This Mk2 Polo Is A Flat-Backed Firecracker

When the Mk2 Volkswagen Polo debuted in late 1981, the body shape drew a lot of criticism. Fans of the model saw it as a massive step back from the svelte Mk1 it was replacing.

Public reception was so bad in fact, that VW released a coupé variant just a few years into production, which nowadays is seen as the more sought-after model. I’m one of those who thinks the earlier ‘Breadvan’ shape is fairly awkward, but after seeing Alex Lambert’s example at Ultimate Dubs UK a couple of weekends back, I may just have been converted.

SH UD POLO 2022-10

The colour on this Polo is absolutely sublime. The candy red really picks up the sharp body lines, and the wide arches have been custom-crafted specifically for this car. The rear arch shape in particular makes a world of difference, with the radius allowing the back end of the car to drop versus the standard ‘flat-topped’ arches.

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Tucked into the big arches are a little set of split-spoke Image HT wheels with very aggressive specs. The fronts measure 13×8.5-inch and the rears are 13×9-inch, with offsets of +2 and +10 respectively.

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Small touches around the exterior really lift the fairly plain body shape. Period-correct Auto-Plas rear window louvres add a bit of sportiness to the side profile of the Breadvan, while the carbon fibre racing mirrors highlight its sporting intent. Porsche door handles are a must-have modification on a retro VW.

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Alex removed the Polo’s bonnet on Saturday night during the show setup, so Sunday provided the perfect opportunity to check out the menacing crackle-black engine bay in the light.

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The 1,473cc G40 engine now features a Jabba Stage 4 supercharger as well as a ported inlet manifold, large throttle body and a four-branch exhaust manifold for easy breathing. Engine timing is taken care of by an aggressive PSD camshaft in a big-valve head and fuel comes via a set of larger G60 injectors. Forged pistons for strength and a charge cooler help ensure reliability on what isn’t VW’s most steadfast engine configuration. All in all, this little Breadvan is producing a healthy 192bhp.

I’m told it struggles to find full-throttle grip up to motorway speeds, and seeing as it must weigh the same as a Converse sneaker I am not surprised.

SH UD POLO 2022-27

The suspension is a trick air setup utilising a mix of OEM parts for maximum drop. Mk1 and Mk3 Golf struts, track rod end trickery, chassis notching – these are all familiar terms to Dubbers, I can assure you.

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The Polo’s interior might even be more radical than the car’s exterior. There is hardly any of it left, but what is there is entirely custom. Every touchable surface in the upper cockpit is suede-trimmed, switches aside. The seats are a pair of Cobra Evolution Pros with SCHROTH Racing harnesses, while the ETB DigiDash2 is complemented by an AEM Failsafe air/fuel ratio gauge.

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An anodised black pedal box and footrest complete the front of the cabin, but the real party is in the rear. Here, a satin black half cage cradles the onboard fuel cell, which appears to be running Goodridge braided hoses and fittings for reliable connections.

My personal favourite touch is the custom filler neck which stretches up from the fuel cell to the rear driver’s side window. With a car this small, no one wants to be crouching down into the boot, struggling to fill up. Not only that, but the polished filler neck really stands out in the expanse of black that is the Polo’s interior.

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I may be a Polo coupé fan first and foremost, but this bad-boy Breadvan is just too cool to ignore. Alex has created a really awesome little pocket rocket.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn



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Wicked car, particularly loving that last shot from the rear.


It's a very cool little thing, that's for sure.


Beautiful car, especially the paint (and the block sanding required to achieve a straight surface under the paint). :)

One question; does *any* racing sanctioning body allow mounting the fuel cell in the passenger compartment without a metal firewall between them? I only know US rules (SCCA, NHRA, NASCAR, IMSA, etc.) and none of them do.


I don't reckon any sanctioning bodies will allow it for obvious reasons, but of course being a road car I don't think it's something the owner needs to worry about!


Thanks, Mario.
Happy motoring!


Did not expect to see a Breadvan on speedhunters! Have had 3 of these - well... one mk2 (my first car), a mk2 facelift and a mk2 saloon :D


I don't think any expectations can be had for what might appear on SH after all the years I've been reading it!

That being said, I never expected to see one built to this extent, that's for sure.


"I’m told it struggles to find full-throttle grip up to motorway speeds, and seeing as it must weigh the same as a Converse sneaker I am not surprised."
Just throwing this out there, if you want a grippy car, don't stretch your tires on what are already comically small rims.
It's not really helpful lol.


Hi Mr JDM, I don't reckon he was complaining about the lack of grip, it was more of a statement as to how entertaining the car is to drive.

Thanks for reading!


Ummm, didn’t Lance build this?


Hi Tina, yes it was the previous owner who built it to the majority of what you can see here. The car was sold on to Alex the current owner in January, who's since given it a whole 'tidy up' and made small changes to suit.


I laugh when I see cars like this. A lot of motorsport tricks and gimmicks to make it look like the builder understands what they are doing.

The reason I laugh is whoever built this has no idea what tires and wheels are meant for! All of the hard work and engineering going into a tire / wheel setup that is garbage.

Builds like this are done for the internet, clout, and shows, not for practicality. Very important to remember. Nice looking car but I don't even have to bet...I know if you pushed this car it's going to handle like garbage lol. Missing the mark here on the fundamental pillars of what makes a car a car.


Hi Prodrivingdynamics,

I can tell you now that the original chap who built the car spent close to 15 years just turning it into his perfect Polo, and I don't think it's for anyone to assume what factors influenced it.

I will just say that you don't tend to see people spend so long building a car 'for clout', let alone over a decade just to impress others. If it is built for shows then he's done a fantastic job as it's an award wining car.

Also both the previous and current owners both have high performance, highly capable machines if they want to do any 'dynamic driving'. In fact the current owner has a very highly modified Audi built specifically for track duty!

Sometimes it's best not to try to justify why something has been done and just to enjoy the end result, otherwise we'd all be driving around in boring econo-boxes!

Thanks for reading :)


Had a very, very innocent white one as my first car in 2001. Nice to see them being a bit sought after now. The rear arch treatment on this one is very cool. Transforms the side-rear