Isaac and his 1982 Mk1 Golf GL

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The launch of the Mk1 Golf in 1974 revolutionised what a small car should be. Aimed to simply be an efficient family car, Volkswagen could never have predicted the success or popularity the Golf would receive. At Re:Fuel we are lucky enough to see a range of Classic VW’s. However, one that always turns heads is Isaac’s Mk1 Golf GL and for good reason! So here’s Isaac to tell you more on how he transformed his Golf from a neglected shell to the show stopping car it is today!

The car is a 1982 Volkswagen Mk1 Golf GL. After seeing a few when I was younger at Volkswagen shows and in Performance VW magazine over the years, I knew that this was the car I wanted to restore and put my own spin on one day. My favourite part of the car is probably the distinct 80’s lines of it. The story starts when my friend bought this Golf and couldn’t sell it, it was then that I knew I had to have it!

We collected the Golf from my mate’s family farm where a cat had been living in it back in 2009. We trailered it back to a barn where I was going to work on it, a 20 minute drive from my house. I dived straight in and stripped it right down.

The car had four layers of paint on it, including the graffiti! So I stripped the whole car back to bare metal to see what I had. I then did all of the welding (new rear arches, new rear panel, front valance, door skin repairs etc). I smoothed the bay, modified the suspension and got it ready for a friend to paint it for me.

Essentially the only things I did not do were paint the car and rebuild the newer mk2 golf 1.8 16v engine; which I decided to fit as the original 1.5 had seen better days. Once the golf was painted I assembled the whole car using refurbished and new parts including all the air ride, wiring loom and interior etc.

For anyone interested in buying a Mk1 Golf, my advice would be look at a few before you commit to it, be aware they can end up being rust and money pits, however if you are prepared to get your hands dirty it can be cheaper. A complete car would always be far more beneficial in the long run, as you know it’s complete and you won’t be “parts hunting” for ages.

Due to the noise I only drive the car for about an hour each way from where I live. So I have taken it to meets up around Bristol and down to Plymouth. I also occasionally take it to shows around the country, but then I trailer the car for these distances.

The Golf has now been on the road for about 5 years and since has had another exterior respray in a modern paint system. Although the car is complete, I will always find areas to change or improve, I enjoy working on it just as much as I enjoy driving it!.

Thanks all,


Car Facts:

Make: Volkswagen

Model: Mk1 Golf GL

Year: 1982

Engine: 1.8 16v twin carb

BHP: 146

Top Speed: 120 mph (approx)

0-62mph Time: I don’t trash it!!

Weight: 980kg (approx)

Additional Mods:
Engine – Fully rebuilt 1.8 16v engine, baffled and plated sump and 2y Gearbox. Tsr chromed gear linkage. Lightened and balanced flywheel. Chromed and polished engine components, polybushed front engine mount. Dellorto 45 carbs. New fuel tank painted Porsche brown, stainless tank straps. Fresh Reflections radiator, Roose Motorsport hoses. Stainless or chromed bolts where applicable, chromed modified 8v cambelt
Chassis – Airlift struts and Airlift 3p Management. Omp lower front and rear upper strut braces, all new polybushes throughout, G60 front discs and drums rear, all new wheel bearings, bolts, fixings and lines. Standard Gti front and rear anti roll bars powder coated and stainless fixings.
Exterior – Bbs rs split rims (16×7 all round) 165/45/16 tyres. Powder coated barrels, polished lips. Painted back to the original Mexico Beige, Toe eye deletes front and rear, deleted rear wiper arm, new rear panel and rear arches, new wings. Chromed wiper arms, flag mirrors and bumpers, polished Porsche door handles with key. Campaign green tint glass throughout, with non-heated rear screen. Nos front grille, cross hair (clear) headlights. Carbon fibre bumper end caps, front splitter, fuel cap and gl arch spats. New polished alloy side trims. Early opening quarter lights with chromed glazing bar.
Interior – Audi tt baseball edition front seats. Rear bench trimmed to match the front seats. Chrome handles etc. Momo team steering wheel. Porsche glove box catch cover. Carbon fibre steering wheel surround handbrake cover and sill trims.