Page 1

Refined and refreshed First drive of the new Polo Motorsport Thrills and spills in the ADAC VW Polo Cup

newsletter 22

Members of the Association of British VW Clubs

Series 2/2F celebrated How the second Polo generation became VW’s best-seller

Wolfsburg wonders more VW AutoMuseum treasures

second coming Out of this world! One man’s time-travelling 1984 Polo coupé

Polo 1981 to 1990 buyer’s guide All you need to know

what’s in

summer 2005

Cover Story  Our Polo 30th birthday celebrations continue in this issue, with the Series 2/2F cars built between 1981 and 1994

contents issue 22 06 model history

The Series 1 VW Polo set the pace and the pressure was on Volkswagen to deliver when its successor hit the road in 1981.We look at the major Series 2 variations


16 wolfsburg wonders Pristine examples of mid-’90s Polos at VW’s German home


19 out of this world Peter Lowther’s stunningly original 1983 Polo Coupé

24 the odd couple Two Series 2 Polos that offer different takes on tuning

26 refined and refreshed




First drive of the new, revamped Polo for 2006 variants

30 redefined racers The first six races of the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup

34 personal passions Two members of the team introduce their personal cars

30 24 34

comment We continue our coverage of Polo heritage this issue, with a history of the Series 2 and 2F models made between 1981 and 1994. The 13-year production run must qualify as one of the longest in Volkswagen's recent history. Essentially a rebodied Series 1, the second-generation Polo soon encompassed a three-tier range, including sports and saloon variants. Carrying on the success story of the earlier model, the motoring press plaudits were (in most quarters) as positive as for the Series 1. In the mid-1980s it was the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK, and throughout its life saw what must be the most number of special edition models a car range has ever had! Although a comprehensive reworking in 1990 saved it for another four years, the basic chassis was as the Series 1 launched 15 years previously, and by 1994 the competition had caught up, and a new interpretation was desperately needed. Its place in Polo history is deserved though, not least because it was the longest-serving The Series 2/2F’s generation, but also because it was, for place in Polo many of us, our introduction into Polo history is wellmotoring. I owned both a 1986 hatchback deserved, especially and a modified Coupé S, and even though because it was, for my current 'hack' is a 1994 moderately many of us, our fettled Coupé GT, on the right road and in introduction into the right 'groove', it's still a great deal of fun Polo motoring for a car which must now be approaching its twilight years. Yes, it’s firm-riding, noisy at times, but I admire it. Another Series 2 Polo fan is Peter Lowther, whose pristine 1984 coupé is featured in this issue. Having owned the car since it was new, he has a genuine passion for it, and I believe that such an original example won't be seen for some time to come. The little Mars Red car is a real time capsule of where the Polo was at in the early 1980s, and it's no wonder that Peter is proud of it. The latest chapter of Volkswagen's small car success story was launched on June 10. We recently tested the new Polo, and can report that it continues to uphold the traditional qualities for which the car is known. It should not present a problem for VW UK to sell the 36,000 cars that they have forecast. The revised car is a refined, nimble, and well-engineered item, which should see the model through to the next all-new version, rumoured to appear in 2008. Of course, it will also add to that impressive Polo lineage, especially when the long-awaited GTI model makes an appearance. Yes, we were told by VW UK that it has officially been confirmed, and will tote at least 148bhp and should mimic the Golf GTI in looks. We drove the iconic hot Golf in DSG form recently too, and if the Polo drives as well, Volkswagen will have another emphatic winner. VWPR

VWPOLO REGISTER newsletter 22 Editor/design Richard Gooding Sub Editor Tony Lo Chairman Nigel Middleton Contributors this issue John Brown and Gary Willoughby Photographic resources this issue Richard Gooding, Tony Lo, and Volkswagen Group The VW Polo Register Newsletter is published for members of the VW Polo Register and is wholly independent of Volkswagen AG/UK and its subsidiaries. © VW Polo Register 2005 Editorial address VW Polo Register 10 Highwood Manor 21 Constitution Hill Ipswich Suffolk IP1 3RG Chair address VW Polo Register 25 Queen’s Road Sandy Bedfordshire SG19 1HD VW Polo Register Online E-mail contacts richard nigel info



AutoMuseum Polos go the distance on ‘oldies’ run

Polo 9N tuning from Mattig >> The latest 9N offerings from the German tuning firm are a ‘clean look’ front spoiler, front sports grille, side sills, a rear apron plus a range of roof spoiler options. Mattig also offer KW coilover suspension, 18-inch alloys fitted with 215/35 R 18 tyres, and various custom interior parts including sports steering wheels, coloured leather gear knobs and handbrake lever covers. Fit-to-footwell aluminium floor mats and performance instrument gauges are also available to enhance the cabin. Interested? Visit for more details. VWPR

On Sunday 26 June, a pair of Polos from the AutoMuseum Volkswagen completed a long-distance run for older cars. Part of the Creme 21 Youngtimer Rallye, the ‘Tour 21’ began in Hamburg on Thursday 26 May, and ended at the Volkswagen Autostadt complex on Saturday 28 May. Only cars of twenty-one years or older are permitted on the road ‘race’ and Volkswagen fielded two of its ‘heritage’ Polos that we have featured in the newsletter. The Dakota Beige first generation car and a Tornado Red Polo Coupé GT (featured in this issue, page 16) took part this year. The two Polos competed in a multicoloured participant field with many contemporary cars from the time: Porsche 911s, a Volkswagen Scirocco, and the first Audi 100 among others. The route took in the VW plant at Chemnitz. VWPR

German and UK magazine ‘Best’ awards prove that older Polo is still a winner The outgoing Polo has added yet more awards to its trophy cabinet, continuing the trend set since the original model’s introduction in 1975. Leading German motoring magazine auto motor und sport polled over 108,000 readers. The results were maybe not that surprising – Volkswagen had three models which came top of their respective categories. The Polo took first place in the small car class by a long margin, with 34.4 per cent of the votes. This was a repeated showing – it has also been the case in previous years. The car was also top of its class for the number of registrations.

Photography Volkswagen Kommunication


Meanwhile, UK magazine Auto Express placed the previous Polo 1.4 TDI top in its ‘Britain’s Top 50 best value cars’ survey. The publication’s road test team and HSBC Vehicle Finance compared the data available on every new car on sale in the UK. This was amalgamated into four categories – price, pence per mile, residual value, and fuel economy – and each car was rated on a sliding scale. The cheapest and most efficient models scored the highest marks. Price and economy were rated out of 20, while pence per mile and residual value were scored out of 30, giving a total of 100 points. In each instance, only the best value model from an individual range was featured – all of the others were deleted. The Polo scored 86 points out of 100, beating the field. VWPR


New Polo arrives in the UK

Photography Volkswagen Kommunication

The new Polo has finally hit UK shores, having been on sale since June 10. Bearing the recently-introduced VW family face first seen on the new Passat, it now gets the grown-up look it deserved from the original launch in 2001. New rear lamps and a redesigned tailgate differentiate the rear from the outgoing car. Prices start at £7,495 for the 1.2-litre E model with 55 PS, rising to £15,290 for the range-topping 1.9-litre TDI model developing 130 PS. See page 26 for our first driving impressions. VWPR

...and is also ready to race

The racing version of the new model (right) has been tearing up German race tracks with the ADAC VW Polo Cup wowing audiences at top circuits around the country. Debuting in April, see page 30 for our report on the season so far.

More manuals from Haynes Leading UK automotive book publishers Haynes Publishing has recently launched a new addition to the VW Polo family range of manuals. The new title, Volkswagen Polo Hatchback Petrol, 2000 to Jan 2002 (V to 51 registration) features all the usual and useful features of the other renowned Haynes manuals, including step-by-step procedures with hundreds of illustrations and photographs; ‘Tools Tips’ for saving time and money; ‘Haynes Hints’ providing invaluable short cuts and professional know how; ‘Spanner Ratings’ signifying how difficult a task is; easy fault diagnosis, maintenance, and servicing sections; and wiring diagrams. New developments include ‘MoT Test Check’, ‘Roadside Repairs’ and ‘Glossary of Motoring Terms’ sections. Manual number 4150 (ISBN 1 88425 150 0) covers all 1.0-litre (999cc) and 1.4-litre (1390cc) petrol-engined cars, including 16V. The volume does not cover GTI, Saloon/Classic, Estate or Caddy models. Available from the VW Polo Register website at (click on the ‘Haynes Manuals’ link), it is also offered direct from Haynes at VWPR

