December 6, 2022

A gentle-mannered shopper-spec hatchback, reimagined as a raucous retro hill-climber. Welcome to the frantic actuality of Lee Walmsley’s Mk1 Golf Berg Cup tribute…

Function from Quick Automobile. Phrases: Dan Bevis. Photographs: Josh Edward.

It’s very straightforward to go quick in fashionable vehicles. Effectively, that’s a flippant generalisation; it’s straightforward to go quick in a variety of previous vehicles too, and plenty of new vehicles are sluggish; what we’re getting at is that the relentless march of consumer-pleasing by way of soundproofing, lightness of contact and the anaesthetising of the driving force expertise implies that the fashionable motorist has misplaced a sure sense of surprise. If it’s simply achievable for any previous humdrum hatchback to crack 70mph and onwards with out the driving force having to hold onto the wheel for expensive life and attempt to make their peace with the almighty as they weave between the cats-eyes, then the place’s the sense of accomplishment?

There have, in fact, at all times been individuals eager to faucet into the inherent adrenaline of the act of going quick, who recognize that velocity thrills and it needs to be a visceral expertise. Because the daybreak of the motor-car itself, frazzled hedonists have been attempting to make them go as quick as doable, and these white-knuckled lunatics have been taking to race tracks, dragstrips, salt flats and banked ovals for nicely over 100 years searching for these legendary, intangible speeds.

Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

Lee Walmsley is one such lunatic. The automotive you see right here started life as an unassuming 1.0-litre Golf C again in 1983, a lowly trim degree sitting at just about the furthest finish of the spectrum from its GTI stablemates. However as you possibly can see, there’s nothing lowly about it now. This isn’t only a rebuild, it’s a full-on rebirth.

“I’d at all times wished a Mk1 Golf, ever since my dad had one once I was a baby,” Lee explains. “In spite of everything these years of dreaming, my accomplice purchased me this automotive for my thirtieth birthday! On the time it was operating a Mk2 KR 16v engine, with Dell’Orto twin 45 carbs and high-lift rally cams.” The evolution had evidently already begun, as is so usually the case with previous Golfs, nevertheless it’s secure to say that merely having fun with the fruits of another person’s labours wasn’t going to be sufficient for Lee. It wasn’t simply the lifelong want for a Mk1 Golf that was feeding his momentum monster; the necessity for velocity was deeply interwoven together with his frontal lobes, and there was no method this Golf wasn’t going to finish up going quicker. Though maybe he didn’t think about issues going fairly this far…

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Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

“My plan was to provide it some fashionable reliability,” he says, “and there was the additional advantage {that a} fashionable engine could be simpler to tune.” He’s not unsuitable, and when you plunge down that specific rabbit-hole there’s no telling how deep it’ll go. ‘Very deep certainly’ seems to be the reply on this case, and all of it unfolded for Lee as he was peeling aside a Mk4 Golf donor automotive. Stated Mk4 was operating an AUM 1.8T in 150bhp guise, however this was merely the start line. Lee is aware of whereof he speaks in terms of mucking about with VAGs, as his automotive historical past is positively dripping with the stuff: having learnt to drive in a breadvan Polo at 16, he then graduated to a few ABF-powered Mk3 Golf GTIs, a Mk3 VR6, and a Mk2 GTI 8v. He’s additionally had an Audi A4 DTM, a Skoda Octavia vRS, and co-owns together with his accomplice a Corrado VR6 that’s been absolutely rebuilt by JMR Racing. Lengthy story quick, he is aware of easy methods to play the VeeDub recreation.

So this was by no means going to be a case of merely dropping a inventory 1.8T into the Mk1 and seeing what occurred. The AUM was handled to a K03S turbo together with a customized air consumption, a bespoke 2.5in downpipe, and a straight-through stainless-steel exhaust system. Naturally somewhat ingenuity is required once you’re becoming an engine someplace that it ought to not be, and sparkles of this lateral pondering could be discovered liberally sprinkled all through the engine bay. The intercooler was initially designed for a Mercedes Sprinter van, whereas the radiator that’s neatly wedged into its compact slot is a Mk2 Golf merchandise with twin followers. With a Stage 2 remap, peak energy is as much as a hysterical however nonetheless eminently usable 246bhp. And it follows that additional magpie components liberation could be needed all through the set up – in any case, throwing that form of grunt via the inventory Golf C’s transmission and driveshafts would more than likely have the whole lot melting like chocolate very quickly, so Lee has sensibly upgraded issues a bit… the gearbox is an 02J five-speed unit from a Mk4, whereas the driveshafts are stronger Mk2 gadgets. Certainly, he’s accomplished a complete beefing-up all through the chassis, with the entrance brakes having been liberated from a G60, and the suspension being completely reworked with KW coilovers, polybushes in all places, and an entire bunch of bracing to get the whole lot stiffer than a Pfizer take a look at facility. Essentially the most noticeable chassis alteration from exterior is that the Golf’s operating extraordinarily extensive wheels – 7in on the entrance, and a sodding nice 9in out again – though you’d be forgiven in case your eye wasn’t instantly drawn to these, because it’s the brawny Berg Cup bodykit that’s doing the figurative heavy lifting right here. Broad as hell with aggressive race-bred aero to enhance the de-bumpered look, it creates an enormous visible affect – and the suave livery makes intelligent use of the unique Mars Pink paint.

