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    Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v (Mk2) From wondering what he’d just bought to its transformation into trackday perfection, Aston Parrott’s Mk2 GTI has been a car he’ll never forget.

    / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf / #VW-Typ-1G / #VW-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VW / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-ABF / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-Mk2

    End of term Fast Fleet

    After six brilliant years of ownership, the time had arrived to say goodbye to my Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v.

    I can still remember the day my dad and I drove to view the car in Somerset. The plan was to purchase it and then for me to drive on to south Wales where I was studying at university. Luckily for us the GTI was as described and the deal was done.

    Driving over the Severn Bridge I went to move the knob that adjusts the side mirror and it fell off in my hand. I instantly started laughing and thought to myself: what have I just spent my student loan on? The GTI was replacing an Audi A3 Sport as my everyday car…

    The simple interior design was new to me, but I instantly fell in love with the Golf’s character and the sound from its 139bhp 1.8-litre 16-valve engine. My girlfriend was waiting in the university halls to see what monstrosity I had just bought, and I was expecting a negative response to the older, no-luxuries GTI, but to my surprise she loved the boxy design just as much as I did.

    Over the next three years the GTI was used nearly every day, in all weathers and for any occasion, from tackling heavy snow to long weekends away with a boot full of camping equipment. It became part of the family and was the perfect car, demonstrating why hot hatches are so popular. Nevertheless, being an older car – and one that I would take to over 180,000 miles – life wasn’t always easy and many parts had to be replaced along the way, including the gearbox. There was also the odd bit of welding. But somehow I could always forgive its troubles because I just worshipped the way it drove.

    After graduating I got my dream job as staff photographer at Drive-My and the GTI was no longer needed as my daily driver. So as the car made its debut in Fast Fleet in mid-2015, I began turning it into my perfect GTI. Without the need for it to be so practical, I slowly transformed it into a more driver-focused Mk2, stripping the interior and adding a carbonfibre bonnet and tailgate, uprated suspension and Recaro SPG bucket seats. My Golf was also the first car I had driven on track for any decent amount of time. I remember one lovely summer’s evening – my birthday, in fact – at Rockingham and thinking it was just perfection. Despite its modest power, the car’s light weight and general set-up ensured it was quick enough not to embarrass itself.

    Driving a Mk1 Golf GTI to the Wolfsburg factory with Drive-My staff writer Antony Ingram really enlightened me as to just how good the Mk2 was. It had better brakes than its predecessor, was faster and had power steering and more headroom. We made the return trip in the then new Mk7 Golf GTI Clubsport Editon 40. This and the further honed Clubsport S are two of my favourite modern hot hatches, so much so that I stole the S’s idea of replacing the rear seats with a boot net for my own car.

    So why have I sold my Mk2? Mainly down to a lack of parking space and because I simply wasn’t driving it as much as I used to – my 993 Carrera being partly to blame for both of these. So I advertised the GTI online one evening, and the very next morning I got a call from avid Drive-My reader Simon Murray, who explained that he had been following my Fast Fleet reports and had to own the car.

    A few more messages and another phone call later and he had secured the car with a deposit, booked a one-way ticket from Scotland and was ready to collect ‘my’ GTI. It all happened very quickly, but I was very happy it was going to a good home.

    I collected Simon from the airport on a Saturday morning and we chatted about our passion for cars. After a drive in the Golf, resulting in a big smile on Simon’s face, the paperwork was signed, a quick photo was taken of the handover, and the car was gone. But it’s left me with so many good memories.

    Aston Parrott

    Date acquired April 2012
    Duration of test 6 years Total test mileage 11,000
    Overall mpg 29.5 Costs £6089 since Drive-MY (July 2015), including carbonfibre bonnet and tailgate, paint, seats, suspension, tyres and MOTs Purchase price £3500
    Value today £8500

    ‘The GTI was used nearly every day, in all weathers and for any occasion’
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    GRANDE DESIGNS Mk5 GTI gets big wheels, big brakes and a big attitude. It’s kind of a big deal.

    SATIN YELLOW #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Mk5 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-V

    Volkswagen Mk5 Golf GTi “I wasn’t going to do much to it, honest.” How many times have we heard that one? Ricky Grande is the latest person to roll out that line in front of our cameras… Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Anna Richardson and Keith Sowden.

    “You can write Ricky’s Mk5 feature this month Dave,” said Elliott as we put the plan together for this issue, “it makes sense, you wrote his last one didn’t you?” Yeah, I did, way back in 2008 when I was only a year into my tenure with PVW.

    Back then I had no idea I’d still be doing this almost a full decade later, heck, I was surprised Elliott hadn’t seen through my nonsense at that stage and I was still getting away with it. Now, roughly nine full years since Ricky Grande and I first met and almost a decade since I started on the mag, a whole lot is changing for me on a personal level but just looking at Ricky’s ‘5 is turning into something of a trip down memory lane for me. It’s funny, back then we went on far more shoots than we do now (yay, budgets!) but I still remember Ricky’s like it was only last month. Fresh faced, definitely thinner and most likely with a really stupid haircut, I went to Ilford in my Bora (back when we could take our own cars on shoots before the accountants here stopped all that!) and met Ricky and his cousin Harm and we instantly clicked. James Lipman was the photographer on the day, a guy who is now without a doubt one of the most in-demand and popular car photographers in the world, and we had such a fun day shooting the two cars, Ricky’s Mk4 and Harm’s Passat, on the streets of Ilford in the sunshine. I’ll never forget us performing a kind of rolling road block on a random overpass to get the rolling shots Lipman wanted, me driving his old Passat and him hanging out the back tailgate like he used to. Health and safety? Yeah, we've totally got that.

    Ricky and I stayed friendly over the years, bumping in to each other at shows and reminiscing about the old days and how much fun the shoot was. He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s pretty cool to be able to write up the feature on this, his really rather cool Mk5 so long after we first met.

    But anyway, that’s enough of the misty-eyed introductions, let’s get down to business. “This has been the biggest build I’ve done since the Mk4 days,” Ricky remembered, “I've had a few things in between, coilovers, wheels and a map, but nothing all that interesting,” he continued. “You see, after the Mk4 I’d sworn to myself that I’d never get that stuck into a car again… famous last words, right?”

    He is right. ‘I won’t get so involved with the next car’ is up there with ‘ah, it all got out of hand’ and ‘I didn’t mean to go so far’ as the most common sentences uttered to us when we interview a feature car owner. Ricky bought the car from the Edition38.com classifieds (remember them? Facebook has got a lot to answer for, they were the place to find a car back in the day) for the simple reason that he hadn’t owned a fifth-gen Golf yet and simply fancied one – simple as that! “I wanted a DSG rather than a manual but the deal on this one was too good to pass up on, I just wanted a simple, fast and reliable new daily really, nothing more than that,” he explained. “I don’t think I’d even got home from picking it up before my brother Naz and some other friends started sending photos and Instagram links of sorted Mk5s to my phone,” he added laughing, “I didn’t really stand a chance, did I?”

