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VW Golf Mk 1 Conversion
Opel Astra Conversion

Broadcast dates : 29th August 2004
2nd September 2004


Natural rivals. Thatís the Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra Coupe.

There are other light cars like Toyotas Nissan and Fiats that have captured the imagination of enthusiasts over the years. But when it comes to modifying or tuning cars, Volkswagen and Opel seem to have the most fanatical followings.

Justin Robertson of Big Boss Auto is lucky enough to own examples of both these cult classics.

As a director of a specialised custom-car and tuning firm, he has chosen two very different examples representing these brands.
This Golf started out as a two-door Mk I 1600 and the outstanding example of street cool is the result of a back-to-bare-metal rebuild with virtually every single part of the car re-worked or replaced with non-standard items.

The car follows the classic street-racer look of being lower, fitted with wider wheels and tyres, having much of the trim removed and with various body-kit items added. The items include a special clean-look grille, the splitter look extensions on the spoiler, carbon eyebrow, rear roof spoiler, clear taillight lenses and body colour bumpers.

The door handles are Porsche items as are the wing mirrors, and the alloy wheels and up-rated brakes complete the exterior look.

Inside the Golf Big Boss went for a stripped-out street racer look but still incorporating much of the trim. There are cobra racing bucket seats with four-point racing harnesses, machined aluminum door handles and locking knobs, a machined steering wheel boss, racing suede steering wheel, and reworked instrumentation.

The aluminum plate floorboards and aluminum pedal cluster add plenty of purpose to the cabin, but the piece-de-resistance is the aluminum roll cage. This cage is a work of art and involved a special bending process of the tubing something not easy to do with aluminum. This gives good access to the cabin but provides easy access to the seats and creates a stunning street-racer look.

The cage extends into the rear passenger area, where the rear seats have been removed.

The idea of this car was as much for show as go and beneath the bonnet there is plenty of power. A two-litre 16-valve Golf engine replaced the original, and the fuel injection was discarded and replaced with rip-snorting Weber 45 mm side-draught carburetors.

These give an amazing induction noise and liberate extra power
. This car is geared to do over 240 km/h and run quarter miles in the high-14 early-15-second bracket. For anyone who knows the legal street-racing scene up on the Reef, that is BMW M3 territory!
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The Opel Astra Turbo Coupe has been built with a totally different theme in mind.

Here the accent is much more on show, as Justin wanted the car to showcase the visual side of his companyís business.

The engine has been left largely standard, with just some induction and computer-re-mapping liberating more power.

In stock form the Astra Turbo Coupe is already a very quick motorcar, and this one is just a little quicker.

Then maybe a Justin brush around on the cosmetic.

The car has been given a full array of body accessories including imported front and rear light clusters with intriguing blue-lens indicators.

Thereís a rather over-the-top boot wing and very modern alloy wheels to go with the mean, dark look of this overt legal street racer.

Inside many of the standard parts have been used but given a special look, using the Big Boss coating process.

Thus items like the doors handles now have an aluminum look rather than the previous black plastic finish.

This theme has been carried through in various places around the cabin

The engine compartment features the standard Opel turbo set up apart from a freeflow carbon-fiber air-filter system.

But the engine bay has also been dressed up with lots of carbon and alloy-look pieces, Big Boss using a special coating process to achieve the desired look.

As a seasoned competitor in both legal drag racing and oval racing, Justin knows how to handle this sort of power, as does our man Clint.

The place to let all that power out the doghouse is on the drag strip and not on the road.

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