TV’S VW GOLF GTI BACK IN ACTION
Rally ace overcomes cancer before readying his classic Volkswagen for a season of European rallying
Rally preparation legend, Walter Ainsworth, who recently successfully beat cancer, is preparing for a season of rallying in a 1981 Volkswagen Golf GTI prepared by the stars of a classic car TV show.
In his younger days, Walter built cars for rally greats such as Rauno Aaltonen and Timo Salonen while working as an engineer for Nissan and Volkswagen.
Walter had originally intended to build an exact replica of the iconic ‘Pierburg Golf’ ( VW’s first official works rally vehicle) but instead had to undergo extremely painful and debilitating experimental treatment for multiple myeloma cancer.
Meanwhile, stars of Channel 4’s classic car series For The Love
of Cars, Ant Anstead and Philip Glenister, finished the build, then sold the car at auction for Walter at the Autosport Show in 2014.
It was subsequently bid on in secret and ultimately bought by John Nixon, father of Walter’s partner Lorraine. Shortly after, it was presented back to Walter on TV as a surprise.
Fortunately, the treatment has left Walter in remission and able to manage the disease, although he is not cured completely. Walter tells CCW: ‘I really wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It was extremely painful, but they really do know what they’re doing at Christie cancer hospital in Manchester and I’ve got nothing but heartfelt praise and thanks for the NHS.’
The car is currently back at Ant Anstead’s Evanta Motors workshop being readied for a partial repaint in preparation for a full season of European historic rally competition later this year. Lorraine, who is herself a past British Champion rally co-driver, will be joining him.
Walter Ainsworth’s Golf GTI will be seeing plenty of rally action in 2017.