Photo Christopher Foster

GTI International on the move >> ‘The UK’s largest gathering of water-cooled VWs and Audis’ is changing venues for 2006. After two years of bad weather and a ‘remote location’, GTI International 2006 will be held at the central Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground next year, close to junction 20 of the M1. The date is new too – after more than 17 years, the event will be staged in June (17/18), rather than the traditional May. This was brought about partly by this year’s clash with the equally longstanding annual GTI festival in Austria. VWPR SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 05

model history

second coming The Series 1 VW Polo set the pace and redefined the premium small car when it was launched in 1975. The pressure was on Volkswagen to deliver when its successor hit the road in 1981. In what was to become a marathon thirteen-year production run (with a major updating in 1990), the company delivered the goods. We look back at the major variations on the Series 2 Polo theme and chronicle the model’s history from 1981 to 1994 Story Richard Gooding Photography Volkswagen Media Services/Volkswagen UK 06 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

model history


he Series 2 Polo launched to an expectant and hungry press in Sardinia in September 1981. Building on the solid, refined and quality foundations of its predecessor, it was based on the same chassis and mechanicals, but both internal and external dimensions had grown. Radically, VW had given its smallest car a different look, with the new model resembling a small estate. It was given its public debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in October. Commonly referred to as the ‘squareback’, it was introduced into the UK as a three-tier range. The range started with the basic C model, rising through the midrange CL, and topping off with the plush GL. The 895cc engine of the previous generation had been developed into a 1043cc unit producing 45bhp. This powered the C, while CL and GL models had the 1093cc engine from their predecessor. Volkswagen also expanded on the ‘Formel E’ fuel economy system first introduced on the Series 1 LX. Powered by the 1093cc high-compression engine, it ran on four-star petrol, developed 50bhp, and had a wideratio 3+E gearbox with a fuel consumption indicator. The C model kicked off the new range at £3799, with the range-topping GL costing £4574. The previous generation almost proved to be too much of a success, as while most of the motoring press praised the new car, rivals had caught up. Many thought the new car was no longer the standard setter it once was. Autocar & Motor reported in its road test of the Polo GL that: ‘The new Polo is an excellent little car, but by no means is it streets ahead of the competition in any respect.’ Early in 1982, the hatchback was joined by a complimentary model. The Polo Classic – the successor to the Derby – was launched first (still known as the Derby in Germany), and the launch press pack promised ‘more striking styling and an air of greater selfconfidence’. The range mirrored that of the Polo hatchback, but the C and CL models were powered by the 1093cc engine, while the GL was powered by a 60bhp unit. The car had a different face to the bread and butter Polo too, with two square headlamps, replacing the hatch’s circular units. The Formel E had a rear spoiler (as did the hatch equivalent), while GL versions of both the hatchback and Classic boasted headlight washers, twintone horn and internally adjustable door mirrors. Prices for the Classic started at £3975 for the C, rising to £4798 for the GL. Both bodystyles missed out on the brake servo fitted to their continental cousins, due to the lack of room on the right-hand side of the engine bay. Opposite page: by the end of 1982, Volkswagen marketed a three-tier Polo range. Hatchback (top) arrived first in 1981, followed by saloon (middle) and coupé (bottom) in 1982

Many buyers missed the old ‘fastback’ shape of the now defunct Series 1 – something which VW wasn’t prepared for. It responded to this criticism when it launched the Polo Coupé. Although not a coupé in the truest sense of the word, it was just as practical as the hatchback version, with the emphasis being more on the sporty nature of the new variant. First appearing at the 1982 Paris Motor Show in September, the Polo Coupé took its sporting cues from its big brother, the Golf GTI. All models featured a distinct rakish and sporty look, devoid of the utilitarian appearance of the hatchback version. Externally, the new model boasted a red-trimmed grille, front and rear spoilers, wheel arch spats, black plastic trim around the rear window and rear numberplate surround, blackpainted sills with plastic covers, and 5.5J x 13” steel wheels fitted with 165/65 SR 13 tyres. The car was available in two trim levels on the Continent: ‘Coupé’ and ‘Coupé GT’, while the UK market only received it in ‘Coupé’ trim when it arrived in January 1983. Three engines powered the coupé range. The tried and trusted 1,093cc unit developing 50bhp was installed into the base ‘Coupé’ version (and all UK cars); the 1272cc 60bhp Series 1 Polo GT engine powered a second ‘Coupé’ version, while the range-topping ‘Coupé GT’ had 75bhp, courtesy of a development of the same engine. Whereas the 60bhp engine developed its peak power at 5600rpm, the new unit’s peak output arrived at 5800rpm. All versions were fitted with four-speed gearboxes. Faster than the Series 1, the Series 2 Coupé GT dashed to 62mph in 11.5 seconds, even though it was around 50kg heavier, now weighing 730kg. The UK launch price for the 50bhp ‘Coupé’car was £4985. The new model pairing of notchback and fastback bolstered the Polo’s image and made the range one of the biggest in the market – production figures hit the 1,000,000th car milestone. The first special-edition model arrived in 1983. The CX hatchback featured the 50bhp engine, and could count Pearl Silver bodywork, colourmatched alloy wheels and ‘Glencheck’ upholstery among its extra refinements. Model revisions first took place in 1984. The Classic CL and GL had a new 1272cc, 55bhp engine fitted, which also found new service in the Polo Coupé, replacing the previous 1093cc model - it now cost £5071. The UK’s sportiest Polo now did the 0-60mph dash in 14.2 seconds. A new continental-only model was made available below this car, the ‘Coupé’ name having been re-used on a 1043cc powered base model. The specification was similar to the regular Polo C hatchback. The recently-released, special-edition Polo LX hatchback also had this new engine. Costing £4598, this new model had low-profile tyres, rear hatch spoiler and  SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 07

model history

Different strokes (clockwise from main picture): Series 2 Polo interior simple but effective: saloon had square headlamps and huge boot; coupé boasted rear spoiler; engines based on Polo 1’s; coupé interior; coupé and hatchback tails

 twin colour-keyed door mirrors. Interior fitments included

a centre console, door pockets, three-spoke sports steering wheel and sports seats trimmed in ‘Chintz’ cotton/ polyester fabric. The hatchback range was to expand still, with the addition of a new basic model. Named simply Polo, this new base-model car was to be found lacking the twin door mirrors, head restraints, luggage cover and additional items of extra equipment of the C. With the addition of this model, the range now started at £3695. The Formel E models now had the 1272cc 55bhp engine and an automatic stop-start system fitted. This stopped the car when the car was in neutral, restarting when first or reverse was selected. Revised trim included flush-fitting quarter-light windows for extra fuel economy! Another special-edition model was released in 1984, the Coupé CX, costing £4690. This variant featured special ‘Rallycheck’ upholstery on padded seats, 1043cc engine, 155/70 SR 13 tyres and full sports instrumentation. During the first 11 months of 1984, coupés accounted for 9 per cent of the 30,787 Polos 08 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

sold, saloons 14 per cent, and hatchbacks made up the remaining 77 per cent. Model changes for 1985 included the upgrading of the C specification of the Polo hatchback. It now gained the wraparound rear window spoiler of the Formel E, blacktrimmed door pillars, ‘Glencheck’ upholstery, cigarette lighter and GL instrument panel featuring an analogue clock and trip mileage recorder. The Polo Classic was renamed the Polo Saloon (the Derby tag having been dropped in Germany), and now gained the circular headlamps of the hatch and coupé. Yet another special model was launched. The Polo Coupé Boulevard was an-all white coupé model and featured colour-keyed bumpers, wheel-arch extensions, hubcaps, and front and rear spoilers. Interior refinements included velour carpeting, tinted glass, sports steering wheel and height adjustable driver’s seat. The coupé range itself was also realigned. The 1272cc Polo Coupé was renamed Coupé S. This now featured sports seats, twin-headlight grille (fitted with either driving lights or fog lamps), digital clock and a three-spoke sports steering wheel. Launch price was £5654. Volkswagen was also experimenting with boosting the Polo’s engine outputs, and at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show exhibited a Polo coupé fitted with a small supercharger. Named the Polo Coupé GT G40, it developed 115bhp and was marked for a limited production run. Referred to by VW as the G-Läder after its spiral displacer shape, the revolutionary supercharger

model history spiral only measured 40mm, and therefore lent its name to the car’s designation. Based on the continental 75bhp Coupé GT, its suspension was lowered by 20mm, and the all-important fuel-injection/ignition electronics package was the Digifant system used in the post-1988 Series 2 Golf GTI. Performance was outstanding for a car of this type, with 0-62mph coming up in under 9 seconds, and a top speed of 120mph. The model appeared the same as the other Polo coupés, but was fitted with ‘Hockenheim’ 13” alloy wheels and 175/60 R 13 H tyres, a deeper slotted front spoiler to let air into the low-mounted intercooler, and ‘GT G40’ badging. Three specially-modified factory cars were also used to make successful attempts on two 1300cc endurance world records at the Ehra-Lessien test track. An average speed of 208.1 km/h over 24 hours established the GT G40 as a force to be reckoned with, and VW used the advance publicity to market the cars. A one-make European racing series was also used to turn initial public interest into sales figures. For 1986, the 1043cc and 1272cc engines were overhauled and now included new valvegear and a fivebearing camshaft, hydraulic tappets and an automatic choke. The 1043cc unit was fitted into the Polo C, the Saloon C and the Coupé Fox; the new trim which superseded the Coupé. This new base-model variant featured colour-keyed wheel trims, special ‘Fox’ decals and upholstery, and contrasting bumper piping. A new 4+E gearbox was now standard on the Polo Formel E models, as was the addition of a standard radio. This gearbox was available as an option on the Coupé S, while the Polo GL hatchback now had the 1272cc engine, 155/70 13 tyres and full-size flush wheel trims. In true VW tradition, another special value model was launched. Only 2000 Polo Rangers were to be imported. A UK-only model, it was based on the Polo C hatchback, albeit fitted with the 1272cc 55bhp engine. Extra equipment included roof rails, sports seats, rev counter, digital clock, driver’s seat height adjuster, three-spoke steering wheel, four-headlamp grille and black wheel trims. The Polo Saloon GL was dropped from the range. All of this activity would continue the smallest VW’s good reputation – production figures were now 2,000,000 and counting, and the car was the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK. Changes to the UK Polo ranges were minimal for 1987. The Polo Ranger gained alloy wheels and became the range-topping hatchback model priced at £5979; the Polo CL hatchback and Saloon were fitted with the 1272cc engine; the GL hatchback was dropped from the range, while the Coupé S now had the new 4+E gearbox fitted as standard. Volkswagen also dropped the Formel E versions from all of its model ranges.

