Everybody in the car scene wants to be different. People strive to have “that” car. Sometimes it pays off, more often that not it doesn’t. But some people just don’t care. They strive for automotive perfection through details and build quality, not lairy paint jobs and oversized wheels.
Gareth’s little Mk1 is the perfect example of this. Glancing at it, you’d be hard pushed to say how much has been done to it, other than it being incredibly clean. But that’s far from the case.
Exhibit 1: The wheels.
These are an inspired choice; not just because of the rarity of the donor car (10 points if you can tell us what they’re from without reading on), but because they’re just so damned perfect on it. Give up?
They’re from a Maserati Merak SS. The one Clarkson destroyed. That one. Getting them to fit was no mean feat; I can’t imagine H&R get many requests for 4×100 to 4×130 adaptors. Luckily Gareth had a contact that could make them up for him. They measure in at 15 x 7.5″, so nothing too mad, but they really do sit perfectly.
Exhibit 2: The exterior.
“Whiter than Alpine.” That’s the official name. And it really is exactly that. I’ve never seen such a pure, untainted white on a car before. And it looks incredible. The paint job is utterly flawless. With the rear badges, wiper hole and towhook smoothed, it certainly clears up the usually cluttered rear end without looking overly modified. Not an easy thing to pull off on a car as simple as this. Gareth also treated the car to new genuine bumpers, side trims and mirrors, along with carbon fibre arch spats and custom all red rear lights.
Exhibit 3: The engine.
Cleaned engine bays are notoriously hard to get right. Especially on a white car. Gareth decided to go for something a little bit different to the standard 1.8T most people seem to put in Mk1s nowadays; the trusty AFH 1.4 16v (100PS) from the humble Mk4 Polo. To this, he decided CBR600 bike carbs would be the way to go, all held together with a stunning custom made inlet. Combined with the gas flowed head, custom stainless 4 branch & exhaust, custom carbon airbox, along with Mk2 Golf electronic ignition and heater delete, means this is surprisingly light on it’s feet. Just to throw a curve ball in, another obscure European automobile donated it’s radiator to keep the Mk1 cool; An FSO Polinez (ask your dad).
Exhibit 4: The chassis.
So you may have noticed that this sits a lot lower than most Mk1s. That’s partly down to the Bagyard Xtra Low struts, solenoid controlled air-ride and Viair 380cc compressor, admittedly. But this wasn’t enough for Gareth. He wanted it to sit lower. So a chassis notch was in order, as well as raising the strut tops 1.5″! That’s dedication. At the same time, he uprated the front braking system to 280mm GTI drilled and grooved discs, running a servo-less Mk1 Polo master cylinder directly from the pedal, by deleting the brake linkage bar. All the brake lines run through the inside of the car, keeping it all nice and tidy.
Exhibit 6: The interior.
Red. A sea of red. The contrast against the crisp white is vibrant, whilst staying classy and adding that retro touch. Not an easy thign to pull of nowadays. The seats are Rover BRM, which are actually ridiculously comfortable. They fit in perfectly, looking modern whilst not being out of place. The carpets and matching door cards were provided by the good people of Newton Commercial, along with the new headlining. Whilst this was all out of the car, Gareth decided it was the perfect time to sound deaden the entire car. The gear gaiter, which matches the seats perfectly, is entombed in a Golf L surround, which houses the switches for the air ride system. It’s all very well thought out, and it’s these details that make us love this car.
If you get the chance to have a good look at this, do it. You won’t be disappointed.
Images Adam Walker.