Username: macmillions & miss_macmillions (Alistair Macmillan & Joanna Macmillan)

I was at work when I received a text from my fiancé stating she’d just found a Golf at the back of a lock up that was in a bit of a state. Little did I know that this was the understatement of the year…

During work she had visited a small local mechanic’s business in the middle of nowhere and began chatting to him about cars and happen to mention that she’s a bit of a lover of Mk2 Golfs, to which he responded with, “I have one out the back, but you don’t want to see it, as it needs work.” Of course, she wanted to see it and when she did it was a matter of love at first sight. From the picture she sent me, I couldn’t make out much, other than it was in a very sorry state. Only after I rang her it became evident this was something a little special. A 16v GTI.

The next day we went to view the Golf with a pocketful of cash in the vein hope he may decide to part with it. Upon arrival and looking around the car it was clear this had been standing for a very very long time – possibly in excess of 5 years the owner suggested. However, there was no rust in the usual places, but hard to tell much else, as the ground was so overgrown. There was a small prang in the rear valance, but nothing severe and the guy was adamant that with a new battery this car would start. We took his word for it and £320 lighter agreed to trailer it away the next day.

As we were living at my parents’ house at the time, they were not best pleased with a moss covered “heap” (my mum’s words) being delivered onto their drive. So first job was to try and make it look more presentable to try and keep them sweet. Out came the buckets of shampoo and we set to work removing the years of moss, sap and grime (and trees growing from the scuttle) to see what lurked beneath. What did was the biggest bonus of all. A completely rust free car. In the boot was a complete red stripe grille with black VW badge and GTI 16v badge, so that was fitted too.

That night it was time to see if the previous owner was telling the truth as to whether it would indeed start. I fitted a new battery, stuck a jerry can of fresh fuel in and first turn of the key she fired into life. This was some find!

Slowly but surely parts were sourced and jobs were done to restore her. The interior was already complete, just covered in mould, so that was removed and cleaned. The dash was refitted and I gave her a good engine service.

Then out of the blue a good friend of mine announced he had rolled his One in 10 Million 16v, so like the vulchers we are, we stripped his car of everything we could, including a brand new fuel accumulator, pump and filter with newly made connectors and pipework, fuel tank (ours was split) and brand new brake calipers. So brakes overhauled and brake lines replaced the car was promptly MOT’d, requiring just the steering rack, drop link bushes, and handbrake cable to pass. This was an opportunity to get under the car for the first time and again proved she was as clean as a whistle.

After over a year of nothing happening due to us getting a mortgage and married shortly after, Hollie’s suspension was replaced with SPAX PSX kit with a 40mm drop, as the shocks had leaked all their fluid, therefore rode like a boat, somewhat ruined the driving experience of a GTI! This would be the only non OEM part on the car. The car was then re-MOT’d and brought over to our new house.

Soon after we took it to a K-Jet specialist who set up the engine and diagnosed an intermittent cold start fault – new distributer required. The car had a new lease of life, so it was time to make it look as good as it went.

Enter hankmanus.

We drove to Wales from Essex for this man to detail her and for some metal fabricators he knows to repair the rear end damage. The car is now beautiful tornado red once again, with an incredible depth of shine with the rear end perfectly repaired.

Future plans are to restore the interior further, as although it’s all there, the past neglect has left the door cards damaged and the driver’s set needs attention. The front bumper needs a tab replacing as it drops on one side if you touch it – fine for photos though! Keep on top of faults that do crop up, especially after being used again after such a long period standing. And lastly, try to enjoy driving her as much as possible where finances allow. We must have done something right along the way, as even my parents now love her!