    Things started simply enough, like they often do, a good service and going over at GNR Motors, his brother’s garage, was the first port of call. “I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my cars that I like them to start in the best condition possible, plus doing the boring servicing stuff first saves money in the long run, there’s no point spending all that money doing a car up if it’s going to blow up from something silly later down the line,” he reasoned.

    Service book stamped, next came some coilovers and wheels, a set of Audi Speedlines, which kept our man’s modifying itch satisfied for a little while. A season of shows later, including a few trips to Europe and most notably Worthersee, was the catalyst for the next stage, as it so often is.

    We’ve often said here on PVW that Worthersee is where trends are born. We can’t quite remember which year it was now, our collective memories definitely are more fuzzy than clear cut these days, but we definitely remember when we first started seeing the first of the ‘super low, static, tucked’ cars around the lake. They wore German plates, they were almost all nu-wave cars at the time and while the UK was still loving poke and aggressive fitments, these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches on Mk5 Golfs and the like and most importantly, they were doing it without a compressor or bag in sight. It certainly made an impression on us, and it certainly made an impression on Ricky and his crew too.

    “Our heads were buzzing with ideas on the way home,” Ricky smiled, “and after a few dinners, beers and phone calls back home we had a plan set for the Mk5 to try and get that look we had all fallen in love with out there.”

    The shopping list was impressive; RS4 buckets for the interior, wide wings from SRS like the German boys were running, OZ Ultraleggeras, big brakes on the front and the all-important special super-low coilovers. “Sukh of Westside planted the seed to get the extra low coils on it and he sorted out a set of H&R Ultralow 140s which were fantastic,” he remembered.

    The colour change also came around this time. “Out in Europe we had seen so many brightly coloured cars and just loved the impact they made,” he remembered. “I wasn’t sure what colour to do the Golf but I knew it had to be lairy,” he smiled. “I then saw a Lamborghini Huracan at my friend’s place and fell in love with its bright yellow paint which settled it. It was hard to wrap my head around the car being yellow for a while but it gets noticed where ever it goes which is cool I guess,” he laughed, “you certainly can’t miss it!”

    A little while later and it was time for a change in the chassis department. No, Ricky wasn’t abandoning the static life for a set of Air Lift’s finest, it was more of a sideways move. “My good friend Jason Debono started Gepfeffert UK which is the special super-low KW coilover arm here in the UK,” Ricky explained. “The H&Rs were fantastic but I wanted to support a friend’s new business, and the KWs came with fully adjustable top mounts, trick stainless bodies and adjustable damping too which really sold it for me.” The result of the coilover change? The Golf ended up another centimetre closer to the Tarmac and the Ultraleggeras were shoved even further up in to the arch liners, resulting in a happy Ricky.

    A number of the super-low static cars in Worthersee back then had cages in, purely for the look, and it was a look our man loved. MAQ Racing provided the show cage which also got treated to a wrap of the same yellow as the car itself and the backs of the leather RS4 buckets. Of course, with a show cage and two rear brace bars in place of where the rear bench used to be, something needed doing to the boot itself so in went a false floor setup in matching carpet. Out back Ricky had already put a Gladen 10” subwoofer in a custom enclosure on one side and a pair of Gladen amps on the opposite one courtesy of another friend of his, Amarjit at BladeIce.

    “Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style Milltek system from Ruben at Tuningwerkes to suit it,” Ricky explained. “That, the EVOMS intake, RS4 coilpacks and a stage one map is all it’s got under the bonnet but that’s all it really needs,” he continued. “I’d like to have K04’d it and all that for a big jump in power but being this low does compromise the drivability, of course, and living in London like I do I didn’t think it was worth the extra effort and cost.”

    Speaking of expense, the most costly part of the whole car was without a doubt the brakes. “The brakes, no question, were the hardest and most brain-frying thing we did to it,” Ricky winced, “we must have spent £6k on second hand brake kits Naz and I trying to figure out how to make what we wanted to work, work.” The fronts were simple enough, eight-pot Brembos and 370mm discs but it was the rear end were things were complicated. “We wanted to go with R8 rear brakes with the twin calipers but with larger discs, so the rears are 365mm, only 5mm smaller than the fronts,” he added. “The hard thing was because we didn’t want to run spacers it made getting the ridiculous disks and twin calipers to fit properly a real hassle but we found a way… I’m not telling you our secret though!” He added, smiling.”

    Final items on the hit list were getting the aluminum-look trim across the dash skimmed in carbon fibre, getting the wheel, gear gaitor, arm rest and handbrake trimmed in Alcantara to smarten things up and a final set of wheels, this time 8.5x20” OZ Superturismos robbed, sorry, borrowed from friend Naz.


    So what’s next for Ricky? Well, the Mk5 has already been broken and sold on, its parts living on in numerous other builds while the car itself has gone on to live another life. Ricky himself though, like I was when I was handed this feature to write, has been looking back. “I’ve bought another Mk4 Anniversary Dave,” he smiled, “well, actually we as a group have bought six of them…” Wait, what? “It’s another thing we’ve seen being done in Europe over the years, you’ll see a group of mates all with the same car but in different colours,” he explained. “We already had three Mk4 Anniversarys between us and we’ve all got Mk4s in our blood more than any other car, so we figured if we got three more we would have one each and we could do something like that, all looking kind of the same but different colours, should be cool…”

    Knowing Ricky and his group of mates, they’ll knock the idea out of the park. Get in touch when you have mate…

    “Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough, so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style MiLltek”

    while the UK was loving pokE these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches

    He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s cool to be able to write up the feature on his really rather cool Mk5

    Dub Details
    ENGINE: 2.0 #GTI-AXX-code , #Milltek R32-style de-cat exhaust system, #Evoms-Evolutuion intake, #Revision-D diverter, #Stage-1 map running approx 260bhp, Mk2 Audi TT engine cover, Iridium plugs, RS4 coil packs

    CHASSIS: 8.5x20” #OZ / #OZ-Superturismos LM wheels with 225/30 ZR20 tyres all round, #Gepfeffert-KW-Ultralow 120mm V2 coilovers, chassis notched front, eight-pot #Brembo front calipers with 370mm discs, rears R8 rear brake conversion with double calipers

    EXTERIOR: Wrapped in Satin yellow, SRS wide wings, R32 front Xenons headlights, rear R32 tail lights with upgraded LEDS, Mk6 rear badge, front US-spec front GTI grille, ‘open air’ front vent grilles, R32 rear bumper, rear wiper deleted, boot button popper

    INTERIOR: RS4 front sears with backs wrapped in yellow, MAQ Racing show/roll cage, Gladen 10” sub in custom enclosure, Gladen speaker amp and sub amp enclosure, false floor, carbon fibre dash trims, steering paddles and ashtray, Alcantara steering wheel, arm rest, handbrake lever and MK7 Golf gear knob, Highline instrument cluster and Polar Fiscon, Kenwood DNX521dab headunit, MK6 switches, Candy red hazard button

