Belgium. A small country seemingly at the centre of everything. The Belgians have given us waffles, chocolate and frites, along with some seriously nice cars, which of course is what we care about most as car enthusiasts.
One thing you'll notice about the Belgian 'way' is that these guys don't mess too much with the original OE formula, aside from wheels and suspension, things stay fairly stock, think restoration not modification.
We have been following Stefan Vandenabeele's Mk1 on Instagram for a while now. There's something utterly timeless about VW Monaco Blue and BBS E50's on a Mk1. Let Zjerome's photos take you back to '82, life was simple back then.
Piston Brother founder Stefan's MK1 Golf on location in the historic city centre of Bruges. What more could we want. It really was no hardship spending a sunny afternoon shooting this Wolfsburg beauty.
As like many of us, Stefan has had an incredible passion for cars since he was a boy. His grandfather made sure he would share the same passion as he did by involving him in cars from a young age. Growing up and seeing his grandfather and uncle drive their vintage MG and Jaguar, he knew one day he would want to own a classic car. It was all written in the script.
When he got his driving licence he started looking around for an affordable vintage car. As he always liked classic VW Golfs, he started to look around for one. In November 2011 he found the one in Ninove, a 1982 Golf that was exactly what he was looking for at that moment.
At the same time, his friend Jelle (Claeys Jelle Automotive Art) bought a classic Mini. The Piston Brothers were born, a group of young car fanatics who share the same passion.
But as many of you know, buying the car is just the beginning of a long story with a lot of ups and downs... At first he only wanted to change the wheels, so he bought a set of Schmidt TH-lines with bright red centres, not to everyone's taste, but he loved them (and still does). After two show seasons he decided to start the restoration, but as he had no space to work on the car and had no experience working on cars, he contacted a local body shop to do the bodywork for him.
At first Stefan thought about changing the colour of the car from the original Monaco blue to Porsche Classic Grey, but after a lot of thinking he decided to keep the factory colour. It's true, this colour is not very common and it's just really cool!
“To keep the oem colour was one of the best choices I ever made...”
The 1.1 litre engine was solid and needed no major work, only some easy fixes and it was good to go. After driving around static for two years, the time had come to change the suspension to air ride. So he got in touch with Kean Suspensions who provided the car with a custom suspension setup.
While the car was in the body shop Stefan looked for a new set of wheels and found some gold BBS RS, the perfect combo in his opinion. At that point Stefan imagined the car was ready,
“But really, who am I kidding? A car is never ready!”
By the end of last summer Stefan stumbled upon a set of BBS E50 wheels while browsing the internet, and when his buddy decided to buy the RS’, he went to Holland to pick up the E50’s.
As always, things don't fit the way you want and the front wheels had to be narrowed. Luckily Nico at 2Polished was able to fix the wheels just in time for Ultimate Dubs 2016. And so season 2016 had begun...
Be sure to check out the Piston Brothers facebook page for updates and pictures of their cars and the events they visit!
Words – Stefan Vandenabeele & Tony Adams
Photography – Jeroen De Plancke