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    JURY 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”
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