally talented artisans at Studio InCar who would use their Jedi-level trim and design skills to create an install to house the now colour-coded air system, as well as the superb sound of Gladen RS series amps allied to SQX components and subs – all controlled by a Mosconi 4to6 DSD supplied by BladeICE. Here, in a flurry of MDF and Alcantara, the two teams worked beautifully together to create a symphony of design in every sense of the word. Like the exhaust, this is another part of the build that matches its aural appeal with its aesthetic. Strong work, guys.
As first cars go, this one is most definitely out there. Along with a stellar supporting cast, Zac has created a perfectly executed, beautifully finished car – the result of months of slog and hard work, while pouring every spare penny from his wages into the build. If this is what we can expect from Miles junior as he climbs the show-car ladder, we can only look forward to the next build. We have a funny feeling it’s going to be a show-stopper!
Dub Details #VW-Golf
ENGINE: 1.8-litre GTI 8v digifant engine from a Mk2 golf, standard five-speed gearbox, Pipercross open cone induction kit, Forge Motorsport hoses, brake reservoir tank and heater matrix cover, Claude’s Buggies rocker cover CHASSIS: Rotiform VCEs 7x16” fronts, 8x16” rears with Nankang 165/40/16 (front) and Toyo T1Rs 195/40/16 (rear) tyres, Air Lift Performance air ride kit with two compressors and single tank, Powerflex bushes, Eibach anti-roll bars, Scorpion exhaust system, Hose Technik braided brake lines, Forge 286mm six-pot big brake kit.
EXTERIOR: #1981 #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 shell painted Stratos blue, smoothed engine bay, raised strut top mounts, notched chassis legs, smoked headlights and indicator, #Porsche 944 lux door handles, chrome small bumpers with custom Forge end caps and centre insert, Autoplas rear window louvre.
INTERIOR: Cobra Misano S heated seats, #Porsche-944 lux glovebox lock, Forge golf ball style gear knob, Wolfsberg steering wheel, Studio InCar boot build, Gladen Audio RS series amps, Gladen SQX slim components and SQX subs, Mosconi four to six DSP (Digital Sound Processor), car locking system installed by Autolec.
THANKS & CONTACTS: Waldek, Adam Speck for the paint, Cobra Seats (www.cobraseats.com), Air Lift Performance (www.airliftperformance.com), Studio InCar (www.studioincar.com), Rotiform (www.rotiform.com), Eibach (www.eibach.com), Powerflex (www.powerflex.co.uk), Blade I.C.E (www.bladeice.com), Scorpion Exhausts (www.scorpion-exhausts.com), Lidia De Luca at VW Heritage (www.vwheritage.com), Mark at Classic VW (www.classic-vw.co.uk), Tom Hale at Retro Retrims (www.retro-retrims.co.uk), Meguiar’s (www.meguiars.co.uk), Forge Motorsport (www.forgemotorsport.co.uk), Hose Technik (www.hosetechnik.com) Tom Harris at The Motorworks (www.facebook.com/themotorworksltd), Toyo (www.toyo.co.uk) and Pipercross (www. pipercross. com).
Right: Misano S seats and trimming work from Cobra, Air Lift air-setup and Studio InCar boot build come together just perfectly inside.
1.8 8v digifant engine came from a Mk2 GTI and as you can see, has been totally restored and rebuilt. What’s the betting that as Zac gets older and insurance gets kinder something a little more exciting finds its way in the Mk1’s smoothed bay one day?
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.