Additions (clockwise from above): Polo GT G40 was high performance range-topper in 1985; coupé Fox hit the roads in 1986 and was base-model; specialedition Ranger hatchback; 1980s Polo G40 Cup racers

The biggest news was the May launch of the first batch of road-going Polo Coupé GT G40s, destined for the German market. All 500 cars for sale were rumoured to have been bought by VW employees and proved to be a success. Not designated for export, all GT G40s were left-hand drive only. Two further production runs of 500 cars were also made - one for France and another for Germany. Wowing the international motoring press, in the April 4 edition of Motor, Michael Scarlett reported: ‘This is not a car to be denied to us here.’ It was marketed in Germany for around £6500. Volkswagen bolstered the Polo’s sporting ranks with the launch of the GT hatchback. Available with both engine options, the model was again destined only for continental markets, and was something of a misnomer, lacking some of the sporting accoutrements of the coupé version. Seemingly marrying a Polo CL body and interior with the faster engines, standard equipment included a twin-headlamp grille, sports steering wheel, rev-counter and 4J x 13” alloy wheels. As with the equivalent coupé models, it was available with both 55 and 75bhp units.  SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 09

model history  1988 was a relatively quiet year for the now seven year-old Series 2. All four-speed versions of the CL hatchback, C saloon and coupé were dropped. Minor trim changes also followed. The prices now started at £4929 for the base-model Polo hatchback rising to £6980 for the Coupé S. The Coupé S now had ‘Hockenheim’ alloy wheels as standard, while the Ranger also had alloys fitted as standard, being the earlier design offered on the special-edition CX. The final flourish in 1988 saw the introduction of the Polo Twist and Polo Boulevard special models. The Twist was based on the base-model hatch and featured full-size and colour-keyed wheel trims, twin exterior mirrors, clock, and carpeted rear parcel shelf. The Boulevard name was resurrected for the special Polo coupé and featured colour-keyed bumpers and wheel trims, tinted glass, twin headlights, upgraded stereo and internally-adjustable door mirrors. The last full year of Series 2 Polo production was 1989. All models gained tinted glass, while the Fox name was introduced on the entry-level Polo hatchback. Trimmed as the coupé version, it replaced the base-model car. The Polo Match was introduced, and was another special model, similar in trim to the Twist of 1988. Unknown to the public at the time, production of the original Series 2 Polo range was to be ended in September of 1990, so revisions were plentiful. In an inspired and mould-breaking fashion, Volkswagen introduced the Polo Catalyst range. All 1043cc models of the range were fitted with a three-way Euro catalytic converter, which cut emissions from the engine. Trim was as the C-spec cars.

Special hatchbacks: Fox (above) was base-model car, which continuously evolved since it was introduced in 1984; Polo Classic (left) became the Polo Saloon in 1985, with the Derby tag dropped 10 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

The final special models of the original Series 2 range were launched in 1990, the Polo Country and the Polo Coupé Parade. The Country was a hatchback model fitted with the 1043cc engine and trimmed with such luxuries as tinted glass, five metallic paint finishes, twin headlights, rear window spoiler, glass sunroof and special ‘Country’ rear side window decals. The Parade was a coupé-only model and was fitted with a choice of 1043 and 1272cc engines, the latter being available with a five-speed gearbox. This model boasted tinted glass, twin headlights, rubbing strips and special ‘Parade’ coachline graphics. Like the Boulevard of 1988, the bumpers and wheel-arch extensions were colourkeyed in red or white paint finishes, while the two blue colours offered had standard items. In March 1990, VW Motoring magazine had published first details and an artist’s impression of what the ‘new Polo’ was to look like. It was to appear only seven months later. With its public world debut at the British International Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham, the heavilyrevised Series ‘2F’ Polo was launched in October 1990. Looking similar to the cars the new ranges replaced, the baby VW had undergone major re-engineering. Although it was essentially a facelift of the Series 2, chassis, suspension and cosmetic/interior changes marked the coming of the new model. A totally all-new model was really what was needed, but this was not to be ready for another four years. Launched in the three Series 2 variants – hatchback, saloon and coupé – all models now had integrated, square headlamps, deeper remodelled plastic bumpers and chunkier rear end styling. The interior boasted a new, Passat-style dashboard, which was much more in keeping with the ‘grown-up’ image, new trims and fabrics, and new full-size door cards that left no bare metal on display. The engine options were carried over from the previous range, but following on from the Catalyst models earlier that year and upcoming emissions legislation, all now had fuel injection and catalytic converters – a first for the UK small-car market. The range started with the 1043cc Polo Fox, rose through the Polo CL and topped off with the Polo GT, boasting a 1272cc 75bhp engine. All of the new models also gained servo-assisted brakes, answering criticism over the previous generation models. For the first time, the hatchback and coupé models were also priced identically trim-for trim. All trim levels were sold in these popular bodystyles, with the slow-selling saloon being marketed in CL trim only. The Polo Fox started the range, costing £6500 and was fitted with the 1043cc 45bhp engine with Monomotronic single-point fuel injection. Specification included a four-speed gearbox, as was a three-spoke steering wheel, along with what

model history Revised: ‘new’ Polo was launched in 1990 and featured new front and rear styling; new dashboard; Polo Saloon sold in limited numbers

Sporty: new Polo range featured GT (red car) and Coupé G40

The engine featured ‘Digifant’ multi-point fuel-injection as used on the Series 2 Polo Coupé GT G40 and was therefore smooth and extremely pokey. The GT featured many sporting accents as standard. Red piping in the bumpers, wheel arch extensions, rev-counter, sports seats, low-profile tyres (155/70 SR 13 on hatchback and 165/ 65 SR 13 on coupé), wheel trims with black centres, black ‘VW’ badging, ‘GT’ grille badge, driver’s seat height adjustment and a three-spoke sports steering wheel were all to be found as standard. However, there was still yet more to come. In July 1991 the Series 2F Polo Coupé G40 was introduced to the UK and immediately jumped feet first into the ‘hot hatch’ arena. This previously continental-only car now produced 113bhp (a catalyst was to blame for the 2bhp drop on previous versions), and technically, was the same as the original mid-1980s models. Acceleration was a claimed 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds, must be the most garish interior trim VW has ever with the quoted top speed being 120mph. Differences produced - a combination of cerise, mint green and grey over the GT included 65 per cent harder front springs, striping covering the door panels and seats! 25mm lowered suspension and ball joints replacing the The CL was the next rung up the Polo ladder. Engine standard rubber bushings on the trackrods and inner track options were the 1043cc and 1272cc units, producing 45 control arms. Rolling stock was 5.5J x 13 BBS ‘crossand 55bhp respectively, the 1272cc units being fitted with spoke’ alloy wheels with 175/60 R 13 H tyres. Cosmetic ‘Digijet’ fuel injection. Additional exterior items over the Fox additions over the GT included a roof-mounted Golf GTIincluded rubbing strips and full-size wheel trims, which were style ‘bee sting’ aerial and special badging. Interior designed to look like alloy wheels. Interior embellishments refinements included different sports seats trimmed in ‘Le included plusher trim, a centre console, cigarette lighter, trip Mans’ cloth trim. Priced at £11,568, the G40 was not an mileage recorder and a vanity mirror on the passenger sun especially cheap car, and was only a few hundred pounds visor. A five-speed gearbox was an optional extra, but was less than the then run-out Series 2 Golf GTI. Autocar & standard fitment on the 1398cc 48bhp diesel model which Motor reported: ‘The addition of a supercharger has was available in CL trim on the Continent. It had been a transformed the Polo from a self-effacing town car into a feature of the European Polo range since 1986. brawny GTI basher’, praising the technical engineering of A brace of sporting models previously unavailable in the the torquey engine. UK were to be at the top of the new Polo range tree. The The range was to stay the same until September 1991. range-topping Polo until July 1991 was the GT. This was Resurrecting the Boulevard name yet again, Volkswagen based on the previous European versions that could first introduced the first UK special model. Costing £6948 and trace their roots back to 1982. Costing £8990, it was available in Caribbean Green or Cerise paint finishes, the powered by a 75bhp version of the 1272cc unit, could car came with additions such as an upgraded Blaupunkt reach 107mph, and was fitted with a five-speed gearbox. stereo, Polo G40 steering wheel, CL wheel trims, centre  SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 11

