So recently I had the pleasure of shooting Tom Harris and Laura Hunt’s Volkswagen Golf Mk2 and like many, the Golf bug had bitten them early on having owned a few in the past. Approximately 2 years ago Tom had a bare metal Mk2 which he planned to do a full restoration on but having sold Laura’s Mk2 a year or so previous meant there was now only one Mk2 in family. To make things even again the 1985 Mk2 Golf you’re seeing today was purchased for Laura to have some fun with (after the repairs were done from it blowing up on the way home from buying, ouch!) whilst the restoration went on with the other, but eventually Tom’s Mk2 was sold meaning the focus was solely thrown on to this one. I think like most these days, I first saw the Golf on their business Instagram page as they own and run a local garage called ‘The Motorworks’ based in Gloucester, UK (@themotorworks). Now I know to be a mechanic or to know about cars doesn’t necessarily mean you have to own a modified vehicle or even like them for that matter, but to have people who openly understand and appreciate even just a lowered car or to the more extreme end of the modding scale is a bonus as not everyone ‘get’s it’, and that’s fair enough!
The first time I saw the car in person was when Tom and Laura hosted an open day at The Motorworks nearer the beginning of the year. Where we live is usually pretty quiet for car meets let alone in the middle of winter but a great selection of local based cars made it out to brave the cold with hand warming coffee’s being handed out from the side of a Volkswagen camper van parked up outside the workshop.
Not to say the Golf was looking sorry for itself nestled in the back corner of the workshop on a dreary, wet winters morning but I think Tom and Laura would agree it was far from finished at the time, there wasn’t even an engine at this point! Even missing it’s vitals you got a good feeling that it was destined for something awesome, just seeing the smoothed engine bay, BBS wheels and carbon roof that had already been done by themselves.
With the show season quickly approaching it meant a hard push and a busy couple months to get the Golf finished. Since the open day I have seen the finished Golf (I use the word ‘finished’ lightly, is a car ever finished?) a couple times at meets and shows but with so much else going on around you really don’t get the opportunity to fully look around any certain car for any given amount of time which is one of the reasons I like doing single car shoots such as this as you get the time to admire all the work whilst taking the photographs then again later while editing all the images.
I’ve wanted to shoot this car for a while so I sent an email to Tom and Laura and they were down for it so I was chuffed and we all knew exactly where to go for the photo’s, down a lovely twisty country road through a quiet woodland with trees either side then over lapping up above. As it was a public, open road it meant upon arriving we had to find a relatively safe spot where both our cars could be parked to the side and on a straight stretch so any oncoming vehicles had a good chance of seeing us. With the sun dipping in and out of the clouds and poking through the trees, the bright Mars Red paint contrasting against the green backdrop, it was near perfect! It was a bit tricky at times as I wanted the Golf in the middle of the road so there were a lot of moments shouting “CAR!!” back and forth then running to move the Golf to safety. We all got quite some funny looks from passers by which was entertaining. After wrapping up we all went to a viewpoint that overlooks Gloucester just to chill for a few minutes before we all headed home and plan our convoy up to a meet the next morning.
Enough of my attempt at story telling and let’s get cracking on the car itself. Starting with the exterior the Golf has had a full re-spray (engine bay and door shuts included) in the original Mars Red, leaving all the grommets and sealer left untouched. An insane amount of hours of prep work went into this along with the carbon fibre roof and it really shows, clean is an understatement.
The wheels are of course BBS RM’s in 8’s and 8.5’s with gold centres, polished lips, black hardware and badges, wrapped in 185/45 Nankangs all round with the arches being rolled and pulled slightly to accommodate. A common choice of wheel on the Mk2 no doubt but why fix something that isn’t broken?
Small other touches have been added in the form of GL spec chrome bumpers, Wolfsburg Castle side repeaters and new OEM badges.
