Back in late 2003, we acquired the following Lhasa Green Mk1 Golf. We knew the two previous owners of the car so we were not put off by the old bits of rust and the fact it didn't run. It had been sat on the previous owners drive for a couple of years gradually filling up with water. A deal was done and it was towed 25 miles away to a friend's barn. Spending every Saturday for the next nine months it gradually became road worthy.
The Mk1 benefited from some tasty extras including Eibach front and rear anti-roll bars, 270mm TSR brake conversion, Koni & H&R suspension and apart from having no interior it had all the original bits of trim etc.
The first thing to come off the car was the rear subframe. One of the areas of rust was by the nearside subframe mounting, so removing it was the only option. Luckily the bolts holding the frame in place came undone with no problems. While the subframe was out it was stripped back and repainted in Hammerite. The bushes were replaced with Prothane items and the nuts and bolts holding it all together were replaced with stainless steel. The fuel filler neck, which was in good condition, was also repainted in Hammerite. We also sourced brand new sealing washers, screws and gaskets for the filler pipe from the main dealer as the originals had seen better days. With the fuel filler neck removed another rust hole appeared at the top of that arch.
With the two rust holes filled and welded and the subframe nicely reconditioned, our attention turned to the rear brakes. The drums and backing plates were painted along with fitting new brake cylinders and shoes. The rear brake regulator was also replaced as the old one had seized. Before refitting the subframe and filler neck, we painted the whole of the underside in stone chip.
Before our ownership the Mk1 had suffered from someone reversing into it. Apart from it slightly rusting it didn't look too good. After knocking out the dent as much as we could it was filled and the whole back panel repainted. Second hand rear lights and brand new number plate lights were sourced to replace the corroded originals. The rear wiper & washer jet was removed along with the black boot lid surround.
As the car had no interior it was decided to use it as second 'thrash around' car, hence going for just two buckets and harnesses. These were sourced via eBay as we couldn't afford brand new ones. We also replaced the dashboard as the previous owner had cut holes in the original for speakers. A second hand steering wheel was also bought.
Dynamat and other soundproofing material had been stuck everywhere. All this was eventually removed to reveal fairly clean and original paint. Moving to the front of the car we replaced the wishbones, track rod ends and also the Koni shocks. Stone chip was also applied all around the arch area. The front grille was cleaned and a lower CL spoiler fitted. The steel wheels were binned in favour for some 15" Sebring's.
When we bought the Mk1, the 16v engine was not running very well. After sorting out the electrics and the blowing exhaust manifold our attention turned to the K-Jetronic fuel injection. The rubber boot on top of the air flow meter was replaced as this did not seal very well. The fuel filter was replaced because we just couldn't get the old one to seal correctly against the banjo connections. The inlet manifold was taken off and given a good clean and a new set of injector inserts and sealing washers fitted as the old ones had perished. The injectors were also cleaned, tested and given new o-rings, with some of the injector hoses being replaced at the same time. One thing the K-Jetronic system does not like is air leaks but after these areas had been sorted the engine started a lot better and actually ran on it's on.
The Mk1 ran like this for a couple of years. Not much changed apart from the BBS wheels, Jetex Exhaust and Ashley manifold and some decent seats. The old Corbeau vinyl seats had served a purpose but we knew they weren't what we wanted. These were sold and a pair of Sparco Rev seats purchased - an easy 6kg saving. We took the car up to Stealth Racing and gave it a tune up. 154.4 bhp was the final figure. Not bad for a tired old KR engine. A trip over to the Nürburgring and several visits to Santa Pod and we knew we had to shed some weight to make it go quicker.
So everything that wasn't really needed was removed. Front and rear bumpers, dashboard, heater, the remaining soundproofing. Even the glass was replaced with polycarbonate. Unwanted items were all sold to fund the project. In total so far we had lost 55kgs. A big part of this came from a carbon bonnet which we made under the supervision of Richard at All Smiles who we actually met by chance at Edition 38 2004. This chance meeting had made us aware of a local club called HVWC and allowed us to chat to fellow enthusiasts. The rest as they say is history, but we are pretty sure we wouldn't have gone in the direction we have if we had not met this people.
After more caning, the engine was beginning to see better days. It had had a hard life not just with us but from the previous owners. The engine had now been in the car for more than 12 years. The bores had been worn since we got the car and had gradually got worse, so initial ideas were to replace the block with a 2 litre 9A version. A Passat GT was bought, stripped and scrapped for this purpose and overtime we gathered various parts including a stage four 16v head. Then two factors changed our minds. One was when we were at GTi Festival 2007; a lot of the cars were running supercharged and turbocharged engines. Our 1/4 mile time of 15.1 seconds just wasn't cutting it and we felt that the 2.0 16v engine (approx 185bhp) was going to be a bit disappointing. The second reason we changed our minds was that one of the vwtechnic duo had had his Corrado G60 written off a month earlier. The inevitable happened.