Forge On… </br> Berg Cup Mk1 Golf
How hard can it be?

Looking at this picture puts a smile on my face and I hope it does the same for you. I promise you now, there’s no photo manipulation going on, no fake lens flare. No post process manipulation. That is what it looked like. I’ve wanted to bring you the story about (and around) this Mk1 Golf since January, actually it was a bit before that… But since I first saw it sat in the development workshop of Forge Motorsport in Gloucester, England, I knew you’d get it. It’s been a random summer of missed deadlines, setbacks and problematic components, but at last on an early morning in late summer, it all came together and we stormed the motorway in a race-ready, in-your-face Mk1 Golf. Just getting the photo you see above makes it all worthwhile.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-11

The Golf has proven to be mildly controversial, although this was never the intention. What Forge set out to do was showcase their project building skills and product range in one package, a simple plan that started late last summer when the team saw a Mk1 Golf with a 1.8 turbo conversion.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-15

It’s always the same no matter who you talk to; you know the process that we’ve all gone through where a simple project escalates and becomes so much more involved than the original plan. Companies like Forge are not immune and this has moved so far away from that initial starting point, all it has in common is the fact that it’s a Golf.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-6

Buying a part-finished/converted project was scrapped as the guys figured they could do much better job themselves. Which of course they were right to think. MD Peter Miles tells me that he originally set a budget of £15K for the build. I’ll let you know later on how they got on with that…

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-36

What appeared to be a virtually complete car appeared at the Autosport show in early January 2013, roughly four to five months after the project was started. An incredible achievement, but in truth only half the story. The guys had started with a rough but standard Mk1 Golf GTi. The shell was then stripped back and prepped with a cage and carbon roof panel.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-39

The cage meant some weight could be cut out, but can you see how things are getting carried away already? The Berg Cup look was probably the biggest single factor in how this build got so wonderfully out of hand. There have been a couple of key people on this build, which I think has been the problem… because they’re all grade A petrolheads! This was never going to be an average project, which I think secretly Peter probably accepted a long time ago. For example, Luke Amon who has done a lot of the work, turns up at the Forge workshop each day in a slammed, resto mod E21 BMW.  Come on, this was always going to get out of hand!

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-14

The Berg Cup inspiration came from Luke, who figured it would make for the perfect attention-grabbing look whilst being effective. Because when I say that, I mean they wanted the Golf to rip. They wanted a completed project that would be road legal enough to drive to a track, tear it up all day and then drive home. All show and all go was the aim. Speedhunters has attended a couple of Berg Cup events over the years, held on mainland Europe: they’re road based hillclimb courses with some gorgeous cars competing. Take a look at this link and you’ll see what I mean…

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-22

I’ll get back to the bodywork later on, but I just wanted to assure you that it has got the power to back up those wild visual claims.  The engine is based around a 1.8T AGU block that’s been over bored by 2mm, with pretty much every other component being sourced from the aftermarket world. The guys have got a whole army of people they’ve worked with over the years and the Golf has really become so much more because of these relations; it’s hard to explain but if you’re in the industry maybe you’ll understand. When you’re passionate about what you do then good things happen as a natural consequence. So it was with the Golf. I noticed every time I’d catch up with the guys, they’d be genuinely blown away by the people that were coming forward or offering help.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-25

People like Garrett with their GTX2860 unit. VW never favoured turbo power for their Golf until the fourth generation but the light, nimble chassis of the Mk1 is well suited to boost.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-23

As you’d expect from a company that specialises in alloy fabrication, their expertise is everywhere. The mainstay of the business is alloy radiators, intercoolers and BOVs plus a myriad of other speciality parts. But the development workshop is set up to handle all kinds of fabrication, so don’t be too disappointed if some of the items you see here aren’t in the catalogue.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-38

You may well have noticed that there’s only an intercooler at the front end, because in the interest of space, cooling and weight distribution the radiator has been moved to the rear of the Golf.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-18

Although to be honest the air intakes in the side polycarbonate windows give the game away.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-37

Those and the dirty great big alloy ducting of course. This is still a show car type build though, so details such as the header tank are held up as individual offerings of excellence. An intricately TIG welded body, complete with level gauge and custom hose fittings.

Pride inside
Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-21

The Golf has been built with pride, which for me has to be the key ingredient. Everything is finished to such a high standard, but it’s been built to use too. I’ve not seen any of the guys ever get precious when they’re around the project. I’ll give you an example…

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-41

Alex and Chris ask me if I want to see some flames? Well of course I do gentlemen, I’m a grown man who loves cars, and flames even more so. Chris jumps in, has a play with the laptop and seconds later, there they are! I look up from my camera and the assorted bodies stood around are all grinning from ear to ear and nodding with that mutual sense of appreciation that only comes from doing something slightly mindless… but amazing.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-20

Which leads me neatly on to the trophies of such activities. You can tell the Golf has been cleaned and polished but there’s one area the team have left completely untouched. The scorched and burnt paint proving a point that it gets used and abused. If you’ve got it, flaunt it? Right?

