One of my favourite things about RollHard is how this platform allows us to tell the stories behind the cars, because let’s face it, every modified car has a story to tell. I’m sure you already know this, but we’re car enthusiasts just like you, which is why we’re always humbled by the stories we get to tell on these pages. This time, we’re shining the spotlight on a very special Mk3 Golf…
Whilst the Mk1 and Mk2 Golf draw plaudits thanks to their “benchmark hot hatch” reputation, the 3rd generation Volkswagen Golf slips under the radar in a sleuth-like manner.
The Mk3 Golf didn’t receive the same levels of adoration when it was launched because it was essentially a plumped-up, oversized Golf in world where safety and practicality took priority. The fun factor was gone with the Mk3 and the GTI 16v model was a little on the disappointing side with only 150hp developed by the 2.0 litre ABF lump up front. Even the "hotter" VR6 model which had an undoubtedtly glorious soundtrack, was a watered-down offering in the Golf sporting a 2.8 litre AAA 12 valve 172hp version compared to the larger 2.9 ABV 12 valve 188hp which found a home in the Corrado. That said, the Mk3 Golf has forged a place in the hearts of Volkswagen fans, because by modern standards, this is still a small car and still very much an “analogue” piece of VW history.
The Mk3 Golf has really started to find its feet with car enthusiasts and is starting to creep into “modern classic” territory, with nice examples becoming scarce. In modified circles, you can find anything from ratty 1.4s right up to the very best VR6s, the Mk3 game can be a minefield.
Sophistication: ’94 Volkswagen USDM VR6.
This car belongs to Parisienne Mushla “Guigui Bless” Guillaume, the proud owner of one hell of a clean-cut 3rd generation Volkswagen Golf. This car is visual sophistication.
Guigui has harboured a strong love the Mk3 Golf since he was young and nothing else would do when it came to choosing his first car, there was just something about the Mk3 Golf that did it for him.
Being a Mk3 guy through-and-through meant that Guigui has owned five of these cars, ranging from a 1.6 CL through to a cabriolet, this guy knows his was around a modified 3rd gen Volkswagen Golf.
Learning Lessons: Leçons D'Apprentissage.
This, Guigui’s most recent Mk3 is a combination of lessons learned with previous builds. Back in 2007, when life was simple and clean Mk3s were a more common sight, Guigui found this particular car on eBay about 200km from home and with its deep factory-spec Windsor Blue bodywork too tempting to turn down, a deal was done and plans were made to get the car home. It might have been a stock 16V GTI but he could see the potential from day one.
With so many modified examples on the internet to inspire, Guigui knew he wanted to build this particular car exactly to his own standards over a period of time, taking strong influence from the very best show cars running classic BBS wheels and OEM bodywork.
Petit A Petit.
Since 2007, Guigui's Mk3 has had countless hours spent on it, resulting in a relentless overhaul with full repaint, new glass all round, new OEM lights along along with some custom touches like smoothed bonnet washers, roof aerial and wiper delete.
In addition to restoring his car, Guigui made his mind up to go full-fat US spec with his car, managing to pick up a Canadian spec 2.8 AAA VR6 which had everything he needed to build his dream Mk3.
With the newly painted shell ready for its next round of modifications, the Canadian donor VR6 lump was rebuilt and moved over to its new home, nestled in completely OEM fashion, things were starting to take shape nicely. Mated to a full Inox exhaust system and manifold, he knew this car was going to sound absolutely glorious at full chat.
Next up was fitting the US domestic specific parts such as "extended" front and rear bumpers as well as rear hatch with USDM shortened plate recess. All of the new additions were given a perfect coat of Windsor Blue and Guigui could see all his hard work paying off.
Running The Streets: Qui Court Les Rues.
Guigui has gone to town with his suspension setup, going for a full air ride install, which he knew was the only way he could get the car sat as per his original vision: sitting absolutely perfect.
You’d have been living under a rock not to notice the rise of air ride over the past five years. Air ride used to be the reserve of extreme budget demo cars and high-end modifiers, but with the price of complete setups having come down substantially, it’s now easier to have a piece of the adjustable suspension pie.
It’s fair to say that most show cars are “bagged” these days, which should mean fitment it always on point, however, disappointingly, we don’t think this is the case. There’s a big difference between getting your car low and getting your car genuinely sat well. It takes time and engineering to achieve the perfect fitment and we’re starting to think people are getting lazy with positive camber and reverse rake becoming a more common sight on so called “show cars”. [rant over].
Thankfully, Guigui is a guy with a keen eye for detail, which has resulted in nigh-on perfect Mk3 fitment, there are no faux-pas going on here. The hours of offset and adjustment planning are not wasted on us and the fruits of Guigui’s labour are plain for all to see, this is car sits very well indeed.
The Jewellery: Plus Beaux Bijoux.
With his Golf project well underway, Guigui was keen to build what he considered the perfect set of wheels for his car. It’s hard to deny the classy, timeless look of BBS RS’ which is why they have become such a cult design in modified circles.
The three-piece BBS RS was launched in 1983, became a cult classic right from the get-go. The RS holds a special place in the hearts of car tuners everywhere, because it satisfies both OEM freaks and aftermarket mavericks in equal measure. Available from dealers as an optional extra from all of the household name German car brands (Volkswagen/BMW/Mercedes/Audi), the BBS RS was (and still is) a slice of posh which looks good on most cars.
Fast-forward 30 years, thanks to being a fully customisable three-piece design, the RS is now ripe for all applications because each set can be increased both in width and in diameter, crucial in 2018 since fitments are much more aggressive and cars are a lot bigger than they were in 1983. Guigui has taken the custom route with his set, building his set of 17” BBS RS 264/265s with new 0.5” dishes to result in 17x7 fronts and 17x7.5 rears. With adapters and 185/35 tyres, these wheels are fitment finery.
The interior was never going to go untouched and Guigui was in the market for some upgrades for his interior. With a period correct three-spoke BBS “Design Line” steering wheel already purchased, he managed to source a Mk3.5 Cabriolet dashboard, which for non-Mk3 guys has a completely different texture, very much like the Lupo. Black doorcards from a GTI Anniversary were also fitted which left Guigui with a decision to make over his choice of seats.
With so many Mk3 owners going for OEM Recaros, he wanted something a little different for his car and after some research into other Recaro models which would suit the 1990s interior, he found a set of Recaro Experts and fell in love. Next thing he knew, a deal was done on a pair of black Recaros and along with matching rear bench, Guigui’s interior was finished off perfectly.
The Finest: Le Meilleur.
Guigui is the quite rightly pleased-as-punch with his Golf; the result of countless hours, sweat and tears, his car really does stand-up tall against some of the cleanest Mk3 Golfs around. Guigui’s Golf represents what perseverance does in the right hand: nothing worth having ever came easy.
Being part of the Club IDF in France, Guigui is in good company – these guys and girls always present great builds with timeless modifications and this Mk3 is no exception. France has in a rich vein of form right now, producing superb show cars over the past few years and there are no signs of this letting up. Guigui, we salute what you have achieved, this is Mk3 Golf bliss...