model history hatchback or coupé variants, Britain was one of the last markets to continue selling this slow-selling model. When sales ended, over 57,781 notchback Derbys and Polos had been sold in the UK since 1977. The GT hatchback was also discontinued at this time. Another special-edition model was launched in 1993. The Genesis was based on the Fox and was again available in both hatchback and coupé variants. Engine choice was the same as the CL, with 1043 and 1272cc units being available. Extra equipment over the other models included ‘Modekaro’ upholstery, rev counter, digital clock and sports steering wheel from the GT/G40, tinted glass, 155/70 SR 13 tyres, removable upgraded stereo, and a steel sliding sunroof. One minor omission on this model was the lack of a glovebox lid. Other detail model changes for the final full year of revised Series 2 production included new upholstery for the CL and GT, and the addition of door-mounted side impact beams for all models, offering greater side-impact protection. The G40 was made special order only. The penultimate special model was the Boulevard (now in its fourth incarnation). Based on the £500 cheaper Fox and priced at £6995, the specification included the 1043cc engine, ‘Jubilee’ upholstery, special door pillar trim, lidded glovebox, centre console, door pockets, Special editions (clockwise height-adjustable driver’s seat, passenger sun visor with from top): Genesis was vanity mirror, upgraded removable stereo, and CL wheel UK-only model sold in 1993 trims. It was available in both hatchback and coupé guises. had extra equipment; The Series 2F was last produced in 1994. The all-new Genesis interior featured car that VW had promised four years earlier finally ‘Modekaro’ upholstery; 1993 Polo G40 road car and arrived. The range was trimmed considerably, with the racer in the VW Polo G40 Cup hatchback being available in Fox, Boulevard and CL trim levels – the Genesis having been discontinued. The coupé  console, an analogue clock, and special interior trim. It was also available in these variants, in addition to the Genesis. was powered by the 1043cc engine. Celebrations also The GT joined the G40 as a special order only model. heralded the 3,000,000th Polo to be produced. The The final swansong for the Series 2F was the public seemed to take to the re-fettled model, but in a introduction of two ‘run-out’ models, both of which took road test of the 1.3 CL Coupé, Autocar & Motor names from earlier Series 2 Polo special models. The reported that: ‘Facelifts may get rid of the wrinkles, but ‘Match’ was priced at £5766 and was based on the they cannot remove the years. To compete against an ever 1043cc Fox. Incorporating £640 of extras, the car was stronger array of opponents, VW needs an all-new baby available in both remaining bodystyles. The extras over the and this isn’t it.’ Fox included special ‘Match’ graphics, Sport Räder 1 Model revisions for 1992 saw the Fox gain a passenger alloy wheels, factory-fitted radio and a choice of two new sun visor, while this model and the 1043cc CL now had colours. The Polo ‘Parade’ differed from the Match, as it internally-adjustable door mirrors (the CL also getting a was based on the 1043cc Polo CL. Again, available in driver’s seat height adjuster). The G40 had clear front both bodystyles, the cost of this model was £6267. Like indicators and partially darkened rear light clusters fitted to its new stablemate, it included optional equipment (worth differentiate it from the other models in the range. March £520) and cost £430 less than the Boulevard. The car 1992 saw VW announce a ten-round racing series featuring gained Sport Räder 1 alloy wheels, wider tyres, tinted specially-prepared racing versions of the Polo G40. glass, ‘Parade’ graphics, a choice of four new body colours Called the ‘Volkswagen Polo G40 Cup’ it was to run and a Sony radio/cassette with removable front panel. for three seasons. But perhaps the most significant change The last Series 2F Polos rolled off the Spanish production for 1992 was that the Polo Saloon was dropped from lines that had built them in August 1994, and made way production. Never selling in the same volumes as the for its more refined and grown-up successor. VWPR 12 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

model history specifications Model Polo coupé*/coupé GT**/coupé G40*** Displacement (cc) 1272/1272/1272 Power output 55bhp @ 5400rpm/ 75bhp @ 5900rpm/113bhp @ 6000rpm Maximum torque 70lb ft @ 3300rpm/ 73lb ft @ 3600rpm/ 113lb ft@ 3600-4400rpm Fuel system Down draught, dual barrel carburettor/digifant fuel injection/digifant fuel injection with supercharger Top speed (mph) 95/ 107/122 0-60mph (seconds) 14.2 /12.1/8.1 Brakes Discs (front), drums (rear) Wheels 5.5 J x 13 rims (*/**steel/***BBS alloy) Tyres 165 65 R 13/165 65 R 13/175 60 R 13 Unladen weight 730/785/830 Dimensions (l/w/h mm)*3655/1590,1355/ **,***3730/1570/1350 *1984/**1990/***1991

sales figures UK sales figures: Polo hatchback (units) 1981 96; 1982 19,966; 1983 26,167; 1984 24,221; 1985 24,217; 1986 26,582; 1987 25,766; 1988 27,338; 1989 25,949; 1990 19,642; 1991 24,107; 1992 19,885; 1993 16,584 (Total Polo 2: 219,565; Total Polo 2F: 60,955). UK sales figures: Polo saloon (units) 1981 3,987 (including Derby); 1982 3,681; 1983 4,518; 1984 4,448; 1985 3,912; 1986 3,267; 1987 3,101; 1988 2,237; 1989 2,739; 1990 1,965*; 1991 1,524; 1992 837(Total Polo 2: 36,165; Total Polo 2F: 2,412). (*of which 2F: 51). UK sales figures: Polo coupé (units) 1982 8; 1983 2,021; 1984 2,676; 1985 3,360; 1986 2,942; 1987 2,353; 1988 2,288; 1989 2,162; 1990 3,704**; 1991 11,624; 1992 11,534; 1993 11,309 (Total Polo 2: 21,149; Total Polo 2F: 34,832). (**of which 2F: 365).

the specials The thirteen-year period from 1981 to 1994 were the most prolific for special editions of the Polo. This you would probably expect, but at last count, over 34’special’ models were released! Focused around the more popular hatchback and coupé variants, all were basically base- or mid-spec cars with different interior and exterior trim details, wheel designs, unique colours, and equipment taken with a ‘pick and mix’ approach. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but typically shows the most popular. 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1992

SP; coupé with 40bhp; CX (UK)/Pearl Silver Fox; Coupé CX, LX (UK) Coupé Shopping; Coupé Boulevard; Bunny Ranger (UK); Movie Fancy Fancy II; Twist; Bel Ami Azur; Jeton; Match (UK) Beach Universal; Coupé Genesis; Tropic, Yes (France); Fantasy; Mikado; Laura Ashley 1993 Boulevard; Style; Scot Edition; Extra; GT Extra; Pretty (France) 1994 Match, Parade (UK)

The specials (clockwise from top right): the Polo Fancy first appeared in 1987 and was reprised in 1988; the Polo Laura Ashley was added in 1992 and featured a matching picnic hamper; 1990 Polo Beach brochure After adding the limited runs of Series 2 Coupé GT G40s and the city vans of 1985 and 1993 to these, it becomes obvious that variety was certainly the spice of the Series 2/ 2F’s life (and may have helped to prolong it)! Some are notable through name alone (‘Shopping’,‘Fancy’,‘Yes’), while others through their rarity – the Polo Laura Ashley was a coupé limited to 300 units with special trim, wooden steering wheel, and Laura Ashley picnic hamper. VWPR


advertising history

W Quality sells.

The Polo in advertising: 1980s Volkswagen’s advertising is legendary, with some of the most memorable campaigns ever created. Over the last thirty years, the ads for the Polo have been multi-award winners, and in the second of a four-part series, we look at the Series 2 campaigns


hen the early press advertisements for the Series 2 Polo broke, quality and reliability seemed to be the major selling points. Still masterminded by agency DDB, headlines such as ‘And you were going to spend £4,000 more on a big car?’ heralded the new cars’ arrival, and also played on the ‘big car feel’ promoted by the new models' predecessor. Another proclaimed ‘We never lower our standards. Or drop them.’ It featured a Polo Classic being ‘dropped’ into it. This of course referred to the famous late-1970s ‘Drop’ TV campaign, which starred Bert Kwouk, and where VWs were dropped into shot from above. Another showed a car turned on its side, exposing its floorpan and also its crumple zones. ‘First we protect the car. Then we protect you’ was the headline, with the chassis protection and occupant safety features marked. Adverts solely for the hatchback initially focused on its shape, stating that ‘If we cut corners, you’d lose space.’ The rear of the car had a diagonal ‘cut here’ dotted line drawn across it, along with a pair of scissors. When the coupé arrived, an ad promoting the three-tier range appeared, entitled ‘Volkswagen. Polo. Now available in three different finishes.’ Safety was the centre of promotion in the late-1980s. A double-page advert featured pictures of the hatchback body shell and also a completed car, and stated, ‘First the hard cell. Then the soft sell.’ One of the last campaigns for the pre-facelifted cars was one, which depicted a Polo ‘taken apart’ to its component parts, referring to an article in the UK’s Auto Express, where a Polo had been dismantled after 50,000 miles. The question asked by this one was 'What happens to a Polo after 50,000 miles?’ The ‘new’ Polo campaigns from 1990 promoted the cars' new-found ‘green’ credentials. The fitment of catalytic converters was a UK small car first. ‘All new Polos come with a catalytic converters as standard’ and ‘It won’t take your breath away’ heralded this new ecoconsciousness. The AA breakdown service had also agreed to exclusively use the new cars in its driving schools, so another ad was rolled out with a picture of a nervous learner driver, with ‘Poor steering, dodgy cornering, terrible reversing. It could only be a Volkswagen’ underneath it. The final years of Series 2F advertising focused on the value, low prices and special edition models the range offered. When the then-innovative removable radios were introduced, Volkswagen ran a campaign that depicted one such radio unit removed and shot in a studio and boasted, ‘Features include auto reverse, digital tuning and removable Volkswagen Polo.’ The special edition Genesis of 1993 was promoted on its extra equipment count, with one press advertisement proclaiming ‘So many extras, we had to give it wider tyres.’ VWPR

advertising history

Futuristic: the Blade Runner ‘Spinner’ car during its tour of the UK in the autumn of 1982

