‘How you do something is how you do anything’.
I’ve heard this statement a lot over the past six months, and I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to use in a feature. It’s a different way of saying ‘if you’re going to do anything you might as well do it properly’, because it’s a representation of your attention to detail and personal worth ethic.
When you’re building a car to show off your skills at well… building a car, it’s important that you execute everything to the absolute best of your ability.
This Volkswagen Golf might not be the most practical car to drive often (note: it is very much drivable), but as a rolling showcase? It’s a simply stunning example of just how far you can polish a Mk1 given the right motivation.
It has the accolades to prove it as well. So far in 2023, the project has taken home the ‘Best of Show’ awards at both South Africa’s Campfest VDUB and Toyz 4 Boyz events.That Volkswagen Builder Attention To Detail
First things first; builder Aadil Mohamed is a Mk1 Volkswagen fan through and through.“If you do not own a Mk1 you don’t know life,” he states. The fact that these cars have never really fallen out of fashion is simply a bonus.
Prior to this build, Aadil didn’t really advertise his ability to do client work. But every would-be business owner needs to take the plunge at some point, and this car represents that plunge. “It was built to show what Street Crew Customs is capable of, top to bottom, front to back,” says Aadil.
The SCS shop may be a part of his home, but don’t let that fool you – Aadil is ready to work.
For what he intended to do, a solid foundation was important. Before its tear-down and rebuild, this Mk1 belonged to an older woman who had kept the car bone stock throughout her stewardship. Aadil drove the Golf this way for quite some time before dropping in a late model 16-valve motor.
Today that motor features a steel crank, forged rods, high-comp pistons, mild cylinder head work and R8 coil packs. The individual throttle bodies are 45mm 4A-GE 20-valve units from a SA-spec Toyota Corolla RXi.
On the outside, the Volkswagen engine and its ancillaries have received a considerable amount of elbow grease, polish and paint. As it is bright green with a touch of gold flake, we really can’t say the colour palette is subdued, but it is cohesive.
In the engine bay, anything that could be cleaned up and shot green was; this includes both the engine block and close-ratio transmission casing. Even the wiper motor has been painted green, just to prove nothing was overlooked.
Not content with just paint work under the hood, Aadil took things a step further by replacing as much of the hardware as possible with stainless hex head bolts. This is something that continues throughout the entire car.
The heater and brake booster have been deleted, wires tucked and the engine bay shaved down to the deepest nook and cranny.A Candy Apple A Day
Being a rather complete, well-kept example, only a little body work was required to get the Golf ready for its fresh green respray.
Panel and paint is an area where Street Crew Customs excels, and the proof of their workmanship in this arena truly shines everywhere you look around the car.
The exterior trim is a combination of restored pieces and new old stock (NOS) items imported into South Africa. The wiper arms, for example, were hand-polished by Aadil himself.
The vintage AA RSA badge is an original piece that has been restored. It’s not perfect, but given its age looks right at home on the refreshed grille.
The car wears colour-matched number plates adorned with the project’s name, ‘Emotion’.
And yes, the name is a pull from the 16-inch Work Ewing Emotion wheels the Golf tucks up under its stock-but-rolled fenders when the suspension is aired out.
The restored wheels are wrapped in very stretched 165-section tires.
The center caps feature a modified version of the origin ‘Emotion’ insignia, something Aadil was happy he could lean on his graphic design background for to recreate.Down To The Core
Inside, genuine leather has been employed throughout. The centre console is a Street Crew Customs one-off piece that runs between bucket seats that have been reshaped from their seat frames up.
Aadil also manufactures home and garden furniture in the same shop the vehicle was built, which goes a long way to explain the extent to which the interior was re-modelled.
There simply isn’t a single interior surface that hasn’t been given a custom touch.
The tan, black, green and polish colour set works just as well outside as it does inside with careful selection of which colours go where.
Choosing green for the hard lines and chassis x-bar really accents the rest of the interior work and prevents everything from looking too similar.
Rather impressively this is the first hardline setup Street Crew Customs has done. Hard lines can be more than a little tricky the first time through, which makes this tidy setup all the more commendable.
The inclusion of a rather extensive Targa audio system is a nice touch. There are still many circles where a show car isn’t deemed complete without a proper in-car entertainment system in place.
Mk1 experts will also notice that pop-out windows have been added, a detail the Golf did not come with from factory.
Last, but certainly not least is the hole that’s been cut into the roof for one of the largest sliding rag tops I have ever seen.
It’s hard not to be impressed by anyone that doesn’t blink when it comes to cutting a massive hole in the roof of their car.
From the start of this Mk1 Golf’s 2021 rebuild, Aadil’s goal was to show the world exactly what Street Crew Customs was capable of given absolute creative freedom. I’d say they’ve done a rather fine job demonstrating exactly what they can do in the realm of building a show vehicle, wouldn’t you?
Photography by Stefan Kotzé