Originally bought as a non-running project, this very original example of a 1983 Mk1 Golf GTI 1.6 came with full service history and stacks of paperwork. Previous to being stood up, the Golf had sustained minor impact damage to the front nearside wing, bumper and front panel, which needed repairing. But first, to get it running!
After sorting out the electrics it seemed to have a fuelling issue, which turned out to be the K-Jetronic fuel warm up regulator. Once running, however, the Golf quickly disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The engine was toast, and had to come out for a rebuild. Not to be disheartened, I took the wing off, and the bonnet, assessed the front end damage and decided to fit a new front panel due to some corrosion. This made for a much easier removal of the engine. The engine was then fully rebuilt to standard specifications and detailed in a standard fashion.
I then got to grips with fitting the new front panel and wing, made a localized repair to the bonnet. The car was then all fitted up and went off for paint.
Due to the originality of the car, I changed the wheels back to the originals, from the G60 steels that it came on.
Another one saved!
We were off camping for the weekend when my then fiancé (now wife) decided that we must make a massive detour to see a beetle she had found on a website I had never even heard of. There was just one tiny thumbnail image of the car, and one or two vague sentences about it being a project for resto or breaking. I tried explaining that it was likely to be a basket case – what with so little information and nothing worth while in terms of images. She wouldn’t take no for an answer though, so off we went to Middlesex to check it out.
We arrived to find a largely unmolested 1302s. It got my interest when the seller, an old chap from Malta, explained that he had owned the car from new. A one owner 72’ bug isn’t a massively common find. It turned out that the bug had failed an MOT some 7 years previously, as it was in need of some welding, and had been off the road ever since. I checked the car over and was satisfied that I could get it back on the road fairly quickly and easily. The seller was pretty happy to be selling to someone that was looking to get it back on the road rather than breaking it – and agreed to sell it to us for the same price he paid for it new back in 1972 – Bargain!
We picked it up about a week later – almost giving the seller a coronary when he realized that we intended to pump up the tyres, stick some fuel in and drive it home. It didn’t miss a beat!
At the wife’s request I slammed the bug, adding a bash guard underneath for the inevitable knocks. I also carried out all of the necessary welding repairs to get it through an MOT. The only other changes of note have been cosmetic, and largely to the interior. Bex wanted to lighten it up a bit, so went for cream vinyl seat covers and carpets, and some cream detailing to the dash. I then painted the wheels off white to tie them in better with the bug’s new look. We decided to leave the bodywork alone for the time being – although watch this space, as a new paint job is inevitable!
Originally supplied to Pennsylvania in the US of A, this 1969 deluxe micro bus surely has lots of stories of its own, with the battle scars to prove it, but here’s what we know. We purchased this bus as our camper in August 2012 to replace our 68’ bay, which was approaching the need for a full resto. The 69’ was not fitted out as a camper at that time, so a Westfalia camp-mobile interior was sourced and fitted along with a split charge system and a propex gas heater.
The engine that came in the ’69 was not long for this world, so I built up a little 1641 with ICTs to keep us moving, but the plan had always been to build a bigger engine. Then, for a short period, the ’69 borrowed my 1776 beetle engine, sporting a pair of 36 IDFs, but still this wasn’t enough for me. The plan to build a stroker was born. Whilst being drivable as a camper, this would hopefully run a ¼ mile in under 18 seconds, and make it into the USB’s.
An auto linear case was sourced, cut for 90.5, and clearanced for the 78.8mm counter weighted chromoly crank shaft. I used an Engle FK8 camshaft and some CB ultra mag cylinder heads with 42mm and 37mm valves. The engine was built up and blue printed before bolting up a CSP python and a pair of 44 IDF carbs. Whilst the engine was out, I restored the engine bay, and painted all the tin wear in gloss black.
The engine was finished, in and tested in time for VW Action 2014, where on my first run down the strip I ran a 17.57, making it into the USB’s. After a few more runs I got the time down to 17.1. Then, at Big Bang 2015, I got the times down further, finally running a 16.5 at 81.2mph.
I have now been drag racing the bus for three years, and there have been a number of changes made in terms of the engine, including the addition of nitrous. The current motor is a 2187cc. We entered the 2017 VWDRC (Volkswagen Drag Racing Championship) in the Sportsman class, and although we are still working on achieving consistent times (not easy in a vehicle of this age, with the aerodynamics of a brick!), we have come a long way – now with a PB of 13.3 and a terminal speed PB of 101mph! We are now making changes, and there will be more to come for the 2018 season.
So, with the continued drag racing success of the BJ’s Speedshop Bus, we thought it was about time we looked at building a drag racing bug to complete the set. With that in mind, we sought to hunt down a cheap project car, with the idea of building a ‘budget’ (as far as possible!) race bug.
It wasn’t long before we came across the ideal candidate on eBay. The 74’ bug had been sat for quite some time, another victim of the restoration project with diminishing funds. Armed only with the eBay description and a few pictures, we made the journey to Manchester to pick her up – an all too familiar leap of faith – which luckily for us has once again paid off.
The bug was a non-runner, and in a fair few pieces, but turned out to be a pretty solid car, and perfect for the build we hand in mind. Having got the car safely home, we set to work stripping it back, and prepping the body and panels for paint. Now, we really did want to make this a budget build, so we decided to paint the car ourselves with cans. The outcome was pretty damn good – so when the wife decided she wanted a ratty bug my heart sank… but the vision she had for the car was good, so we went with it. With some ‘natural’ rusting and the help of some trusty rusty paint, we achieved a great looking car. The addition of some sign writing finished her off – the look was complete.
Now – I did say budget racecar… but I didn’t mean budget engine! This car had to have a decent motor, and at BJ’s Speedshop we know how to build a decent motor. Fortunately, I had started a build for the new bus engine, and it just happened to be a perfect basis for an engine for the bug.
We are still testing the bug at the time of writing, but I am confident we are looking at a 14 second car as it stands…. Watch this space … we may not be able to resist the nitrous!
A 67’ bug that BJ’s Speedshop built a few years ago. This beautifully finished car was featured at the Volksworld show 2015.