Words: Daniel Allard | Photography: John Langley & Tony Adams | Videography: Jason Laroza.
Most people would be satisfied with one show-car. Not our Jack Smith. This guy has built two and one of them is on the cover of PVW (Performance VW) right now. It's also on our stand at Ultimate Dubs 2017, so come and see it this weekend in Telford.
This guy knows what hot property looks like, let's take a look at his fleet...
We’ve known of Jack for a long time, when the Edition 38 forums were the hustle and bustle of the VW scene, his Golf build would always be at the top of the 'Reader's Ride' section. Seeing the Golf’s ever changing state gave Aron and I the bug to get our own Mk1 Golf. Before Jack knew it, his Mk1 Golf had coilovers and BBS RM’s bolted on - the rest as they say, is history.
It wasn’t until Edition38 2011, when we first met Jack and his MK1 Golf. I say met however we followed Jack in to the event, parking in front of him where we both got out made eye contact and acknowledged each other by a friendly “alright” before walking off into the crowd. Maybe Jack didn’t like us at the time because our static Golf was lower than his one on air suspension... (LOLOLOLOL - all).
Fast forwarding to 2014, we featured Jack's “Practical Daily” Mazda 3 and shortly after the feature went live the Mazda was sadly broken for part, this made way for his current daily, the Lexus GS 300. Ever since then, he’s pretty much never left us alone, 'helping' us with events and getting his hands dirty with our car builds. Some would say he is a part of “The Fam” but we will just say he's become a very good friend.
To see more of Jack's Mazda 3 click the link bellow.
Jack purchased his Golf in March 2009. The car was pretty much a completely standard 1983 Golf C fitted with the existing 1.1 engine. Knowing Jack the way we do now, the car was never going to stay original.
Jack was looking across the pond for inspiration and ordered a pair of Rabbit rear tail lights and front wings (fenders). This set the theme for the build and later on a Westmoreland front slam panel, square lights and front/rear bumpers completed the look. Coupled with the above the car has been completely repainted in the original colour, Pragus Blue.
Jack isn’t the sort of person who's into speed or track events, you can tell this by the cars he builds. After denting a few sumps and a few oil leaks, it was time for a change. The engine choice isn’t your obvious 16v or 20v turbo, that the power hungry would opt for instead he chose a 1.6 GTD from a MK2 Golf. Whilst the work was being carried out, Jack raised the front suspension turrets and shaved the bay. With a few neat little touches, like the solid boost pipes and the Mk3 Golf 8V GTI rocker cover, the little engine looks at home and some would say way to clean for a dirty diesel engine.
On coilovers, Jack wasn’t happy with how the car sat and after a few dented sumps it wasn’t long until he decided to turn to air suspension (to try and get it as low as the RH mk1). For us, this was when the car stepped up to the next level. Previously on a set of BBS RM’s which most people would be happy with Jack joined the Fifteen52 family with a set of their 17" Snowflakes. The car sat so aggressively it was an easy choice to upgrade these to the 2 piece 16" Fifteen52 Tarmac 348s. For us, wheel choice is a key element of any build and the Fifteen52 348s really do help it stand out from the other Mk1s around, well, enough to get the PVW cover.
When it comes to MK1 Golf interiors, it's very easy to do too much with them and ruin the overall minimalistic feel, which the car was designed around. Modern seats often look too big and clumsy. Whilst looking for a pair of new front seats, Jack heard through a friend that someone had a pair of 80's Cobras sitting in their garage. After a bit of persuasion Jack came home with the new Golf seats and shortly after got the rear bench trimmed to match the fronts. Now with a new carpet and renewed door cards the interior is a very nice place to be.
By the time Ultimate Dubs 2017 comes around, Jack will have owned the Golf for 9 years! For most this is a long time to own a car but there is no doubt in Jack's mind that the car is staying and the only improvements in its short future is to acquire a Westmoreland Rabbit GTI air damn. Right, we’ve got the old faithful out the way, so let's get on with the new faithful, Jack's new “practical daily”.
With the Mazda parted out and not wanting to use the Golf for a daily, the hunt was on. Jack always liked the VIP scene and with a good friend and contributor to RollHard, Michael Evans (resident sassy boy) just finishing his Lexus LS430 the decision was made to get a GS300. Being a daily, most would think air and wheels would be enough, but not for Jack….
Commonly, people would expect the exterior to be stock without the addition of the Replica Wald lip kit, however Jack has designed and added his personal touches to the car. He has had all the wheel arches rolled/flared and added the very tasteful two-tone paint look, the LS400 dark grey colour below the original chrome trim to make his own GS copy of the LS colour scheme and before giving the car a complete repaint the front bumper was also smoothed. To complete the VIP look, Jack added puddle lights under the doors, some custom acrylic rear tail lights with chasing indicators and the all important RollHard VIP pin stripe which for us is one of the key features of this build, if we do say so ourselves.
The interiors in VIP cars are just as important as the exteriors and Jack has not forgotten about that. Getting the right spec car was also important and luckily for Jack a black on black car with factory satellite navigation and the Mark Levinson audio upgrade came up for grabs. Looking into the interior the first thing you notice are custom made front and rear trays that Jack made from scratch! With the addition of some Junction Produce neck pads and cushions, front and rear window curtains and the all important Tsuna and Kintsun knots, he could be mistaken for a member of the Yorkshire Yakuza.
With the help of D2 air suspension struts coupled with the Airlift V2 management, the car drives amazingly and helps the car all importantly touch the floor with ease. Getting the car “dialed in” was a little bit more tricky. Jack needed to camber the rears a little more so he turned to Driftworks and ordered a pair of their rear camber arms and toe arms. After a good few hours of fettling and trail fits Jack managed to tuck the 11" rears with ease.
Unlike the Mazda, this Lexus is staying put and Jack is planning to match the camber on the fronts with the rears, some better tyre sizes to gain some more clearance and some more touches to the interior.
All Jack's conversations begin with the constant need for a Chevy C10 truck but he has just purchased a Daihastu Cuore? You couldn't get further from each side of the car world if you tried. For certain, we will be the first to bring you the end result when it's been completed.
Jack has achieved something inspiring with both cars, he has not turned to social media for approval or for help and 99 percent of the work on both his cars has been carried out with his bare hands. If you want some inspiration for your own build, look no further.
Big thank you to Jason Laroza for getting this short film of both cars whilst on our stand at Ultimate Stance 2016.
Oh, and did we mention Jack's Mk1 is in this month's Performance VW magazine? Go grab yourself a copy and check out David Kennedy's piece on the car.
The R6EKT number plate is a nice touch...
The world needs more RollHard side stripes. FACT.