WEEK­END WAR­RIOR

Name: Bren­don Dixon Lo­ca­tion: Auck­land Oc­cu­pa­tion: Drone Pi­lot

NZ Performance Car - - Contents - PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

NZPC: Hi, Bren­don. The VW com­mu­nity is usu­ally quite pro­tec­tive of its Mk1s. Did you cop much flak for turn­ing it into a cir­cuit car?

Bren­don: Hi, guys. Not as much as you would think — peo­ple were fairly open to the idea by the time I was done. I mean, they are boxy lit­tle cars that look awe­some fly­ing through cor­ners, and a bit rem­i­nis­cent of the old Euro­pean tour­ing se­ries. Ei­ther way, I love it.

Too right, mate. How did you come to own such a clas­sic? They’re get­ting fairly rare.

They are, es­pe­cially be­cause of their rust is­sues. I pur­chased this one from down in In­ver­cargill around 10 years ago from a group of young fel­las. From what I was told, the car was a Ja­panese im­port that had been owned by a lit­tle old lady who pot­tered to the su­per­mar­ket and back in it — that type of deal. I then found out that the lads that I was buy­ing it from had pur­chased it from her and pro­ceeded to paint it baby blue with house paint and rollers, then pad­dock bashed it. It was straight as an ar­row un­der­neath, though, and the price was not one to ar­gue over, so I bought it on the spot.

It looks a fair sight dif­fer­ent than that to­day. What did you end up do­ing?

Know­ing that the body was straight un­der­neath, a friend and I stripped it back to bare metal. I kid you not when I say there was not a scrap of rust in her. I was rapt with that. From there, I had the body painted in­side and out in the Volk­swa­gen Arc­tic White and drove it around for a few years. In the mean­time, I must have bought and sold 20 dif­fer­ent Golfs, one of which was a Mk3 GTI that I’d stripped, so that engine went into the Mk1. The cage fol­lowed, and then the Suzuki GSXR in­di­vid­ual throt­tle-bod­ies for an ex­tra raspy sound. It goes like a cut cat, too.

What kind of times have you set with it since com­ple­tion?

It’s never go­ing to be a rocket — quick and nim­ble through the cor­ners, but slower on the straights. The only of­fi­cial time I’ve done was a 1.24s at Hamp­ton Downs Mo­tor­sport Park in the wet. It mostly sees fun- and club-style days, but hasn’t been out of the garage in a wee while. It’ll most likely see one more event and then I’ll move it onto the next owner to have their fun in.

We look for­ward to see­ing her blitz around the track soon — thanks for shar­ing her with us, Bren­don.

ENGINE: Volk­swa­gen ABF, 1984cc, four-cylin­der (Mk3 GTI); Suzuki GSXR in­di­vid­ual throt­tle-bod­ies, ported fac­tory head­ers, Coby three-inch side-exit ex­haust, K-Jet fuel pump, Me­gasquirt ECU, al­loy ra­di­a­tor DRIV­E­TRAIN: Close-ra­tio five-speed (Mk2 GTI 16v), Spax clutch, Spax light­weight flywheel; five-stud hub con­ver­sion, Mk4 GTI calipers, 288mm front ro­tors, 220mm rear ro­tors IN­TE­RIOR: Sparco seats, lap timer, car­bon-fi­bre door cards EX­TE­RIOR: Bare-metal re­spray in Volk­swa­gen Arc­tic White WHEELS/TYRES: 15x6.5-inch (+43) BBS GTI Mk3, Achilles 123S tyres SUS­PEN­SION: Bil­stein coilovers, re­built and revalved by Au­tolign; (F) 450lb springs, (R) 250lb springs, strength­ened fac­tory arms EX­TRA: Seam-welded body, six-point roll cage, swaged A-pil­lars, cross-braced doors CIR­CUIT: 1.24s at Hamp­ton Downs Mo­tor­sport Park (wet)

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