November 27, 2022

While the proprietor of this tuned VW Golf Mk1 makes a dwelling out of recent expertise, he clearly will get his kicks from a extra conventional supply. Go browsing and compute the vibe with us…

Function from Efficiency VW journal. Phrases: Graham Leigh. Pictures: Jason Dodd.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jon Carter is an IT Operations Supervisor that hails from Rochester within the ‘backyard of England’, Kent. While some tech guys observe a ground-breaking route in all features of their life, as you possibly can see, we’re not right here to wax lyrical concerning the newest Tesla. Fortunately Jon is one among us and firmly an old style man: “It’s the simplicity of the early stuff that I actually like. It positively has a allure.  As a child, I beloved the Herbie movies and later in life, our marriage ceremony automobile was a 1968 VW beetle! For me, the collection 1 VW Golf Mk1 represents the beginning of the recent hatch period and is an icon”.

Jon has an attention-grabbing automobile historical past which is principally Wolfsburg flavoured. His first automobile was one other collection 1 Mk1 Golf. While he would have beloved a Golf GTI, the 1.3 Driver was somewhat extra insurance coverage pleasant though he remembers that his premium was nonetheless twice that of the £700 price ticket of the automobile: “It was on the peak of the max energy period. I purchased {a partially} modified one from a neighborhood lad which I had identified and seen round. I simply beloved Mk1 Golfs and needed one thing completely different to the Vauxhall Novas, Ford Escorts, Fiestas and Citroen Saxos that everybody else appeared to have on the time. I went on to personal that automobile for round 7 years and considerably modified it over that point which was in line with that period”. This VW Golf Mk1 was textbook Brit look ticking all of the interval containers with its clipper equipment, smoothed tailgate and door handles, Bonrath single wiper conversion, Azev As, Koni high adjustable suspension and full retrim in leather-based and gray Alcantara together with the Corrado rear bench conversion. Two 15” Kicker subs and a vibrant yellow respray ensured that you could possibly see in addition to hear it coming. This primary Mk1 cemented Jon’s love for the scene: “I used to go to GTI worldwide annually at TRL, Bracknell. It was all the time an important occasion with good folks”.

Tuned VW Golf Mk1

A well-known story for many people, the satisfaction and pleasure made approach for a deposit on Jon’s first property. A brace of VW firm automobiles adopted together with a Mk5 Golf and Passat Sport. Jon’s spouse has additionally been loyal to the trigger, beforehand proudly owning a Mk3 Polo and Beetle. With a younger household, present each day duties are undertaken by a Mk2 Tiguan, while a VW Up! takes care of frugal commuting.

“I needed one other MK1 Golf collection 1. I had been wanting on-line for some time and this one got here up, it bought on eBay and I had missed out on it however round every week or so later it reappeared. I did a little bit of analysis on it, trawling the boards and it was beforehand featured in Golf+ again in 2007. The automobile was then bought twice after the unique builder moved it on. From the unique characteristic of the automobile, I might see that it was stable which was my predominant standards. With my first Mk1, I used to be without end chasing rust and I didn’t need to revisit that costly and time-consuming floor. I managed to trace down one of many earlier homeowners and needed to get an extra lowdown on the automobile. He regretted promoting it and knowledgeable me it was instance and that he knew it had continued to be effectively sorted following the unique construct. I spoke to the vendor a number of extra instances earlier than lastly agreeing to have a look and do the drive to Heathrow the place it was positioned. I made a decision to view it one night after work. I took the automobile for a take a look at drive and it introduced again so many recollections of my first Mk1 Golf that I simply needed to have it. We did the deal and I drove it again from Heathrow that evening”.

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Tuned VW Golf Mk1

With the 1979 Mk1 Golf GTI in his possession, Jon supposed to only perform somewhat little bit of minor fettling and basically get pleasure from it, getting again to the present scene and having a automobile for weekend jaunts. A visit to an open day at close by VAG specialist, Carbon Motive (the place by the way his new buy gained automobile of present) was to alter all that. The Golf was already properly modified and sported a KR 16v engine from a Mk2 on twin carbs. “We mentioned a number of plans for the automobile however issues snowballed and after a few conversations with enterprise proprietor, Neil, I made a decision to swap out the prevailing engine for a extra dependable and sooner 20V 1.8T BAM engine. The unique plan was simply to do an engine swap however the plan grew and ended up morphing right into a full rebuild of the automobile, together with new paint however nonetheless within the unique Child blue”.

The method for this tuned VW Golf Mk1 was just about the other of what had been achieved with Jon’s earlier challenge automobile. While that was closely modified on the outside with an insurance coverage pleasant normal engine, this time the order of the day was to be subtlety on the outside with a efficiency punch beneath the bonnet. The overwhelming majority of the unique GTI trim had lengthy since been disposed of and the design purity of the decrease fashions was adopted together with that iconic houndstooth trim.

