The Ultimate Mk1 Golf Customisation And Restoration Guide


Volkswagen’s iconic Golf is the firm’s flagship model. It first went on sale back in 1974; that’s over 40 years ago! The Golf is now in its seventh generation. But did you know that there are plenty of enthusiasts driving around in the original mk1 Golf?

I guess the reason you are reading this blog post today is because you are thinking of buying a mk1 Golf. Or maybe you have already! You might also be wondering how to bring it into the 21st century. It can be tricky to do that without being anything more than subtle with your customizations.


The good news is that there are plenty of ways to restore and customize a mk1 Golf. Here are some examples of the most-common things people do:

Stripping back to bare metal

If you are buying a classic car like the Volkswagen Golf mk1, you will be naive to think that your car won’t have any rotting metal. A car this old is bound to have a few rust patches, and you might even come across bodged repair jobs from previous owners!

Before you start building your dream Golf, the first step is to strip it back until it’s just a rolling shell. At this point, you will be able to assess which parts of the chassis and bodywork need attention.

Some people sandblast the metal, as this will expose any vulnerable bits of metal. Others might use a grinder, but that method takes longer.


Once you have got the chassis and bodywork sorted out, it’s time to give your pride and joy a few coats of paint! Unless you do this for a living, I recommend you get a body shop to do the work for you.

At this point, you might be wondering whether to go with the original colour or choose a different one. It’s a decision that you need to make for yourself. Some people prefer the original colour for the sake of consistency. Whereas others might want a nice new colour to protect their mk1.


There are two options you can go with. You can rebuild the original engine your mk1 came with, or you can upgrade.

If you are going down the restoration route, I recommend rebuilding the original engine so that it works like new. But if you fancy an upgrade, there are plenty of engine choices you can opt for.

Brian from the Imperial Car Supermarket tells me that a lot of mk1 owners upgrade to the 1.8 T engine found in newer Golfs. If you have got cash to burn, how about a brand new 2.0 TFSI engine? Or even something crazy like a V6?


New carpets and seat retrims are a common choice among restorers. Some folks fit GTi seats and get them retrimmed in leather whereas others might fit seats from newer Golfs. I’d also advise installing a modern Bluetooth-ready DAB stereo system at this point.

Have you restored a mk1 Golf? If so, what things have you done to your pride and joy?

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