Saturday, 19 December 2009

'76 update...

Some sterling work from Mark 'Mr Zinc' Leather in Brizzle on the engine refurb/rebuild for the '76 swallowtail - check the before and after shots.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Congratulations to Lee Jackson

for his '78 Golf LS feature in PVW January 2010

Saturday, 28 November 2009

"Wickerdackel" Typ19

"Top Ten" winner at Edition 38 in 2009, as featured in Performance VW magazine, November 2009. Nominee for PVW Car of the Year 2009

Monday, 23 November 2009

'75 update...

O.G steels refinished.

'75 update...

Dans '75 get's some localised paintwork and re-zinced fittings.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Darren's cab...

Basking in the Aussie sunshine.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Out with the new, in with the old...Pt 2

Having established itself as the number one show of the day, GTI International held at the Transport Research laboratory (TRL) Crowthorne provided GTI enthusiasts with their annual pilgrimage. Increasing gate figures quickly saw it's original venue at Knebworth outgrown. Crowthorne provided the right logistics, the enthusiasts provided the cars and the atmosphere made itself, people jostled for position to get a glimpse of the quarter mile action, others caught up with the latest builds from creative individuals and tuning houses alike. With the popularity of the show ever increasing, a small but significant group would turn up, their numbers increasing year by year - the Europeans. The significance of their attendance changed the outlook of one group of individuals and their styling cues would go on to lead something of a revolution in the watercooled world...

Without internet forums and the dedicated VW magazines of today the yearning to know more could only be satisfied by visiting them on home soil. It's 1991 and the curiousity of the Oxford contingent - some 30 strong including, Danny Smith, Steve Bush, Tony Chan (Oxford regional Club GTI chairman), Richard Chadwick to name but a few would create a convoy 15+ cars strong, 2 up in each car. Heading out early on the Thursday morning it's easy to imagine the eagerness and excitement of the group as they headed towards Dover and the awaiting Townsend Thoresen. These were the pioneers, the first people out there in Europe. For all the excitement, of the now mecca of VW shows 'Worthersee', the show at the Baarlo Sportspack in Venlo, Holland was the chosen destination and was at the time arguably THE destination to attract the finest VW's Europe had to offer. Situated in the south of Holland, Venlo offered the perfect location, attracting visitors from all neighbouring countries. The convoy of British cars, themselves no slouches to a more refined look must have been some spectacle. Danny remembers with justifiable pride the British contingent as we consider Tony Chans ride - an '86 Mk2 Gti in Atlas grey, running low on Borbet A's - it must have been some convoy with Tony running the infamous Oettinger 16s powerplant, remember this was nearly 20 years ago!

The run down to Venlo from Calais proved amazingly easy, settling into the hotel Danny considered the first priority and promptly set out on a mission to find the D&W store to view the latest offerings. The main event, staged over the Saturday and Sunday was the main focus of attention and didn't dissapoint, this weekend would satisfy the very appetites that saw them heading for Europe in the first place. ''It was amazing'' recalls Danny, ''You needed to study the cars carefully to appreciate the sublety of the modifications and the thought process behind them, everywhere you looked you'd be seeing things which would blow you away''. Consider for a moment, the previous years pictures from GTI International - specifically the Zender kitted mk2, what was happening in Venlo was everything that car was in wow factor but polar opposites aesthetically. These were the same cars but stripped to a minimalist state, GTI side trim replaced with base model spats, plastic sill coverings and arches lost altogether, no twin exhausts but more discreet single pea shooter offerings, 17" wheels out - 14" and 15" wheels in - most notably BBS RS with 'low profile' 195/50/15 tyres. Although these cars ran low, it's worth noting this was a good few years before coilover suspension was available to anyone but racing teams. Improvisation was the name of the game and the Europeans had it nailed. Bonrath products were gathering momentum, their single wiper kit perhaps the most popular - ''you could adapt the linkage from the Scirocco item but it was important to have the latest Bonrath embossed item'' recalls Danny. Perhaps one of the most significant discoveries was on the Dietrict stand where the company demo'd vehichle's with the latest low profile rubber in the form of the 175/50/13, they'd not seen anything like it up until this point, mk2's running these 13's transformed the look completely, looking stretched out, elongated by the dimunitive size rollers. Despite the mk2 platform being the Oxford boys preferred weapon of choice and main focus of interest, mk1's featured heavily at Baarlo, ''You had to look carefully at what they'd done, you were looking at things so subtle they could easily be missed'', in this case they were grafting in BMW and Mercedes rear tail lights. Likewise the boys discovered a mod that they'd eventually market through Oxford Edition, 'We'd keep seeing these vents in the bonnet, we just couldn't work out what they were from'' the improvisation was all to clear to see, even if at times the specifics remained a mystery. The elusive bonnet vents were eventually tracked down to C pillar vents from a pre '78 Opel Kadett, the boys scouring every scrap yard on their return for these rich pickings. Baarlo also had the obligatory quarter mile strip - staged at what was essentually a speedway circuit meant jumping on the brakes as you reached the finish line straight into a turn! Some hairy moments only distracted by cries of 'Gummi Gummi' and seeing the previous days show cars spinning their wheels until the tyres let go - a European speciality.

