If you know the VW scene in South Africa, chances are you’ll know Ryan Porter and his delicious partner in crime, “Hot Chocolate”. Ryan has been around the block a few times, and has made a life out of building cars to disturb the streets of South Johannesburg. From Lexus V8 powered Mitsubishi Colts, to a veritable menagerie of VWs. But with his latest creation, he really wanted to pull put all the stops…
Ryan’s acquired his Mk1 Rabbit as a rough 2 door, that had been through the hands of a number of less than enthusiastic owners. After what can only be described as a herculean effort, it now finds itself as one of the most famous Mk1s ever to have graced South African shores. The objective was simple; build an Mk1 to rival the best efforts of the Americans, British & Germans. You may be surprised to read that over in SA, there are only a handful of people capable of doing the work to the high standard Ryan required to make his dreams come to fruition. So, being a hands on kind of guy, he waster no time getting started on doing as much as he could himself.
With car stripped to a bare shell, the paint was flatted down and the work began on the engine bay. The whole thing was smoothed and tucked, then doused in the beautiful cream colour you can see in the pictures. Obviously the standard little overworked 1.3 simply wouldn’t do anymore, so the tried and tested ABF 16v found it’s way under the bonnet. Precision Throttle bodies supply the extra poke Ryan demanded from the conversion. I’m sure the noise provided more than a little incentive too. Many of the ancillaries, along with trumpets, suspension arms, anti-roll bar etc, managed to find their way to Ryan’s local engineering firm, for a lovely big dose of gold electro plating.
Ryan deliberated over colour incessantly, before deciding on the sublime Mendoza Brown, as found on VW’s very own Amarok. The interior was kept fairly subtle, with a re-trim in factory hide, and anything showing it’s age replaced with era correct parts. The Airlift tanks and Viair compressors are hidden away under the boot floor, for that factory fresh look. No fancy V2 here, just simple, good old fashioned switches. As for shoes; the now almost complete Mk1 found itself on some 15” 3 piece Work Ewings that suit the look perfectly. And to make the most of the balmy Jo’burg summer, Ryan decided on a full length electric ragtop. No point in having a car like this if you can’t enjoy it…
Ryan’s “Hot Chocolate” is the perfect crossover between two worlds; simple, understated beauty, with the performance to surprise more than a few modern hot hatch drivers.
I think it’s about time for a WCS UK/US group holiday; who fancies South Africa?
You can see the whole album of our pictures here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8a7ZHg
Photos by Robert Gilmaney