There are ways of build­ing old-school Golfs that’ll please peo­ple and win you pats on the back. And there are ways of do­ing it that will split opin­ion – most peo­ple will be pissed off, while a hand­ful will be re­ally quite im­pressed. Si­mon An­drze­jew­ski doe

Fast Car - - Con­tents -

Dirty on the out­side, clean on the in­side. Un­like Midge’s pants.

There’s noth­ing wrong with mun­dan­ity, if that’s your bag. Some peo­ple just don’t want the has­sle of think­ing about things too much, so they go with the main­stream and move on to the next de­ci­sion. These are the peo­ple who paint the in­te­rior walls of their houses in de­fault mag­no­lia to save choos­ing a colour. Who stick on a Cold­play CD when they’ve got mates round be­cause they just want a generic, anony­mous back­ground noise they can ig­nore. And who pave over their gar­dens be­cause flow­ers and shrubs re­quire de­ci­sions to be made. Their lives are sim­ple and un­clut­tered.

They’re also not very in­ter­est­ing though, are they? Where’s the sat­is­fac­tion in liv­ing an un­re­mark­able life, never hav­ing the imag­i­na­tion to rock the boat? You’ve got to roll the dice a lit­tle, do un­ex­pected things, get tongues wag­ging. Look at the case of Si­mon An­drze­jew­ski, for ex­am­ple.

His day job in­volves de­tail­ing and pol­ish­ing other peo­ple’s mo­tors to a show fin­ish, so do you think he feels like do­ing the same with his own cars? I should coco, matey. A ratty ride was way more up his street. Hell, it’d save a lot of time be­fore shows if noth­ing else. And he cer­tainly

wasn’t about to mod a car in ac­cor­dance with the rule book.

It was al­ways bound to be a Mk2 Golf as well. For Si­mon, this was some­thing that stretched all the way back to child­hood.

“As a nine-year-old kid, my par­ents took me to VW Ma­nia in Poland, back in 2000,” he re­calls. “One of their friends owned an Oak Green big-bumper Mk2 with a VR6 turbo and Bor­bet As. I re­mem­ber hav­ing the big­gest grin on my face. Since then I knew all I wanted was a Mk2 Golf.

Fast-for­ward a few years and my first car was a 6N2 Polo that I low­ered on some 14-inch BBS RAs, then I had a cou­ple of Mk2s. One was a 1.6 Ry­der, an­other was con­verted to run an ABF – which was re­ally fun to drive, I still re­gret sell­ing it. And around five years ago I met James from Auto Fi­nesse, and he’s taken me un­der his wing and given me a job.”

You can see all of the pieces of the jig­saw shuf­fling into place, can’t you? While some peo­ple dream of own­ing Fer­raris or Lam­borgh­i­nis, Si­mon’s was a more achiev­able dream. “Don’t get me wrong, the supercars would be nice,” he smirks. “But the Mk2 was more re­al­is­tic. And when I found out this one was built in Jan­uary 1991, the same month I was born, that sealed the deal to go a bit men­tal at it.”

And go men­tal he did. Be­fore the bleed­ing-heart purists mount their high horses, how­ever, let’s be clear that Si­mon hasn’t killed a minter to cre­ate this art­fully shabby cre­ation. The car, as bought, was ba­sic to say the least. Si­mon and James had been to check out an­other Mk2 to use as a parts car, but it had turned out to be a bit of a dog – but then the owner sur­prised them by pre­sent­ing a fur­ther nine Mk2 Golfs he just hap­pened to have ly­ing around.

This par­tic­u­lar one spoke to Si­mon on some sort of spir­i­tual level. Orig­i­nally a 1.3 CL, it was sit­ting there as a rolling shell with win­dows, but not a lot else. No dash, no seats, no noth­ing. It was filthy and cov­ered in moss. But the shell had zero rust. None. It was too good an op­por­tu­nity to pass up.

“The car was al­ready cov­ered in shit when we picked it up, so we’ve de­cided to go for this derelict look with mint in­te­rior, en­gine bay and wheels,” Si­mon ex­plains. “But when I was test­ing it in the rain, all the moss sort of got washed off, which was un­for­tu­nate. Then my mate said he’d help me make it look crap again and paint it! As I was work­ing for Auto Fi­nesse I thought it would be a ge­nius idea to have a dirty­look­ing car that doesn’t need a lot of at­ten­tion be­fore shows. And it seems that peo­ple like it!”

