- Post is under moderationDARWIN AWARDS
Bernd Stich’s Jetta could roll its way to the top of the podium at any show-and-shine you care to mention. But this is no cynically thrown-together show pony – this is the culmination of over twenty years of evolution… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Igor Vucinic.
Evolution has a lot to answer for. Lots of your body parts serve no useful function – body hair is pointless for modern human living, for example. And wisdom teeth do little other than to misalign jaws, while the auricular muscles around your ears are unnecessary as we don’t swivel our ears to hear sound like some creatures do, and your coccyx has no purpose because you don’t have a tail. Your appendix is rubbish too – when people largely ate plants it might have had some role in digestion, but nowadays the only thing it can do is get inflamed and explode, which doesn’t help at all.
Nevertheless, evolution is super-clever. Just look at the quirky national characteristics of speech patterns – the Spanish are loud and boisterous, the Italians lyrical, the French romantic, and acoustic adaptation theory suggests that such traits develop so that the sounds we make work best with our natural surroundings: harsh consonants get lost or distorted in rainforests, but have room to breathe among European hills and valleys. Open syllables like ‘aloha’ work better in tropical climes. And so it goes. It’s not just humans, this is true of birds and cats and all sorts.
In modern Germany, evolution is evidently working overtime. This beige Jetta proves it. In the time that Bernd Stich has owned his trusty coupe it’s passed through more radical evolutionary changes than a millennium of walking sea creatures, each phase markedly different to that that preceded it. It’s as if Bernd and his VW are syncing DNA code to determine the ultimate fate of this well-beloved car. Well, either that or he just really likes it and happens to change his mind a lot. “I can tell you the exact date I bought the car – 22nd November 1996,” he tells us. “And how it looks now - this is what I call my Level 5 modifying…”
The love affair, which has clearly endured, began early; Bernd was desperate to get his hands on the Polar silver car in time for his 18th birthday, and it’s been through a multitude of looks and setups since then, with each year bringing fresh enthusiasms. The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v, and it was the act of gradually but irreversibly becoming a regular show-goer that cemented his keenness for modifying in general and the #VW scene in particular. At the time people weren’t really modding Jettas, it was all about the Golf, so that immediately gave Bernd the edge, and with the ‘valver’ in place he opted to augment it with a set of G60 front brakes and GTI 16v rears – and it was at this point that the aesthetic evolution went into overdrive. Before it knew what had hit it, the ’89 Jetta was wearing big bumpers and slathered all over in pearlescent orange Volvo paint, the smoothed bonnet and boot lid complemented by an absence of arch trims between those fat bumpers. And then the interior was trimmed in cream leather, some Porsche 944 wheels appeared, there was talk of air-ride… the car made it into these very pages, in fact, such was the radical nature of it all.
Bernd wasn’t done yet, though because not long after the 2.8-litre VR6 motor appeared. It’s just a natural function of the survival-of-the-fittest ethos, is it not? Bigger is often better.
Forget ‘less is more’, increasing your piston count by 50% is where it’s at. So in 2003, Bernd got hold of an Mk3 Golf VR6 and basically tore it to pieces, harvesting everything he might need to pump up his Jetta’s creds. The engine is naturally the first thing you’d spot from this major round of surgery, artfully tarted-up as it is by oodles of chrome work and a smoothed bay for it to snuggle down in, but the eagle-eyed will also have spotted the Mk3’s dash, which has been fettled and honed to fit perfectly inside the cabin. Some oh-so-early-’00s König seats found their way in, too, along with a polished Wiechers roll cage and a beefy audio install. Oh yes, the exterior wasn’t a lurid orange any more either – it was something far more OEM-subtle from somewhere within the silver/blue/grey Venn diagram. Air-ride was taken care of by a simple #BSS single-pump system with a five-gallon tank and much of the wiring hidden away.
“Lots of the ancillaries were chrome-plated before refitting,” Bernd explains. “The slam panel, driveshafts, wishbones, gearbox end casing, front sub frame, brake servo…” It starts to turn into a very long list. Even the Typhoon induction kit is shiny enough to hold a mirror up to the fact that you don’t own a Jetta this cool. It was once all of this work was done that Bernd decided to strip the thing down to a bare shell again and paint it all in VW Passat Grey Pearl. That was back in 2006. And if we fast-forward to 2013, we find it all being stripped down once more. That’s the crux of natural selection, it favours adaptability.
There are two key elements that immediately grab the eye as a result of this latest, fastidiously executed evolution. The first is the colour: now swathed in Nevada beige, the Jetta flies deliciously under the radar to all but those in the know, having the air of an OAP-spec budget runabout that’s secretly pumped full of steroids. The second is what Bernd’s been up to underneath the car. This is the kind of detail that’d only become apparent to you if you were on your hands and knees, greeting the car in the manner in which a dog might romance another (unless, obviously, you’re looking at photos of it in a magazine – which, mercifully, you are), but the level of work that’s gone into it is really quite phenomenal. The entire underside has been stripped, perfected, and polished to an improbable shine, a festival of beige that culminates in a mouth-watering fuel tank (there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often) that’s wrapped in sumptuous leather and held in place with polished straps – a gift from buddy Ralf K, who used to own the very tank fitted to his Golf.
This is very much the pinnacle of the modifiers’ art. None of this stuff needs to be done. The fact that it has been done, and done so well, demonstrates Bernd’s commitment to doing things properly. Those shows he used to go to in the nineties clearly left quite an impression.
Beyond the paint, much has been done to ‘retro up’ the look: those big bumpers are long gone, replaced by the period skinny items that work so well to amp up the element of stealth, and the nerds among you may have spotted the 1986-spec doors, chosen for their old-school quarter-light windows. And the interior is now a fabulous showcase of what might have happened back in the late-1980s if a tuner like Radford or Tickford had offered a coach-built version of the Jetta – it all oozes with custom vintage flair, and yet the materials are distinctly premium and high-end. Porsche 924 seats wear bespoke faux-leather and corduroy, the rear seats trimmed to match and with a colour-keyed carpet to suit, and the pillars are trimmed in a tasteful brown to dovetail with the dash. There’s no stereo any more as today Bernd simply prefers the aggressive bark of that VR6 through its shiny Supersport system.
“It was my first car,” he grins. “All the others are just dailies… it started off all original and cost me DM7500 back in ’96. And now – plans for the future? No, I have none for this car. The baby is coming in May, the next Jetta driver, that’s my future.” Sure, he says that, but it’s not really his decision to make is it? This Jetta has held Bernd in its thrall for over two decades, its very physical construct controlled by the whims of nature and evolution, and we can’t see this pattern breaking any time soon. For now, this car exists as a perfect showcase of age-old passion and flawless craftsmanship. What happens next is in the hands of anagenesis and biodiversity.
Dub Details #Air-ride / #1989 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #VW-Jetta / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride-II / #VW /
ENGINE: Chromed and detailed 2.8-litre VR6 ( #AAA ), with #SuperSport stainless steel exhaust system, Typhoon induction, Mk3 Golf VR6 manual gearbox – lacquered gloss black
CHASSIS: 7.5x17” BMW #BBS split-rims with 195/35 Nankang tyres. #GAS ( #German-Air-ride-Systems ) air-ride setup, Mk2 VW-Golf G60 front brakes with 280mm discs, Mk2 Golf GTI rear axle with disc brakes, braided lines
EXTERIOR: 1989 shell painted Nevada beige, 1986-spec doors, small bumpers, shaved bay, detailed underside, leather-trimmed fuel tank with polished straps
INTERIOR: Mk3 Golf dash, Porsche 924 front seats – custom-trimmed in faux-leather and corduroy with rears to match, Raid wooden steering wheel, Beetle shifter, beige and brown #Vorwerk carpet, chrome air tank in boot
SHOUT: My best friends Björn, Timo, Maik, plus Ernst-Equipment (tuning parts), Febi (aftermarket parts) and Carlack-Schwung (painter)
The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v.
Polished #VR6 lump lives in engine bay so clean you could, well, lick it!
Single air tank fixed to back of rear bench means boot is left clear.
Since we last saw the car Bernd has gone balls-out with the underside. Note the leather-clad fuel tank.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROUGH DIAMOND
Purists may argue that the Mk3 GTI wasn’t exactly the Golf’s finest hour, but Kyle Wilinsky begs to differ. He’s a ‘never say never’ kinda guy… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jonathan DeHate.
The concept of the ‘difficult second album’ is something muchdocumented in the music press.
Bands that come in strong with their first long-players can find themselves mired in their own hype, their early work becoming an impossible act to follow – look at The Stone Roses’ Second Coming, The Strokes’ Room on Fire, or The Clash’s Give ’Em Enough Rope; following the success of such strong debuts, these LPs were always doomed to be sidelined. And it can be true of third albums too – a band may manage to hurdle Difficult Second Album Syndrome, only to come crashing headfirst into Questionable Third Album territory. Just ask Oasis about Be Here Now.
This is precisely where Volkswagen’s GTI sub-brand found itself in the early 1990s, with the advent of the Mk3 Golf and all of the peaks and troughs that car entailed. With the Mk1 GTI having woven itself firmly and celestially into the firmament of all-time greats, the Mk2 carrying on the good work with forthright decisiveness, and then ramping up the levels of excellence with casual aplomb in the sublime 16v evolution, the third-generation hot hatch came as something of a damp squib. 150bhp-odd was handy enough, but the thing suffered from a bit of middle-age spread, it was podgier and less agile. Perfectly okay for some, but not really good enough for others.
However, in the USA that fabled GTI badge could also be found glued next to one that read ‘VR6’ (rather than being separate entities like in Europe), and the addition of a couple of cylinders and a further 20bhp or so helped to liven things up a bit. And that’s where the story begins for the Golf we’re looking at today…
The story of its owner, Kyle Wilinsky, starts rather earlier: “My love for Volkswagens began when I was 15 years old,” the smiley Pennsylvanian explains. “I was introduced to the VWVortex forum, and that was that; when the time came to purchase my first vehicle, it had to be a #VW – in the end, it was a Mk2 Jetta.” You can see the seeds being sown here, can’t you?
An all-consuming online community, a fledgling first-hand introduction to the Golf platform, there was only one way this was destined to go. And it wasn’t long before those seeds grew up and bore fleshy Teutonic fruit. “After a couple more years and a couple more cars, a friend had this Mk3 Golf for sale; we came to a deal on the price and it was mine for $1800. It wasn’t in the best condition, quite neglected, but I only bought it as a cheap second car so I wasn’t too worried. I just gave it some basic maintenance and cleaned it up a bit.”
As you’ll have deduced from the photos (or if you’ve cheated and have already read the spec box), however, this wasn’t where the project stalled. As we hear so often from feature car owners, there was one sole spark of inspiration that crystallised into the kernel of an idea, and went on to dictate the ethos of the project from that date forth. In Kyle’s case, this spark showed itself during a joyride in a buddy’s car.
“I was offered a ride in a friend’s VR6 turbo, and from that moment I was completely hooked on the idea of fitting a turbo to my car,” he laughs. “I started ordering parts, and after a couple of months I had everything I needed to start the project. I guess I must mention that I had no real mechanical experience, and basically had to learn everything as I went, along with the help of some friends.” Kyle seems to be a man who enjoys a steep learning curve though, as it was only a matter of weeks before the newly force-induced motor was back together and offering an eye-watering 411bhp, which is certainly enough to quieten the Mk3 naysayers. “It was an absolute blast to drive,” he enthuses, as you might expect from someone who’s way more than doubled his car’s factory output using little more than a set of spanners and some well-placed advice. The sense of achievement must have been nearimmeasurable.
And naturally, with things going so well under the bonnet, Kyle’s eye began to turn to the rest of the car – after all, once you’ve started putting the effort in, you need to make it an object of personal pride, don’t you?