Blade Runner Blade Runner is the cult movie for numerous science fiction lovers in their thirties, who can remember actually seeing the movie at a cinema when it was first released. But back in 1982, when the movie came out, many spectators and critics where surprised by it, to such extent that the movie which had cost nearly 30 million dollars was, at first, a commercial failure. Directed by Ridley Scott (famous for Alien, 1979) and starring Harrison Ford, the audience were introduced to a very rich dark and violent world, extremely intense visually and precursory to the cyberpunk authors. Surprise was so intense that it caused numerous and unfair reactions of rejection for a movie that is still today one of the most influential in the world of science fiction. VWPR

Story Richard Gooding and Gary Willoughby/ Photography Gary Willoughby/

the Spinner has fahrvergnügen! (or the how the Volkswagen Polo was used to promote cult science fiction film Blade Runner)


n 1982, the Polo featured in a relatively high-profile advertising tie-in with cult science fiction film Blade Runner. Written by David Peoples and Hampton Fancher, and directed by Ridley Scott, the big-screen epic presented a bleak dystopic vision of Los Angeles in November 2019. Unaware that Volkswagen made a vehicle for the film, I stumbled upon tie-ins/vw/vw_and_br.php and learnt about the ‘Spinner’. A futuristic car driven by Harrison Ford’s character Deckard in the movie, it toured the UK under the arm of Volkswagen UK during August, September and October 1982. Until recently nothing was known about the English Volkswagen/Blade Runner promotional campaign, but thanks to the efforts of Gary Willoughby and Richard Gunn, the Polo can be revealed as a player in one of the most surprising advertising promotions in the early 1980s. Willoughby found that the Volkswagen/Blade Runner promotional campaign was to promote the 1983 Volkswagen Polo. The Daily Star newspaper ran a contest to win the car and advertised the new small VW as ‘Tomorrow’s Car Today’. Glancing through the ‘Exhibitors Campaign Book’ – a guide to promoting

Blade Runner at the time of its original release – it states that the Spinner was scheduled to appear at major crowd venues including national racing events and ‘will gather major media exposure.’ In association with the Daily Star, The Ladd company, Warner Bros and Volkswagen Group (UK) Ltd, a major national contest was launched on August 30 with a Volkswagen Polo as the grand prize. With the merchandising of this unlikely alliance between the film and the Polo, there were a number of promotional items distributed. A set of 6 free badges, a summer ‘adcap’ (paper visor), and matchbooks were free among the free giveaways, while press advertisements were used to promote the collaboration. The list of items available featured a press portfolio book, exhibitors campaign book, maze contest pamphlet, pamphlet (pictured below left), paper visor pictured below right), pin-up photos, and the aforementioned set of 6 badges. Willoughby thinks that Volkswagen probably approached Warner Brothers Studios to create this promotional campaign and to use the Spinner vehicle after the Blade Runner film release, but was unclear about the exact circumstances of this collaboration. Visit http:// vw_and_br.php for the full details of the promotion. VWPR


wolfsburg wonders

lessons in history We continue our coverage of Polos in the AutoMuseum Volkswagen, with the interesting collection of standard, modified, and rare Series 2/2F variations Story Richard Gooding Photography Richard Gooding and Volkswagen Media Services

wolfsburg wonders


ast issue we featured the oldest examples of Polo history from the collections in both the Volkswagen AutoMuseum and Autostadt, the recently-created playground for VW enthusiasts young and old. This issue we take a walk around the Volkswagen AutoMuseum’s collection of 1980s and 1990s cars, many of which are rare examples, one-offs or have some sort of significance to the Polo legend. On first appearance, the 1981 humble hatchback looks as though it is a very tidy example of one of the first of the second-generation Polos launched in 1981. However, it is powered by a 1093cc 40bhp diesel engine. The first Polo diesel model didn’t go into series production until 1990, and so this diesel prototype hatchback is therefore rather special. Information on the cars in the museum is very basic, with histories of the models themselves, but not of the actual individual vehicles. All we could tell from the pretty silver 1982 coupé was that it was low mileage and was one of the earliest examples, being registered in 1982 – the first year of Polo coupé production. Some of the cars in the building are sourced from enthusiasts, and so are not in the most pristine condition. If this car has been sourced that way, it was an exception – the condition was outstanding. A year later in 1983, Volkswagen built the wild Polo Sprint to evaluate rear-wheel drive handling characteristics.

Featuring a 1.9-litre flat-four Transported engine, it was truly a wild child, developing 155bhp. Body addenda adorned the exterior, with front and rear spoilers, wider wheel arch extensions and cooling ducts cut into the rear three-quarter panels. Deeper bumpers and a fuel tank mounted in the front of the car (the engine was in the back) added function to form. A custom two-seat orange and purple suede interior added to the custom feel of the car, and matched the orange flake exterior perfectly. The Polo Sprint visited the UK in 1984, when it came to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders annual test day. On past visits to the AutoMuseum, all three endurance Polo G40s have been on display, but in recent years, visitors would be lucky to see one. Built in 1985, these three cars broke two 1300cc endurance world records over 24 hours at the Ehra-Lessien test track. Having been kept in stunning condition, enthusiasts are in for a treat if one or all of them happen to be on display when a visit is made.  Packet of Polos (clockwise from left): coupé from 1982 is an early example; coupé G40 one of three endurance cars; blue 1981 1.1-litre hatchback is an early Polo diesel prototype with 40bhp

1983 Polo Sprint >> This one-off two-seat creation was created in 1983 to test rearwheel drive handling. Powered by a 1.9-litre flat-four Transporter engine with Digijet fuel injection, it developed 155bhp at 5750rpm. Wide body addenda was fitted, and the interior was a mix of custom purple and orange suede. SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 17

wolfsburg wonders

Form and function: (main picture and below) pre-production Coupé GT from 1990 features graphics used for advertising the then ‘new’ Polo. Slogans adorn the body panels, promoting the selling points of the car. It appeared in the UK at the 1990 British Motor Show at the NEC  The highest-mileage Polo in the collection is a 1989

Tornado Red Coupé GT. Again, we believe this car to be a previously-owned enthusiast car, a clue given by the ‘D’ country identifier badge on the tailgate. A very tidy example, it has over 300,000 kilometres recorded on its speedometer, and has desirable equipment including front fog lights and alloy wheels. The final and latest Series 2/2F model housed in the Volkswagen AutoMuseum is another Coupé GT. What must be a pre-production car is adorned with printed graphics used in advertising and promotion of the then ‘new’ Polo, launched in October 1990. Featuring such words as ‘economic’, ‘form’, and ‘performance’, every body panel is covered. Other interesting features include a black-painted tailgate (the rest of the car is white), and a vinyl covering to the scuttle panel under the windscreen. Like the Sprint, this car too made an appearance in the UK. Starring with the revised Polo display on the Volkswagen stand at the British Motor Show in October 1990, it was mounted on one of the NEC pillars! The collection of 1980s and 1990s Polos displayed in the AutoMuseum Volkswagen is the largest of all the Polo generations, and although all of them do not appear at any one time, a visit is still recommended. For more details of how to find this collection of rare and historical models, see the panel opposite. A visit is highly recommended. VWPR 18 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

High-mileage history: red Coupé GT has the most number of miles, with over 300,000 kilometres recorded. Fitted with alloy wheels and front fog lights, it is believed that it was once a customer or enthusiast-owned vehicle

How to get there: Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen From Hanover, (and from Hamburg on the A7), take the A2 for 60.9 km. Follow the A39, exit 58 towards Wolfsburg/Flechtorf: 0.6 km. Where this road forks, keep right: 1.0 km. Stay on the A39 for 12.4 km, and then take exit 3 towards Wolfsburg: 0.3 km. Stay on Heinrich Nordhoffstrasse road for 0.5 km and continue straight over the bridge (where the Volkswagen Autostadt is signposted to the left) into Dieselstraße. Turn left at the first set of traffic lights on a crossroads and then take the first left into the AutoMuseum car park. Total travelling time from Hanover should be just over 1 hour. The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. For further information e-mail or visit now! VWPR

personal passions Peter Lowther has owned this outstandingly original Mars Red Polo coupé for over 22 years, and has a time capsule of which he is justifiably proud