    SHOUT: Massive thanks to my brother Naz and the rest of the team at GNR Motors, without these guys it wouldn’t have happened and I’d probably have a lot more money in the bank. My Dad and family at Grande Auto Spares for all the support and abuse along the way, Dan and Shaun at Dubcustoms for the wrap, Jason for the Gepfeffert Suspension, Ruben at TuningWerkes for endless hours of support and parts, Amarjit at BladeIce for all the Audio, Mario at MAQ Racing for the cage and brakes support, Sunny at SS Autobody for always being up for a challenge, Edge Automotive, Raz at RetroRaz for all the retro fits, Jay at Splash & Vac for keeping the car clean, Umer at Trade4less tyres, Yusuf at ECP, Ted at TPS, Manny, Leroy, Ash, Slim, Avi B, Anna, Keith, Jamie Tall, Jamie Kebab, Danny Allen, Sukh, Raks, Ranvir, Jas, Harvey, Pandy, Sal, Vick S, Hiten, Gary S, RayARD, KamIce, Fet for the bottomless cups of tea, Vick N at Lowpro, Si at StillStatic, our Belgium crew, Gurj, Dalvir and Jaspal and last but not least all the lads at work
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    TOP BANANA 1.8T-powered euro-look mk3

    / #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-1.8T-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-1.8T-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-1.8T-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-1.8T / #VW-Golf-1.8T-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-Bi-Turbo / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-Bi-Turbo-Mk3

    Big-turbo Mk3 runs US-spec bumpers, air-ride, full cage and stripped interior. Words: Daniel Bevis Pics: Patrick Hille For Mitch van Werven, the act of building his dream car has been a life-altering journey of friendship and inspiration. And not just life-altering – this unmissably yellow GTI has some mind-altering properties too…

    If we’re to believe the late- 1960s Donovan song Mellow Yellow, it’s possible to get high on bananadine. This is, of course, nonsense – you can no more experience a psychotropic buzz with a banana than you can brush your teeth with it or use it to hammer an IKEA wardrobe together.

    A hoax recipe for bananadine was published in the Berkeley Barb, an underground counterculture newsletter in California, in 1967; it detailed how it was possible to extract a psychoactive substance from banana skins, which you could then smoke to achieve LSDlike effects. This gained some credence when William Powell, who thought it was true, reproduced it in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970. In fact, the original feature in the Barb was a satirical piece questioning the ethics of criminalising psychoactive drugs; smoking banana skins may create a placebo high at best, but there’s no scientific reason why you could actually get stoned on bananas. You can’t.

    That said, there must be some manner of mind-altering substance swirling around the city of Lochem that’s enabled the coming-to-life of this trippy little Golf. Lochem’s in the Netherlands, and we’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions there; suffice to say that this is one Mk3 Golf that dabbles in the more colourful fringes of our everyday perceptions of reality.

    Still, we’d never suggest that this car’s owner, Mitch van Werven, was under the influence of anything beyond strong coffee and a pocketful of dreams throughout the Golf’s reinvention; indeed, the evidence seems to suggest that he’s singularly focused on automotive mischief rather than anything chemical. “Why spend so much time, money and energy on a car?” he grins. “Because we can, and we enjoy it very much. Some people go to the club, we go to the garage and build our dream cars.”

    Stirring sentiments indeed, and the inclusive ‘we’ here refers to a disparate but close cast of characters who feature strongly in Mitch’s own everyday interpretation of garage life; Bernd, Joran, Stevie, Roberto, Thomas, Mike, Martijn, these are the personalities who’ve helped our protagonist mould and shape his vision from questionable base to yellow dream machine. “I bought this car when I was sixteen, back in 2009,” Mitch explains. “Back then I was working at a garage and this Golf arrived in part-exchange – a #1996 GTI 16v. I saw it, and immediately called my dad to say ‘I want this car!’ It had been really well used – 266,000 kms on the clock and plenty of rust, but I think the Mk3 is the best model of Golf. The original Dusty Mauve paint was bad, too, but it was an all-original, three-door GTI 16v, so I just had to have it.”

    As tales of first cars go, it’s not a bad one – so often it’s the case that the best first car in people’s minds is ‘any car – literally any car’, but Mitch is clearly a man of principle and ambition. “The car owns me, not the other way around,” he laughs. “It’s taken years to get it to this point, and it’s not finished – project cars never are, are they? And having started the transformation back in 2010, it’s come a long way.” He’s not kidding. You’d certainly never look at the car and think ‘high-mileage rust bucket’ these days. What about that colour, then? Swapping purple for yellow is a proper Art Attack move. “Yeah, I’m not telling you what the paint code is,” Mitch smirks. “I wanted to have a colour that you don't see very often. Most cars nowadays seem to be blue, grey or black, so I chose a bright shade. Also, I just like yellow…”

    Naturally there was quite a lot of work involved in shuffling the various skeletons in the Golf’s closet before it was ready for paint. The first job on commencing the project was to totally strip the car down to see what was what, then stalk through the thing with lethal force, like some kind of enraged sniper, mercilessly eradicating corrosion and letting in new metal to cover the tracks. While this was going on, Mitch and his crew also removed everything superfluous from the car, following an over-arching ideal of exploiting power-to-weight ratios once the thing was completed. The Mk3 Golf is by no means a lard arse, but there are always savings to be made. A gram here, a gram there, it makes a difference. And we’re not just talking about the bananadine here.

    “I made the choice of which engine I wanted, and once I’d settled on the 20vT I went out looking for one,” Mitch recalls. “With some happiness I found another Mk3 that had already been 20VT-swapped, so I bought that as a donor, stripping it completely and selling everything I didn’t need.” The finished product in that shiny bay wears a Garrett GT28 turbo along with some fairly racy manifolds and a #Kdata #kdFi ECU to keep everything humming. And with the shell prepped and the engine spec’d, that sunglass-baiting paint shade entered the fray. “After the car came back from the paint shop, the fun could really start,” he says. “First we built the engine in the car and made it all work, then took it back out again to clean everything – and let me tell you that was a lot of work! The cleaning alone took over three-hundred hours.” And when he says ‘cleaning’, we’re not talking about a duster and a can of Pledge here – take a look at the fastidiously shaved, smoothed and slippery engine bay.
    You could challenge a passerby to wedge a toothpick in there and they’d be confounded for hours. You could drop a handful of toothpicks over the motor and every single one of them would make it down to the garage floor.

    “Together with my best friend Bernd, we put the car back together,” Mitch continues. “We drove across the whole country for parts; this was almost the best part of build, being with my bro, having fun and getting new stuff for the Golf. After we had collected everything we needed, we started really putting the car together and piece-by-piece it blossomed. Every step brought us closer to the final result, and after years of hard work we could finally do some shows. Last year was the best year for us – the car got a ‘Best in Show’, the offer of a PVW feature and a place on display at the Essen Motor Show. This was the point when we said to each other, ‘Yay, we did it’!”

    From the genesis of the idea right to the very end, Mitch’s buddies were deeply ingrained in the process, and it’s this communal all-in-it-togetherness that made the build so memorable. Not that there is an ‘end’ of course, not really – he’s already talking about air-ride, new seats, another yellow repaint, and some serious engine mods too.