“The stock interior was pretty neglected, so I decided to pay it some attention,” he says. “I got it professionally detailed and the factory black really came to life; I was shocked at the result, and that’s when I started to gather parts for the exterior. I’d always loved the look of the Euro-spec GTI, so I knew that was the direction I was headed: I started purchasing everything I could get hold of for the full Euro makeover!”
Piece by piece the aesthetic transformation came together, with the ’98 GTI receiving bona fide texture-top bumpers, mouldings and arch flares, along with a shaved CL tailgate with its Euro-sized numberplate recess. Kyle hasn’t gone full OEM though; in fact, he’s cannonballed square-on into the choppy waters of obscure parts-hunting that define the builds of so many of you out there – when was the last time, for instance, that you saw a Henri Lloyd Yachting edition front lip? These appeared on an obscure Italian version of the Mk3 estate, and watercooled obsessives pay through the nose for them, if and when they can track them down.
“Eventually I started to get used to the power and decided to turn the boost up,” he recalls, slightly uneasily. “About 30 miles after I’d cranked it up to 22psi, the gearbox decided it wasn’t going to hold and shattered third gear! After doing some research I found that if I kept the power levels where they were, I was either going to deal with breaking and replacing gears regularly or I was going to have to build a stronger gearbox. I opted to park the car and save my money for some hardened straight-cut gears to ensure I would no longer have issues.”
By this point Kyle was around two years into ownership, and over the course of the next two years the car saw a number of changes to complement the evolving powertrain, with the Golf being reworked during the cold winter months to emerge from its chrysalis anew in the springtime – seats, wheels, they were changing all the time. “I’m never satisfied!” he laughs. “I’m always looking for fresh things to do with the car. I embarked upon a full engine bay shave and wire-tuck which, with the help of some friends, was a three-month marathon of grinding and welding… the bay and the motor are what I’m most proud of with this car, I spent countless hours and nights in the garage with friends and cheap beer to get the car ready.”
‘Ready’? Ah yes, Kyle had a target in mind to showcase the fruits of his labours – a Pennsylvania show entitled Cult Classic. With the date drawing ever nearer, our man was in the garage at all hours trying to get the thing tip-top, and his tireless endeavours paid off with gusto.
“I ended up winning ‘Best In Show’, out of around 500 cars,” he says, still flabbergasted. “Without a doubt it was the best feeling knowing that all my hard work was worth it and people were really enjoying the car.”
This was all going off in 2014, and the car has changed a fair bit since then. Well, as you might expect, really. People like Kyle aren’t prone to kicking their heels or watching the grass grow. Indeed, for this feature alone the car had to be reshot twice because Kyle kept changing things. “I really do have a problem,” he says, but it’s a pretty good problem to have.
“As I’m talking to you about it now, I’m only just realising that I’ve owned the car for seven years,” he continues, evidently slightly shellshocked by the telescoping effect of time’s relentless pendulum. “I can’t express how grateful I am for all the people that have helped me turn wrenches, given advice, or simply kept me company during this journey – it’s really what the car community is all about for me. The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built. The Golf has won multiple awards, was invited into Top Dawg class at H2Oi, and now this feature. Wow, what a feeling!” All of which serves to prove that you don’t need to be a scene darling or an Instagram celebrity to nail this VW lark. You can set out with an unloved example of a maligned model and, starting with a knowledge base and skillset close to zero, still manage to totally kill it on the showground time and time again.
The fact that this Golf is just as fast and agile as it is easy on the eye is solid testament to Kyle’s tenacity. He has put in the hours to make it work, and that’s what makes him a winner. He’s really got a taste for it now too… reckon the car’s looking the same today as it does here in print? No, of course it isn’t. Kyle’s always got plans. You’ll just have to keep an eye on the Mid-Atlantic water-cooled scene – this old-skool rough diamond is only going to keep getting sharper…
“The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built”
Dub Details / #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-VR6 / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Precision
ENGINE: Shaved and wire-tucked bay, 2.8-litre #VR6 , polished engine covers, #Megasquirt standalone ECU, #Precision-6262-T4 turbo, #ATP exhaust manifold, custom heat shield, #DEI turbo blanket, 3” stainless steel turbo-back exhaust, #Tial wastegate and blow-off valve, Precision 600 intercooler, custom intercooler piping, #Schimmel intake manifold, #Accufab 75mm throttle body with custom manifold adaptor, 034 fuel rail with 630cc injectors, #Walbro 255 fuel pump, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Mishimoto aluminium radiator, dual slim fans, custom aluminium coolant lines and overflow tank, Eurosport oil cooler, relocated temp sensors, hidden coilpack, custom front crossmember with #Black-Forest motor mounts, O2A gearbox with #APTuning straight-cut gears, #Quaife differential, #ARP hardware, reinforced clutch fork, #SPEC Stage 3 clutch, Euro-spec lightened flywheel, CAE shifter, O2J shift tower and cables
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #CCW-D240 with brushed faces, polished lips, #ARP gold wheel bolts and goldplated lug nuts, Falken tyres, #Air-Lift suspension, #AccuAir-ELevel management, five gallon aluminium air tank, two #Viair-444C 444cc / #Viair compressors, #H&R 25mm front anti-roll bar, Eurosport rear strut brace, Audi TT 312mm front brakes with cross-drilled discs
EXTERIOR: Euro texture-top bumpers, shaved Euro CL tailgate, Euro textured mouldings and arch flares, shaved windscreen squirters, custom shortened mirrors, badgeless grill, Henri Lloyd Yachting front lip, Kamei air ducts, smoked indicators, Hella tail-lights, E-code headlights, #Bonrath mono wiper
INTERIOR: Recaro Sportster CS with suede inserts, suede wrapped A, B, and C pillars, suede headlining, custom rear seat delete with leather-wrapped air tank, Wiechers roll-cage, AEM digital boost controller, AEM air/fuel gauge, AEM oil PSI gauge, GReddy turbo timer, NRG quick release hub, Momo steering wheel, Alpine head unit, Pioneer speakers, JL Audio stealthbox with 10” JL audio subwoofer, JL audio amp
SHOUT: Thanks to my fiancée Lisa for always understanding and supporting my hobby. Borek, Adam, Jacob, Thompson, Jarad, Steve, Bergey, Rick at DEFIV, Jason at 4everkustoms, Andrew at Open Road Tuning, DeHate for the pics, and everyone else who has helped along the wayStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMk1 Caddy R32 Exclusive: the UKʼs hottest Caddy revealed!
/ #VW-Golf-I / #VW-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / #VW / #VW-Golf / #VAG / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #VW-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Caddy-I / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32-Mk1
WALK THE WALK
With a day job that involves getting other people’s paintwork spot-on it is no surprise that north east Dub nut Paul Walker’s own project is beyond flawless. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Si Gray.
I’ve got to say, it was DRIVE-MY that got me in to modified Veedubs in the first place,” 37-year-old Paul Walker explains. “I’ve always been in to cars and then one day I randomly picked up DRIVE-MY and, well, it all escalated from there really.”
We would like to take this opportunity right now to apologise for inflicting him with his Veedub addiction, something that has no doubt taken huge amounts of money from his bank account as he chases the high that is modified #VW ownership. Maybe copies of DRIVE-MY should have warnings printed on them like they do with cigarette packets these days. ‘Buying this magazine can be damaging to your bank balance!’. Or ‘modified VW ownership harms you and others around you’. That kind of thing.
“I had an Evo 7 that was just emptying my pockets and I decided enough was enough, it was time for a change in direction,” Paul continues. We’re not going to question how a Mk1 Caddy show car, especially one as good as this, could possibly be any cheaper than a Mitsubishi Evo 7… all we can be sure of is we’re very glad that Paul decided to make the switch because if he hadn’t we wouldn’t be looking at one of the finest Mk1 Caddys the UK has ever turned out.
The Caddy you see here wasn’t Paul’s first foray in to modded German metal ownership. Before the little truck he’d built himself a bagged and beautifully trimmed New Beetle which, although a very nice car indeed, must have been a bit of a shock to the system after a hardcore Evo!
“I’ve always been a fan of Mk1 Golfs, though, I mean, who isn’t eh? But good ones come up for sale so rarely that I started looking at Caddys instead,” Paul explains. “I made myself a promise, though; that I would keep it simple – just air and a nice set of wheels. It all went south when I started paying more attention to what some of the Euro Mk1 boys were turning up in…”
It’s probably worth mentioning that Paul earns his nine-to-five money as a dent man, or to give it the proper title, a paintless dent removal technician. This means that he is something of a perfectionist when it comes to cars and in particular, when it comes to the finer details. “I bought the car in 2014,” he remembers.
“I found it on the Edition38 classifieds but there was only one problem, it was in Portsmouth and I live so far north I’m almost in Scotland. This made checking it out in person difficult,” he continues. “Luckily the Kleen Freaks guys are like family and Adam Gough and Natalie Poulton, who live down that way, offered to go check it out for me, which was really nice of them.” With Adam and Natalie giving the truck the once over and confirming it was a good ’un, Paul bought it over the phone. “The guys got it right, it was in really good condition, which is pretty rare for a Caddy these days. I was always going to repaint it anyway so I was more concerned with it being structurally sound, which it was.”
The Caddy didn’t go home to Darlington straight away though; it went straight from the south coast to JH Pro Paint in Sheffield to have the Air Lift Performance air-ride, V2 management, and the custom four-link rear end fitted. “It was so low on its coilvers that I had to bag it immediately otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten onto my driveway, so it was a kind of a necessity as much as it was for looks,” he explains. Regular readers of the mag will need no introduction to the name JH Pro Paint. The Sheffield-based outfit is getting quite a name for itself in the modified VW scene for turning out more than a few awesome show-winning cars, not least owner Jon Hinchcliffe’s amazing everevolving Mk1 R32. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jon’s Mk1, so it’s fair to say his car was the inspiration for mine,” Paul grins. “It wasn’t until later on that Jon would become such an evil influence in my life!”
Two months later Paul had the Caddy resprayed at a local bodyshop, Autospray Darlington. “It was already white but I wanted it to stand out more so I had it painted in a muchbrighter, cleaner white,” he explains. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition it didn’t need too much repair work doing before it was painted.”
Next up was to sort out a pair of seats. “As I’m tall I wanted a pair of seats that would give me the most legroom, which the Vabrics would,” Paul continues. “Then it was a joint decision between me and the Mrs to do them in Harris Tweed, along with the doorcards, too, which I really think works nicely.”
Then Paul set about rebuilding a set of 15” #BBS-RS s, 8” in width and face-mounted before bolting them on the car ready for Ultimate Dubs 2015, where it went down very well. “For the rest of 2015 it pretty much stayed the same, other than a few bits of carbon fibre trim being fitted here and there. Stuff like the mirrors, A-pillar trims, window cranks, and the handbrake cover were all changed,” he recalls. “And then in June it went back to its second home at JH Pro Paint where, well, things got out of hand, I’ll admit.”
The Caddy came with a nicely-built 2.0-litre 16v in it which, while being a nice, dependable lump, didn’t quite tick the boxes for our man Paul here. We’re sure Jon’s show stealing Mk1 R32 had nothing to do with what was to come… “I’ll freely admit that Jon’s Mk1 was one of my main inspirations,” Paul smiles.
“After all, how could you not be inspired by that thing? But on a more personal note, I wanted a more-modern, less-revvy engine than the 16v. Plus, you just can’t beat that R32 soundtrack, can you?”
Over the next few months Paul and Jon spent so much time on the phone to each other that their respective partners though they might be playing away! But the lads had important build details to discuss and hard-to-find parts to track down. While Paul set about finding a suitable donor car, Jon set about pulling the old motor and getting to work on the bay. 74 welded up holes later, not to mention all the custom jobs that are required to squeeze the big six-shooter in to a tiny Mk1 bay, the whole thing was bare metalled ready for the next stage. That doesn’t really do justice to how much work was involved in getting the bay ready for paint, as anyone who has smoothed an engine bay will know. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how good you are at your craft, it’s a difficult, time-consuming and at times downright frustrating job. “It took Jon the best part of a month’s solid work to do the bay as it’s so time-consuming removing all the sealer and making sure every single millimetre is flawless,” Paul tells us. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition in the first place there wasn’t any major extra work to be done other than a few rust areas and the typical battery tray issues.”
