1980 VW Golf/Rabbit Mk1 GLD

So, something a bit different here. I’ve been after a Mk1 Golf for a project for a while and finally grabbed one.

The car as it stands today

Sections of the rebuild

  • The car on inspection and pickup
  • The plan
  • Freshening the old paint and interior
  • Tyres and wheels: stock parts
  • Brake fixing: fixing stock parts
  • Sorting out the wiring
  • Coilover upgrade
  • Engine and gearbox stuff

The car: on inspection and pickup

The plan

A quick statement on the plan. Initially I picked the car up wanting to see if you could get modern Golf GTI’ish performance out of an old diesel by swapping in a late model 1.9 or 2L TDI. Doing so presents a few problems but also isn’t necessarily that hard.

If you stick to anything Mk5 or below (Mk5 GTD notwithstanding) then you don’t have to deal with the DPF or dieselgate stuff; you just have to find a way to make the wiring work and disable the immobiliser. This is pretty tempting however it is a lot of work and partly I like mechanical diesels for their pure simplicity.

It is possible to get a pre PD diesel engine to run fully mechanically. The simplest way would be finding a 1.9 TDI from a mk3 and getting a mechanical pump for it all sorted and sized up. That would have the benefit of giving you the best headroom for power with a mechanical setup.