You asked for it. No really, some of you actually did.
Tomorrow afternoon I shall be collecting this thing which is the unlikely successor to the BX. I've had a VW before and it was a superb little thing except for the utterly fubarred engine and me having it in lots of pieces when the brown stuff hit the whirly thing and I have regretted selling it ever since. I didn't regret selling my old Polo because it was a VW, but because the car had been a part of my life for 12 years and was very personalised to my tastes, so I was apprehensive about getting another VW because of that.
Obviously, I didn't start out looking for a Mk1 Golf cabrio. What I started looking out for was something sensible and small like Granny Cobbler's Mk3 Fiesta which I was actually all set to buy until I saw a rusty Rover 213 on eBay and then, entirely by chance, my brother mentioned that he'd found this car very locally for a small amount of money. It's rather telling that I wasn't that interested until he said he'd buy it himself if he weren't moving house very soon.
So, I went to have a look and a sit in it, just to convince myself it really was the wrong car and the asking price was only so low because it was a shed of a thing or something. It was probably rotten anyway, and broken in a dozen different ways... Imagine my surprise then when what I was faced with was a tidy enough lightly barried little thing.
It was bought by the current owner with tax and test 3 years ago and has sat on the gravel (the grass above popped up in the course of a week) ever since. It had a black GTi interior that was oppressive and claustrophobic and some appalling Black Stallion alloys on it that look like this.
I still wasn't thrilled until I had a sit in it and suddenly it felt like being in a slightly bigger version of my old Polo. It was enough to tip me over the edge because I'm a sentimental old fart and I decided that I'd buy it because I was struggling by this point to find anything wrong with it.
Got talking to the seller, I might reveal the price one day, but not yet. It was priced astonishingly low but a big part of that was because he wanted to take a few bits off like the apparently very expensive and rare GTi interior that I didn't like. He also wanted the chrome sill trims which I know are Â£40 a pair but again I wasn't too fussed about them. He wasn't too bothered by the appalling alloys so unfortunately I couldn't get him to swap those over. I gave him a deposit and arranged to pick the car up a week-ish hence to give him time to take the GTi interior out and bolt a driver's seat in so I could get the car home.
Today, my brother and I went back to finalise collection tomorrow and he had some sad news for he had 13 wheels and various car bits stolen including the appalling alloys on my Golf. Not to worry though, he'd pulled the standard Golf steels that had pretty good tyres on off the estate in the yard and fitted them for me which meant I didn't need to source tyres or try and sell those nasty alloys. Bonus for me.
The other thing he'd done was gone and fitted the entire interior for me. Okay, I'll probably take the seats out again for cleaning, but it was nice that he'd gone to the extra trouble. It's a nice interior too, or will be once I've cleaned the mould and staining off the cloth which shouldn't be too difficult.
At present, I expect it will fail on brake efficiency and maybe some blown bulbs. I haven't been able to find any rot beyond the odd superficial arch blister in the usual places, the sills look solid and it's clearly had money thrown at it fairly recently in its life.
The goal is to return this to a GL spec cabrio and while I must admit I do like the blue it's been resprayed in, I might return it to the metallic graphite it came from the factory in. A cream or grey vinyl roof will most likely replace what looks to be the original black vinyl roof which is tatty in the usual places and I may replace the suspension with something a bit more standard.
Bumpers will be refurbished, I'll get the headlight washers - luxury! - working if they don't and be perpetually baffled by the fact this car has an automatic choke and a carburettor. In fact, this is the first car I've had that has an automatic choke, the BX doesn't count because I had to wait for glow plugs in that one.
> Sticking passenger door handle.
> Valve stem seals ready for replacement
> It's a Golf
> Needs a roof outer
> Needs front discs and possibly pads
> Dash has been badly resprayed
> Bumpers have been badly resprayed
> Might not have a parcel shelf, I haven't checked
When I get it back tomorrow I'll find out exactly what's working and what isn't and give it a jolly good clean. The cabrios seem more resistant to rust than the hatchbacks for some reason, although not immune, so I'm not expecting any horrors as the key areas are quite solid looking.
For the price I've paid I feel like I'm getting a bit of a bargain but I'm aware it will need quite a bit of cosmetic work. The guy selling it specialises in Mk1 Golfs and has been surprisingly honest about what to look out for, what faults and good points the car has and has been very open about the vehicle and its history and why he bought it. It's one of those transactions that feels like we're both winning out of it because he gets the bits he wants and space for another car and I get the bits I want and a lightweight project to put into daily use.
I won't know until I get it back exactly how bad it is, but since you can buy almost everything for the Mk1 Golf brand new at not-too-ridiculous prices - in the main because they were still making them in South Africa until something like 2003 - I doubt I'm going to struggle particularly with it.
That's that then, project de-barry is going to be underway as of tomorrow.