While Jon was hard at work Paul found a suitable car and engine, shipped off a few odd bits to be colour-coded and got in touch with Andy Outhwaite from ACR to have a custom loom made up for the car and set about lengthening parts of the wiring to ensure it would slot easily into the smooth bay.
There’s no doubting Jon and the JH Pro Paint team know how to put out a top-level paint job and Paul’s bay is absolutely flawless from top to bottom, no matter how close you get or what angle you look at it from.
To break up the white, the sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims and mirrors were all carefully reproduced in carbon fibre. We’re big fans of the carbon fibre strips in the bed, too, and the Volkswagen text has been reproduced on the rear wall of the cab, mirroring the text on the tailgate.
“I think the hardest part about the whole build, or at least the most frustrating anyway, was having to take the engine in and out about ten times to test fit everything and get it all right,” Paul reveals. “My wings are welded and smoothed to the front panel, so getting it all offevery time was a right pain, especially as we had to be so careful.”
Once the engine was in properly and the fuelling issues were ironed out, hearing that classic R32 off-beat burble was more than enough to make Paul forget all about any frustrations he had endured. “Oh, hearing it fireup properly the first time was definitely the best part of the build; you just can’t beat that noise, can you?” he says with a beaming smile. “I’ve had a few people say it’s too heavy an engine for a Mk1 but since when has a Caddy been meant to handle like a race car? They were built to carry sheep and stuff around! Some have also said that the Caddy is pointless as I can’t put stuff in the bed anymore but that’s usually the kind of thing people who don’t quite ‘get it’ would say…”
With people who do ‘get it’ the Caddy has gone down very well indeed. It debuted at Ultimate Dubs back in March (we got this shoot in the bag the day before), and since then Paul has taken it to Elsecar, Early Edition and Letstance over in Belfast, where it’s gone down an absolute treat.
It’s no surprise that Paul’s Caddy has had crowds around it at every event it’s been to so far. It is one of the best Caddys the UK has ever turned out, it’s just such a complete car. The amazingly clean engine bay is the star of the show but you don’t need to look too far to realise that no corners have been cut. It really is an incredibly complete car, not just for a Mk1 Caddy but for a Mk1 in general, and that’s no easy task these days with the level of Mk1s being as high as it is.
And yet perfectionist Paul isn’t finished yet. “Since the shoot I’ve put some Fifteen52 two-piece F40 Tarmacs on it so I can run bigger brakes, and I’m planning to transform it in to what I’m calling ‘the race Caddy’ over next winter too,” he chuckles. “Watch this space…”
Consider it watched Paul, consider it watched!
Dub Details / #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6 / #BBS / #Air-Lift
ENGINE: Mk4 #R32 engine, VR6 #VW-Racing induction kit, #Time-Attack map, full carbon-skinned VR6 gearbox with #Wavetrac limited-slip diff, custom manifold and exhaust system, custom engine mounts and driveshafts, custom radiator, #Forge-Motorsport coolant pipes, full wire tuck and smooth bay, hidden battery under bed with positive and negative terminals behind driver’s seat.
CHASSIS: 8x15” #BBS-RS043 wheels totally rebuilt and face-mounted, #Air-Lift-V2 management with #Air-Lift Lift rear bags and #GAZ front struts, tank and compressors hidden under the bed, four-link rear axle with drop plates, G60 280mm front brakes with braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Resprayed in bright white, carbon fibre sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims, door mirrors, strips in the bed and strips on the front bumper, custom front and rear bumpers, Volkswagen script on the rear of the cab.
INTERIOR: Vabric half-back seats trimmed in ‘houndstooth’ Harris Tweed and grey Alcantara, Harris Tweed and Alcantara doorcards, flocked dash, Alcantara headlining and A-pillar trim, carbon handbrake, cover and window winders.
SHOUT: Jon Hinchcliffe at JH Pro Paint, Justin, Pete and Aidy at Autospray Darlington for my paint and detailing, Mike and Vick at Kleen Freaks for their backing, Alex Begley at Fifteen52, my good mates Anthony Warrior and Warwick French, and, most importantly, my wife for putting up with me while I did it!
If ever there was a face that summed up being obsessive about a car being absolutely spot-on, this is it. Paul takes the job of keeping his Caddy spotless very seriously, and who can blame him when the results look this good?!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNAUGHTY #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-II / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf / #VW / #VW-Golf-RV6-II / #Volkswagen /
While some of you won’t get Darren Bates’ naughty ’90s-inspired Mk2 VR6, for those that were there first time around this supercharged terror will be right up your street! Words and photos: Jon Cass.
Ah yes, the ’90s VW show scene. The cars, the people, where are they now? It’s a question that’s been asked many times at shows and meets over the last decade and often results in an entertaining and rewarding conversations as many older show-goers have encyclopedic memories. Go on, ask a dedicated Dub-head about that Mk1 on three-spokes with the purple paint job you last saw in 1998; if they don’t remember it, one of their mates will. Chances are they might even know where it is now, that it’s due to make a return any time soon and that those infamous three-spokes are sat in so-and-so’s loft gathering dust. There’s even a group on social media now to help answer all our ’90s show queries and, to prove our memories aren’t that fuzzy quite yet, it’s got a lot of people reminiscing.
Now, I’m making this sound like these amusing stories and detailed memories are likely to fade away into nothingness if they’re not passed on to the next generation pretty sharpish, almost as though the ’90s show-goers are akin to surviving veterans from the First World War. Thankfully, though, this is far from the truth and more often than not, those same folk who were slaving away in their garage 20 years ago are still coming up with the goods today. The only real difference is there’s Radio 2 on in the background instead of Radio 1.
Proof of this is Darren Bates and his supercharged Mk2 VR6. He’s collecting trophies like there’s no tomorrow and is so full of enthusiasm, you’d think this was his first ever car, let alone show car. Yet, Darren has been modifying VWs since the late ’80s, beginning with a Mk1 cab which set the ball rolling and he’s never really stopped since. “I had to sell that one, but within a month I’d bought another as I missed the first one so much,” he smiles.
His next purchase was an orange Mk1 Cab which then became a regular sight on the show scene for the best part of the next 11 years – from the ’90s through to the early 2000s. It was bright, it was loud and it was heavily modified. It was certainly of its time and a highly respected show car to boot. Numerous trophies and magazine features proved its worth and Max Power (at the height of its popularity) voted it one of its top 100 cars of all time. Hell, even Mike Brewer had it on his TV show, Revved Up! The OEM fans might be shaking their heads in disbelief right now but back in the ’90s Darren was at the top of his game.
“I sold the Mk1 in 2006 and bought myself a Mk2 Edition 1 G60,” Darren recalls. “I soon bought a Mk1 Caddy and, sure enough, couldn’t resist the temptation to slot the G60 from the Mk2 into the pick-up!” The smiles were short lived as the caddy soon met its fate in a collision which sadly wrote it off. “To cheer myself up, I went out and bought a Pearl white Corrado with a grey leather interior and had a G60 in that one also,” Darren remembers. There’s a theme building here, as you’ve probably spotted, but a Noble M12 was soon to randomly shake that up and Darren then held on to the Brit sports car for five years.
“The call of the VW badge returned and this time, I went for a Mk1 Caddy in black with flames down the side,” Darren laughs. “I slammed it to the deck and got it looking just the way I wanted.” The down side of a slammed Mk1 on coilovers was soon realised after the first few potholes. “It was great fun to drive but my back was suffering with the harsh ride; it confirmed I wasn’t as young as I used to be!” The Caddy was sold before Darren’s spine shattered and he set about looking for a replacement: “It had to be a Mk1 or Mk2 Golf as they’ve always been in my blood. I just had to make sure it would be a little more comfortable to drive than the Caddy!”
Sure enough, his next purchase was this car here: an #1989 Mk2 Golf 1.6CL German import lefthooker which was promptly stripped down. The shell was taken back to bare metal to reveal the rot and a new front valance, inner wheel arches and firewall welded in place. The shell itself was repainted an attractive baby blue shade and new rubbers, bumpers, locks and handles were all fitted to the exterior. Underneath, the shell received new brake pipes and brake lines. In contrast to his extreme Mk1 Cab of the ’90s, Darren’s opted for a more restrained look for his Mk2, inspired by other cars currently on the show scene. Having said that, this is still eyecatching enough! “The small bumpers and lack of side skirts and wheel arch extensions show off the Mk2’s lines better,” Darren reckons. “And the welded metal plate across the tailgate gives a flush effect, which I prefer.” There are subtle details, too, such as the door handles with Volkswagen inserts. The overall finish is flawless and the look could be described as slightly oldskool, although that was Darren’s full intention all along. “I didn’t want to tread the huge bodykit and massive rims path but I liked the idea of dropping a few hints towards the cars that were around when I started on the show scene.”
Perhaps the flush tailgate could be included amongst them, although the smoked rear lights, frosted indicators and black painted front valance are definitely old-skool mods.
After owning a string of supercharged G60s, Darren knew this one also had to have similarly forced induction, though rather than use a familiar four-pot he wanted ‘Baby Blue’ to be a little different. “I liked the idea of a supercharger and a VR6,” Darren smiles, “the combination of instant power, bags of torque and an infectious sound were too hard to resist!” A 2.8 VR6 from a Mk3 was located, stripped down, polished and painted to show standard. Darren added new colour-coded blue Samco hoses, water pipes and HT leads. He also fitted a new chain, pulley and sensors.
A normally aspirated Mk2 VR6 is a hoot to drive anyway and some real bargains can be picked up now as people opt for newer 1.8Ts. Darren wanted his to have an edge over the NA VR6 and a V2 #Vortex-supercharger achieved just that. “I had to upgrade to 300 injectors and adapt the sump to incorporate the supercharger,” Darren points out, “but other than that it was fairly straightforward.” The usual Mk2 exhaust has three boxes but Darren preferred to have a custom exhaust fabricated with just two boxes to improve the output. The exhaust also boasts a quirky upturned tailpipe which always attracts admiring glances. A trip to see VR6 guru, Vince at Stealth Racing in Southam, proved to be very useful with the Mk2 subsequently producing 240bhp on the rollers. “I can’t recommend Vince enough, he couldn’t do enough to get my car running at its best,” Darren adds.
He’s also recently swapped the charger pulley to one ten millimetres smaller than standard and running at 6-8psi and another trip to Stealth saw it running at a highly impressive 291bhp. There are plans too for a Devil’s Own cooling system which should see performance improved even more!
To cope with the increase in power, G60 brakes make a good investment, though these are hidden by the Porsche 928 16” rims with a five-stud pattern. The stretched tyres enhance the classic Porsche design and Darren is well pleased with the result. He’s also happy that he can have the benefit of slamming his Mk2 into the weeds if he wishes, whilst still retaining a comfortable ride. We’re talking air-ride here, an option that wasn’t as readily available or affordable back in the ’90s. The Air Lift V2 airride kit is mounted in the boot and even has a colour-coded tank. It shares its home with a neat sound system containing neon lights: “They shine against the chrome of the compressors. It looks really cool, especially at night.”
Once inside, the Mk2 dash may look familiar, though it’s now been treated to extra VDO gauges and a Momo steering wheel with the addition of an iron cross insert for the horn. To the left of the dash sits a useful boost gauge linked to the supercharger. “I wanted the interior to be crisp and clean,” Darren points out, “that’s why pretty much everything inside is black.” This includes the carpets, doorcards, back seats and even the reclining Sparco race seats which cleverly manage to look both supportive and comfy! “The interior is an ongoing love-affair so this may yet see some changes over the next few years,” he adds. Going by the amount of trophies Darren and his Mk2 have won over the past year, it would seem no changes are necessary, but as we all know you ideally need to make progress to keep those trophies coming in.