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-24

Everywhere you look the names used are synonymous with quality. The KW ‘Berg Cup spec’ coilovers actually give a load of adjustability for Forge to play with, dependent on what they want to do. Because one day it might be on the track and the next popping to the shops; it’s all about making sure it’s used.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-10

And yes it does get used – this whole feature is meant to demonstrate that fact, and reflect the enjoyment the guys get out of jumping in the Golf and taking it for a drive. It may only be twelve months or so since its inception, but it feels like much longer sometimes when you talk to them. The stripped-out interior being a wonderland of cool tech and features for an inquisitive passenger like me.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-31

Sat right in front of me is the OMEX ECU. I’ve been assured that this 710 series can do pretty much whatever the team will need it to. Anti-lag, launch control and a whole host of other stuff can be made to happen.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-33

Literally perched on an alloy stalk between the passenger and driver seats is this control panel. Easily falling to hand, it’s the sort of thing I think we’d all like given half a chance; flick up the switch covers and arm yourself, because things are going to get hectic.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-34

Although everything about the boxy VW feels strong and robust, it also has that wonderful delicacy that race car components can possess. Like the Race Techology digital dash: slim and elegant almost like a smart phone or tablet. I really think the days of huge gauges are numbered.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-35

There’s always something so committed about strapping yourself into a bucket seat, no matter what the car. It almost mentally prepares you for what’s about to come, sharpens the senses and focuses the mind. The pair of Cobra seats have been custom trimmed with the company logo and the matching harnesses are proper 3in wide, six point items.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-19

Going back to that pride thing, the guys have been to a lot of shows this year – mostly track-based but with our own favourites like the Players events and the Retro Rides Gathering too. Peter says that Michael Flynn who runs the ‘I love Berg Cup’ Facebook page has become a firm favourite; all the guys the Golf has led them to forming part of its (so far) short but sweet story.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-9

Looking out of the company T5 van as we return from our dawn run, I realise just what a bold move that bodywork is…

Look at that!
Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-7

I love the way the HR Engineering flared arches kick up at the rear edge. Aero is becoming more and more mainstream and it’s always amusing to see people discover it for the first time.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-17

A picture of the Golf was posted on the Volkswagen UK Facebook page over the summer after it was snapped at the Players Classic event in June. Opinion was split down the middle between the thousands of comments and pretty much everyone referenced the front aero. The tired and clichéd snow plough was mentioned the most, just showing how little people understand about downforce. But this signature feature of the Berg Cup-look was vital and I, for one, love it. They had it made up by Fibre-lyte along with the carbon rear boot spoiler, with HR Engineering also supplying some GRP doors to go with the Forge side skirts.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-12

I still think the most hilarious thing is seeing the VW roll down the road though. You can just make out the detailed underside here, along with those treaded Toyo Proxes road tyres…

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-27

… which wrap around the 9x15in Compomotive alloys; a well-observed choice given the traditional British company’s deep-rooted links to the world of motorsport. It would have been all to easy to choose a more mainstream brand like BBS but what they’ve tried to do is create their vision of how it should be done, without following fashion to the letter.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-28

The car is hauled up courtesy of their own six-pot calipers – after all, it would be a shame to not use them here.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-32

Get to the other end of the braided hoses and you’ll find a Tilton pedal box. I just love the way all three pedals line up perfectly, with that grippy, full width heel pad just below. Perfect for some heel and toe action.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-26

The level of detail is relentless and that’s another thing I admire about this choice of build: because of the stripped and purposeful nature, nothing can be hidden. So instead it’s been exquisitely fabricated and considered in every way.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-40

And just in case you forgot who built it, well the whole race car theme and consequent livery does a pretty good job of reminding you. And yes I know that’s the idea behind a demo car, so that budget of 15K that turned in to 50K? So far it’s proving worth it as the coverage the Golf continues to receive shows the love shared around the globe. Demo car job done.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-16

Which is what I forget sometimes, that this is a demonstration of talent. I should explain myself as I first dealt with Forge maybe ten years ago for a UK-based magazine when we did a tech article. I can remember the friendly vibe well and it’s been a recurring theme every time I’ve spent time with them. If there’s a party, they’re probably throwing it and if you need some help, they’re the guys you can rely on. You might think this is because I’m a journalist, but I can honestly say I’ve seen them treat so many different people exactly the same way. It’s just what they do.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-8

So I was smiling as I perched in a petrol station at sunrise, as Alex, Chris and quite possibly the tallest man to ever wear shorts, Zak, fuss and circle around the Golf. Because it’s one of them now; they’ve built it and instilled it with that passion.