    “I can’t honestly say I had a clear idea in my head of how this would turn out, back when I was sixteen,” he admits. “Sure, I had a lot of ideas, but I never thought I’d achieve this unique look.” Indeed, the project today sports a variety of disparate styling cues from across the scene; our American cousins lent some inspiration in the form of their bumpers and wings, while the Jetta nose is a nod to the old-school stables that are mirrored in the choice of BBS RS rims.

    The fact that it sits this low on coilovers rather than ’bags assures credibility and bravado points, and the interior really is something else: that Wiechers ’cage in particular is a shimmering manifestation of the scaffolders’ art, brutally complex and frighteningly purposeful.

    “I was influenced a lot by other Mk3s on the internet, but also just by mine and Bernd’s keenness to try out our own ideas,” says Mitch. “I guess I’d describe it as OEM+ with a race-car influence, but it’s its own thing, really. And the reactions it gets now are crazy; I like to take it out for a drive with my girlfriend over some nice roads, and the feeling of doing that in your dream car is cool, but then when you arrive at a show and people are coming over and saying they love the car – it’s the best feeling. I can honestly say that building this Golf was the best time of my life.” And we can tell by the sparkle in his eye that this isn’t just the bananas talking – this guy’s tripping off his little box on Wolfsburg dreams, and that kind of thing is thoroughly addictive.

    With bright yellow paint, side markers and shiny BBS, Mitch's Mk3 has more than a hint of the US scene.

    Left: Look closer at the weave and you realise this is indeed the real deal. Below: With 742bhp on tap no wonder Andreas is happy!

    HKS Turbo Timer times the turbo and ensures all turbo related things are kept in time. Like the speaking clock.

    Hardcore Wiechers Sport roll cage is not messing about is it?

    Dub Details / #Garrett / #BBS-RS / #BBS /

    ENGINE: #Rebuilt-1.8T 20v with #Garrett-GT28 turbo, rear-mounted exhaust manifold with 3” downpipe, H-profile conrods, kdFi V3 ECU, #Ross-Machine-Racing intake manifold, battery relocated to rear, six-speed manual

    CHASSIS: 17” #BBS-RS-320 (front) and 17” #BBS-RS-350 (rear) with 185/35 Nankang NS-2 tyres. #Weitec-Hicon-TX-Plus coilovers and Audi S3 312mm front brakes

    EXTERIOR: Secret yellow paintwork, US bumpers and wings, Jetta front conversion, ‘cleaned’ boot, smoked tails, shaved bay

    INTERIOR: Stripped and painted, custom Wiechers Sport roll cage, Cobra Monaco Pro seats, Schroth harnesses, #HKS turbo timer

    SHOUT: Bernd Nijdam, Joran Meijerink, Stevie van der Vaart, Roberto Polo, Thomas Kevelham, Mike Temminck, Martijn Maat – thanks to these guys, without them the car would never be completed


    “I guess I’d describe it as OEM+ with a race-car influence, but it’s its own thing, really. And the reactions it gets now are crazy"

    “Most people assume it’s a 3M wrap so it’s always good fun to invite them to take a closer look…”
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    NEW JACK HUSTLER
    A lot of people talk about thinking outside the box when it comes to building a car, but few actually do. Jack Smith is someone who definitely walks the walk though.

    / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-I / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-I / #VW / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / VW / #VW-Golf / #VW-Rabbit / #Tarmac / #Volkswagen-Golf-US-Spec-Mk1

    “As soon as the old stock colour started coming up all my ideas about painting it Silver went out of the window”

    “It would have been so much easier to import a full car myself, but with the money I already loaded into the car I thought I’d just build one”
    “It’s something different and I can say that I built it, there’s a sense of pride in that... it's art to me"

    RUN RABBIT

    Jack Smith’s Mk1 may look like a genuine #US-spec Rabbit… until you notice it’s right-hand-drive. And that’s just the start of the madness…

    A lot of people talk about thinking outside the box when it comes to building a car, but few actually do it. Jack Smith is someone who steps right outside of it... Words: Tony Saggu Photos: Si Gray

    To say Yorkshireman Jack Smith has eclectic tastes in automotive faire would be something of an understatement, with less than a decade on his driver’s license the twenty something Rotherham based paint sprayer has auditioned more style and makes of motors than most. “Me, I love building cars, the make and model or even the style isn’t as important as actually making the thing,” he told us. “It gets my mind working, thinking of things that not many people have done before, you know, taking something bland and making it something amazing." His latest metal massaging makeover takes the shape of a German born, English market, Americanised runabout with a petrol to diesel swap, newfangled technology and old fashioned looks... if you’re looking for predictable, keep walking.

    “I actually started with a Renault 5 1.2 five door before I could drive,” laughed Jack, “My dad bought it for me so I had something to work on. That went matt black on lowering springs with some P slot wheels.” Once the 'L' plates had been discarded French fancies were replaced with a little German flair in the shape of a shiny Red 1.0 Mk3 Polo. The rims and springs added gave the car the right look until Jack introduced the coupe to a spot of unintended custom bodywork, “It ended up in the window of a local computer shop...” we’ll say no more. Sadly the lad’s luck didn’t improve much with the wrecked red Polo’s replacement, “Yeah, I had a white Mk3 1.3 Polo coupe after that, almost identical to the red one but with wider arches on the front,” he recalled. “That had a Corsa go into the side of it.” After the two crumpled coupes Jack tried his luck with a five door, another Polo, another Mk3, and tempting fate another 1.3. Thankfully the blue-hued saloon worked out well and was only given up when Jacks present project came along. “I’ve had a Golf, a Vento and even a bagged Mazda 3 along the way,” he told us, “I currently have a daily Lexus GS300 that is VIP inspired on Weds Kranze LZX and D2 air suspension with a fair bit of camber.”

    Switch hitting Japanese gangster rides aside, Jack admits if he’s honest it’s the Dub life that pushes his buttons. “I think it all started from seeing people I used to ride BMX with buying and modifying them,” he recalled. “I found a German modified VW magazine while I was on holiday in Europe years ago, I couldn't understand anything in it but the cars looked pretty cool and I knew I wanted a piece of that, I started getting PVW after that and as soon as I could drive I bought myself the Polo coupe.” The latest Smith built sensation which you see here began like many makeovers with a chance encounter, “I wasn’t really looking to buy a Mk1,” explained Jack, “I had the blue Polo at the time and was pretty happy with it. My mate Ricky had bought it and done a bit of welding and other stuff so he could sell it on,” he continued. “Then it eventually just came up on a local forum that Ricky was selling it soon and at a good price. I didn’t need another car, but who doesn’t want a nice cheap Mk1? I put the Polo up for sale straight away and got on the phone to Ricky.” At seven hundred quid the antique '83 Golf was a steal, it had plenty of issues in all areas but the Yorkshireman wasn’t daunted. “It was pretty tired looking,” he told us, “and it had the typical MK1 rust problems. The paint was very faded paint and honestly it needed a good general tidy up to make it acceptable.” The car ran though, not too bad either according to Jack, the alternator was a bit dodgy but the car came with coilovers. “I had to take it for a MOT and there with a decent list of problems for me to fix,” he recalled.