It's fair to say the weekend, the cars and the experience set a presidence for the Oxford boys and would inspire their own take on the European way with huge sucess - the U.K hadn't seen anything like this unless they were one of the few privvy to the offerings dished up monthly in the pages of VW Scene International. The reality is, for everything the Germans may stand for now and get critiscised for, they are unreservedly the pass masters in this game. There's a very good chance that cars you witnessed at shows in 2009 have there roots from these forward thinking individuals - they were way ahead of their time, way ahead of anyone else, a lesson in simplicity unrivalled by anyone...

Out with the new, in with the old...Pt 1

As another show season draws nearer to a close i find myself looking back over the last six months, contemplating what we've seen and considering how far, if at all, we've moved on from previous years. How has the bar been raised? Has the U.K scene bridged the gap with our European cousins and what part has the ever increasing emergence of new clubs and increased traffic on internet forums played in all of this? Ironically, for all our obsession with the next big thing, all these questions and more leave me considering how we got started in all of this in the first place, who were the faces behind it and the true driving forces.

I find myself face to face with Danny Smith - good friend and fellow Team Wackeldackel member, at his home in Oxford with a list of questions as long as my arm and an appetite to know more about the humble beginnings of this hobby, from his personal involvement in the late 80's, through to the emergence of Oxford Edition and their subsequent triumph in the early 90's through to the mid 90's. As we begin chatting, it's clear the original pioneers experienced dubbing wholey different from todays scene. The main U.K show at the time centred around an annual gathering at the TRL Crowthorne for GTI International, looking at pictures from '88, this is no fashion show - there are no sneakers on dashboards, there might have been the odd pair of skinny jeans (this was the 80's remember) but for the most part this is hard core enthusiasts displaying cars, built up and improved on over winter months being unveiled to a public largely oblivious to what they were about to witness - no internet forums, no build threads, no spy shots, word of mouth between friends quite possibly but in reality just a genuine intrigue amongst 'rivals' to see what people had been up to and what new trends were emerging. Looking at the pictures, it's amazing to see what rarities were about on these shores from home based tuning companies - BRM Motorsport, GTI Engineering etc. A BRM Motorsport Z600 MK2 golf with Zender bodykit catches my eye, Then another Zender kitted mk2 in white with white Zender Turbo's, white leather interior including dash, white door cards, and white carpets. The car in question, on a 'D' registration - a year, possibly two years old at this point, is a serious bit of kit. For all our cravings for rare parts now from tuners such as Oettinger, Nothelle etc it makes me wonder whether we've seriously overlooked what may still be out there in this country. Of course, such cars are few and far between even at this meet but the styling reflects what we saw as innovative and cutting edge at the time. Fast forward a year or two and Dannny begins to take up the story of a personal crusade that left him seeking a style of car witnessed only at European meets - bring on the Treffen!

Friday, 11 September 2009

'75 update...

Becker 'Europa' radio replaces the og Blaupunkt.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Pole Position...

Congratulations to Danny on his prize @ Edition38.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Way of the Dragon...

Congratulations to Martin in the 'Wickerdackel' for his 'Ten of the Best' trophy @ Edition38.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Beat Street...

Martins got more spin on his mk2 than the Rock Steady Crew.