It has to be said that the project fought back a lit­tle bit. That’s an un­der­state­ment. It fought Si­mon ev­ery step of the way. When you’re build­ing a bare shell from the ground up, there are all sorts of things you need to source that you ini­tially just wouldn’t think of. Bits of trims, clips, fix­ings, all the things that go to­ward turn­ing an empty hulk of steel into a func­tional car. If the donor it­self hap­pens to be 26 years old, these things get slightly harder, so sourc­ing all of these bits and wait­ing for them to ar­rive cre­ated an ex­er­cise in ex­treme hair-pulling. Thank­fully some re­lief was found in the ad­di­tion of the OZ Fu­tura wheels and the be­spoke air-ride sys­tem (com­pris­ing KW V2 coilovers with cus­tom bel­low bags on top), as they came from an­other of Si­mon’s cars. It’s all fun and

games. “The rear five-stud con­ver­sion is easy, but the front is bit more tricky if you don’t want to go the wide-track VR6 route,” he says. “I’ve done a fair bit of the work my­self, but with­out a bunch of lit­tle elves help­ing me from time to time it wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble.

“A big sur­prise came when I cut the rear arches and the f*ck­ing panel split into two, and when I say ‘cut them’, they’re lit­er­ally flush to ac­com­mo­date 11-inch-wide wheels – there’s 2mm gap be­tween the wheel and shock ab­sorber!”

Well, it wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy, would it? No point be­ing mag­no­lia-Cold­play about it. If you’re go­ing to eat spicy fish you’ve got to ex­pect a few bones.

Part of the rea­son Si­mon’s wear­ing a Cheshire-cat smile is that he’s got some se­ri­ous fire­power seep­ing out from un­der his bon­net. This car may have started life as a 1.3-litre shop­ping plod­der, but that’s very much not the case now. We’re talk­ing about a full-bore 1.8T con­ver­sion with a badass K04 turbo and all man­ner of Forge good­ies, shout­ing bois­ter­ously through an ap­pro­pri­ately-named Track­slag ex­haust. The looks may be de­lib­er­ately grotty, but the per­for­mance is lit­tle short of stel­lar.

There’s an­other rea­son why he’s smil­ing. See that awe­some in­te­rior? It wasn’t as lot­tery-win­ner pricey as you might imag­ine – ev­ery­one loves a good deal, don’t they? “The seats were only £40 – ba-boom, steal,”

he laughs. “OK, they were in a right state and looked like some­one had pissed on them, but I took them down to Lawrence at LG Trim­ming, along with a 60/40 rear bench and some door­cards some­one gave me, and he did an amaz­ing job trim­ming them. He even sur­prised me with the cus­tom dash­board cover!”

All the pieces, then, have slid into place rather neatly. The en­gine, the in­te­rior, the wheels, the sus­pen­sion, it’s all the sort of thing you’d find on a show-win­ning car – and yet from the out­side it looks like the sort of thing your grandma would turn her nose up at, and pos­si­bly phone the coun­cil to re­port. Which is pretty much the look Si­mon was go­ing for.

“I’ve got a few more bits planned too,” he says. “The en­gine bay is be­ing sprayed as we speak, be­fore I send the car to Poland for a few years. I’m bored of English shows – same stuff over and over again, it gets bor­ing. I’d like to take the Mk2 to shows like Ra­ceism in Poland or Grounded in Rus­sia.” Strong words, but the man knows what he likes. And that, in essence, is the point of the car. It’s not mag­no­lia. It’s not Cold­play. It’s got char­ac­ter. It’s in­trigu­ing. Sure, it’s po­lar­is­ing too, but what’s the point of liv­ing if you can’t shake things up a bit?

The ex­te­rior looks like it be­longs in the scrap­yard. The in­te­rior is show-stop­ping

Dash­board cover is very cool

Only a mat­ter of time be­fore some­one draws a re­pro­duc­tive or­gan on it

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