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Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

“I wished to have this livery as a result of it actually suits in with the Mk1 Golf Berg Cup racers of the Nineteen Eighties period,” Lee explains. “The Marlboro livery was first seen on Mk1s in 1980, so that is all period-correct – however I additionally love System One, so I made a decision to copy the ’80s model decals and dedicate the entire look to Ayrton Senna.” It’s an superior look that fits the old-school racer vibe so nicely, and as we’ve seen from the specs, this perky little Golf is greater than paying lip service to motorsport pretensions. This factor is severe.

Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

“For the sake of sustaining somewhat originality, the automotive remains to be fitted with its manufacturing unit head unit,” says Lee, “though all the audio system have been eliminated to save lots of weight – the sound of the exhaust is music to my ears!

“I personal the Basic VW House owners Membership, and I want to say an enormous thank-you to all our members for his or her help,” he continues. “We’ve plenty of meets and occasions developing quickly, all of which could be discovered on our Fb group.” It’s a great way to maintain up with Lee’s manoeuvres within the Golf, as he’s extraordinarily eager to get out and about and stretch its legs each time doable. The automotive has been constructed for use, and used onerous… and that features all of the entertaining foibles that driving a traditional automotive entails.

Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

“I really like the seats, however they’re onerous work to get out and in of,” he laughs. “And the wing mirrors do have a behavior of folding themselves in above 50mph.” All simply character although, isn’t it? The give-and-take inherent in proudly owning a correct automotive relatively than a generic semi-autonomous field on finance. It’s this bodily and emotional connection that ensures Lee’s creativity isn’t sitting nonetheless: future plans embrace swapping out that 1.8T motor for an era-appropriate 16v ABF on lumpy cams, to totally full the Mk1 Golf Berg Cup vibe. However for now, with flames spitting and gravel scattering, Lee is busying himself with that straightforward and noble pursuit – going quick in previous vehicles. Not at all times straightforward, however boy does it really feel good.

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Mk1 Golf Berg Cup

Tech Spec: Mk1 Golf Berg Cup


1.8-litre four-cylinder 20v DOHC AUM, K03S turbo, customized air consumption, 2.5in customized downpipe, stainless-steel straight-through exhaust system, Mk2 twin-fan radiator, Mercedes Sprinter intercooler, Stage 2 remap, 246bhp


02J (Mk4 Golf) 5-speed guide, Stage 2 clutch, Mk2 driveshafts with 100mm cups


KW coilovers, absolutely polybushed, OMP higher strut braces – entrance and rear, Extremely Racing decrease strut braces – entrance and rear, absolutely Raptor Sealed undercarriage


Mk2 G60 calipers, G60 280x22mm drilled, grooved and vented discs, EBC GreenStuff pads, braided strains, Mk2 servo

Wheels & Tyres:

7x15in (entrance) and 9x15in (rear) ATS Cup wheels with 205/50/15 (f) and 225/50/15 (r) Toyo R888 tyres, 20mm spacers all spherical


Mars Pink, Berg Cup bodykit, customized Marlboro/Senna livery, customized entrance splitter with air intakes, customized rear diffuser, Hella rear spoiler, customized drilled door handles, bumpers eliminated, drilled entrance panel, drilled rear decrease panel, customized Mk2 entrance indicators, smoked lights entrance and rear, wheelarches minimize, rolled, welded and guarded with Raptor Seal, further Mk1 grille to guard intercooler, de-wipered rear, customized Berg Cup 20v badges


OMP bucket seats, OMP harnesses and rear harness bar, half-rollcage, rear seats deleted, boarded and carpeted, GTI sprint and dials, OMP steering wheel, oil stress, battery and increase gauges in centre console, authentic stereo (all audio system deleted), authentic headlining, helmet netting and hearth extinguisher, customized doorcards