    A couple of hundred quid’s worth of parts and a spit and polish would have been the sensible thing to do, the resulting ratty but reasonable ride would have kept most Dub fanatics satisfied and smiling. A steady diet of Max Power, Revs, Fastcar and Redline magazines growing up had put Jack in a different frame of mind though, not to mention a couple of older cousins who had done nothing to take the edge off the custom car craving. “There wasn’t a chance of it staying standard,” laughed Jack, “ Initially I wanted to make it like every other MK1 you see at shows, it was going to be silver on polished BBS RS's, but when I actually started working on the car all that changed.” Job one, after the coilovers had been wound down to the limit and a set of Minilites from the old Polo had been bolted on, was to give the car a good clean and go over with a polishing mop to restore the righteous retro Pragus Blue. “As soon as the old stock colour started coming up all my ideas about painting it Silver went out of the window,” recalled Jack, “The blue is just perfect, it suits the car so well.” The next few months saw the car more often than not in pieces on the Jack’s driveway, the Mk1 was a sweet little motor but it was teaching young senior Smith a valuable if hard lesson... it was old, and old things break down and stop working a lot. “One of the biggest reasons the car looks and drives the way it does now is that basically everything needed to be repaired or replaced,” explained Jack, “if I was going to fix something anyway I thought I may as well make it better.”

    Straightening the generally abused and rust riddled bodywork set the direction of the project and gave the car is final character. “When it came to the look I wanted It was mainly the US cars that got my attention,” revealed Jack, “The American lads were doing really low cars, with half the floors cut out and full of exotic custom suspension work. I knew I'd never go that far as it was out of my skill set, but I knew after looking at their cars that I wanted to make my car look like an American style VW.” The internet had taught our man that when it came to true US spec, there was only one direction he could go.

    “The Westmoreland Rabbit,” he smiled, “Once I started thinking about it I realised I’d never seen a US spec Rabbit over here. Everyone was making MK2/3/4/5s US spec, but I couldn't understand why no one had imported or made a Mk1 over here. It would have been so much easier to import a full car myself, but with the money I already loaded into the car I thought I’d just build one.” It wasn’t long before Jack realized that giving his German built hatch the American look was going to take more than just slapping a Rabbit badge on the boot. The American built Mk1s have a look all of their own with more than a few US only exterior details and body panels. “Getting the parts was no joke,” lamented Jack, “A lot of the bits like the Hella rear lights, turn signals, side markers and the grill I got from Mexico via dodgy websites and ebay. The front panel was found on VWvortex after months messaging people who were breaking cars for parts,” he continued. “It a big piece to post over so convincing someone to do it took a while, finally someone decided to do it for me. I can’t remember his name but the bloke was a legend. He only charged me about $60 then $60 shipping as I only got the top half of the front panel to save on shipping costs.”

    The all important and decidedly unique Hella Projector headlights were apparently liberated from some sort of Jeep and sourced through the Edition38 forums for a reasonable £90. “The front wings were a major headache,” recalled Jack. “The driver’s side came from #VW-Heritage over here and only cost £30 delivered, it was a brand new genuine wing. I couldn't believe my luck when I found that.” The passenger side 'fender' however wouldn’t be such an easy acquisition, “The other side I was really struggling,” he explained, “Everyone wanted $500 for shipping and I couldn't justify spending that much for one wing. It took a lot of hunting but after talking to someone on #VW-Vortex from a place called Old-Skool-VW we worked out a way to get around the postage.” Clued up VW heads will already know that the major difference between the German wing and the Pennsylvania panel is the leading edge around the US spec corner light. “He agreed to cut me a spare wing up and sent me only the front part which wraps around the turn signal,” revealed Jack. “He cut it just big enough to fit in a USPS Fixed Rate shipping box. I think this was also $60 plus $45 shipping. Once it arrived I had to figure out how I was going to graft it into a Euro wing.” A good deal of careful measuring, delicate cutting and skillful welding had the wing looking every part the perfect stock American example. While the welder was out the rear panel needed to be similarly cut and shut to house the long rear lights the Yanks like so much. Unsurprisingly Smith has strapped on a pair of Westmoreland issued bumpers fore and aft to complete his American auto adventure, the heavy girder style steel protrusions are normally the first US styling faux par to be binned by Stateside Dubbers, in favour of the slim and sexy Euro examples.

    Toned down with matt black paint and pushed closer to the body with custom crafted brackets however, it seems Jack has made VW of North America’s design department’s bumper blunder a thing of stylish beauty. It’s no surprise, with our man being a painter by trade, that the reapplied Pragus Blue top coat is smooth, silky and to our eyes perfectly refinished, Jack though, ever the perfectionist, reckons he could have done better. “I’d like to go back and redo the bodywork,” he told us, “Since I've gained more experience in the trade over the years, I've got more of a eye for detail now than when I first painted it, I was only in an apprenticeship back then.”

    Jack told us the original 1.1 under the bonnet was on its last legs, pumping out more oil than horsepower. “I got offered a 1.8 conversion and tried fitting that, but it would never run and no one could figure out why it wouldn't start,” he told us, “I got so annoyed and decided just to rip it all out and find a cheap engine to chuck into it. I saw a 1.6 #GTD for sale for £150, it had everything including the fuel pump and turbo.” Jack admits his experience with engine conversions is pretty limited, but dropping in the diesel was a doddle, “essentially its four mounts, a custom downpipe and about six wires,” he enthused. “Obviously there's a little more to it than that, I had to get a gearbox and some other stuff, but me and my mate Kyle could take it out in less than two hours.” Although originally the cheap oil burner was just supposed to be a temporary engine to get the car mobile, Jack told us it wasn’t long before the diesel started to grow on him, “I soon fell in love with it,” he smiled, “ turning the fuel and boost up made it really nippy and it was still stupidly economical.

    The kinda reason I decided to keep it and refine it,” he continued, “I took it out a couple of years ago to clean it up and smooth the engine bay. It still makes me smile when you look in the rear view mirror and see a cloud of black smoke.”

    Despite the nicely detailed diesel swap and skillfully executed body conversion, Jack reckons his favorite part of the build lays elsewhere, “It’s without a doubt the wheels,” he smiled proudly, “The Fifteen52 Tarmac348 wheels, I wanted them the day they got released but I couldn't afford them.” A good deal of overtime and skipping a few nights out with the lads, as well as selling his Fifteen52 Snowflakes had the prized rollers bought though, to up the ante a touch the boys at the legendary California style haus custom made the rims in two piece with brushed centres and polished lips for the Mk1.“The suspension is a Havair strut kit with paddle valve management,” continued Jack, “I think they were the only MK1 struts available at the time when I was wanting to get air for the car. To be fair I've had them a fair few years and it’s all still working fine, which is not bad seeing I used to use this car daily as well.”