Story and photography Richard Gooding


out of this world

hen the Polo coupé was launched in January 1983, it offered yet another spin on the popular small VW. It won many admirers due to its racy baby-Scirocco looks, and appealed to many who wanted a 'sporty' Polo with all of the sensible features that the model had become known for. VW enthusiast Peter Lowther has owned this particular car for 22 years, since he became its first owner. The little Mars Red coupé came into Peter's life in September 1983, when he bought it from Maidstone Car Sales in Kent, where he worked as a workshop mechanic. Paying £4,950 for the then most-expensive small VW available, Peter added such luxuries as a full set of mudflaps, interior mats, and a radio aerial. A707 LKL served as Peter's main vehicle for a number of years, but – as might be seen from the pictures - it is not now, as he also owns a brace of newer Polos too. A 1999 1.4 Match hatchback and a 2004 Twist 1.4

TDI provide the everyday motive power, so clearly, the little red car has impressed Peter enough to continue the bloodline. As it is now only used on high days and holidays, the car is now covered by an agreed value insurance policy. I have known Peter for a number of years, and first came across the car in March 1999, when we both attended a London to Brighton VW run. I was in L307 JTM, my Polo Coupé GT, and upon arrival in Brighton, we were unsuspectingly photographed for VW Motoring magazine. The thing that struck me then about the car, and still does today, is its amazing condition. Garaged and pampered all its life, it has unsurprisingly – never been used in winter, or on salty roads. Most things about the car are original, even down to the Maidstone Car Sales-supplied license plates, key ring and tax disc holder! The spare wheel has never been used (the toolkit is the same), and 

personal passions Outstandingly original (clockwise from right): spare wheel has never been used; Polo Coupé was the ‘sports’ model of Polo range; no doubt about what car this is; fusebox and engine compartment as spotless as the outside of the car; A707 LKL always attracts attention at Volkswagen events; original engine has only covered 57,000 miles in over 22 years; interior as new, only ‘old’ smell gives the game away; A707 LKL and L307 JTM on Brighton seafront for impromptu photoshoot for VW Motoring magazine in March 1999

 Peter still has the all of the paperwork from new

including dealer correspondence, and all of the old tax discs. Even the handbook and service book still reside in the car's VW wallet. Peter has seen fit to modify the car with removable accessories though. Up front a genuine (and now relatively rare) Kamei colour-coded grille spoiler sits above the headlamps and clear indicator lenses nestle in the bumpers. The rear tailgate sports a ‘VW Motorsport’ graphic, while a custom-made stainless steel exhaust with twin pipes pokes out from the rear valance. The 5.5J steel wheels have been swapped for a Mim set of alloys, from behind which peer redpainted brake calipers. Of course, Peter still has the original set of steel wheels which were unique to the coupé, should he ever want to retro-fit them. Mechanically the car is standard, bar the fitment of Green Stuff brake pads (to stop brake dust), a set of braided brake hoses, and gas-filled dampers. With only 730kg to power, the 60bhp 1272cc engine is adequate enough, and has never given Peter any trouble over the 57,000 miles with which it displays proudly. And remember, that's 57,000 miles over 22 years, most of which have been accumulated motorway munching. Quite believably, no MoT has ever been failed, which must be partly down to Peter’s rigorous self-servicing, using only genuine Volkswagen parts. As a rule Peter doesn’t enter custom or concours events, but when recent entries yielded trophies, he

could be persuaded! 'The ones I have entered, I have always won a trophy,' he says, again, proof if any were needed of the car's outstanding condition. ‘At Volkswagen events, the car is admired by enthusiasts, who always seem to ask “Where did you get the car painted?” My reply is “Wolfsburg!”’ Peter states. ‘They do not believe it is original!’ Every painted panel is that clean on this car, including the wheel arches, and engine bay surfaces. Even the fusebox compartment is spotless, with its customary wax still present. The interior is just the same – it doesn't even look used, but does have the unique ‘old Polo’ smell! Although the period and tasteful modifications may not be to everyone’s taste, the condition and significance of this Mars Red time capsule cannot be denied. A snapshot of early 1980s motoring, and an excellent marker of where the Polo was at the time, I hope that Peter keeps the car for the foreseeable future. A veteran of 40 cars, the Polo has been one of the favourites, and he obviously has a great respect for it. Too many Polo coupés of this vintage don’t make it into old age, as they are not seen as special enough, but it's testament to Peter's admiration and care that A707 LKL is here today to tell its story, and will hopefully still be telling that story in years to come. If you see an extremely clean Mars Red Polo coupé at any of the upcoming Volkswagen events, it could well be this little time-travelling car. Go and seek it out, I guarantee you'll be amazed – it really is out of this world. VWPR

personal passions

Every painted panel is original on this car, including the wheel arches, and engine bay surfaces. Even the fusebox compartment is spotless, with its customary wax still present. The interior is just the same – it doesn’t even look used, but does have the unique ‘old Polo’ smell!

In mint condition: Peter Lowther’s Mars Red Polo Coupé is in stunning original condition, and a perfect reminder of the 1980s

buyer’s guide The Series 2 Polo has for many years been the stalwart veteran of British roads, and its durability means many are still in daily use, where its rival 'superminis' have long disappeared from our roads. But what should you look for when buying a pre-1990 facelifted model?

Story Nigel Middleton Photography Richard Gooding


second time around

he Series 2 Polos can be loosely separated into four versions. The first three versions built from 1981 to 83, 1984 to 85, and 1986 to 90, although at first glance are identical, do have some evolutionary changes. The final and fourth incarnation being the 2F or facelifted Series 2 built from late 1990 to 1994. Unlike the original Series 1 Polo, all Series 2 cars were fitted with plastic wheel arch liners, and therefore front-end corrosion is relatively rare. If it is present, it is often a sign of previous accident damage, and so the deterioration of the front wings can be one of the first noticeable signs of decay. This is easy to spot – the front valance, and underneath the headlights (when viewed from inside the engine bay) is where rot is likely to be lurking. Replacement wings are available, from outlets such as Euro Car Parts ( I personally prefer models from 1984 onwards, as the early 1981 to 83 cars (‘X’ to ‘Y’ reg) have some quirks, which were addressed on later models. The rear wheel arches on hatchback models are also prone to rust, coupés less so due to the majority having the black spats fitted. If there have been any repairs in that area, corrosion could be lurking underneath, and in the case of the rear wheel arches, can spread to the rear valance. Rust can also start on the lower edge of the rear quarter on the door shut area – often due to untreated stone chips. The rear window seal on coupés can rust on 22 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

the rearmost bottom corner, and the front most bottom corner on hatchbacks. Corrosion under the front windscreen seal can also occur. Rusty battery trays will lead to a soggy carpet as it rusts through and leaks into the interior. Fuel filler necks are also a common weak point, easily preventable with regular gently hosing of the mud, which accumulates in that area. Moving onto mechanicals, there are two distinct versions of engines fitted to pre-facelifted 1990 Polos – the earlier ‘rocker finger’ engine carried over from the Series 1 and used up until 1985 (1986 model year), where it was replaced with the hydraulic tappet unit. A quick check to determine the difference is that the rocker finger engine will have eight bolts holding the cam cover on, the later units having three central bolts. Watch for serious leaks that can spray everything with oil. Valve guide oil seals can also be a problem. Many of the early engines have also gone due to the oil pump failing. A common oil leak is that from the front left-hand corner of the head gasket, where it drips onto and ruins the alternator. Leaking here is down to the oil pressure gallery being sited here, outside the ring of head bolts. Removing the cylinder head and getting it skimmed can rectify the problem. Check the battery tray behind the bulkhead too, as this can rot with the combination of vented battery acid and water that may collect there. The water pump is

buyer’s guide

Old-timer (clockwise from top left): most 1980s Polos are now ‘elderly’; front wings and headlights can still be easily replaced; rear tailgate can leak due to rotting; body panels can be sourced easily enough; front brakes replaced cheaply

driven from the camshaft drive belt and normally lasts well. It also acts as the cambelt tensioner, and rotates in the engine block. The replacement of this isn’t normally problematic, unless the pump body (made of alloy) has corroded into the iron block. Other water leaks become obviously more prevalent as the cars tend to pass into old age. Pre-1984 cars tend to have the coolant header tank integrated into the radiator – a replacement is costlier. All 1093cc and pre-1986 model year 1043cc engines use a manual choke, and were fitted with a single-choke carburetor. All 1272cc models, and later 1043cc models use a water-heated and electric automatic thermochoke, which can cause problems later in life. Rust can flake off the inside of the fuel filler neck and can block the fuel filter and also the carburetor. A telltale sign is flakes in the fuel filter. Fuel tank size changes from eight to nine gallons for the 1986 model year, and these cars also gained a more efficient handbrake mechanism. Exhausts tend not to be a problem, and unlike some early Golfs, the downpipe is easy to remove. Radiators can also leak and rot out of the bottom, and the main water pipe at the back of the engine is another thing to look at, as this too can corrode. Clutches and gearboxes tend to last, with the clutch pedal becoming heavier to press as it gets worn out. Sticking clutch cables can be a problem – if replacing

