‘ I BOUGHT ONE’
‘ I bought my car in 2004 – it was the demonstrator at the VW dealership where I work. I’d had a couple of hatchbacks – I was driving a 6N [ third- gen] Polo at the time – but as soon as I had a test drive in the Lupo GTI, that was it, I just fell in love. It was up for £ 11,500. With the spec it had, which included leather and the CD player, it would have been about £ 15,000 new, and I managed to get it for £ 10k.
‘ It was six months old then, with 7000 miles on the clock. It’s now done 165,500! It was my daily driver for a long time, but I’ve now got an Up as well, so the Lupo’s semi- retired, though I do try to drive it for at least a week every month.
‘ The only major issue I had was the engine started using oil and I was getting lots of little black spots on the tailgate. When I had the head taken off it turned out the number three piston ring was worn. I was lucky that it hadn’t damaged the bore, so they rehoned it and put a new set of rings in. That was at around 115,000 miles and it’s been absolutely fine ever since. It doesn’t use a drop of oil. Also the gearbox was getting a bit whiny, so I replaced that.
‘ I’ve done a few mods – at about 85,000 miles the suspension felt tired so I replaced it with AP coilovers, so it rides slightly lower, and it’s got a Janspeed exhaust and a K& N filter, so it makes a good noise. Around town or driving it enthusiastically, I get mid- 30s mpg. On long runs I get over 40 to the gallon.
‘ It still makes me smile every time I drive it. It’s nippy, it handles well, and one of the other things I love about it is that it’s so rare. You never see them. People really notice it and want to know what it is.
‘ When the mileage started to creep up, I did think about selling it, but I couldn’t bear to part with it. I’m going to be buried in that car!’