    Raising the turrets and giving the frame a little notching love helps the bags put the little Mk1 in the weeds, “The wishbone mounts and sump sit on the ground now,” he assured us. “The front struts have been drilled out to give me more negative camber and the rear suspension has some camber disks behind the stub axle to do the same at the back.” The dropped and diesel swapped hatch from oop north is certainly unique, not just in the land of dales and moors either, Jack’s built himself something very different from a familiar platform and we reckon you would be hard pressed to find a twin on either side of the Atlantic ,” he smiled, “Its art to me, creating something special out of something ordinary.” We think he nailed it.

    1.6-litre Mk2 Golf GTD lump provides plenty of smiles with the 'boost and fueling would up." Looks sweet too!

    Air install out back is simple but clean and nicely functional. Well, what more do you need really?

    "Heeeeres Jacky!" Jack's plan to chop Si Gray up with an axe thankfully didn’t pan out. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...

    Old-skool Cobra buckets work brilliantly up front with rears trimmed to match.

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 1.6-litre GTD from a MK2 Golf, ‘fuelling wound up, boost wound up’, Mk1 Series 1 radiator, front mount intercooler, custom solid boost pipes painted gloss black, Mk3 8v GTI rocker cover painted gloss black.

    CHASSIS: 8x16” #Fifteen-52 #Tarmac-348 two-piece wheels, ET5 front and ET0 rear with 165/45/16 Nankang NS2 tyres, #Havair #air-suspension struts, paddle valve management with a five gallon tank, #Viair-380 compressor, raised turrets, camber holes extended on front struts and turrets, camber disks on the rear hubs.

    EXTERIOR: Full repaint in the original Pragus Blue colour, late Westmoreland Rabbit front end conversion with #Hella Projectors, late Westmoreland Rabbit Long rear lights, Late Westmoreland Rabbit bumpers refinished in matt black, Rabbit rear side markers, GTI plastic arches, GTI A-Piller trims, #Zender three-piece spoiler, flared and cut arches, partially smoothed bay with the scuttle panel removed and hidden wiring.

    INTERIOR: Renewed door cards, new carpet, 80's Cobra bucket seats with the original rear bench trimmed to match, boot build fully carpeted with tank and compressor on show with hardlines. Gloss black painted Mountney steering wheel with a chrome centre.

    SHOUT: I would like to thank Cayla for putting up with my love for my cars, supporting me and helping me out with them. Big thank you to everyone at Rollhard, they helped me out massively last year, I couldn't have met a nicer bunch of people. Also a big thank you to the guys at Autoperfekt for keeping my cars clean. I would also like to thank Brad for the welding, Kyle and anyone else that's helped me along with the build process.
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    Retro Cool More-door Mk2 featuring 16v on ITBs and centre-lock mag wheels. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrick Hille.

    RACE RETRO

    Unstoppable VW modder Dominic Timmermeister has somehow squeezed a race car’s soul inside this super-early base-spec Mk2. How? With extreme wiliness. Why? Well, why not?

    Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, the DTM, has always been the BTCC’s shoutier, more aggressive cousin. Pumped up silhouettes packing insane horsepower; the very mention of those three iconic letters conjures images of Germany’s finest – caricatures of Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Audis, Opels, all kicking ass and taking names across the Fatherland and beyond. But in the late 1980s, the Americans invaded… spectators watched agog as Ford rolled out the most powerful car on the grid, the Mustang GT, ejaculating a filthsome 520bhp all over the startline. Ruch Motorsport led the charge, with Gerd Ruch the main man behind the mighty Mustang’s chunky wheel, desperately trying to hold on as the bucking bronco terrorised the raceways of Western Europe.

    Meanwhile, somewhere else in Germany and entirely detached from the smoky crucible of DTM, a little old lady, sweetly smiling, was innocently pootling around town in her pride and joy, an early Mk2 Golf in a rather spiffy shade of Irish green. An early adopter, she’d put an order in for one of the very first Mk2s, a boxfresh 1983 three-door in unashamed poverty spec: wind-up windows, brown dash, the full spectrum of beige tones. It was an unusual car splashed on a palette of mundanity; low-spec but deliberately eye-catching in its offbeat colour choice. The car was loved, cherished and looked after. An object of pride; nary a scuff, scrape nor car park ding to spoil the originality.

    Fast-forward a generation or so, and we weirdly find these two entirely disparate worlds unexpectedly colliding, thanks to serial #VW perv Dominic Timmermeister. This is a man who knows his way around a rattly old Dub, having owned 40 or so in various states dotted along the awesome>wonky spectrum. Resident of the Lower Saxony municipality of Bad Laer, he’s been the curator and resurrector of a couple of dozen Golfs alone, and one day in 2013, during an idle flick through the online classifieds, he spotted an opportunity that was too good to pass up. “I saw this Irish green car for sale, and I just had to buy it for the colour alone,” he laughs. “I love the Mk2 Golf, especially the early models like this, so I had to make it mine.”

    These early Type 19 Golfs are a riot of detail for the truly nerdy minutiae spotter; while the overall form is familiar, they don’t have the central VW badge on the rear panel, they have quarterlights with mirrors set behind them, the indicator stalks are smaller, they don’t have seatbelt adjusters or speakers in the doors… all pernickerty stuff, but this matters to fullyfledged retro obsessives. And so the act of finding a fully original survivor, complete with wind-up windows and the kind of upholstery that’d make a killing in a boho Shoreditch boutique under the banner of ‘shabby chic’, was understandably something rather exciting for Dominic… not that he intended to keep it all original, of course. This isn’t that sort of magazine.

    “I guess the overall theme of the car is a sort of undercover retro with race car parts,” he grins, and that’s very much the kind of place we want to be. You can’t exactly call it a sleeper as the wheels are a bit of a giveaway – it’s more an updated survivor with a contemporary twist. Think of it as being the sort of canal boat or ice cream van you’d see on that George Clarke show on TV (you know, the one where he has to refer to every room he ever sets foot in as “an amazing space”, to keep reminding you what the show’s called), whereby an iconic technological relic is repurposed for modern living. What Dominic’s done here is to reboot the earliest Mk2 he
    could find for a 2017 audience. And if you think it’s just a case of stop, drop ’n’ roll, perhaps you should start by taking a peep under the bonnet. Now, in the swirling mists of time, story details tend to ebb away until you’re forced to deal with the apocryphal, at least in part. No-one but the very dorkiest keeps fastidious records on base-model runarounds, so we don’t know which engine that little old lady originally spec’d (or, indeed, if there was any little old lady involved in the story at all – but shhh, don’t ruin the imagery), although it’s safe to assume that it was probably a Moulinexspec 1.3 or something. Who cares? Doesn’t matter. For what resides in its place, in a bay now artfully smoothed and pepped up with a fresh coat of Irish green paint, is an ABF. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s the code of the 2.0-litre valver motor you’d usually expect to find inside a
    Mk3 GTI 16v, where it’d whistle out something on the amusing side of 150bhp. Dominic’s chosen to augment this with a set of slurping, gargling Jenvey throttle bodies too, with #KMS-management overseeing proceedings, so it’s safe to assume that peak power is somewhat elevated here within these salubrious surroundings. He’s seen fit to stuff in some spikier Cat Cams as well, along with a race-spec exhaust manifold, to feed into that original brief of somehow fusing the DTM with a grocery-spec granny-hatch. It shouldn’t work, but by thunder it does.