“I’m often gobsmacked about the reactions it receives; people just seem to love it,” Darren smiles. “The paint, the stance and especially the supercharger are all regular talking points at shows!” And we’re not just talking small shows here either; how’s ‘Best in Show’ at the GTI Festival at Santa Pod for you?
Okay, he may have had some time off from collecting silverware since his well-known Mk1 was sold in 2006 but his latest Mk2 just goes to demonstrate that Darren hasn’t lost his magic touch. He can still produce a show-stopper; it’s just this one’s headunit might be tuned in to Radio 2 instead of Radio 1!
ENGINE: 2.8 #VR6 fully rebuilt, stripped polished and painted, blue #Samco hoses, blue HT leads, V2 #Vortex supercharger, 300 injectors, 2” custom stainless two-box exhaust system with upturned tailpipe.
CHASSIS: 16” Porsche 928 rims, stretched tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-V2 #Air-ride with colour-coded tank, #G60 brakes, front upper strut brace. / #AirLift-Performance
EXTERIOR: Full respray in baby blue, Frenched tailgate, smoked rear lights, original door handles with chrome Volkswagen inserts, frosted indicators, black front valance, de-locked and de-badged.
INTERIOR: Black carpets, rear bench and doorcards, standard dash with #VDO gauges, Mono steering wheel with iron cross insert for horn, Sparco reclining race seats, baby blue Wolfsburg emblems on mats, #Wolfsburg badged door pins and window winders, ICE install including neon lights in boot, chrome compressors.
SHOUT: My girlfriend Ann for all her hard work, patience and, of course, cleaning!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIntroducing: #VRS ’ #VR6 #Manifold & #Rocker / #VW / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VRS-Northampton
VRS Northampton has released details of its new parts for the VR6 engine and, boy, are we excited to be telling you about them! First up is a manifold for ITBs. Yes, finally one for a VR! The ports are matched and the inlet size is 45mm per cylinder, while the fuel rail takes #AN6 fittings and can accommodate different length injectors.
VRS can supply the necessary Jenvey individual throttle bodies to go with the manifold or they can be purchased separately if not. They sound incredible (check VRS’ Facebook for a dyno video), but it’s not just about noise – on a stock engine the typical power increase is around the 35bhp mark with modded engines expected to make a lot more! The manifold costs £1074, and there are many finishes available.
Next up is an awesome looking rocker cover constructed from one-piece billet and features a fully functional breather chamber inside. Obviously, the rocker cover can only be used on engines not running the stock inlet. It costs £954 and again, different finishes are available. Both the manifold and the rocker cover are the result of two years worth of development work and it really shows, both are serious bits of kit indeed and stole the show at E38 where they debuted. We just love that companies are still making products for the venerable VR 12v! Get over to www.vrsnorthampton.com or pick up the phone and call 01604 705 247 for more information.
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- Post is under moderationJURY SERVICE THE ULTIMATE VW Mk2 GOLF GTI?
We’ve been chasing Jim Offord’s impeccable Mk2 for some time now. We knew it was awesome, but one of the best Mk2s we’ve ever featured? Well, you be the judge of that! Words: Mick Clements. Photos: John Colley. / #VW
After a morning locked in the studio, we were taking in some fresh air outside and knew Jim Offord was working his way around the industrial estate towards us for his turn in photographer Colley’s cave long before we saw him. Not because his supercharged Mk2 is lairy and loud, it’s just that when you’ve experienced the unique acoustics of a G60 you know exactly what it is; the howl from the ’charger ebbs and flows with boost levels. Even just listening to it being parked brings a smile to your face.
The G60 is an engine with proper character. Back in the early ’90s it had so much potential but was compromised in terms of outright power due to its eight valves and the G-Lader’s foibles. The #VAG 20v and 16v turbo powerplants that have followed may have delivered more bhp and tuning options, but a modified G60 with a virtually lag-free 220bhp is no slouch and delivers an unrivalled mix of aural accompaniment – deep throb on idle, ’charger whine as revs build, scream on gear change and a howl when on full chat. In Jim’s view: “The noise is something else and it’s got enough power to put your head into the back of the seat very rapidly.”
We salute Jim for his choice of engine. He’s a very capable engineer and could have installed anything he wanted, but has chosen to refine his Golf his way. To complement the smoothed bay he considered and even bought both carb’d 16v and VR6 setups, but stuck to his guns with the G60. He’s one of the good guys too, who will happily discuss the finer details of the car, such as the centre lock wheels, and has helped out fellow Dubbers, from rookies to scenesters, with a variety of issues along the way: “If I can help out a fellow owner it’s all good. I’ve even saved a few cars from scrappage. I’ve never been in it to make money.”
Pop open the bonnet to see what all the fuss is about and the smoothed bay sets off the G60 unit, with the minimal ancillaries painted satin black and finished off with carbon touches such as the Moroso engine cover and slam panel from the C6 Carbon.
Jim first saw the car in 2010, some time before he owned it. It had the G60 install and had been treated to a top quality colour change to Amulet red (an Audi TT colour) by True Paintworks, and it is still on the same paint. Since then, the sides of the #1989 Golf have been cleared of its original GTI trimmings, with carefully modified 1990 ‘big bumper’ spec side GTI mouldings keyed into CL rear arch spats in their place. Jim has stripped the engine bay a little further and sorted some nice, subtle touches too, such as the shortened door mirrors sourced from Mark Gurney, a one-piece scuttle panel made from RHD and LHD panels and a hybrid front bumper with no numberplate block, similar to USA-spec.
When Jim picked the car up, it had no dashboard and no seats, ideal for the Corrado dashboard install and custom seats Jim had lined up. Jim eventually sold the 8x16” Snowflakes, VR6 radiator and Rallye intercooler to make way for his own mods.
Initially, Jim had fitted Fishnet Recaros after finding a pair cheap on eBay: “The owner apologised for them being tatty, but actually they were mint!” Jim needed to change the cloth and had set his mind on something left-field to retrim in red houndstooth using genuine Harris tweed. Jim helps build wind turbines, and frequently finds himself in the more rural corners of the UK, so he set off on a mission to the Isle of Lewis to buy the material direct from the Harris factory. “It came with a leaflet on how to keep and care for it,” he remembers. “The cloth even had bits of straw in it.” Jim built the seats up himself, using subframes from William Smith.
The centre lock wheels are a high quality motorsport modification, yet easy for the casual eye to miss as Jim has replicated the classic BBS 80mm centre nut for the mounting. This belies just how labour-intensive they were to produce. Jim estimates each wheel took around 250 hours and he owes a big mention to Brad Hoyles for the long hours of trial-and-error machining. The 16” BBS rims were originally BMW fitment, 7” wide fronts, 8” wide rears. There was extensive work in machining out the centres and welding in waffle plates before filling and sanding to create a waffle-less centre.
Adaptors to mount the wheels were fabricated and machined to match the ET30 offset of the fifteen52 Snowflakes whilst Jim still had them. Jim worked with a local engineering firm to develop them to his spec. He used an 80mm nut to replicate the classic BBS centre nut, but it requires 740Nm of torque from the torque wrench he uses when building wind turbines to tighten them up. Sensibly, Jim had a fifth wheel made as a spare, which sits in the rear install wrapped in a space saver tyre and custom tyre warmer. “This is just as well as the guy who made them sold his kit and lathe afterwards and so he won’t be making anymore,” he says. He was aiming for an unveiling at Edition 38 in September 2014. With big pressure to finish, Jim and the two lads he shared a unit with completed the car on the Friday afternoon of the show. Jim will confess that he wasn’t fully cluedup with how to prep a car to elite show standards. Luckily, local detailer Auto Finesse offered to help, telling him to just get the Mk2 to the show washed and the team would help him sort the rest out. So, first thing Saturday morning Jim was eagerly lined up at its stand.
He didn’t enter the show ’n’ shine on the Saturday; he spent most of it cleaning and chatting to mates, but after some cajoling and encouragement from Tank (Patel) and Sam (McMahon) he did on the Sunday and was really pleased to get a prize. “I spent most of the Sunday answering questions about the wheels, and I got runner-up in the Mk2 category too, so I was happy with that,” he grins.
With a new-found taste for competition, Jim entered the Mk2 at the Epsom show in Ipswich the week after, and made it into the 15 winners line-up before securing the Best in Show prize. He met the Low Collective crew there and was all set for Players 2014 a fortnight later, but tragically his mum died suddenly two days before the show and real life took over.
A little later Jim made a return, targeting Show & Glow at Bluewater. Show organiser Simon let Jim display the Mk2 indoors, where most of Jim’s local modified Dubber club, the Low Collective, was displaying. Jim has built a solid bond with Low Collective and he was really pleased to come away from the show with Best Mk2 and Best Wheels trophies. To round off a successful 2014, Jim’s final show was VAG Roots at the legendary Ace Café, where the Mk2 was one of five show winners.
Back in his unit and with winter drawing in, Jim began to put pressure on himself to refresh and improve the car for 2015. He rebuilt the wheels and decided to sell the seats to Auto Finesse, along with enough spare tweed to trim a rear bench. He then set about utilising a Recaro A8 seat that he’d owned for five years, which had followed him from house move to house move (Germany to Cambridge, back to Germany, back to Cambridge and then Kent). Then he found out his friend Matty Loveridge had a matching seat, and so he ended up with a pair. Jim then drafted in Joe at Trim Deluxe to retrim them in Mk6 Golf GTD Jacara cloth and Alcantara. The Jacara cloth was also utilised to cover the tank and spare wheel in the rear install.
The rears of the A8s also received the carbon fibre treatment from carbon genius Paul at C6 Carbon. Paul’s work has increasingly appeared in show cars over the last few years and Jim was happy to head north to secure C6’s services, not just for the seat backs but also the door pockets, door seals, seat trims, front and rear bonnet struts, Moroso engine cover, steering wheel and glovebox.
The aim was to unveil the refreshed look at Ultimate Dubs in March, but time was certainly tight. The Thursday night before the show, Jim picked up the carbon seat backs from Paul at C6 in Darlington, travelled home to Cambridge, then to Brighton for Trim Deluxe to build the seats up, then battle the M25 home to Cambridge on Friday teatime and strap on the helmet torch to crack on with the final touches.
He made the show on Saturday, and was pleased to be asked to display in the Performance VW main corridor and to relax a little and take in everything Ultimate Dubs has to offer as the show season opener: “I enjoyed Ultimate Dubs, it was a great chance to meet up with everyone again.” He drove home from UD with a Top 25 finish and the following month picked up the Best Mk2 prize at Early Edition for an impressive haul of trophies and great recognition for the work he had put into the car.
During a really successful and enjoyable series of shows Jim has built a strong association with the guys at Low Collective and he’s pleased to have been inducted into their ranks. In fact, one member is actually now his landlord. Pat, Gordon, Nathan and the whole Low Collective crew run some cool cover cars in their ranks which means the motivation to keep improving their cars is always high.
So, with that in mind Jim took the Mk2 off the road in late August, with some serious plans afoot for an assault on Ultimate Dubs in 2016. Not a dodgy wrap in orange vinyl, but rather a comprehensive programme of subtle refinements and quality upgrades. We’ve seen some preview pictures of the Mk2 stripped down with virtually no area inside and out left untouched by hand, polishing wheel or carbon… and we know the centre locks are currently on Russ Whitefield’s Jetta coupé now that the two are sharing a unit and spurring each other on. We can’t wait for March to come and see for ourselves how Jim has taken one of the UK’s best Mk2s to an even higher level.
Centre lock wheels took a reported 250 hours of work per wheel. Some serious engineering porn!
“If I can help out a fellow owner it’s all good. I’ve even saved a few cars from scrappage. I’ve never been in it to make money”
G60 engine isn’t the easiest thing to get looking good but Jim’s managed it nicely.