a ‘self adjusting’ cable with a manual one, the helper return spring (PN 084 141 741A) should be fitted to the clutch arm at the gearbox end. Look out for leaking suspension dampers and worn top mounts, which will make a clonking noise when driven over bumps. Brake lines should be checked too, as well as the pipes and hoses. If in doubt, renew. Discs and pads can easily be replaced, as Volkswagen kept the same basic design for twenty years. Again, these can be bought for around £30 from specialists. Cars from the 1986 model year onwards gained the improved VW I type front brake calipers. Stepping inside, the interiors tend to be fairly hardwearing, with no immediate problems reported. Again, as with any older car, watch for particularly dirty trim. Seat belts can be checked for condition and freeness in which they come out of the reel. Interiors are generally interchangeable on the 1984 to 1990 models. The 1981 to 1983 models have the seat position adjuster on the opposite the side of the seat – fitting later seats to a pre-1984 car will involve changing the seat base. All hatchback and coupé models (bar some early base models) will have a parcel shelf – often the support pivots will break if the shelf is not fitted correctly and the lift straps break, but these are replaceable. Coupés and all models from the 1988 model year have an upgraded trim with cloth lined door cards and a hardwearing seat material. Older vinyl door cards can bubble and split with age. The special edition LX model from 1984 had a very funky fabric, but wears badly. Limited edition CX models from 1983 were fitted with Glencheck cloth. Other things to look for generally include a wet boot carpet – usually a sign of leakage through a rotting tailgate glass, or the rear wash wipe hose has split in the rubber gaiters, so when activated it leaks inside the C pillar and into the boot. Seized/burnt out rear wiper motors are also a possibility. Some early 1981 to 1983 cars only have tungsten headlights – upgraded H4 halogen bulbs are available – check the front glass, as models with H4 in the centre of the lenses are preferable. These tungsten lamps make a reappearance again on 1987 (‘D’ and ‘E’ reg) cars. Prices of all Series 2 models can be an academic issue, as they can vary wildy, depending on the vendor. Older cars can be picked up from £50 (or sometimes even less), while newer examples can fetch a few hundred pounds. Coupés can be priced highest, as they are perceived as the ‘sports’ model. But, with prices of the post-1990 facelifted models now coming down to that mark, if you look hard enough, there are bargains to be had. Our recommended models are the Coupé from 1984, the Coupé S from 1985, the Coupé S from 1988 onwards, and the post-1987 C and CL hatchbacks. VWPR SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 23

Polo V8 photography Nigel Middleton


the oddcouple Purely for its simple mechanical make-up, easy availability, and relative inexpensive cost, the Series 2 Polo has long been a modder’s favourite. However, it wasn’t just private individuals who were tuning Volkswagen’s then-smallest car. Richard Gooding reports on two versions of the Series 2 Polo that come from two ends of the tuning spectrum V8-engined Polo coupé The early Polo coupé could have handled more power, and in the summer of 2003, two Polo enthusiasts set about endowing a £300 donor car with much more pulling power. ‘Engine collectors’Andrew Oldham and Mike Smith amassed a £500 Audi V8, and after measuring a ‘spare’Audi V6 gearbox against Andrew’s 2F coupé, decided to transform the ‘shopping car’ to supercar! The 3.6 all-aluminum quad cam V8 was sourced from a local breaker’s yard, and a day was spent getting the unit and ancillaries from the 1991 Audi V8 donor car. As the engine was so heavy, it turned out to 24 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

Performance Polo (clockwise from main picture above): two VW enthusiasts created the ultimate Polo coupé from a donor car and an Audi 4.2 V8 engine mounted in the rear of the car; project had its first outing at BVF 2003 show in Malvern hills

be easier to drop the engine and box out of the bottom and to use the car forklift to take the shell off the top! A workable subframe design was selected to mount the engine and this and the mounts are powder-coated. The floor of the 1988 Jade Green donor Polo coupé was cut away next, which allowed for the engine to be visually placed. The wheels were put in place and thoughts turned to the rear suspension. Andrew already had some Formula Ford rose-jointed wishbones, so they were modified to suit. Seat Ibiza front hubs on the rear and fabricated struts with 2.25” springs on adjustable platforms were eventually decided upon.

oddities Trouble was had with the fit of the steering arms, so new ones were made, along with brackets. July 2003 saw the first (towable) outing to the British Volkswagen Festival, where the project was well received. Unfortunately, after the initial euphoria, due to ever-changing circumstances, the project seemed to slow down. The last entry on the Polo V8 Project website ( was in August 2003. Two custom driveshafts had been made using two Audi 100 and two offside GTI 16V parts, and Andrew had made an aluminum strut brace, and also some rear supports for the subframe... Of course, there have been many large engine Polo conversions before and after this one, but it was unusual at the time. The question begs to be asked – did ‘Rude Not To Racing’ get the car going? This and the David Sutton Motorsport car below prove that there is more than one way to skin a Stanford Series 2 Polo – allcan it takes is a bitbe of relied Hall usually imagination and ingenuity. upon to be a stunning opener to the

Words and Pictures: Richard Gooding

Hall systems go!

Blistering looks (above and right): 1987 ‘David Sutton Motorsport’ Polo coupé found on eBay recently; VW season calendar. The 2004 event wide-arched body kit gives David Sutton Motorsport Polo the humble Polo beefed-up proved this to be coupé true, with a more than This gem turned up on eBay recently. Running works Audi welcome bolstered Polo contingent looks similar to a similarlyQuattros in the early 1980s, David Sutton Motorsport is a VW-owned Audi Quattro

legend among rallying aficionados. Also preparing rallying Volkswagens, this Polo ‘Sport’ is believed to be only one of two built by the outfit. Similar aesthetically to the Oettinger body kit fitted to Series 2 Golfs of the same era, the vendor reported that the car might also have been built by Volkswagen Motorsport, as there is serial number on the car, followed by the designation ‘VWM’. He acquired the car after it had been unused for four years, with the intention of fitting a G40 engine and running gear into it. The crash damaged donor car became unavailable, and so this rare piece of Polo history became surplus to requirements. Stating that the body kit was of very high quality, the vendor pointed to scuffs and scratches the car had accumulated over the years. Coming with a set of new 14” alloy wheels and Spax suspension, it seemed to be an interesting buy. The car also came with a new interior, and a five-speed gearbox – with the fifth gear removed! A secondhand five-speed ‘box was included with the car. I believe that, mechanically at least, the 1272cc Polo was standard. The then-owner said: ‘The car needs some TLC, but has loads of potential, and can be used as is or have a G40 engine fitted.’ There are also other Polo prototypes and oddities known. Reports have been of Polo coupé rally cars, and the Oko Polo opposite, but, if genuine, these images point to an extremely rare car.Alas, I don’t know how much the car sold for, and of course its authentication may have been questionable. But, its place as a piece of interesting Series 2 Polo history was never in doubt. VWPR

Öko-Polo project: made in the USA American Volkswagen enthusiast Ross Cupples bought what he thought was a low-mileage, late-1989 Polo hatchback off auction website eBay. Being in the USA, Ross believed that the little car was probably one of the only ones in the country, as VW never marketed the Polo in the US. But, it turned out that the car was much more exciting than that... Chronicled on his website the car is one of around 75 Öko-Polos, which were made as an economy model, similar in spirit and idea as the modernday Lupo 3L. Powered by a 1.2-litre, two-cylinder diesel fuel-injected engine fitted with a G40 supercharger, it was reported to travel 100km on only three litres of fuel. The car came with no engine or gearbox, so with the help of Scottish VW enthusiast Steven Elliott who shipped a new engine, gearbox and other parts to the US, Ross got the car running and kept a diary. Check out the website for the car’s build-up and more on the ultra-rare‘Eco-Polo’. VWPR


first drive

refined and refreshed Just in time for its 30th birthday, the Polo has had a facelift worthy of the best Hollywood clinic. But, with minor mechanical revisions, are the changes more than skin deep? Story Richard Gooding and Tony Lo Photography Richard Gooding, Tony Lo, Volkswagen Media Services and Volkswagen UK Press Office

The VW Polo Register would like to thank Paul Buckett and Mike Orford of the Volkswagen UK Press Office. For more information on the new Polo range, please visit

first drive


ge-defying facelifts and cosmetic treatments have long been the rage in the clinics of LA and Hollywood, with starlets of all ages heading to the hills to rejuvenate and refresh their looks. Volkswagen has recently taken the scalpel to the Polo, and it has emerged looking rejuvenated, refreshed and a little more mature – bucking the usual younger-looking facelift trend. But, with minor changes to the mechanicals and the interior, do the refinements improve the car, and are they enough to keep the Polo ahead of other, less glamourous supermini rivals? Appearing at the Leipzig Motor Show in April, and launched onto the UK market on June 10, the latest version of the Polo gains the new corporate nose first seen on the new Passat, and features other styling features influenced by other models in the Volkswagen family. The new front-end looks are very striking and cohesive, and work very well, lending the car a much more aggressive look. The new ‘V’-shaped grille does not appear in chrome as was initially thought by the motoring press, but the range-topping Sport models gain chrome-trimmed grille bars, framing that now upmarket VW roundel. The twin headlight units and the pulled-back bonnet line are the undoubted contributors to the meaner look, and when all

All change (left, above and right): new Polo retains the look of the old, but with freshened front and rear lamps, new tailgate, bonnet, bumpers, and front wings, revised car has a more upmarket look. Front end now looks meaner and more mature. Sport 1.9 TDI has 99bhp and costs £13,190.