    Ah yes, and we were talking about the DTM, weren’t we? The relevance of that shall now all become clear – although, to be fair, we imagine you’ve already guessed: it’s staring out at you from beneath the arches. Yep, in a world of fake centre-lock caps on humdrum four-studs, Dominic’s gone all-in here with a quartet of genuine, bona fide, retro centre-lock race wheels. A set of Rennsportmafia adapters work with M72 nuts to ensure that our man’s now a dab hand with that comically large wheel spanner you see lying around pit garages, but that’s not all. This is no ordinary set of race rims, scavenged hungrily from eBay like so many others; no, these have a tale to tell. “These wheels have a real history,” Dominic enthuses. “They originally ran on Gerd Ruch’s DTM Mustang GT.” You see how it’s all tying up into a neat little package?

    “I had a pretty clear vision for how I wanted the car to turn out, right from the moment I got it,” he continues. “I visualised how it should be, Steffen Wiewel of Wiewel Motorsport helped with the engine conversion, and I worked hard over the course of six months to make it happen. That said, a lot of it happened more or less randomly; finding the car in itself was unexpected, then the wheels… a lot of it was down to luck. I’ve always been a fan of Ronal Racing rims, and I love the whole race wheel trend in the #VAG scene right now, so it was great to be able to buy a set of wheels I loved with true pedigree and a story behind them.”


    Of course, you can’t just slap on a set of wheels and let that be that, there’s the ever-present spectre of fitment that needs to be respected. In this case, Dominic went for an extraordinarily deep tuck, ramming those old-skool rollers way inside the arches and slathering them in just the merest suggestion of rubber, a simple and almost entirely invisible 165- section smidgeon, to ensure a slender delicacy that complements the purity of the small-bumpered ’83 (check out the sneaky way the wheels are built, too – “they’re 0” outside, 6.5” inside,” Dominic tells us with a wink). And naturally, given the retro vibe of the thing, this car’s rolling static – on H&R’s revered Deep coilovers, which do wonders to accentuate the spiralling kaleidoscope of tuck. And just for good measure, hashtag-because-racecar, Dominic’s hidden a set of G60 brakes in there, to haul up the popping, crackling aggression of that ABF in short order.

    This car, then, wears two distinct hats. One is that of a concours retro survivor, showcasing the simplicity of everyday West German motoring back before the Wall came down – it even has beaded seat covers, just like every single Berlin cabbie used to have. The other is a rather more boisterous and colourful hat, deliberately ruining the former’s affectation of ‘concours’ by fundamentally altering the car’s character: like a bodybuilder barely containing his muscles inside an unlikely woollen cardigan, it’s a race car hidden inside a little old lady’s shopping car. And that’s probably one of the coolest kinds of race car there is.

    We love the juxtaposition of the old lady-spec interior and screaming ITB’d ABF up front.
    This car also gave us a reason to use the word ‘juxtaposition’ too, so that’s nice…

    / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-Syncro-Mk2 / #VW-Typ-1G / #VW-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VW / #VW-Golf / #1983-Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-ABF /

    Dub Details #1983

    ENGINE: Rebuilt 2.0-litre 16v #ABF , #Jenvey throttle bodies, #KMS-ECU , #Cat-Cams, race- spec exhaust manifold

    CHASSIS: 6.5x17” #Ronal-Racing centre-locks, #Rennsportmafia adapters and M72 nuts, 165/35 Nankang Noble Sport NS20s, G60 brakes, #H&R Deep coilovers

    EXTERIOR: Original Irish green paint, engine bay smoothed and repainted

    INTERIOR: All original, beaded seat covers, Raid wood-rim steering wheel

    SHOUT: Steffen Wiewel from Wiewel Motorsport – without him the motor wouldn’t have been possible, Daniel Liedtke from OEM Equipped for parts supply, Jörg Ballermann for the supply of lips and screws, Alexander Kiefel from Rennsportmafia for the central locking adapters, Heiko Borchardt for help and tips for the conversion


    “love the Mk2 Golf, especially so I had to make it mine the early models”

    You know that ‘old’ smell that all early VWs seem to magically have? We bet this car smells amazing inside.
    6.5x17” Ronal Racing centre locks are actually from Gerd Ruch’s DTM Mustang GT race car from the late ‘80s. That is super, super cool.
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    VW Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40. It’s a Golf GTI that’s been specifically tailored for people like us – and now we have one on our fleet.

    / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Gti-Clubsport-S / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-VII / #VW-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW / #2016 / #VW-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk7 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII

    Has there ever been a more exciting time for hot hatches? There’s a Leon Cupra with what feels like in excess of 300bhp, a four-wheel-drive Focus RS with a drift mode, a turbocharged Civic Type R with a fabulously unnecessary complement of aero add-ons, and, of course, the Renault Sport Mégane, recently retired but still utterly sublime. And let’s not forget the smaller hatches: Peugeot finally finding its mojo again with the 208 GTi, and Ford’s Fiesta ST hopping into the desirability spot recently vacated by the RS Clio.

    Amongst all of this, however, it has been rather easy to overlook the good ol’ Golf GTI. With a mere 217bhp, or 227bhp with the optional Performance Pack, it’s been looking a bit tame of late. Thankfully, Volkswagen hasn’t rested on its laurels of being the default choice for the average punter looking for a smart, quick hatchback; it has also produced not one but two models for those of us who like our hot hatches a little bit more special.

    The most special of those is, of course, the 306bhp #VW-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-S , which finished an astonishing second place in our recent Car of the Year test – just ahead of a McLaren 570S, a Honda NSX and an Audi R8 V10.

    Sadly, with just 150 examples coming to the UK, it’s already sold out. That leaves the Clubsport Edition 40, which is still available – albeit only until the ‘Mk7.2’ Golf goes on sale in the spring. It has 286bhp on overboost and, unlike the S, has rear seats. It’s also available with five doors and a #DSG gearbox, if you so desire. When we tested the Edition 40 on UK roads for the first time last month, we labelled it ‘the best drivers’ GTI you can buy’.

    So I’m rather chuffed to now be running one on our Fast Fleet. Our car has five doors, but not DSG – my thinking is that you might as well have a manual ’box wherever you still can. The Clubsport Edition 40 kit includes an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential, lowered and retuned suspension, a new front bumper, a rather large (by VW standards) roof spoiler, and some stripes that mimic those which adorned the flanks of the Mk1 Golf GTI. In basic form you’re looking at £31,590 with five doors (£30,935 with three), which is just over £3000 more than you’d pay for a basic Golf GTI and on a par with rivals from Honda and Ford.

    Our car also has a healthy smattering of options, namely Oryx White paint (£985), a driver assistance package (including lane assist and side scan, and costing £960), Discover Pro Navigation (£1325), 19-inch ‘Brescia’ alloy wheels (£595, and an inch larger than the standard items), tinted rear glass (£95), rear side airbags (£280) and a tracker (£536). This little lot takes the total to £36,366.