Dub Details #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #VW-Golf-G60 / #VW-Golf-II-G60 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-G60 / #VAG /
ENGINE: Smoothed bay with relocated ancillaries and battery. #G60-supercharged install, #Jabbasport Stage 4 charger and chip, head stripped and ported, camshaft reprofiled to #Piper 280-spec, ported manifolds, flywheel lightened and #VR6 clutch, Fresh Reflections custom #G60 radiator and intercooler package, with custom mounting brackets, Moroso carbon fibre engine cover by C6 Carbon. Power rated at 225bhp.
CHASSIS: Custom one-off 7.5” (front) and 8” (rear) #BBS RS 16” alloys with centre lock conversion, 80mm centre nut, wheels painted Tempest grey, 0.5” lips all-round, Nankang Ultrasport 165/40x16 tyres, #AccuAir E-level setup with custom front struts and chassis notches, 16v-spec brakes.
EXTERIOR: Repainted inside and out in Audi Amulet red by True Paintworks, smoothed engine bay, delocked doors and tailgate, rear spoiler and wiper removed, one-off shortened door mirrors, 1990-spec side mouldings, single wiper conversion, carbon fibre slam panel, tailgate struts, bonnet struts and rain tray by C6 Carbon.
INTERIOR: Corrado dashboard. Dashboard and door cards retrimmed in Alcantara, Recaro A8 seats with carbon backs by C6 Carbon, trimmed by Jim and Trim Deluxe in Alcantara and Mk6 Golf GTD Jacaracloth centres, Crow Enterprises harness, carbon fibre steering wheel, glovebox and door trims by C6 Carbon. Les Hicks black roll-cage, rear seats removed and custom air tank and spare wheel installation, trimmed in Jacara cloth, manual door windows.
SHOUT: Paul at C6 Carbon (www.c6carbon.com),
Trim Deluxe (www.trimdeluxe.co.uk), Fresh
Reflections (@fresh-reflections), Auto Finesse, True
Paintworks, Low Collective
“The noise is something else and it’s got enough power to put your head into the back of the seat very rapidly”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationModified car 287 bhp 3.2 V6-engined #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-Mk2 V6 appeal! / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-V6-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-V6-II / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf / #VW / #VW-Golf-V6-II /
PEOPLE’S CARS – DARREN KENDALL’S V6-ENGINED MK 2 GTI
Once an avid Ford fan, Darren Kendall shares with us his long history of #VW ownership, culminating in his current 3.2 V6-engined Mk 2 GTI...
My car journey began in #1991 , but had nothing to do with VWs at that time. A silver Mk 3 Escort 1.3L was a good start to the motoring world and I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom it gave me as a youngster. I loved it and my girlfriend (now wife) had a yellow Mk 3 Escort too – she looked such a cool chick in that car!
My love of performance cars began in 1993, with a Peuguot 309 GTI, a truly great car in its own right – the difference in performance was simply breathtaking, it went round corners as if on rails and had a lovely engine note. I absolutely loved that car and it gave me a real appetite and passion for performance cars.
About two years later, a lad called Kelvin Boyle joined our bakery team at Haverhill. He owned a Mk 2 Golf GTI in Helios blue, took me for a ride one day and I loved the way the rev counter whipped round when we were racing up the hill into town. The square boxy styling, the square dashboard and the golf ball gearknob were all just so cool. It even sounded cool when he disarmed the Clifford alarm – not a highpitched chirp but an understated bloop!
I had discovered Mk 2 Golfs and my love for them remains undiminished to this day – there’s just something about the way they look. I knew from that moment I would own one... one day. Unfortunately, they also held their price very well so I ended up buying an Astra GTE 16V and had some fun with it but ultimately ruined it with an overly-firm Bilstein suspension kit. After shattering my spine for about a year I purchased my first Mk 2 Golf, a 4-door 16V.
It felt a tad slow after the Astra GTE 16V, but I was so happy to own the car I’d fallen in love with on that test drive with my mate. The build quality was bulletproof, the doors shut with such a solid clunk, and after putting a high-lift cam in it drove a lot nicer too. I also fitted Borbet C alloys, which look cool even today. I knew I probably should have held out for a 3-door version but it was such a nice example I couldn’t walk away. I went everywhere in that car, holidays were a breeze and it never missed a beat. I always had my car cleaning kit in the boot to keep the dark blue paintwork looking its best and loved going to some VW shows. I really got the bug and I changed the exhaust but resisted doing anything to the suspension as it handled so sweetly it didn’t need it.
I look back now and don’t quite know why, but after two and half years of GTI ownership I went to Cambridge for a haircut and came home with an Astra GSI 16V! I’d always quite liked the look of them, but I soon realised I was missing the sweet chassis of my Mk 2 Golf and so it had to go! And it had to go quickly, after I’d had a test drive in a Corrado VR6 in Midnight blue! If there’s one car I wish I could have kept it’s the VR6 as it combined the Mk 2 handling with a stunning engine noise. I lowered the car on Koni suspension, fitted BBS RC alloys, a Supersprint exhaust and then Nik Saran Racing in London supercharged it – wow, what a stunning result! I had a few ‘squeaky bum’ moments on wet roundabouts, but the car was amazing. This was in 1999 and I wish I could have afforded to keep it.
After a few years flirting with an Impreza RB5 and a Tommi Makkinan EVO 6 in beautiful black with white wheels, I purchased a Mk 4 Golf R32 and it is the love of the Mk 4 R32 and the Corrado VR6 that gave me a lot of the inspiration for the bright blue ‘Mk 2 3.2 V6’ that I own today… I had been keeping a close eye on the upcoming Mk 4 R32 and after seeing it at the motor show I placed my order with the local VW dealer. It had to be in the deep blue pearl colour and most definitely a 3-door. The wait seemed very long and frustrating, as this was my first brand-new car. I truly believe that everyone, at some point in their lives, if possible, should buy a new car. It’s a special experience to be the first person to drive that car and to get the exact spec that you want. Sure, you have to be careful which car you buy and for how long you keep it, due to depreciation, but it’s a memory that stays with you for ever.
The R32 was beautiful, with the blue paint gleaming in the sun on collection day. I slotted myself into the leather seats and had a very careful 25-minute drive home. I was very happy to be back with the VW brand, but the car felt quite slow in comparison – the accelerator was very sensitive and initially felt quick, but out on the open road it made all the noise but lacked the acceleration. Also the boom from the exhaust at 3500 rpm was annoying and tiresome on longer journeys.
A trip to AmD for a Milltek cat-back resonated exhaust and re-map produced a very pleasing 275 bhp and a truly gorgeous exhaust note. The car now had real personality and I loved its multitalented character – the engine was so flexible you could be lazy and cruise around in fifth gear and waft along on the torquey delivery.
I was slightly irritated when it had to go back for an accelerator pedal fault as when it was started up the revs would go to the red line and then come back down – very embarrassing in petrol stations as I looked like a boy racer! Then the glovebox wouldn’t stay shut and the leather seats started to stretch on the bases and I soon regretted ticking that option box. During my ownership of the R32 I purchased my second Mk 2 Golf GTI, as I wanted a little runaround and a car to play with. I travelled down to Fakenham and bought a lovely H-reg GTI 8V, a 3-door in Royal blue. It was so nice to have another Mk 2 – I loved the boxy shape compared to newer cars and the 8-valve was a lot easier to live with around town than the 16V. I must have polished this car so much I’m surprised it had any paint left on it!
I kept it for about three years and was never totally sure I’d done the right thing selling it. I had always wanted a bright blue metallic Mk 2 Golf as I had been to lots of VW shows and I’d always been in love with that colour, so much so that my good friend Kirk was getting fed up of hearing me moaning that I couldn’t find a decent one!
There are cars that you look back on and think ‘Why did I buy that?!’ After owning the R32 for about 15 months I changed it for a Nissan 350Z, a brand-new one at that! I think I was concerned about losing too much money on the Golf and when I was offered just £1500 less than I purchased it for I decided to change. Looking back, with hindsight, I should have kept the R32. Where the Golf was an allround package, the Nissan was a two-seater car that was a love affair for about a year!
After moving house, to free up some funds I down-traded to a Mk 4 Golf GTI 1.8T Anniversary, a 3-door model in silver. It was OK but for a special edition model it didn’t seem to be put together as well as my girlfriend’s standard Indigo blue Mk 4 GTI 1.8T 150. When she decided to change to a Mini, I sold the Anni and bought her Mk 4 GTI. I enjoyed this car as it was solid and comfortable and with an AmD re-map to 195 bhp it went well too.
I was very happy with the GTI but I never fooled myself into thinking it was a true GTI. It just wasn’t and I accepted that until October 2008 when I changed it for a stunning Mk 5 Golf GTI. I had actually been to test drive another Mk 4 R32 as I’d missed that sonorous beautiful engine note, but there was a nagging doubt in my mind about going back to what I’d already had. A case of rose-tinted glasses I think!
KM57 OYO was a 3-door Mk 5 GTI in Shadow blue metallic and it looked amazing. Literally, I walked around the car once and I knew I had done the right thing. It was an ex-demo with only 3,500 miles on the clock. The Mk 5 really was the GTI back to its best. This car was an outstanding all-rounder, you could exploit all of the power on a B-road and the chassis was so playful and fun that it knocked spots off the Mk 4 R32. I still missed the V6 engine note but the GTI was a massive leap forward in terms of dynamics.
The best thing I ever did with the GTI was going to BBR GTI (Morego at the time) in Brackley for a re-map and Milltek cat-back exhaust to take the power to 250 bhp and a lot more torque, transforming the car into a truly wonderful fun fast car to drive. I didn’t ever want for more power as on B-roads you could still fully deploy the power and torque and hang on for an exhilarating drive. The standard suspension was a great blend between comfort and performance and the 18-inch Monzas were both beautiful to look at and easy to clean. I really connected with this car. The tartan interior was great, no more frozen bum moments in winter, or burns in summer! After the leather in the Mk 4 R32 I am not a fan of VW leather seats as the quality seems lacking and durability is not good.
While loving my Mk 5 GTI to bits, I still found myself constantly looking for that elusive bright blue metallic Mk 2 Golf. Patience is a virtue and in September 2011 I saw advertised just what I had always wanted...
I was trawling through the car sales ads on Drive-My, Pistonheads, AutoTrader and Edition 38 websites when one Sunday evening I came across an ad for this lovely bright blue metallic Mk 2 GTI 8V. It was a one-owner car and exactly what I was looking for. It had a small scrape on the rear quarter where it had been scuffed on the owner’s garage but otherwise looked very clean. The car was in Southport and I remember thinking that’s too far to go and that someone was going to get a right nice car there! After stewing for a bit, I thought why can’t it be me…?!
I managed to get someone to drive me up on the Monday morning so I rang and explained that I was travelling from afar and could he give me first refusal on the car, which thankfully he agreed to. I arrived at the seller’s premises and instantly loved the look of the car. OK, so it had the smaller 14-inch alloys and it had the scrape to deal with, but the overall condition was good. The owner put the car up on the ramps for me to view it underneath and it all looked very clean. After a quick test drive a deal was soon agreed and I left a cheque and waited for it to clear before collection, which gave me some time to sort out insurance and a plan of action for the scrape to be taken care of.
Although it was in very good condition, the paintwork had various blemishes and scratches on a few of the panels. I knew I wanted to keep it for a long time, so I decided to drop it off to Greg Howell at Southam Bodies for the necessary repairs and a new coat of paint. I could have done a minor repair on the scrape but with cars this age the new paint can look out of place and I would still be unhappy with the other imperfections. Once the call came through I was down to collect it like a shot. She looked so pretty and, needless to say, it was a nervous drive home with the newly-painted car!
I was so happy to finally have found the car that I’d wanted for such a long time. I enjoyed driving my new pride and joy, listening to my old tapes as it had the original stereo – it all added to the ‘retro’ experience, but I soon found myself disliking the 14-inch wheels and ‘balloon’ tyres. I loved the BBS RZ design, so I set about finding a set of 15-inch wheels in the same style and after many hours on eBay I found a brandnew set for sale at GPC near Luton. It was a funny place, down a dirt track in the countryside, but their hangar was like an Alladin’s cave with all manner of parts, and my new boxed wheels. I was very happy!
