1.8 20v turbo VF22 1976 Volkswagen Golf N Mk1
Serial Mk1 modifier, Stuart Shellard is back with a bang for his sixth PVW feature. With 1.8T power, Harris trim, air and those gorgeous E30 splits, he’s got the ingredients right once again but haven’t we seen this car somewhere before?
Words: Graham Leigh
Photos: Matt Woods
LEGENDARY Mk1 GOLF REWORKED
It was once a G40 with a TT dash. Any ideas?
Legend is a term that is thrown around a little too liberally these days but, when it comes to building killer Mk1s, 42-year old Norfolk-based Stuart is a man who is definitely worthy of the moniker. His cars simultaneously manage to look timeless and fresh to death. This time Stuart started with a car whose history is almost as well known in VW circles as his. Stuart’s love affair with cars started much later than that of many enthusiasts: “I never wanted to drive, I had a BMX that I used to get to work when I was a postman. I was made to take driving lessons and then my test. I didn’t want to spend a lot on a car but I used to deliver post to a house with a Mars Red Mk1 Golf GTI outside. I liked the look of it. I ended up buying a 1983 Mk1 1.1 Golf that my dad found in the Free Ads. We rebuilt the engine and reinstalled it, turned the key and it fired up first time. I was hooked.” The rest, as they say, is history and Stuart’s love affair with Volkswagens was born when he was 17 back in 1998. Mk1s are his poison having owned over a hundred examples over the years but numerous VAG products have passed through his hands including Mk2, Mk3 and Mk4 Golfs, a Mk1 Polo and a Corrado. The current fleet consists of the stunner on these very pages, an additional three Mk1 Golfs and a Rallye. Stuart, as usual, was in the market for an early Mk1 project. Close friend, Oz had a Mk1 in long-term storage at his barn.
Despite Stuart’s pestering over the years, the car wasn’t for sale but Oz decided to build a G60-powered car with a more original-looking aesthetic and thus had a change of heart. Stuart was the new owner of MWX 533P. Those of a certain age may recognise the registration and that aero-style filler cap distinctively located on the rear panel. We make no apology for using the ‘L’ word again but the car is something of a legend in its own right. It appeared on the cover of The Golf back in September 2000 and was even in Max Power in the same guise. Then owner, Matt Heap was a regular at shows in Europe and was inspired by what he saw on his travels. The Golf was built in just six weeks to make its debut at GTI International in 2000. The car was influential and memorable with its Premier paint, smoothed bay, Image billet splits, single wiper, side exit exhaust and G40 power. It was featured in PVW back in June 2002 after it had received a mild makeover under the ownership of Boyd Kilsby. He captured the zeitgeist and had fitted a TT dash and deep dish five-spoke Masitaly BHP 15” wheels. The famous Mk1 shell had been well preserved and was a good rust-free starting point for Stuart to work that Shellard magic. “I loved the car back in the day but times have changed and Audi 80 door handles are not for me although they were a must years ago. I sourced a good pair of doors and Porsche script handles, for me this is as good as it gets. The car was a rolling shell with panels.
I removed all the underseal and seam seal sprayed the underside and welded up the engine bay. It had been smoothed in the past but it still had a heater and loom holes that simply had to go. I had the car expertly painted by Stewart D Hewitt and then started building it back up.”
Stuart’s friend, Graham had a low milage 1.8T engine and VF22 turbo for sale. A deal was done for the pair and Stuart modified a KO3 manifold to take the turbo and sourced bigger 630cc injectors to suit. Having used MBE ECUs in the past and enjoyed their relative simplicity, Stuart pulled the trigger once more. BFI engine mounts, custom ceramic coated stainless steel downpipe, bespoke boost pipes and Bosch 044 fuel pump complete the well-thought-out engine package. Shifting gears comes courtesy of the trusty O2J 6 speed ‘box from an Audi A3 uprated with 6 paddle clutch and G60 flywheel. A large intercooler and Fresh Reflections radiator keep things cool whilst a custom stainless exhaust with downturned pipe looks and sounds the part. Audi S2 twin pot brake setup, stainless steel brake hoses and custom pedal box with Wilwood master cylinders ensure that the Mk1 stops as well as it goes.
That perfect stance was achieved with a chassis notch and a homemade air setup that Stuart copied from his old Swallowtail. The package includes Bagyard bags on Bilstein struts, Still Static top mounts and familiarity was again flavour of the day when selecting the trusty Airlift V2 management system. “I was tempted by a lot of other wheels but the BBS motorsports are timeless and in keeping with the older cars. These came up at a good price from a guy I know and trust. That peace of mind that they weren’t buckled or bent goes a long way.”
Stuart has the ability to make a series of touches work as one. The anthracite-centred E30 splits toughen up the classic hue of Lotus Old English White a treat. Inside the car, the black utilitarian series one dash and door cards are lifted with a wild splash of colour. The purple, pink, yellow and green weave of the genuine Harris tweed works a treat. The fabled fabric adorns the seat centres, door pulls and gear gaiter. The yin-to-yang ratio is on point. “I bought a pair of Ford RS Turbo seats. My mate, Jarrold had all the RS cars when we were younger and I always loved the oversized bolsters and the ‘sand catcher’ leg rest that pulls out. I took them and the rear bench to Creative Covers in Catfield and Jacky worked her magic.”
Stuart explained that this build took a lot longer than he had originally planned after building a Corrado VR6 for his wife and then getting further distracted by the acquisition of a Rallye that he’d always promised himself. When he’s not working hard offshore, Stuart loves to be occupied at his garage with his dad and friends. “I’m very lucky that my dad who also loves messing around with cars, comes to the garage and dives around under projects, lending a helping hand as well as my mates who get stuck in. We drink tea, chat and it’s somewhere I look forward to going when my wife is at work.” He’s already onto the next Mk1 project and this little gem will be sold soon to fund it. We can’t wait to be back for feature number seven.
- ENGINE: 1.8 20v turbo, VF22 turbo, 630cc injectors, modified inlet manifold, large intercooler, Fresh Reflections radiator, BFI engine mounts, homemade ceramic coated stainless downpipe, stainless steel exhaust, Bosch 044 fuel pump, MBE management, transmission: 6 speed O2J, 6 paddle clutch, G60 flywheel
- CHASSIS: BBS E30 15X7” magnesium motorsport wheels, 165/50/15 Nankang tyres, homemade air ride setup with Airlift V2 management, Bagyard bags on Bilstein struts, Still Static top mounts, polyurethane bushes, powder coated wishbones and rear axle, chassis notch, Audi S2 twin pot brake setup, stainless brake hoses, custom pedal box with Wilwood master cylinders
- EXTERIOR: 1976 Golf N shell, smoothed bonnet, Porsche script door handles, clear rear screen, aero-style fuel filler on rear panel, resprayed in Lotus Old English White
- INTERIOR: Escort RS Turbo seats reupholstered with black cloth bolsters and Harris tweed centres, rear bench trimmed to match as are door pulls and gear gaiter, 280mm Momo steering wheel
- SHOUT: My Wife Jo-Ann for always supporting this stupid obsession, Dad, Jarrold, Graham, Stu Hewitt, Carl Smith, Kieran Davies
«I always loved the oversized bolsters and the ‘sand catcher’ leg rest that pulls out »
«I was tempted by a lot of other wheels but the BBS motorsports are timeless»
«I loved the car back in the day but times have changed and Audi 80 door handles are not for me any more»