:: WHY ?::
Why did I buy E323 TOV? That is a very good question. Most articles start with an outline of what a good buy the car was and how it was a nice original straight car; well not this one. The aforementioned GTi could at best be described as 'inexpensive', to say it was a bargain would be a little over the top. It had had 8 careless owners, it displayed a completely unverifiable 98,000 miles on the clock and came complete with NSH (No Service History). On the plus side it was HPI clear although I imagine only just and It had a new engine with a receipt to prove it. Unfortunately it leaked like the titanic, and was probably the filthiest car I have ever seen. It even smelt bad inside, but nonetheless to a poor student who was used to a 1.3 mk2 the GTi was the dogs bollox. So with little regard for resale chances and reliability, the car was purchased and brought back to the car workshop, which was our university driveway. There it sat alongside my mate's Mk1 GTi, my modded 1.3, and a Scirrocco GTi not to mention the Mk1 Cortina and Peugot 205 GTi that also adorned the driveway.
The photos illustrate quite what a state the car was in and the first job can best be described as TLC. More than just a wash was required and the car was completely stripped out to scrub the carpets and replace the rotten sound deadening. It then took the next 8 month before I finally managed to plug all the offending leaks. Despite being an 88 with a Digifant engine the car had the early quaterlight doors, early small ball joint hubs, a 7-slat grille, the early red/grey stripe interior and a late roundel rear panel. The interior was instantly swapped for the late GTi interior from my 1.3 along with the stereo and alarm. The 15in multispoke alloys and lowered G&M suspension followed about two days later, and a trip to GTi international yielded some new bumpers. I opted not to go down the big bumper route as the car had the factory BBS body kit which at the rear was as good as a big bumper but thankfully the tasteless front piece of the kit was missing so had been substituted with the std deep GTi spoiler. This sat so low that you could not get a sideways fag packet underneath itů.NICE!!!!
The gross "blade style" alloys were sold to some poor fool with a 1.4 astra which wished it was a Gsi and the old interior was even swapped with the local VW scrappy, Clarkes of Nottingham, for some more useful parts such as some elusive interior trim and an idle valve. The next bits that needed replacement were the front ball joints, so the car got new wishbones and bushes at the same time. Also in desperate need of attention were the wafer thin brakes, which were replaced with standard discs and Mintex 1144 pads. Combined with a brake bleed this dramatically improved both pedal feel and stopping power.
Styling wise I opted for half tint rear lights, a debadged front grille with eyebrow spoiler and the obligatory clear indicators and side repeaters. Of course the rear wiper got laid flat as a matter of urgency as soon as I got the car. Unfortunately my student budget did not stretch to performance mods and so a sporty sounding Magnex oval back box was fitted to compensate (this story could fill several pages on it's own). This made the car a pleasure to drive with the window down and gave an attractive alternative to the pumping stereo. Whilst on the subject of the stereo this comprised of a Sony head unit and 6 disc changer with Kenwood dash speakers and Alpine replacements for the rear mounts, all finished off with a 10in bass tube and stiffening capacitor. This gave some excellent and inexpensive clout that served well until I lost the face plate for the stereo. I therefore part exchanged the mulitichanger for a single slot CD player (and got a crap deal in the process) only to find the old face plate two days laterů DOH!
Mods wise this was about as far as I went, and despite the state the car was in when it was purchased it became quite a head turner by the time I had finished with it. The suspension mods made it into a bit of a go kart and as a first GTi it was plenty fast enough. Because everything that goes wrong on a mk2 went wrong on this car (idle valve, seized rear brakes, leaks, burst heater matrix etc.) it was an ideal and cheap learning tool especially as the money would only otherwise have been spent in the student bar! I ran the car in this form for another 6 months and eventually sold it to fund the next project, which has been based around a slightly straighter and more original car.
The car did prove that you can run a cool, fast, great handling car on an absolute shoestring (if it's a golf) so long as you are prepared to get your hands dirty in the process. You might even learn something from the experience, I know I did and it has made the current project a whole lot easier.
:: Tech Spec ::
Engine : std 1.8 8V Digifant engine, Magnex oval back box.
Gearbox : Std with fully synthetic oil and a specially knackered 2nd gear synchromesh.
Chassis : Uprated G&M dampers with G&M lowered springs, one coil removed at the rear and two removed at the front. New top mounts, wishbone bushes and ball jts. Mintex 1144 pads.
Wheels : 15inch Mim Imolas with 195/50/15 Goodyear Potenzas.
Exterior : De-badged single headlamp grille, eyebrow spoiler, BBS body kit with std GTi front spoiler, de-trimmed doors, black rear badges, lay flat rear wiper, half tint rear lights, clear indicators, clear side repeaters, Lots of polish.
Interior : Late mk2 GTi interior, alloy golf ball gear knob, mk3 door pins, Personal leather steering wheel, Sony single slot CD, Alpine rear speakers, Kenwood front speakers, Longmill 10inch bass tube with 1 farad stiffening capacitor, GTi embossed mats.