The trade-off with owning an older car these days is that you don’t realise how far car technology has moved on in terms of build quality and engine technology. You tend to forget about the interior rattles and creaks, as it all adds to the charm of these cars, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed about how slow it was!
I always like to put my own stamp or personality onto a car and I had Koni suspension and a set of Willwood 4-pot brakes put on. For a while I was very happy with the results but it wasn’t long before I decided to enlarge the engine to a 2.0-litre 8-valve for more bhp and torque. However, as time went on, I soon found myself wanting more…
It became clear that to get the performance I was looking for I’d need to do an engine swap. This is a tough decision to make, as it meant sacrificing some originality but I’d already painted the car and tinkered with various other bits anyway so I decided to go for it. There are always plenty of people offering their views, but it’s down to you as the owner to make your own mind up and not do what you feel others want. I didn’t buy the car as a financial investment, but to enjoy it and smile every time I drove it.
My next big decision was what engine to go for, but there were really only two to choose from, the 3.2 V6 or the K04 2.0 TFSI from the Edition 30 GTI. I already have a lovely white Edition 30 Golf GTI and while I love the car for its all-round ability, the engine noise is a bit dull and uninspiring. The two cars that I’d really fallen in love with were the Corrado VR6 and the Mk 4 R32 so the decision was an obvious one – I wanted to give the Mk 2 some real character and I knew the 3.2 V6 would tick that box, but who should I entrust to complete the work…
I talked to many people and did a lot of research and as a long-time reader of Volkswagen Driver mag I was always impressed with the work coming out of JBS Auto Designs in Chesterfield. After a lengthy chat to James Silverstone the car was booked in as he was very honest about what would need to be done and his passion for their work was obvious.
I was happy to leave the car with JBS for the conversion, so it was a relaxed train journey home from Chesterfield.
When you’re entrusting a company to carry out a project like this it is so important to give them a clear vision of what you want. It sounds obvious, but if you don’t it will cost you dear in the long run – having to change things costs money!
My young daughter Danielle loves the Mk 2 and enjoys trips out and being picked up from school in it. In fact she told me off last week when it was sunny and I wasn’t in the Mk 2 to pick her up (I wouldn’t mind, but she’s only four and a half!), so I didn’t want hard suspension and a car so noisy it makes your ears bleed.
I had a lengthy chat with JBS head engineer Kevin Baston about my vision and we decided to use KW coilovers to help set the car up for the new engine weight and achieve a nice ride height that would be useable every day. At my age I can’t be doing with slammed cars that scrape over manhole covers – utter madness! The 3.2 V6 engine is, without doubt, one of the nicest sounding engines there is, so I wanted to fully enjoy the soundtrack without the car being boomy for longer motorway trips. I also wanted a standard design tailpipe as I hate big backbox designs, so we decided on a custom-made stainless-steel exhaust which is a masterpiece – it looks totally standard but sounds amazing under acceleration.
I was very up front from the start that I’d be happy with the standard 3.2 V6 and had no plans to turbo or supercharge it later on. With this in mind, an induction kit was bolted on which is standard Mk 5 R32 fitment and some Kent cams were fitted as they work very well with the VVT Attack calibration and Custom-Code engine management software. This meant that a very healthy 287 bhp was recorded on the dyno – I was a happy boy!
When I first booked the car in, James said they had a modified 6-speed gearbox that would work very well with the new engine. We spoke at length about the 5-speed gearbox from the Corrado VR6 but they were really only meant to cope with 190 bhp, and they weren’t brilliant back in the day. Also, they are quite old now, so I was happy to be using the 6-speeder. I think one of the hardest things to work out was how to get the Mk 3 rev counter working – quite a few hours were spent scratching heads!
Having since spoken to another owner of a Mk 2 with the 3.2 V6 he confirmed that the car ran out of puff in fifth gear, but with the 6-speeder motorway cruising is an absolute pleasure.
On the day of collection James took me for a spirited test drive, which certainly surprised an Audi S3 owner! The car sounded amazing, but was so civilised just cruising around too. The KW suspension is a revelation – never has the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ seemed more appropriate! My advice to anyone is if you can’t afford a top suspension set-up, then wait and save until you can. If you buy cheap you buy twice, as you’ll end up hating the cheap, harsh feel and then have to buy the more expensive choice anyway, so it works out more costly in the long run.
The engine has such a broad range of torque that I can drive through villages in sixth gear doing 25-30 mph, but press the accelerator and it picks up so quickly. You really can be lazy and just waft around in high gears if you please, but through the gears – wow! Due to the cams and VVT Attack the rev-counter whips round and you’re picking off another gear very quickly. The Mk 4 R32 never felt that quick, it made a lot of noise but didn’t translate that into pull and speed, but the 3.2 V6 engine turns the Mk 2 into a very rapid car indeed!
The joy of this conversion is that all the key elements combine to produce a very useable, pleasurable car to drive, as it grips the road so well. All the negative people that go on about the engine being too heavy need to drive a converted car. The GTI is 25 years old, so still gets used with a lot of respect, but what this car is all about is the character that it now has due to the conversion. It’s understated and subtle and looks just like a clean standard Mk 2.
I love the way the car has turned out and JBS really listened to my wish list and delivered. They understood that I didn’t want loud and brash and have built a stunning car. All I need now is some more sunny days to enjoy driving it!
‘The joy of this conversion is that all the key elements combine to produce a very useable, pleasurable car to drive...’
‘Kent cams, VVT Attack calibration and Custom- Code software meant a very healthy 287 bhp – I was a happy boy!’
The GTI is 25 years old, so still gets used with respect’
‘While loving my Mk 5 GTI to bits, I still found myself constantly looking for that elusive bright blue metallic Mk 2 Golf...’
‘One Sunday evening I came across an ad for this lovely bright blue metallic Mk 2 GTI 8V. It was a oneowner car and exactly what I was looking for. It had a small scrape on the rear quarter but otherwise looked very clean...’
‘The two cars that I’d really fallen in love with were the Corrado VR6 and the Mk 4 R32 so the decision was an obvious one – I wanted to give the Mk 2 some real character and I knew the 3.2 V6 would tick that box...’
‘It is the love of the #VW-Golf-R32-IV and the Corrado #VR6 that gave me a lot of the inspiration for the bright blue ‘Mk 2 3.2 V6’ that I own today…’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDEF ROWE / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #VW / #VAG
If ever we needed proof that America leads the way in the booted Dub department, Harry Rowe’s turbo Coupé is all the evidence you’ll need. Words: Elliott Roberts / Photos: Sam Dobbins
It’s safe to say the Volkswagen Jetta Mk2 never quite took off in Europe like it did Stateside. Granted, as with any minority motor car you will always have your fan bois that obsess over them, but for the most part modified Mk2 Jettas in the UK were extremely thin on the ground and if you did find one, well, it would most likely be average at best. Okay, they were until we started to see a bunch of killer examples emerging across the Pond but if we’re honest the Yanks have always led the way with the booted Golf. I guess Harry Rowe’s VR6T Coupé is a great lesson in just why.
“As a kid I was always into cars and bikes. I had dirt bikes and go-karts before eventually winding up in an 1983 Rabbit GTI,” claims Harry. Despite the natural draw to American muscle cars Harry was soon turned on to the VW way of life after a bunch of mates dragged him to a couple of European car shows. “Also, my father’s good friend worked for VW and they built quick quarter-mile cars in their spare time. It was good fun back then,” Harry adds.
He actually ended up taking the ’90 Jetta Coupé as a trade with a friend, as he explains: “My friend Paul Harley had bought the car but quickly discovered it had a lot of bugs and it was soon just parked up. It had lots of potential but was poorly put together I guess.” After getting the car running Harry drove the thing daily for a couple of years so he could iron out all the little niggles and get it mechanically flawless. Then trouble struck. “One day a tractor slowly reversed into the front, Tunacanning the fender off,” Harry says. He was originally planning just to fix the cosmetic damage but, inevitably, got carried away. It was at this stage the engine came out and Harry started to plan which angle of attack to take. He was set back a little due to the purchase of his first house… and mortgage! “The good thing was it had a garage, though,”
Harry says, “so at least there would be somewhere to store the car and work on it.” On paper the car as Harry purchased it was quite sorted. “It had widened rear fenders, a semishaved bay, shaved body mouldings and marker lights,” Harry tells us, “but I just perfected it by doing a full-on smoothed bay, fitting the pop-out rear windows and adding a number of other little touches.” Harry claims he just loves changing things up and being creative. Although he was aware of some of the US scene’s Mk2 Jetta Coupé ‘greats’ Harry claims he wasn’t inspired by any specific one: “I just wanted to make the car nice and put my own spin on it.” Stuff like the key-hole-mounted rear-view camera and Mk3- style boot popper are things that most people wouldn’t even notice but Harry knows are there and will appeal to the real anoraks.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. After Harry exchanged on the house he began stripping the car right down for a full repaint: “I did a lot of the engine bay prep in my garage while Haggard Fab took on some of the other fab work before the rolling shell went off for paint.” According to Harry it’s Mars red but with a Mercedes Benz paint code.
Those with a keen eye may also have noticed the rear window seal isn’t as it left the factory. “There I used a number of parts from various brands of car,” Harry reports. “This changes the look of the rear window seal and, in my opinion, makes the car look more modern and, most importantly, different to all the rest.” You won’t see many Jettas running round headlights either. The purists may frown on this but we think they look at right home there and Harry is happy with the end result: “I’ve always loved round headlights. I’ve tried Westy aeros but I keep coming back to these. Of course, I’d happily fit a Rallye front-end if somebody was to donate one though!”
Despite carrying out a lot of work himself, Harry claims he couldn’t have done it without the help of his friends – especially Matt at Eurokraft: “His knowledge of these cars is amazing and helped me tons.” Apparently Harry was most motivated when the car came back from paint: “After that, it was all hands on deck from my friends.”
There’s obviously more to this car than a new coat of paint and a few rare modifications, though. Yup, it’s time to talk about the big turbo VR6 running all the right bits: “The car had a VR6 swap when I got it, although it looked nothing like it does now, even though it is the same motor,” Harry tells us. “It’s a nonintercooled VR6 turbo with titanium valve springs retainers and HD valve springs and head gasket spacer with ARP hardware. For what it is – a lowboost setup with about 13lbs – it really moves.
I’ve embarrassed a number of cars on the highway.” He’s also done alright at the quartermile, with a best ET of 12.7 at 115mph. That’s certainly not to be sniffed at. We like the fact that despite the fresh paint and show car wheels, Harry is still all about driving this thing: “Yeah, I’m not afraid to whoop on it from time to time. That’s why I put it together really.”
So the car can clearly hold its own on the showfield and quarter-mile, but what about in the twisties? “I almost went for air-ride but decided against it. The car is running CX Racing coilovers, which I know are not exactly expensive but they adjust pretty well and the car corners great and rides low, too,” Harry says. When it came to the interior Harry really didn’t want to go overboard: “I love the sight of a Mk2 dash and interior so long as it’s in good shape, so I didn’t see the point in wrapping it up. After all, it’s a car I built on a budget, so just adding simple OEM+ touches and a few creature comforts like the double DIN touchscreen, Hella wheel and SWG gauge pod, plus custom centre vent gauge mounts and suede headline with matching pillars and red stripe seat belts worked for me.”
So now it’s all finished we ask Harry if he enjoyed the build and what was the hardest part of it? “I think staying motivated was the hardest part, especially while moving into my new house,” he replies. “As for the positives, well, despite just being a VW Jetta it gets plenty of attention even from non-car people and I guess it’s pretty fast, too.”
What does the future hold for Harry? “Well, I don’t really have any new projects lined-up just yet. I don’t think I’ll do another serious build any time soon. I did buy a Kamei hood scoop that I painted body colour recently, though. I’m really liking that on the car.” So why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through all of this? “I enjoy making things better whether it’s fixing or modifying things,” Harry surmises. “If somebody doesn’t get it then usually a turbocharged thirdgear pull normally explains it all perfectly!”