Quickly the complete restoration was underway. The KR engine was eliminated and the automobile was stripped and ready prior to color. Jon studies that there have been a few minor areas that wanted consideration however his aforementioned detective work had paid dividends and customarily, the shell was stable.  The automobile obtained painted after which went again to Neil at Carbon Motive for the rebuild. Jon had sourced a 1.8T BAM engine from a 2001 Audi TT with full historical past. The engine was stripped right down to the block and head and was then painted. All new ancillaries together with Audi R8 coil packs had been fitted and the engine constructed again up. The motor was then refitted with Epytec mounts. A customized intercooler ensures optimum temperatures while the AEM efficiency induction equipment and Trackslag full stainless exhaust convey the bark to the bang. The bay is a pleasant stability between practical efficiency and customized tidiness. The engine bay was fully de-seam sealed and pointless holes had been welded up. The wires have been neatly tucked and the battery relocated to the boot. Small particulars make a giant distinction reminiscent of the recent floor factory-style warning sticker that was replicated by OEM stickers and utilized to the customized polished pipework that was designed and fabricated by Neil at Carbon Motive after which polished by GS sprucing. Regardless of the apparent age disparity between automobile and powerplant, the engine bay, as per the remainder of the automobile has an OEM+ flavour that straddles the worlds of retro cool and critical efficiency. A Golf GTI Mk4 O2J gearbox was fitted together with a VR6 clutch, G60 flywheel and VW Motorsport shifter. A customized made pedal field completes the effectively thought out transmission package deal.


Tuned VW Golf Mk1

Jon was eager that the diminutive Golf handles in addition to it appears to be like and plumped for coilovers versus air. On the time the pictures had been taken, FK Sport’s equipment was used however this has since been swapped out for BC Racing coilovers. “I’ve all the time favored the BBS RS’s on the Mk1, they’re a timeless interval wheel. There have been a number of different choices that I thought of and to be sincere, I nonetheless am together with BBS E52s, Compomotive Turbo Mags or a set of BBS E30s”. Our type of man. The BBS 001 measure a wholesome 15×7 up entrance and 15×7.5 on the rear with the offsets of 20 and 30 respectively guaranteeing that the enduring rolling inventory sits completely within the arch. Wishbones, rear beam and anti-roll bars had been all powder coated. Tech-53’s Wilwood four-pot brake equipment was used which Jon studies has been transformative and helpful in a automobile as gentle as his tuned VW Golf Mk1 with 225 BHP on faucet. HEL brake traces guarantee nice really feel while an OMP brake bias equipment supplies loads of adjustability.

Jon had a transparent imaginative and prescient for the styling on his tuned VW Golf Mk1 and it exhibits: “My intention was to maintain the automobile fairly OEM wanting from the surface. I nonetheless just like the period-correct items and the chrome. It’s had the swage trim eliminated however the recess saved and the rear of the automobile has been fully debadged”. A transparent rear window and CL arch spats present a little bit of Euro-style minimalism while the chrome glistens timelessly on the grille encompass, flag mirror, quarter glass trims, door latches and pins, backside trim, bumpers and the boot latch.

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That achingly cool Driver houndstooth trim is joined within the cabin by further auxiliary and increase gauges that are mounted neatly within the centre console. The uncovered VW Motorsport shifter hints at the necessity to fasten one’s seatbelt. The inside package deal brings the challenge collectively and the holistic method to retro appears to be like with a touch of motorsport aggression that runs by means of the construct is a masterclass in collection one perfection. We’re happy to report that though Jon acknowledged, fairly rightly, that “they’re by no means actually completed”, his plans are extra evolution than revolution. Future enhancements will embrace swapping out the O2J gearbox for a VW Passat diesel merchandise for longer gearing, a shallow sump for improved floor clearance, a re-map and an higher rear strut brace. As with all tasks, a little bit of growth is wholesome however our IT knowledgeable has obtained this so proper, there’s no want for a full reboot right here.

Tech Spec: Tuned VW Golf Mk1


Rebuilt 1.8T (BAM) 20v engine from Audi TT (225 bhp) with 1.8-litre Mk4 Golf valve cowl, customized polished pipework, all new gaskets, customized intercooler, AEM Efficiency air filter, Epytec engine mounts, wire tuck, Trackslag full stainless exhaust, battery relocated to the boot, customized made pedal field, Audi R8 coil packs, transmission: O2J from Mk4 Golf with VR6 Clutch, G60 Flywheel, VW Motorsport shifter, customized pedal field


BBS RS 001s 7×15″ (entrance), 7.5×15″ (rear), Nankang 185/45/15, FK Sport coilovers entrance and rear on the time of characteristic (now working a set of BC Racing coilovers), grasp cylinder delete from engine bay, Wilwood 4 Pots on the entrance with 280mm discs, rear disc brake conversion, MK4 Golf discs and callipers, HEL brake traces all through, OMP brake bias, powder-coated rear beam, powder-coated wishbones, powder-coated roll bars, totally polybushed all through


Full shell repainted in Child blue, full nut and bolt restoration completed Sept 2019, beneath resealed,  de-seam sealed engine bay, wire tuck, debadged, swage trim eliminated,  clear rear window,  chrome flag mirror on drivers aspect, blanked off on passenger aspect, chrome quarter glass trims, chrome door handles, chrome decrease trim, chrome grille encompass, chrome bumpers, CL arch spats


Authentic Collection 1 inside, door playing cards, dashboard and many others, Authentic Collection 1 Driver Houndstooth inside Further gauges mounted in centre console: increase, oil strain and temp, OMP Brake bias valve


My spouse, for the numerous automobile components that turned as much as our home throughout the construct, notably once we had not lengthy had our daughter! Large because of Carbon Motive – I wouldn’t look wherever else for my VAG wants, particularly for Mk1s along with his expertise and fervour for them. Neil is a high, high bloke – we have now since turn out to be ‘Mk1 fwends’! Tech-53 for the brakes and GS sprucing – once more, high bloke