Moving inside it’s been kept fairly modest with no uncomfortable bucket seats and mad roll cage in sight but instead, Recaro fish net front seats which have been re-trimmed in original fabric to match the rest. Quite possibly one of my favourite looking pair of seats. Surrounding the seats are original Type 19 GTI door cards and rear seats with an early spec walk through centre console. Underneath your footsies is full black carpet then even more getting the re-trim treatment up above, but this time in black suede on the headlining and pillars. A small addition but one that doesn’t always get a mention and still makes a difference to the overall look is the Forge Motorsport aluminium golf ball gear knob. All of this combined has removed all those slightly miss-matched trims/plastics and carpets that a lot of the older cars generally have and makes it a really pleasant place to ‘hoon’, which is good because they’ve thrown wind to a stereo in favour of the magical sound coming straight from the engine!
Speaking of engines, let’s talk about that as it’s pretty special. The motor itself has been swapped out in return for a Mk3 Golf 2.0L 16V ABF conversion with Yamaha R1 carbs and 190 jets on a custom Forge Motorsport inlet manifold. To get that looking just an extra bit more pretty, it’s got a wire tuck through the chassis legs wrapped in original VW fabric loom tape, nice touch. Not bad so far.. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Annnd deep breath, it’s also got a O2A cable change gear box, Corrado VR6 hydraulic pedal box, OMEX 500ECU running the ignition, Fiat Punto coil pack, OMEX ITB trumpets and a MK3 VR6 fuel tank and pump with a custom loop system. Ready for some more? There are, solid front engine mounts and G60 rear mounts with a 1.3 gear box mount, Miltek ABF conversion 4 branch manifold, a custom Forge Motorsport top fill radiator with slim line fan and a Group ‘A’ Berg Cup spec rally exhaust system straight from zee Germans. To make it even more pretty if possible there’s a distributer blanking plate, Stant Racing pressure cap, Forge Motorsport oil cap and last but not least, custom Silicone water hoses. I did say it had a great deal done yet the bay still remains on the more minimalistic side.
Moving on to the final pieces of the Golf, the chassis. Getting it sat on those immaculate BBS are some KW V1 coilovers attached to new MK2 16V 256mm discs, pads, calipers, hubs and bearings and Hose Technik custom carbon fibre look brake lines. All has been teamed with new drive shafts, non PAS steering rack, arms and wishbones. Getting rid of the old worn bushes and fully replaced with Powerflex poly-bushes throughout. Finally, there’s the G60 master cylinder and servo, Forge Motosport shortened stainless bonnet prop and the battery relocated to the boot. It’s practically a new car!
You’d think it would be hard to narrow down your favourite part and surprisingly for them but rightly so, it’s the seats. They took near enough 2 years of constant eBay hunting to find, which in the end lead to a whole car being purchased to get their hands on them, that’s dedication right there! Although of course, the roof, engine and the power it brings to the table is nothing to be sniffed at..
Future plans is always a funny question as it usually changes for everyone each week/month etc but they’d love to get round to lacquering the carbon roof and maybe some more engine mods/ITB’s thrown in for good measure, but what looks to be a dead set is to colour code the BBS centre’s, so keep an eye out for that and anything else that takes their fancy will be tried and tested as and when.
The Mk2 Golf will always have a strong following and to still be a desirable, sought after car 20+ years on shows that. What Tom and Laura have done has not only cemented the Golfs future to live on but to make it completely their own and have a good deal of fun along the way. I will no doubt be seeing it at more meets and shows this season and look forward to seeing any future progress. Well done guys!
With all the work done to the Golf and plenty of custom goodies it of course wouldn’t have been done without the help from some friends and great companies such as Forge Motorsport, Hose Technik, Omex, Silicone Hoses, Guy Higgs for sorting the ECU, loom and mapping and Tom’s partner/co-owner, Laura for being there to help out and put up with all the late nights getting it show ready and everyone else who’s played a part in bringing the Golf back to life!
Photo’s: Steph Clarke
Car Owners: Tom Harris & Laura Hunt – Instagram’s @motorworks_tom & @laura_083
Words By: Steph Clarke
Location: Gloucester, UK
Business Instagram: @TheMotorWorks