    First impressions? Well, it’s a Golf, so of course it’s a brilliantly easy thing to live with. The extra power is most definitely welcome, and while the Clubsport doesn’t perhaps feel as wild as some of its rivals – not least the Civic, an example of which I ran as a long-termer before the Golf – the VW has its own, more composed strengths. Just the kind that come to the fore in the midst of a grubby UK winter, in fact, as I hope the Clubsport will demonstrate over the coming months.

    ‘When we tested the Edition 40 last month we labelled it “the best drivers’ GTI you can buy”’

    Date acquired October 2016
    Total mileage 3568
    Mileage this month 1132
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 28.8
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    / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Gti-Clubsport-S / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-VII / #VW-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW / #2017 / #VW-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk7 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII

    With the brilliant Clubsport S sold out, is this the best Golf GTi that money can buy?

    Test location: Thundridge, Hertfordshire
    GPS: 51.839570, -0.051380
    Photography: Aston Parrott

    After the euphoria of the Golf GTi Clubsport S scoring a victory in issue 227’s hyperhatch group test and then going on to bloody a number of premium noses in last month’s eCoty, it may have escaped your mind that VW produces two Golf GTis with ‘Clubsport’ in their names. This is the one you can still buy, and this is our first drive of it on the road.

    It’s available as a three- or five-door and with a choice of either a six-speed manual or double-clutch gearbox. There’s an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential taken straight from the GTi performance pack model, too.


    Using the familiar EA888 2-litre turbo engine from other GTi models and the r, the Clubsport produces 261bhp – 34bhp more than a performance pack GTi – and in short bursts that increases to 286bhp, just 10bhp shy of the r’s peak figure and 20bhp below the Clubsport S’s. Peak torque is 258lb ft at 1700-5300rpm with 280lb ft on overboost, but at 6.3sec to 62mph regardless of which gearbox you choose, the edition 40 is some way short of the 5.2sec evo recorded with its fast fleet Golf R.

    Other changes will be familiar to those of you who have pored over the spec of a Clubsport S. the front bumper features a number of aerodynamic devices that give the car a more focused look. I’d posit that it looks more extreme even than ford’s focus RS, but then I am to design what Nigel Farage is to international diplomacy. There’s also a boot spoiler and the most modest of rear diffusers, which permits VW to claim that rear-axle downforce is ‘significant’ above 60mph. it also claims ‘slight’ downforce at the front axle. the car does, however, create no lift, which is something.

    Other chassis work has seen the roll stiffness move rearwards to improve rear-axle turn-in and front-end grip. In essence, this means understeer should be less prevalent and the rear more mobile.

    Spring rates are ten per cent stiffer, with the dampers tweaked to suit, but toe, camber and caster settings remain untouched from a GTi performance pack (so, too, the brakes). Adjustable dampers, as fitted to this car, are an £830 option.

    An 18-inch wheel is standard and comes fitted with a Pirelli P Zero tyre, but you can specify the same 19-inch wheel and ferociously sticky (in the dry, at least) Michelin pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre as on the Clubsport S.

    As VW prepares for the new, facelifted Mk7 Golf, the Clubsport feels like the engineers have been let loose to do what they wish, resulting in this GTi feeling tighter, fitter, more eager and athletic than the Mk7 GTis that have gone before. the chassis doesn’t represent a night-and-day difference over a regular GTi’s, but it’s appreciably more responsive and alert when you push it, the differential being keen to bite and the front axle less inclined to push when you pour on the power. Indeed, the chassis manages to extract more grip and traction from the (standard) front tyres than before, allowing for wider throttle openings earlier in corners and no manic scrabble for grip from the inside front tyre.

    At higher speeds the Clubsport is much sharper, too, with less body roll. the front and rear feel more tightly connected and react as one when the car is pitched in on its nose – you can really feel the rear arc round the apex as you drive for the exit. Who needs a four-wheel-drive hatch?

    The added power will be noticeable to anyone coming out of a regular GTi, and on the road the Clubsport feels on a par with an r in a straight line.

    Its motor exhibits a bit more of an appetite for revs and encourages you to reach for the top end of the tacho rather than driving around without straying from the torque band. This is a deceptively quick hot hatch.

    Renault’s Mégane 275 trophy and Honda’s Civic Type-R still have sharper chassis, but in the Clubsport edition 40, VW has delivered the best drivers’ GTi you can buy. If you’re quick.

    ‘You can really feel the rear axle arc round the apex as you drive for the exit’

    + Faster, tighter; fitter engine and chassis
    - Still not top of the class; only in production for a short time

    Rating 4++
    Specification
    Engine in-line 4-cyl, 1984cc, turbo / #EA888
    CO2 162g/km
    Power 286bhp @ 5350-6600rpm
    Torque 280b ft @ 1700-5300rpm
    0-62mph 6.3sec (claimed)
    Top speed 155mph (limited)
    Weight 1300kg (224bhp/ton)
    Price 2017 UK / USA £30,935 / $22,350

    ‏ — at Thundridge, Ware SG12, UK
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    / #2017 / New #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-VII / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G /

    Trust us, this is the new Golf GTI. The 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets a power hike from 217bhp to 227bhp, equalling that of the outgoing Performance Pack model, while the new Performance Pack model produces 241bhp.

    The six-speed manual gearbox is retained and the ageing six-speed #DSG option will eventually (though not initially) be replaced with a new seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Other changes include new front and rear bumpers inspired by the previous generation Clubsport model and LED headlights and tail lights.
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    The Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 is popular, thanks to the current classic hype in Europe maybe even more popular than a few years ago. Most people are fine with just a light restoration and a few modifications. Then there's those that build a totally new car out of their project, according to their own imagination and wishes. Let's take Dahmo and his, 76. Einser1, that only sees the sun on the best of days in the year.

    / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-I / GERMAN STYLE / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-I

    When we talk about a, new car' in accordance with Dahmo, we mean it. A top restored interior without losing sight of the old school note. Same goes for the engine bay. Sure, power wise this car has a bit more to offer than it used to, but visually its perfect in every corner. Classic 17“ EtaBeta-Turbo wheels in body colour, combined with air suspension, fit perfectly into Dahmo's overall image.
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    Somehow it seems Hideo Hirooka has had his fingers in play on all Volkswagen from the far East. The one or other will now think...Hideo Hirooka? Never heard of him. But when you mention his company, Voomeran' it will most likely click. With Voomeran he made himself a name outside of the Asian continent, where he is one of a few Japanese that don't go over the top wide with their kits but much rather discreetly pulling out the original lines. Just like his Mk5 R32 Golf, where all parts come from his shelves, housing the 9,5" wide Rotiforms under the widened wheel arches.


    / #2006 / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #Voomeran / #Rotiform MUC 18X9.5 ET15 / Pirelli P-Zero 215/35-18 / #AirLift / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Mk5 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Voomeran / #Volkswagen-Golf-Voomeran / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Voomeran-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Voomeran-Mk5 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Voomeran-V

    Parts like this can be found for the Mk2 up to the current Mk7 in his shop and recently the Audi B8 series was added. With such a „German" portfolio, it's time to show more presence in the motherland, which gives us a nice project for the autumn months.
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