Most people who know me or have followed my build thread on a few forums will know my mk3 has been a labour of love so far this year. I bought the car as a daily and intended “not to modify it” which I knew in my heart meant drop it, change the wheels and a few other wee bits to tidy it up. Sure enough a set of coilovers, several wheel changes, some mild audio and a set of US markers later and fate had run its course.
It started innocently enough but all went downhill when I caught wind of a cheap VR conversion and snapped it up with the plan to sit on it until the time was right. Lee got me a full Magnex system for my birthday and the time to add another 2 cylinders seemed right. Having tackled a few swaps but never a VR before it wasn’t too bad mostly down to the fact it was designed for a mk3 although the wiring at the fuse box hampered us slightly until an American contact helped us out.
With the sweet sound track of the six cylinder under my right foot all seemed right for myself and Otis (Otis is the mk3 btw) and a run up the coast was set to break in his new set up. This is where Lady Luck gets drunk, throws the toys out of the pram and shits in my perfection pie. I took a wrong turn and realising my mistake I turned at the top of the hill and headed back down. I noticed an oil trail heading up the hill and thought some poor bastard isn’t having a good day. Something then clicked and I started to wonder was I the aforementioned fatherless child. Sure enough upon inspection my sump was emptying itself onto the tarmac, albeit at a slow pace so we limped home stopping every 15mile to top up the oil again. Not the worst day but a bit of a shitter with less than a few 100 miles on the new set up.
A week later we arrived back to Otis to sort him out. Opening the door I was greeted with the pungent smell of shit and piss. A rat had got in and ate some marshmallow tea cakes left in the car. A disaster eclipsed only by the fact the fucker also chewed through the wiring loom to get in and decided that the seats, door cards, carpets, parcel shelf and underlay all looked as appealing at the tea cakes and chewed them too. Lady Luck clearly had a dose of the shits and wasn’t for stopping.
Now I’m a soppy shite with cars and get very attached to them. If this had have been a mk3 and not an Otis he’d have been scrapped but this wasn’t the case. A plan was hatched and we started to fix him. The interior came back out again and everything bar the dash was burnt in the yard (the dash was stripped of every component and washed with Dettol).
Stefan was planning to track a yellow Colour Concept at the time so a deal was done for any interior parts I needed. Happy days. After a few evenings discussions about the car it was joked about painting the car due to 20 odd years of wear and tear and lacquer peel. The joke quickly became reality and yellow was to be the colour to match the seats. The job would be a quick blow over to get it back on the road.
Fast forward 6 months or so and the “quick job” had been binned. The colour changed to Manilla Green from the mk1 Golf range and being an early car I played on this and tried to bring in a more basic “mk1 theme”. The car was stripped to a bare shell and painted in my parents single garage and rebuilt on the driveway. The black plastic trims were kept but replaced with new items and anything not replaced was re-dyed, ABT textured skirts found their way from America, BBS splits were bought for face mounting, etc, etc. You can see how this low budget “blow over” spiralled out of control, a spiral fuelled by both friends and family who pushed me to build the car to look as good as possible.
Otis appeared for MLVW (his first road trip/show in his new guise) a bit unfinished but looking well none the less. I get the feeling he looked too well because, you guessed it, the villain of the story Lady Luck decided to tag along (that bitch needs a kick in the fanny). This time leaving the show Otis’ gearbox sounded the death clunk and locked solid due to losing fluid. Try as we might he wasn’t going anywhere until the breakdown truck arrived. Never one to be beaten, time was killed with an impromptu photoshoot of the car.
I truly believed the car would never make Castlewellan show the following weekend which had been my original goal. Little did I know with the help and motivation of my friends and Dad that wasn’t going to be the case. Monday night the engine and box were out and the bay was started to be cleaned up by Lee. Tuesday the bay was prepped and painted while Stefan, Matt and Lee made a trip to lift a gearbox which turned out to need some work so we skipped on it. Wednesday we stole Matt’s box and fitted it and the engine back in after several coats of the finest satin black. Thus began the abuse about not wire tucking the car (bear in mind it’s a daily driver and had to make a show on Friday and Saturday). Peer pressure prevailed and Wednesday finished up with myself and Chris at 1.30am still taping the loom and me cursing myself for even starting this. Thursday we continued on with the wiring and moving the battery to the boot while Matt and Stefan finished off the mechanicals underneath and the car was fired up. The coolant system was filled and a few choice words saw the clutch bled too and we called it a night. Friday morning the front end of the car was built up and we tested the car up and down the road followed by a once over by Chris to make it shine and off we set to Castlewellan show to eat, drink and talk shite. Craig David’s week didn’t have shit on ours.
Standing in Castlewellan I couldn’t help laugh about how less than a week before hand I never imagined my Golf making it needing a gearbox nevermind when you consider what we did in that space of time.
I hate to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet but I genuinely am proud of what was achieved, none of which would have happened with my dad or my friends. It really couldn’t have happened without them so thanks to everyone involved. To think they worked late nights every night to make it to MLVW then to start the same shit the night after the show really shows what good friends are. Now if only I could get them back and get those yellow seats dyed…