ENGINE: 2.8-litre 12v #VR6 with #Kinetics Stage 1 kit comprising Precision turbo, #ARP hardware, upgraded injectors and software, titanium valve spring retainers, uprated valve springs, 8.5:1 head gasket spacer, stock cam, hidden coil pack and tucked wires, #Dahlback-Racing diverter valve, Tial wastegate, shortened oil pan and R32 oil pump, custom Eurokraft wire harness for shaved bay, Forge boost controller, Haggard Fab coolant reservoir, #Haggard Fab 3” exhaust with custom mounted #Borla-Pro XS muffler and short tailpipe, #Quaife differential, ARP hardware, #Southbend clutch, Polo shift box and 02j shifter swap.
CHASSIS: 8x16” and 9x16” #BBS-RS , half caps with red centres, five-stud conversion, Mk3 VR6 brakes, #CX-Racing coilovers, upgrade polybushings, #VF-Engineering motor mounts.
EXTERIOR: Custom-made rear pop-out windows, Porsche script handles, Mercedes Benz Mars red paint, badgeless single round grille, widened rear arches, shaved body mouldings, shaved marker lights and antenna, custom-mounted rear-view camera in trunk key hole and Mk3-style rear trunk popper.
INTERIOR: #SWG gauge pod holding Innovate wide-band, custom centre vent gauge panel housing #Cyberdyne digital boost/vac, oil pressure and oil temp gauges, #Recaro Trophy seats, #Hella Royal Exclusive Line steering wheel, Mk3 silver-faced cluster, suede headliner and pillars, leather-wrapped parcel shelf, custom-made Porsche script ‘Turbo’ floormats and a personalised pillow, #Pioneer double DIN touchscreen display, 10” Pioneer sub mounted in rear armrest, #Kenwood amp, Infinity door speakers.
SHOUT: Big thanks to all my friends that came and helped when I needed it, Paul, Jay, Joel, Dan, Matt from Eurokraft, Matt from Haggard Fab, Sam Dobbins, oh, and I can’t forget my lovely fiancé for putting up with me, and anyone I forgot. This was most definitely an honor, thank you.
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- Post is under moderationBACK TO THE NEW SKOOL DAN PULLEN #Volkswagen / #VW
This Mk2 has so much Bentley leather they’ve had to cease production of the Continental GT.
Recently the bods at Jaguar decided to hand-build six, brand-new, lightweight E-Types, with original (albeit unused) 1963 chassis numbers, then sell them to special customers at £1.2 million a pop. Jassi’s Mk2 Golf reminds me of those.
You see, there’s a lot to be said for nostalgia. For one it captures the heart. They reckon there’s no school like the old skool and there’s plenty of truth in that. After all, if that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t see so many new Fiat 500s and MINIs tooling around every city in Europe. The same goes for genuine classic cars, which have become infinitely more popular, not to mention sought after by all the cool kids over the past few years.
What’s really interesting though, is that wonderful situation when old skool meets new skool head on. Nowadays the most successful creations prove that retro motoring in the 21st century doesn’t have to mean regular breaking down in some rusty old shitbox. Plenty of today’s classics are restored in a way that embraces new technology and techniques. Out-dated parts are often uprated, performance and drivability along with safety can be advanced, in fact it’s the essence of all modifying – to evolve.
Jassi’s car is the epitome of this notion. It’s about harking back to the old aesthetic with a sneaky bit of updating along the way. This one though is less of a restoration project and more of a new build that’s been completed with the utmost respect for the original. Sure it’s practically a whole re-manufactured motor, but the modifications are there simply to enhance the ideas of the past, not totally change them. It’s an exercise in showing what could have been done if the Mk2 Golf had rolled out of the factory last week – or what would have happened if the 1980s VW bods had access to new-age materials and went a bit loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget. It shows no compromise, and that’s a rare thing.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if Bill Gates were to put together a more-door Mk2 Golf, this is exactly how he’d do it – with absolutely no expense spared. It’s blindingly obvious that this fusion of old-skool style and new techniques and materials didn’t come cheap. Many of the mods, particularly the carbon items are total one-offs, for a start. But it’s also a story about friendship. Jassi certainly didn’t have the big-budget technicians of modern-day car manufacturers when he rescued this “pretty straight” Golf 1.6L shell. Instead he turned to his friends, veteran retro #VAG modifier Parm Bhambra and a few other enthusiasts who would get the job done to the hand-built, concours standard that he was after.
Despite the super plush and extravagant outcome, it was by no means a build that was done in a Maclaren-style sterile workshop either. Just take the crazy 300bhp #VR6 engine. That was tuned and fitted by Jassi’s mate Hardip, on his drive, in just under two days. Credit where credit’s due, Parm has been instrumental to the car’s success throughout the whole build, a kind of project manager for Jassi. You may remember Parm had his own project, a rather fetching TT-engined Mk2 Golf Rallye, in Fast Car a few months ago, so it’s clear he’s no stranger to updating the odd retro ride. Even so the job was far from easy, when you’re doing anything at this level, it takes more than a little attention to detail. And on this one the details are immense.
Apart from the engine, which is pretty bloody special in its own right, the most obvious use of modern technology was the use of materials like carbon fibre. Many of these immaculately autoclaved pieces were sourced or made as one-offs by Parm’s industry contacts. The fitting and blending of the wide arches was also expertly completed by a few of his mates in a local body shop.
There’s plenty of small but delightfully anal details here, stuff like the fact they’ve taken the time to retrim both the amps that are on show – along with just about everything else inside the car, even the small bits and pieces such as window winders and door handles.
Just like the carbon fibre, the sandy Alcantara is also a space-age composite material, a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed here at FC. The leather used to trim those electric Recaros on the other hand isn’t quite as cutting-edge because it comes from cows (no shit – Jules). That said, they’re not just any cows, they’re special Bentley cows – opulent to say the least!
The use of modern technology doesn’t stop with the materials or application. The parts Jassi has chosen are right up there with anything you’ll find on The Gadget Show. The stance comes courtesy of the latest Air Lift V2 kit. While the sounds are provided by some of the most up-to-date gear from JL Audio and Audison. Suffice to say it’s all super-premium stuff.
Even the wheels are super-rare, super-modern and custom made – in a thoroughly retro kind of way. Machined from solid forged billets by Budnik in California, they’re the sort of all-American hot-rod rims you’d normally see on a Gas Monkey creation – a fusion of old and new in their self.
I guess my point is this car is something of a missing link between past design and future technology. It’s inspired by both periods when so many out there simply look to one and call their creations either old skool or new skool.
A great 19th century philosopher once wrote that “the future influences the present just as much as the past”. If he’d lived long enough to see Jassi’s Mk2 Golf, he’d know he wasn’t wrong.
What do you find most inspiring, the future or the past?
“For me both are the same. What could be the future is just as inspiring as what happened in the past, especially with cars.”
Did you know that Friedrich Nietzsche said something quite similar in the 19th century?
“Come on, you just Googled quotes about the future, trying to look clever didn’t you?” Er, yeah, okay. You got me.
So shiny and new (but also old)
All leathered up (like Jules at the weekend)
The perfect fusion of old skool and new skool.
TECH SPEC: #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen
STYLING: Wide arches; Porsche door handles; single wiper conversion; carbon mirrors, roof, small bumpers, door trim, rear trim and tail light trim.
CHASSIS: Fully-chromed 8x16-inch Budnik wheels with custom offsets (ET 35 at front and 15 at rear) and Porsche centre caps; Toyo Proxes T1 195/40R16 G60; 280mm disc brakes; #Air-Lift Performance V2 kit with dual compressors and polished tank; chassis notch; #Powerflex bushes.
INTERIOR: Porsche steering wheel; #Recaro Edition One electric seats trimmed in Bentley Tan leather; dashboard, roof lining and various other interior panels trimmed in sandy Alcantara; custom rear view mirror, door handle inserts and window winders.
TUNING: 2.8 supercharged VR6 engine by #Z-Engineering ; 6-speed #Quaife race gearbox; Mk3 #Golf-VR6 sports exhaust race manifold; VW Corrado aluminium racing radiator; oil cooler; relocated battery.
AUDIO: #JL-Audio W6 10-inch subwoofer; V2 500/1 amplifier and (2x) JL Audio V1 300/1 amplifiers; #Alpine single- DIN headunit; #Audison two-way 6.5-inch components in custom housings; and 5.25-inch coaxials (rear).
THANKS Parm Bhambra; Hardip for the engine conversion.
What a thoroughly handsome monster Going back to the old skool.
“It’s like 1980s VW bods have gone loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFREAK OR UNIX?
Having picked up the coveted PVW COTY, Unix Performance is back with a bang for 2015. Does its R36-powered Golf Rallye have what it takes to win you guys over again? Having picked up the coveted #Volkswagen Car of the Year honours a few months ago, it looks like Unix Performance is back with a bang for #2015 . Does its R36-powered Golf Rallye have what it takes to win you guys over again? We’re certainly sold… Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: More Than More.
At just 32, Remi Marcel Laflamme doesn’t just own one of the best tuning shops in Canada, he’s got one of the finest collections of cool modified VWs, too. Now you might say the two go hand in hand but, as we’ve discovered over the years, it’s only the true enthusiast-run shops that continue to build reworked classics rather than churning out a string of somewhat soulless, nu-wave creations. It’s safe to say Unix Performance is about as enthusiastic as it gets. That’s why Remi and his team of merry men who work out of Quebec City are pretty much a household name on the North American modified #VW scene.
Rather than focusing on simply churning out remapped vehicles and making money that way, Remi and the team specialise in taking the best bits from the nu-wave cars and installing them into older generation VWs in a way that not only complements the older cars but also clearly pays the bills, too. Some say there’s no money in engine conversions nowadays but Remi and the guys have mastered the art and, as a result, have never been busier. The chaps have the ability to not only offer a full roll-in, roll-out onestop conversion service but they also seem to be able to turn customer cars and their own projects around in lightning fast time whilst still retaining quality. While Remi isn’t about to give away where these super powers come from or how he makes things work, he is more than happy to take some time to talk about his latest creation (which debuted at H2O International last year) and how Unix earned the reputation it is now so proud of.
On top of the Car Of The Year acclaim, Unix has been responsible for producing a whole host of other jaw-dropping PVW feature cars recently, whether they have been company demonstrators or customer cars. It’s funny, people are always asking us what we look for in feature cars, as if there’s some specific list of ingredients they can tick off in the hope it will bag them a car worthy of these pages. Sadly there’s not. We always struggle to try and define exactly what it takes but what we should do is just send them in the direction of Unix’s Facebook page.
That’s what separates Remi from most others tuners; he understands what it takes to not only create a complete car but also what it takes to make it stand out from others without turning it into a rolling billboard or ruining it with over-thetop bolt-ons. This is illustrated perfectly by his latest masterpiece, this seriously reworked Golf Rallye that, from the outside, appears to be stock apart from some shiny wheels and a suspension job.
Now modified Golf Rallyes aren’t new and they’re certainly no strangers to these hallowed pages either (I’ve been attempting to finish my own for the last five years!). It’s common knowledge, however, that the stock Golf Rallye was, well, pretty average when it came to performance. It looked incredibly butch and aggressive but sadly its performance stats didn’t match those pumped-up arches. Most Rallye owners are more than happy to admit this fact and 99% of them you’ll meet have chosen to do something about it. The thing is, ten years ago you could pick up a Rallye for a few grand and they were pretty damn common (well, as common as a car which was limited to a production run of just 5000 can be). As a result it didn’t matter that everyone was swapping the original 8v motor for some something more powerful, like a #VR6 or a 1.8T.
