Post by Bear Post by Pip
110 bhp at the wheels and "150bhp" MkIIs in the mirror. Pfft.
Torque is where it's at, baby.
I'd love to argue the point, but I prefer Mk Is too, so fuck it, yes, Mk
Is are faster than everything else, all the time :)
Right - I went for a fag and left me specs on the snow, on the patio
table - and it /hurt/ when i found them and put them back on, ffs.
My Mark I GTi was ... special. I bought it as a reject rotbox that
had been thrashed with no oil and neglected as a runabout for a
mechanic's missus. It came cheap 'cos it was pretty much fucked, but
I needed a car at the time and I'd lusted after her (and the car) for
I rebuilt it over time, then I did it properly and then I did it again
with proper parts when I had the dosh and another car to run about in,
then it needed rebuilding *again* when the floorpan rotted out -
panels weren't available then, so I fitted pattern ones, then did it
*again* with German parts. I'd built and tuned four-stroke car
engines for *years* but that was the first FI/FWD car I'd considered.
It was, let's not forget, the original GTi, the XR3-beater, the
brainchild of listless VW geeks that saw what could be done with a
pokey engine in a small, light, stiff chassis.
It was an 8-valve 1600 with a 5-speed box (this is important, as they
/were/ the fastest) and the little tail lights, on a W plate. Shite
driving position in the hard to-get-into bucket seat that was always
too close to the wheel so your legs were always in the way, much like
and Alfasud. Spun the rev counter round like a homesick angel though,
guv'nor, and spun the front wheels too when changing from first to
second, and on occasion from second to third on a good day. At that
point you were really going (relatively) and all else ceased to
The thing about it was, though, that you could plant it at any point
and it would just *go* and then you'd grab another gear and it went
again, and again, until it got to 120 and it wouldn't go no more. The
first thing I did to it was to change the rotor arm for one without
the rev-related cutout on it, then it went from there. Stiffer bushes
when the originals wore out, Boge suspension similarly, then later
Eibach. Wider wheels to take Yokohama stickies, Black Diamond discs
and Mintex M171 pads - hydraulic handbrake and quick rack for
autotesting, hillclimbing and road rallying purposes.
When the engine got tired at 100k, I rebuilt it and balanced and
blueprinted it, to get the best out of it within original specs (for
cheapness). When the gearbox (or the diff, I unremember now) cried
enough, it got a MKII (longer-legged) unit, which enabled spinning
beyond the redline and a likely (guessed at by my mate in a Sierra
Cosbox) 135mph top end.
When the back end rotted out, it got a new hatch, a new German back
panel and a new back axle along with longer suspension turrets and a
set of longer Eibach shocks - and a distinctly hot Mini-like
low-at-the-back stance. When the front seats got tired, they were
recovered with leather bolsters and it got new carpets and
sound-deadening at the same time, 'cos it was getting wearing by then,
buzzing and roaring.
It was repainted three times, each time down to the metal and start
again. It had three sets of headlights, each one better and brighter
than the preceding set. In the end, it had a strut brace and a lower
suspension brace too - but it still cocked the inside rear wheel clear
of the tarmac on a fast corner. I have a picture of it sitting on a
junction on Exmoor, in fast-falling proper snow - it looks /most/
uncomfortable, out of its dry, smooth tarmac element.
Before I left Devon, it had a tune at Tim Stiles Racing in Bridgwater,
where it turned their rolling road at the highest figure they'd ever
seen for a standard MKI. Once we'd fitted a new fuel filter, fuel
accumulator, throttle body and drilled the airbox ;-) It also cost me
a pair of Yokies on the front, 'cos it ripped the tread off the old
ones. It also burned out (literally, melted it) their exhaust sensor
pipe, as there was fuckall between the hot gases coming out of the
head and atmosphere.
It was certainly a revelation to the boy racer community in MK when I
moved there, as their '150bhp' MKII GTis were suddenly outclassed by a
standard shitbox MKI - and as for that glorious day, 'racing' a VR6
across the top of MK from the M1 to the A5, that was just a hoot. He
had me on top end, no question - but I had him on the brakes into
every one of (guesses) ten roundabouts and on acceleration out of
them, too - he was burning rubber, I was round the outside of him.
It was in this car, once I'd moved to Cheshire, that I discovered
bikes - I was going up the Cat and Fiddle, about as fast as I wanted
to go - when a boy on a Gixer 750 went round the *outside* of me. I
gave it everything and held him up to the next corner - and got a bit
back on the brakes, but then he went away again on acceleration out of
it. This repeated until he was a corner in front, then two, then
three - when we got to the pub he was halfway down a fag and I had to
wring my shreddies out. Cunt. And he had the temerity to exit half
the corners on one wheel, while I was on two at least. Cunt.
Post by Bear
PS: You didn't mention that Mk IIs are *slightly* vague, even when new,
whereas decent Mk Is always feel solid and alive, unless their
suspension is totally fucked.
My missus had a MKII - it was overweight, slow to turn in and rubbery.
Exactly like her, as it happens.
The previous (to the missus) gf had a MKII Fiesta XR2 - my long-time
mate had a MKI that we road rallied - the MKI went exactly where you
wanted it to go, precisely on the apex, nice and neutral. It talked
to the driver and did what the driver wanted. The MKII was
theoretically faster, but carried more weight, rolled more, and wanked
about under stress because of all the rubber in the suspension 'to
make it smoother'. Gimme the MKI all day long - noisier, coarser,
more tiring - but so responsive and 'alive' to input.
Happens to all cars, I guess. They make a beaut, then tame it when it
becomes popular. The current Golf must weigh three times what my MKI
weighed, and is twice the size. Same with the Fiesta, ffs - and
Vauxhall - I recall the MKI Astra, a well-balanced, well-tuneable hot
little hatch. The current Astra is as big as my Vectra and nearly as