Forge Motorsport Mk1 Golf-5

Of course nobody on that motorway is going to think after seeing the VW, ‘oh, I should go out and buy some Forge kit’. What I can guarantee you though is that it raised a smile, the feeling of which is infectious and that’s what life is about surely? Plain and simple – having a good time.

Which is exactly what this little VW is going to keep on doing, because if you’re reading this in the run-up to SEMA 2013, then right now somewhere in the middle of America there’s a truck road tripping to Vegas, and in the back of it is a spectacular Golf on its way to the biggest show of its kind in the world.

I’m also going to SEMA and I know the first thing that will happen when I see the Forge Golf again is that I’ll smile. And that folks, is what it’s all about…



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Ermagerd! Fernerly! Berg Gerlf!!


Yes!  I've been waiting for this since the teasers months ago, thanks Bryn!  Cheers to the Forge guys, they build some great stuff. I;ve been using their bits on customer cars for years & have never had an issue. It'd be great if Stateside shops would do more builds like this, but hillclimbing is almost nonexistent.  Damn, SEMA's only 5 hours flat-out across CA from here...


That heel rest has nothing to do with heel and toe action. It's between brake and throttle pedal. Sometimes throttle pedal may have some extra length for the heel to fall perfectly on it when the blip of throttle is applied. This is crucial in any racing car but especially in fwd cars.


Lovely work been done on this car, also a nice little write up too. 
I love the fact my mate passed this car at Forge Action Day 2013, Castle Combe in his Seat Ibiza (video clip runs out before him passing, but shows him catching)


TeroK Ahh, always good to have more information! Thank you. I was also referring to all the pedals being lined up for heel and toe, instead of being staggered in distance from the driver as they are sometimes.


InnerToxicity YUSWAI!


@TFritch Yeah why doesn't America have more hillclimbs? You have Pikes Peak which is quite possibly the ultimate? Both myself and the Golf will be travelling a lot further, what's your excuse? ;)


Now. How to apply this angular goodness to my Pug 206... =P


AlHughes Haha, proper drive it like you stole it!


Those Dunlop tyres you mention are Toyo Proxes... Amazing build. Really, really amazing!


Thanks Bryn for the write up, thanks to all at Speedhunters for their support and encouragement .
Thanks to all our sponsors and partners , quite simply this would not have happened without you ..
See you at SEMA


Mental looking car. Seen it a few times in the metal and it looks fantastic: have yet to see it driven in anger though!


tbtstt Check the Forge FB pages , its been out in anger several times , and repaired afterwards


MilesHayler Miles, I can see the sidewall from here... How the heck did I get that so wrong? :)

*Must not blindly follow spec list*


Love this car. I also love that they've kept the singe marks on the side from the exhaust - now that's style! :)


Top Top work Bryn awesome shoot and write up on this car and your right every time I see it you just go into this uncontrollable smile :) such a weapon top work by the whole Forge familia :)


Peter Miles I thought it had been: I just always seem to see it at the shows when its on display! Hopefully will catch it on track in 2014.


AlHughes Fair play - that looks like it goes alright!


"right now somewhere in the middle of America there’s a truck road tripping to Vegas, and in the back of it is a spectacular Golf on its way to the biggest show of its kind in the world."
Looks like a Fast and Furious style heist is in order. Just kidding, this is the trifecta - amazing writing, beautiful pics and a ridiculously cool car. Bravo!


Speedhunters_Bryn  My excuse is 1 year old & hunting speed all over the house on her little toddler car :)   Pikes Peak, Mt. Washington, and arguably Virginia City help make up for the lack of quantity with quality, but the distinct lack of a sanctioned club-level climbing series is a real bummer. It's not like we lack the roads!




Have to agree on the Forge guys being a great bunch, they open arm welcomed me in to their workshop for a photography project, and really helped out, despite me not even owning a car that would make me a potential customer, at the time that is. And the Mk1 is a real representation of what they're about, I never knew how much it cost, and I am a little shocked, but it's got to be well worth it. It is VERY quick out on track too.


What a Bitchin Car, a real Beauty.  Love it cos its so radical and got that 'Don't Mess With Me' look.  Love the rear spoiler as I am looking for something like that for my Ford Anglia Build.  Big Wing plus aero package. DaveB