vw golf gti, vw corrado and vw polo tuning and styling - with Matey-Matey

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:: Daniel's MK2 1.9 Golf GTi RoadRacer ::

Ownership of C6 SRB (The dub formerly known as C159 WBC) began unexpectedly and completely by accident. Whilst at university, Si was running a well modded but far from perfect 5 dr Mk 2 GTi. He was intending to keep it for a while until a suitable Corrado turned up. Completely by chance however he saw an ad in the local free ads paper for an 86 8v GTi. He commented to me that it would be a shrewd purchase for someone as it had just 66 k on the clock and a FSH. The following week we saw the same ad again and it dawned on us that it would make an ideal second car/project. Although Si was not looking for a new car it was too good a car to pass by. We went to look at it and a deal was struck. It was one of the few decent Mk 2s we had seen; the 66k mileage was backed up with MOTs, the history was traceable to 2 previous local owners and it had a perfectly straight chassis. 

The bodywork was excellent and it had been resprayed well at some point in the original white. The fact that it was 14 years old was irrelevant as it was far better than any of the later ones we had seen. The only flaws were a couple of warn steering/suspension parts and a tired driver's seat (the owner liked her pies and she said that the previous owner was also a rather horizontally gifted chap). A deposit was paid and the car was picked up the following week, by which time the inevitable plan had already started to hatch.

The plan was to strip it down and do it up from scratch. In the meantime numerous parts were acquired and stashed in the loft awaiting the conversion. Unfortunately the 5 dr GTi began playing up and although not serious, a fuel leak was the last straw. Si fixed this for the cost of a new £5 fuel hose but flogged it the following weekend. This meant that Si had to get from A to B in C6 SRB. Oops, this wasn't part of the plan….back to the drawing board where a new idea was formulated. Sadly the Audi RS2 blue re-spray went kicking and screaming out of the door and we decided to do the car up gradually. The cost of getting a decent paint job was so high that we thought the money would be better spent elsewhere [especially as the paintwork was already in such good nick]. Si also could not afford for the car to be off the road for the length of time required to paint it properly.

:: Suspension ::

First job was to replace the wheel bearings and ball joints as these were knackered. Whilst at it we decided to replace all the 15 yr. old bushes with poly items. Fitting these proved a fair nightmare as Si had purchased one piece Bonrath items rather than the two piece Powerflex ones. They had a distinct allergy to going into the relevant holes but once fitted it became apparent why this is a popular mod. Even with the std suspension the steering response became far sharper, feedback was better and the overall handling became sharper. Next up was the suspension itself, and we set about fitting the Boge sports kit which we had picked up previously at inters. Having fitted the kit Si was fairly disappointed as it hardly lowered the car and was pratically as soft as the STD suspension… Off it came before the car had even turned a wheel and a rethink was the order of the day. At this point Si swore that throughout the project he wouldn't cut corners and would go the whole hog on everything. Therefore a set of adjustable Konis with 60mm lower Spax springs jumped onto the car the next weekend, mated to poly rear top mounts and lowered poly front top mounts. The handling was instantly transformed and we would recommend this combo to anyone. The car is agile and develops a grip level far in excess of what the laws of physics say it should. The adjustability of the dampers has also meant that we have been able to set the balance of the car up to perfection and as such it will understeer or oversteer on demand rather than when it wants to.

Wheels and Brakes ::

We are of the opinion that wheel choice will make or break the appearance of a car and in this case we are fairly confident that Si's wheel choice has 'made' the cars appearance. A set of deep dish 15 inch Mim rims were picked up from Elite for £450 all in which seemed a bargain as they suit the car perfectly and fill the arches under the aggressive lowering job.

Another part of the car which was begging for an upgrade, was the wafer thin front discs. These were replaced with a complete 16v drilled and grooved set up [including all new hubs, ball joints, bearings, wishbones...] Combined with a VR6 master cylinder and brake bleed, stainless braided hoses and new MK2 rear calipers, braking is now really something to behold both on and off the track.

:: Cosmetics ::

The car was now handling like a roller skate on steroids but was still looking its age. A cosmetic make over was well overdue. First up was a spot of paint, the big bumpers which had been stashed in the loft for 4 months were painted and fitted whilst at the same time a late spec rear panel [with roundel] was fitted to the rear.

The rear wiper was laid flat and some M3 style rear lights went on. At the front the grill was ditched in favour of a single headlamp de-badged item with the obligatory eyebrow. Clear indicators and side repeaters were fitted on along with a pair of factory Hella fogs in the front bumper [switched with a bespoke relayed loom for maximum brightness]. The wing mounted aerial found its way to the bin in favour of an under-dash aerial . The only other changes to the outside have been the removal of the black go-faster stripe and the application of bucket loads of polish!

By this stage winter was upon us and so things slowed down a bit. The only notable changes were the addition of a bespoke Powertorque stainless exhaust finished in a reasonably modest single 4-inch tail pipe. This sounds the nuts and combined with the induction roar produced by drilling the air-box and fitting a Jetex filter made the car an absolute treat. Echo-filled underpasses and unsuitably low gears are now the order of the day.

