Name: Brendon Dixon Location: Auckland Occupation: Drone Pilot
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)