Pics & Words By Javon Francis
So we’ve seen the bagged trend taking off recently and for most people there’s mixed feelings about whether bagged is better or low and static. But take a look at this beauty and you tell me whats better. This Unique Mk1 was actually born in Belgium as a left hand drive little 2 door and her first owner was a Belgium Priest believe it or not. It’s clear this car has a lot of history behind her. When she landed in South Africa The priest took it to VW to get her converted to right hand drive. 3 owners later, our boy Kershin Gounden picked it up for R28 000 and took her into his garage for some love and affection.
The thing about the Mk1 Golf is that it is so unique and fresh as it is that there’s very little you have to do to it to have it looking better than it already is. This 1982 Mk1 2 door Golf has had a complete paint job, Custom fitted Air Lift suspension and wide steelies to set her off as a classic! The entire build was kept simple but it suited the car. Even the 1100 stock motor was kept in and it still runs!! She also has a roof rack which is quite normal to see these days on custom Mk1’s but what’s not normal is what’s ON the roof rack. A tricycle! with big ass rims on it and guess whats ITS SLAMMED!! haha Negative camber and everything! It’s honestly something you wouldn’t expect to see!
And I soooo wanted to take it for a spin but I had to be the mature photographer on set…Dammit. What’s also interesting about this car is how it got to its current suspension setup. Kershin says when he started building the car he tried every suspension setup there is, from cut springs, lowered springs, custom springs, coilovers and 2 different air suspension setups till he got to his 3rd and final setup done with Air Lift.
Kershin seemed to have a lot of problems with getting his car slammed exactly the way he wanted: “This is the third air suspension I fitted. The 1st two I tried from cape town it came to R24000 and the car didn’t go lower than my coilovers, so i sent it back and they made two custom front struts which made the price increase to R28 000, but I still wasn’t happy so I sold it and bought Airlift and customised it to fit my car, I bought the universal kit and custom fabricated it to fit.”
I wanted to know exactly how this build started and this is what Kershin told me:
“The entire build started one month before Autostyle Car Show and when I bought the car it was faded very bad so I took it to my cousins panel shop and asked him if we could get it ready for the Autostyle show then he said ok we can. But what happened was as they were polishing the car the clear started coming off because it was in original condition. And when the clear came off they said we can’t enter the car because it’s looking really bad, so instead he painted the car, this was done by Siyashova the sponsor. So he painted the car and put a set of steelies on and one night before Autostyle we finished the car and took it to the show.” …Talk about cutting it close!
On the night before Autostyle this guy finishes the build. It was clear that this car was unique in so many ways and I think that’s what all of us try to achieve but Kershin did it with just a suspension paint job and good old fashioned steelies. I could say that his car is just another Mk1 but its not. This is an Mk1 with history! With Style! With Simplicity and overall craftsmanship that was put together beautifully!
When I was doing the shoot and once we had driven the car to the correct spot in the field. He asked me “is this ok?” I said yeah perfect, Then he hits the switches and I watch this car drop lower and lower and lower until it was literally on the floor!! It was so low in fact when he jumped out he had to try and pull the grass away from the car because it was getting stuck between the door when he was trying to close it. Just the sight of the car driving normal, to watching it get slammed to me is absolutely incredible and unique. But what’s also incredible and caught my eye is that it is so neat! Every detail of the car is just perfectly put together! I enjoyed every minute of the shoot because there was nothing on the car that didn’t make me smile, Even the interior had custom white leather but everything else like the dash and steering, ALL original. I even asked him what his dream car would be and guess what he told me…”I’m driving it, my Mk1 2 door has always been my dream car ever since I stayed in England” that to me is what I call passion.
I asked him if he could drive his car anywhere, where would he drive it, this is what he said: ”Because of it having air suspension the ride quality is so good I could drive it anywhere with no problems even cornering at high speed there’s no bounce or dip the car just runs smooth and you don’t even have to take your turns wider than normal like with my previous coilovers. I tried every single car suspension there was from cut springs lowered springs custom springs coilovers and now air suspension and it still rides and handles better no tyre screams and all that.”
What makes your car Unique?
“The fact that it was a left hand drive from Belgium and of course the Air suspension which is my favourite modification on the car”
What are your plans for the car?
”3 piece custom split rims, turbo diesel engine coming soon and upgrading air tank and compressor”
What was your very first car?
“Golf 3 cabriolet and it’s at the panel shop at the moment and might be a second project in the making but we’ll see”
For anyone else that is doing air suspension what would be your advice to them?
“Firstly look at what you getting, you wonder how the guys in Cape Town pay half the price of what the guys in Durban are selling but it depends on the quality you getting. In Cape Town they use truck mounts and make your air suspension in Durban you using air lift and if you using air lift you have to pay extra it’s like comparing a BMW and Tazz you can’t compare the two.”
This unique Mk1 really sets itself off from the rest, it might not have a lot of work but the simplicity of this build is what I love about it, even the little tell tail signs that it was a left hand drive like the bonnet catch is on the left hand side, the interior light is on the left hand side, the rear wiper is on the left hand side, all these original bits doesn’t only make the car unique it gives it history, I feel that with any build there should be this kind of passion and flare. And it just looks absolutely fresh! The Golf Mk1 community can be proud to have one more unique little classic to the KZN collection. Can’t wait to see this car at the next Campfest!
Special Thanks go out to Siyashova Panel and Paint and Air Spring Supply Company (Durban)