HOW TO PICK GREAT GTI OUT OF A MODIFIED 'DUB
The best Golf GTI MkIs are the ones that look like they’ve just left the factory or showroom – those in that condition represent the best investment value too.
Over the years many GTIs have been personalised and submitted to numerous modifications – as tends to be the fashion among the Vee-Dub fraternity. Fortunately, most of these alterations and ‘improvements’ are reasonably easy to undo.
There are various modifications to consider. For some diehard fans the clean look was the thing to go for, with the aim of making the car look just a little bit better than original. This might include improving the paintwork, dropping the ride height, using larger but original looking wheels and swapping the power plant for something beefier, such as a MkIV or turbo engine.
The smooth front look was another fad that included changing the lights and removing the VW grille badge. Lowered ride height is achieved in one of two ways – using aftermarket shocks and springs or the cheaper option of coilover extensions. If the latter method has been used you would have to build up or replace the shock absorber mounts as these would have been discarded during the lowering process.
In the 1980s big bodywork kits were in, wide wheelarches, aftermarket wheels and different lights – and some strange paint schemes! ‘The great news is that 95% of the changes can be undone,’ says Andy Gregory, marketing manager of VW Heritage, one of the largest suppliers of VW Golk MkI spares in Europe.
The company’s range includes new old-stock parts from VW Classic in Germany, covering most of the exterior and interior bits you will need to un-pimp your GTI. Some parts, such as complete rear quarters, will require an online or scrapyard search.
VW Heritage will send you a free catalogue of parts if you contact the fifirm via its website. Then all you need is a skip for those unrequired personalised parts – including those furry dice!