These days, though, well a lot of cars have been crashed, scrapped or modified to the point of no return and with prices of unmolested examples starting to go sky high it takes a brave (some might say slightly deluded) person to strip one down and create a totally one-off, customised example. We can only imagine, though, how excited Remi must have been when he finally got his mitts on what some call the Holy Grail of performance VWs because if you thought they were rare over here in Europe then imagine how few ever made it Stateside – where they were never officially available. Indeed, most of those that are in the US only arrived there in the past few years.
Remi claims he was reading PVW even before he could drive, which makes us feel ever so slightly responsible for his obsession with modified VWs and this Rallye project: “My dad also introduced me to cars at an early age. He ran a bodyshop under our family home, so I was always stealing tools and pretending I knew what I was doing. It was always the European cars that appealed, too.”
It was actually 12 years ago that Remi set up Unix Performance and he hasn’t looked back since. “It makes me feel old to think we’ve been in business that long but then I still feel like I’m a kid, so I guess that’s a good thing,” he smiles. You soon discover Remi does a lot of smiling. Looking at his collection of cars it’s not hard to see why but it’s clear this larger than life guy is just as passionate about his job now as he was way back when he set up shop all those years ago: “I had originally just been working on friends’ cars but when you have a real passion for something and realise you can pay the bills, too, well, you couldn’t ask for more.”
For us over here on the other side of the Pond Unix seemed to totally blow up out of nowhere around five years back, although Remi claims that’s probably down to the internet: “We were in the scene for some time before but the internet and forums helped us build our name globally. That and the fact we also started attending larger shows.”
There have been some major cars to come out of Canada in the past but recently Unix really seems to be flying the flag for the Canadian modified Dub scene. No pressure then. “I’m my own worst enemy,” says the French Canadian. “I push myself to always do better and I’m never happy with what I have. People say I have got some kick-ass cars but when I look at them I just see the small problems or faults in them, so I put pressure on myself.”
Despite his high standards Remi, though, started out like many of us, with some less prestigious metal: “I’ve always owned modified European cars. If I still owned those cars today then sure they’d look crap but I was happy at the time. I owned a GTI with a big metal spoiler on the roof, then a B3 Passat wagon painted in Laguna blue which looked like a big Smurf crap. You’ve got to start somewhere, though!”
Enough about the past though, how the hell did he locate the Rallye over there when they were only ever available in Europe? “Someone gave me the heads-up that there was a guy located around three hours away from me that was selling one. He had imported it from Switzerland with the help of some guys in America but after owning it for some years was now ready to sell it.” The car was topdollar.
According to Remi, Rallyes are actually legal to import into Canada now as they’re over 12 years old. It’s only the US where things get a little grey. “I called this guy maybe twice a year for three years to see if he would consider lowering his price until eventually he did and we agreed on a deal.”
Like a lot of VW geeks, Remi claims he had always wanted a Rallye since he was a kid: “It was always my favourite and the fact they’re so rare over here just added to that. After my last Mk2 I told my friends the only time I will ever own another Mk2 is when I find a Rallye.”
Apparently when Remi eventually got the car back to his shop it wasn’t in a good way: “The previous owner had already begun to do some stuff to the car but nothing was finished and it a bit of a mess from sitting in a garage for three years. He had done some serious damage and the paint wasn’t good either.” According to Remi the engine had already been swapped for a 225bhp 1.8T but that wasn’t complete, and the dash had been changed to a Mk3 item which had resulted in metal being cut out. “I had to buy another car to use to replace these metal areas as I wanted a good, original base to start my own project from,” Remi says.
Remi was always going to put his own spin on the car from the start but he’s a great believer in if you’re going to mess about with what VW originally created then it needs to be done in such a manner that should anybody from VW see the car then they would appreciate what had been done, you know?
So to begin with the motor came out, along with all the other bits the previous owner had added so Remi could inspect the shell for damage: “I always like to do most of the work on my car myself or oversee the stuff one of our guys does. I got a lot of cool friends who are always there to help and owning a onestop- shop helps a lot to be able to do everything on the cars in-house.” One of his friends who they call the Lion (we didn’t ask) helped a lot on the bodywork and Remi’s brother-in-law also helped with a lot of the interior. It’s a real family affair at Unix, whether they’re blood related or not!
When you look under the bonnet, the engine and bay may look like a work of art but Remi is the first to admit fitting the motor in there wasn’t easy: “Fitting a new engine that doesn’t bolt straight to the OE mounts, a transmission that is very different to the original, and later injection technology into a older car is never easy but we love the challenge and damn does it feel good when it’s working and working right!”
Remi reckons he never keeps track of how long these things take because otherwise you can find yourself rushing. “If you ask my wife, she will probably know down to the second and tell you that I put too much time into it,” he smiled. The engine itself was robbed (not literally) from a low-mileage 2011 Passat: “It was practically brand-new, so we just stripped it to powdercoat the block, painted a few parts and removed a few bits that weren’t needed.” They never received the genuine R36 Stateside, just the 3.6 VR6 with Tiptronic gearbox but there was very little difference between the two. “I finally found this one in a junkyard so bought it, swapped the transmission and upgraded it to R36-spec,” said Remi.
When it came to choosing a colour for the car, despite having some lairy colour-changed demos in the past, Remi knew there was only one shade for it: “It’s the factory Graphite metallic. It’s one of my favourite Rallye colours.” Remi claims it was hard to resist the urge not to smooth stuff out and basically show off the skills his shop can offer customers but it would’ve been sacrilege to shave everything. “Sure, I wasn’t able to resist shaving the rear wiper, rolling the arches and doing a mild shaved bay but that’s probably what the plus in OEM+ is for,” he laughed.
As we walk around the car, it soon dawns on us that this is pretty much the ultimate Golf Rallye. It’s how the Rallye should have left the factory all those years ago: as a fast-road track day slag that’s as close to a ‘RS-style’ Golf as you can get. Coincidently the über-rare Recaro R8s were found online by his good friend Russ Thomas (whose Mk2 Jetta was featured back in PVW 10/10): “They were located in Italy and had been previously fitted in an RS Porsche. The guy was actually the original owner of the seats and was super-cool to deal with, although they did take around four months to arrive due to us having them shipped over by boat!” Remi admits that owning a set of A8s was another childhood dream realised. “This was where my brother-in-law, Dan (who heads up the upholstery diving of Unix), stepped in to take care of the trimming.” Dan stripped the seats down in order to achieve Remi’s OEM+ look using all-new materials that give an original period look with a nu-wave twist. The cage, which isn’t just a work of art but also received a coating of Alcantara, was made in-house by Unix, as was the cool aluminium shifter which is hooked up to the 2008 R32 DSG gearbox. “We used the Rallye as a test bed to produce our prototype shifter, which we now offer for all DSGs,” Remi explains. “It’s cool to transform the DSG shifter knob into a more race-inspired item, which is also fun to drive with.”
When it came to the four-wheel drive system Remi wasted no time in whipping out the original Syncro setup in favour of a later Haldex system: “We’ve done the beam conversion for many years at Unix, which involved simply swapping the Syncro beam to a Haldex differential from a 2004 R32, so it was pretty easy. I also modified the Syncro beam to have the camber/caster adjustment, then powdercoated it.”
If that swap was one of the easiest parts Remi claims the wiring side of the engine swap was the hardest: “Fitting the engine was tricky enough but then we had to do the harness: 3.6-litre FSI injection, plus DSG transmission, plus OEM Mk3 door lock, and all the stock Rallye electrical options made the harness a real pain in the ass but after spending some time on it we were able to make a good looking harness.”
Remi claims that his favourite part, though, has got to be the exterior: “The boxed fenders just do it for me and the fact the car is straighter now than when it left the factory. The paint is awesome and the little mods are really tricky to spot at first.”
We reckon another reason Remi loves the exterior has to be down to the way the car sits, which was more than just bolting-on a set of coils and some off-the-shelf wheels: “I carried out a lot of modifications to the chassis because I always planned to take the car on track in 2015. The shocks are KW V3s which were fitted along with uprated roll bars and tie bars. All bushings are from Powerflex. I reinforced the front control arms, added one of our popular ball-joint extender kits, modified the rear Syncro beam to have camber/caster adjustable and then put a set of 12’’ discs on the front and 11’’ on the back with Porsche calipers all-round to stop it.”
When it came to rolling stock, well, let’s just say Remi had a little trick up his sleeve. After taking a closer look we were convinced they were one-offs but Remi soon corrects us: “They’re not one offs, they’re two offs. We made two sets of them; one for me and one for my best friend Pav, who was on the cover of PVW some years ago with his black Mk2 Golf with a red interior. Mine are stepped to 17’’ and Pav’s are flat-lipped in 15”. Both guys knew if they were wanted to up their game then going fully custom was the only way to go: “A lot of my friends work in the machining industry, so we had the idea to make a custom wheel set for many years. Well, the time felt right so we drew them up and finally made it happen. We kind of wanted them to be like ‘unicorn wheels’ – only one set of each! That’s why we won’t make any more of this design.” Remi claims Unix will create some new designs in the future. What better way to finish a customer build than to be able to top it off with a one-off or limited edition set of wheels?
So is Remi now happy with the car or is there more to come? “The choice for Rallye suspension is quite limited and the KWs came brand-new with the car, so they were effectively free,” he replies. “I modified them to achieve the amount of drop I wanted but I will probably change it for Clubsports or maybe fit a set of our Midjet race air struts in the future. We’ll see…”
Remi also says he’s already begun work on an Integrale-style bonnet which might be cooling a supercharged R36 by the end of the year. “We are designing a new supercharger kit for the R32 and R36 right now which will use a hidden Rotrex charger. My wife is already running a blown R36 and it’s awesome, but that’s on her Mk4 and there is far less room for that ’charger on the Mk2,” Remi reveals.
Like we said, these guys don’t mess around when it comes down to turning a project around. “I bought the Rallye just before Christmas 2013 and it was finished in time for H2O back in September 2014,” Remi tells us (that kind of puts my five-year and counting Golf Rallye project to shame! ~ Ed). “We were only working in the evenings and on weekends, which is crazy. I’ve never done a entire project so fast. I must thank my wife for understanding my addiction.”
We ask Remi what’s next for Unix? “I’m completely redoing my Mk1 Golf at the moment. This time I hope it will be the last time. I have also imported one of the few remaining 1974 Audi 100LSs from the US and am thinking of converting it to RWD and putting in a 700hp engine – all this in a stock-looking body.”
Life is certainly never dull at Unix Performance. We’re probably not the only ones who wish they were based a little closer so we could swing by every once in a while to watch the madness unfold and get a get a glimpse at how these guys work in real time.
The Unix Rallye looks equally as mind-blowing in full flight. In typical Unix style, the mods have been carried out in a way that complements the original vehicle.
Dub Details #VW-Golf-II
ENGINE: #2011 #R36 engine, #2008 #R32 #DSG gearbox, R32 #2004 #Haldex conversion, Unitronic #ECU flash, billet pulley, custom cold air intake, twin 2.5 stainless steel downpipe, 3” oval exhaust.
CHASSIS: 9x17” one-off specification Unix Billet Felgen with 195/40 ZR17 tyres. KW Variant 3 coilovers, Powerflex bushing all-round, Autotech sway bars, Unix ball joint extenders, Unix Syncro to Haldex conversion, rear beam with camber/caster adjustment, Unix roll-cage, Unix front pillow ball camber plate, reinforced control arm.
EXTERIOR: Stock Graphite metallic respray, engine bay OEM+ style shave, rear wiper deleted, French Rallye fenders logo, smoked front headlight, clear glass conversion, Happich pop-out rear windows, Audi tilt and slide sunroof.
INTERIOR: #Recaro A8 front seats, #VW-Golf Mk2 CL one-piece rear bench, Unix roll-cage covered in Alcantara, Nakamichi period-correct headunit, Digifiz cluster, Personall Alcantara steering wheel, Unix motorsport DSG shifter, complete interior in a Rallye looking grey Alcantara with black leather.
SHOUT: Unix Performance (unix-performance.com)
The paint is awesome and are really tricky to spot the little mods.
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