As the scene grows every larger, there’s a massive amount of conjecture flying round about what constitutes “building” your car. Some people maintain that you can’t say you “built” your shiny show queen unless you got your hands dirty, burning the midnight oil and machining your own air line fittings. “Paying someone else to do your work for you takes away from those who do their own work” cry the naysayers, whilst others insist that if the work done is all of your own creation, then surely that counts too? We’re on the fence, and, frankly, as long as people keep churning out incredible cars year on year, we don’t really care.
The simple and devastatingly effective Mk2 of Dave Phillipson definitely falls firmly in the “home built” camp. Which is pretty cool, but not especially out of the ordinary. Until you meet Dave, and realise that, actually, he’s in a wheel chair. Then, the fact that Dave and his friends built the entire car, boot build and all, at home, suddenly becomes a much more respectable feat.
3 time Paralympican Dave first bought his humble 1.8 GL auto 3 years ago, when it was looking rather sorry for itself. Wearing aftermarket all black bumpers after a minor front and rear bump, he decided to give it the love it so richly deserved. So genuine big bumpers were sought, and Dave fell completely in love with a set of ultra rare Gotti Fagix 3 piece splits, in 15″ flavour, removed from a Ferrari 308GTB no less. Rebuilt by Fyse Fyson, they now measure 8.5″ up front and a not unimpressive 9.5″ rear, all rolling on 195s. Freshly coated in Ferrari Rosso Corse as a subtle nod to their origin, and with gold spiked hardware, these are genuinely beautiful rolling stock.
Deciding he wanted to roll static (yeah, we thought it was on air too!), Dave was on the hunt for some suitably girthy arches to accommodate his ludicrously sexy wheels, and only one brand would do-Voomeran. But with them not making arches to fit the 5 door Mk2, some improvisation was required. Not one to be put off, Dave got stuck in, and even looking closely now you’d be hard pushed to tell that they weren’t meant to be there. At the same time, the front plate recess and fog light holes were expertly smoothed, along with the addition of that white GTI style grill pinstripe and Jetta lower strip. It’s the inspired little touches that make a car like this what it is, and what makes us love this build like we do.
Obviously, bucket seats and roll cages were out of the question, and with the rare factory blue interior being absolutely spotless, it was decided to utilise what was already there. And it looks great for it. It makes a refreshing change to see people making the most of what’s there, rather than changing it out for the sake of it. Plus, the blue is super retro and offsets the white exterior perfectly. Simple additions like the Momo wheel and retrimmed headliner add a touch of individuality. Along with the stereo…
Those doors hold 6.5″ speakers in custom built enclosures, but it’s in the boot where things get really interesting. Dave and his friend Tom Wright worked out exactly what they wanted from the boot build. And, just like the outside, it’s simple but stunning. Housing a 12″ Alpine sub with everything else tucked away, it just looks right in there.
With customised crystal rear lights and a matching heckblende, the back end finishes off what is a very beautiful Mk2. The side stripes are an inspired touch, and make all the difference, breaking up the side a treat. With Weber carbs, an uprated cam and Sportex exhaust, Dave has made sure that it’s got the power to match it’s bigger brother GTIs, whilst keeping the pureness and simplicity of it’s roots.
Photography by Mathew Bedworth