ICE ::

Winter seemed to linger so instead of grovelling around under the car we decided to turn our attention to the inside and primarily the stereo which was previously non existent. Out came the interior and the carpets along with some damp and rotten sound deadening which was a victim of the all too common leaking MK2 syndrome , which seems to befall every MK2. In went some new undercarpet sound deadening along with some 'Dynamat' in the front doors. The door membranes were also painstakingly replaced to prevent any further leaking The stereo is 'sensible' rather that OTT as we were keen not to weigh the car down. It therefore comprises of a set of four Kenwood components in the std mounts (dash and rear shelf trim) backed up by a 12inch alpine sub and a V12 amp. All of this is fronted by a single slot pioneer CD player.


GTi inters came along and Si picked up a full Corrado interior, a second hand Momo top power steering wheel and some leather gaiters and door handle inserts for the not unreasonable sum for £180. That was the easy bit. Fitting the Corrado rear bench properly was another story but eventually three days later it was all in place and boy what a difference it made. It completely transformed the interior not only making it look smarter but also adding something slightly out of the ordinary. The interior was fitted with some late 8v door cards, which by fluke match the Corrado seats rather well. These door cards had been in the loft for several years having been surplus to a previous project so it was nice to finally use them. The seats provide much more support than the old worn-out items and the tiny steering wheel gives a race car feel to back road driving as well as building up the biceps when parking.

Also purchased at inters was a Jabbasport quickshift which cost a paltry tenner. It has given the gearchange a far sportier and more positive feel even if at 70% travel reduction it makes stop start traffic a pain. This knocked a consistent few tenths off the standing quarter time when tested at the Santa Pod GTi festival. Not bad for a tenner.

:: Engine ::

At inters Si gave the car a few runs down the strip (peer group pressure) which whilst great fun proved that it was not as fast as all that. Soon after as the weather got hotter and petrol prices went up, the car began to pink a bit [even on LRP] so Si fiddled with the mixture and timing and sorted the problem [but at the expense of performance]. Rather than suffer depleted performance Si talked himself into thinking that having done 72K the engine would benefit from being removed and binned in favour of a larger one. A few weeks later a plan was being hatched and it wasn't long before a brand spankers 1900 cc engine was sitting in the garage with a ported and polished head, piper 285 cam, and vernier pulley. 

Si spent the next month accumulating parts and soon a pair of polished and ported manifolds were 'under the bed' along with a V-SAM pro to help get the best out of it all. The engine was fitted in a weekend along with a new clutch and some 16v engine mounts and the painful running in process began. Once run in the car was taken to C&R to be properly set up and have the V-SAM pro 'mapped'. This not only maps an ignition curve but also boosts the fuel available and maps it across the rev range. Currently the car is set to run 10% extra fuel at idle (with the hairy cam the word idle is a slight contradiction) going up to 100% extra on full throttle. Remarkably the fuel economy is still excellent for such a highly tuned car and turns in 31mpg under normal conditions falling to 27mpg when pushing on. The engine gets better and better with every mile it does and in our eyes is the best part of the car. 

Having been set up well and mapped properly it sounds sweet, revs smoothly to the red line and produces bags of torque and power from 2000rpm all the way up to 6200rpm (below 2000rpm the cam causes it to run on a random number of cylinders as it produces a high degree of valve overlap).

Prior to fitting the engine the car was taken for a thrash round Castle Combe which proved great fun even if it did tear shreds out of the tyres. This showed the need for a front upper strut brace as it seemed that despite running slight negative camber at the front, it was the outside of the tyres that were taking the battering!

The mods have slowed down of late, with the most notable change being a swap to Yokohama A539s tyres. These provide awesome levels of dry grip and are also far better than expected in the wet. The main plus point is that when the limit is reached they break away in the most perfectly predictable and consistent way possible so when combined with the suspension mods they make the car perfectly composed at any chosen angle of attack.

:: Tech spec ::

Insurance: Insurance by Adrian Flux

Engine: 8v K-jet with 1.9 conversion, ported and polished head, Piper 285 cam shaft, flowed and matched inlet manifold, ported and polished exhaust manifold, vernier pulley, Jetex response air filter, Powertorque bespoke stainless exhaust, Racelogic V-SAM pro, 16v engine mounts, Bosch 3 prong plugs.

Gearbox: Std 8v with new clutch and 70% reduction quick shift

Brakes: Front - 16v hubs and callipers, 256mm drilled and grooved discs, Pagid fast road pads. Rear - Plain discs, New calipers, Pagid fast road pads. Goodridge braided hoses all round, Dot 5 fluid, VR6 master cylinder.

Suspension: Koni adjustable shocks, Spax 60mm lower springs, Poly bushes all round, poly rear top mounts, lowered front Bonrath top mounts, Polished alloy front upper strut brace.

Wheels/Tyres: 15 x 7J Mim alloys, 195/50/15 Yokohama A539's

Interior: Corrado seats inc rear bench, Momo top power steering wheel, Leather gear and handbrake gaiters, leather door handle inserts, late 8v door cards, dynamated front doors, sound deadened floor, Pioneer CD head unit, Kenwood front and rear components, Alpine V12 amp, Alpine 12 inch sub in ported enclosure, flamebeater fire extinguisher, factory central locking.

Exterior: Big bumpers, Hella front fogs, single h/lamp debadged grille, colour coded eyebrow, clear indicators, clear side repeaters, deleted aerial, debadged late-spec [with roundel] back panel, delocked near side door handle, deleted rear wiper, clear/red rear lights, factory green tinted glass, resprayed in stock VW alpine white.

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