of these elements are viewed as a whole, the car does not appear to be a recently facelifted one. The ‘V’ shape continues up the bonnet, meeting the front pillars, leading into the door mirrors with their integral side repeaters. The rear changes amount to a new LED-style set of rear lamps – again echoing current Volkswagen design themes – and a new tailgate, with another ‘V’ shape, this time in the rear window’s trailing edge. Moving the badges down in line with the bottom of the lamps, complete the changes. With a sprinkling of new alloy wheel and wheel cover designs, the transformation is complete. The car now looks confident, even more upmarket, and finally has the face  SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 27

first drive  it was always deserving of since its 2001 launch. The

interior changes are not so far reaching, with only fabrics, steering wheels and instrument graphics being revised. However, there was nothing much wrong with the cabin in the first place, and the quality is still above what its rivals can offer, if not (in some areas) what is truly expected of a Volkswagen. At a recent Volkswagen UK Press Office Regional Driving Activity, we tested four new variants of the revised Polo range. We started with the 1.2-litre S with 63bhp. We then worked through the test models, driving the new 1.4 TDI with 79bhp in the same trim level, the 1.4-litre petrol-engined model in SE trim with 74bhp, and finally, the 1.9-litre TDI Sport with 99bhp. As is usually the case, the test models available were loaded to the gills with options, but we tried not to let this fact influence us too much... The new 2006 Polos have little-changed mechanicals, with only a firming up to the suspension and more offcentre feel to the electro-mechanical steering being the only modifications. Indeed, as before, the new models responded well to being punted into a corner, with only the 1.4 TDI seeming a little unbalanced. Roll is wellcontrolled, and although the steering offers little in the

way of feel, the car can be easily placed on the road, and goes exactly where it’s pointed. Brakes are very strong, as before, and hydraulic brake assist (HBA) and ESP stability control are offered as options on all models. ABS is standard in line with new EU laws. Kicking off with the 1.2-litre S 3dr, costing £9,250, initial impressions were good. The last time I drove a Polo fitted with this engine was at the press launch in 2002, and the character evident then is still present. Being a three-cylinder unit, the thrum is endearing, and encourages a press-on driving style. The 80lb ft of torque hurries the car along at a surprising pace for one much heavier than the original model of thirty years ago. The ride is on the firm side, as it is on all of the revised models, but coupled with good bump absorption, the new Polo soaks up all road imperfections with little – if any – intrusion into the cabin. This level of refinement, together with the general noise levels, translates into a very composed and refined little car. In fact, it’s one of, if not the favourite of the entire range for us, and unsurprisingly, is tipped to be one of the big sellers for 2006. The 1.4-litre TDI model is also a three-cylinder unit, and although much the same as before, revisions have seen the engine gain more power. Peak torque stays at

Tidy handler (above): new Polo feels nimble and can be hustled down back roads with confidence. Steering still lacks feel, but car can be placed well and feels safe Freshened up (left to right): new headlamp units feature trapezoid circular units, with indicator lenses in the bumper cut-out; interior upgraded with new fabrics, steering wheels and switches, although design is essentially the same; now two 1.4 three-cylinder TDIs, with both 69 and 79bhp 28 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

first drive Polo GTI confirmed: new version of hot Polo to finally hit the roads in 2006. The appearance will be similar to big brother Golf GTI, with black ‘V’ grille and deeper sculpted bumpers and spoilers. Engine to be 1.8T unit, toting 148bhp. Price to be £15,500 upwards

144lb ft, while the lower-powered and newly-developed 69bhp version enjoys 114lb ft. In previous applications, this engine impressed, but here, it seemed noisy and unrefined, if as sprightly as it always has been. The £11,325 S 5dr was identical in specification to the 1.2 3dr car tested first, but felt very different. The suspension seemed floaty and very bumpy – almost at odds with the rest of the car. Disappointing, with the amount of performance available. Definitely the biggest disappointment of the day, when the engine seemed so much better in previous models, like the 1999-2001 6N. The 1.4 petrol-engined car fared much better, and was much more on a par with the earlier 1.2-litre car to drive and place in corners. Of course, it has to be remembered that the Polo is not billed as the ‘ultimate driving machine’ and is a premium small car from a manufacturer, not always known for driving dynamics. The car’s main purpose is as a small, practical hatchback, and on this front, the Polo excels. The £10,820 SE 5dr is pitched as a mid-range model, and as such, adds remote central locking with alarm, and 14” ‘Misano’ alloy wheels over the S model. The final car we tested was the 1.9-litre Sport with 99bhp. A real ‘Christmas Tree’ car this one, fitted with optional leather interior and ESP, it looked the part. Costing £13,190 in standard trim, front fog lights, 15” ‘Charade’ alloy wheels, a chrome-trimmed grille, and front sports seats add to the equipment count over the SE. With the addition of (standard) sports suspension, the Sport felt ‘nuggety’, planted and just as refined as the petrol models. Much quieter than the 1.4 TDI, it was our pick of the diesel models on test. It does give enough of a sports feeling for most drivers most of the time. A GTI model is coming later with 148bhp and a 1.8T engine. Overall then, the one word that sums up the new Polo range is refined. It feels refined and refreshed. The changes are more than skin deep, and should be enough to defend it against the onslaught of new and facelifted rivals that it will have to face over the coming months. Our picks of the range were the characterful 1.2, and the sub-GTI 1.9 TDI. With a replacement for the Polo Dune also coming, this reworking should see the Polo safe until the all-new model in 2008. VWPR

Second opinion – Tony Lo Differences between models within the same range can be quite marked, as we found when we drove four of the latest Polos. But first the similarities. Personally, I think the revamped front and rear are a great success, making the car look fresher, younger and less bulky than before. The new grille and lights are very well integrated and don’t give the impression of having been grafted onto an older design. Even the circular rear lights look good, better than they do on the Golf, in my opinion. Unfortunately, my overriding impression of the interior is one of ‘greyness’. Unremitting grey. In its defence, greyness afflicts the Golf GTI and new Passat 2.0 we also drove.

‘The revamped front and rear are a great success, making the car look fresher and younger. The new grille and lights are well integrated and don’t give the impression of having been grafted onto an older design.’ History shows that lowly base models often spring the biggest surprise, and with the 1.2 S, so it proved. Most astonishing, given the 1100 kg kerb weight, is how well it utilises a mere 63bhp. The car is genuinely nippy but also remains refined at all times. Being a three-cylinder, the 1198cc unit gives the car an endearing engine note, with extra character usually lacking in the average four-pot unit. With a ride just the firm side of comfortable, the car was very nimble and, despite feel-less steering, good fun around the country lanes. To be honest, the 79bhp 1.4 TDI was in a different league to the others. Unfortunately a lower league! Extra speed aside, in every other department this car was bested by the 1.2 petrol. Noisy, bumpy and sloppy of road manners sums this one up! I was expecting the 1.4 petrol SE with 74bhp to have all the good qualities of the 1.2, but with more urge. However, although ride and handling are similar, performance is not much improved and is more than offset by the characterless and rougher sounding engine. The 99bhp 1.9 TDI was by some margin the quickest of the four and has, for a turbo diesel, a reasonably linear throttle response. This car didn’t feel so obviously turbocharged as the 128bhp GT we drove last summer, a car which ultimately I found rather frustrating to drive. It’s also much more refined than the 1.4 TDI – you still knew it was a diesel, but at least it didn’t feel as though you were in a taxi! With the sport suspension ride is rather knobbly, much more so than the 1.2 and 1.4 petrol models, yet handling doesn’t feel that much tauter. So which to choose? On balance the 1.9 TDI is the better all rounder but then so it should given the price! However it’s still a diesel, so for me I’d take the 1.2 for its honesty, better ride and overall competence. VWPR



redefined racers The ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup has once more taken to the tracks of Europe for 2005, with the new Polo providing thrills and excitement for both the spectators and drivers alike Story Uwe Baldes and Richard Gooding Photography Volkswagen Motorsport Kommunication Securing a second victory: RenÊ Rast takes his second consecutive win at the EuroSpeeday Lausitz, beating Jimmy Johansson and Dennis Nägele over the weekend of May 1/2



he junior racing showcase and Polo shop window that is the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup 2005 saw a field of 26 competitors on the start line at Hockenheim, for the first round on 17 April. The largestcapacity grid yet saw the 16 to 24-year old drivers put the new racing Polo through its paces, meaning the racing cars adopted the look of the new 2006 model, and took to the track before its market launch. Based on last year's winning package, the 2005 racers’ new bodywork was styled by Volkswagen Design at the company’s Braunschweig plant, with exhaust and further development happening at the Kassel factory. Assembled at the Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, where the Polo racing versions rolled off the line in a separate hall next to the production models. Powered by the same 150bhp 2.0-litre FSI engine as 2004’s racers, the new racing Polos transmit this power to the track via a sixspeed gearbox. The first round of the ten-round series and world debut of the new Polo got off to a spectacular start. Swede Jimmy Johansson was on pole position after qualifying saw him relegate Philipp Leisen and René Rast to second and third places with more than a half-second gap. As the best contender in the rookie classification, Constantin Dressler was pleased about claiming eighth place. Twenty-year old Johansson completed his fastest lap of 2m06.041s in his second attempt. Supporting the German DTM series, the season opener saw Johansson fight a fierce but always fair duel with Philippp Leisen at the front of the field, during which the lead changed several times. Johansson prevailed over Leisen in the final lap, with Matthias Teich celebrated his first podium position in the Polo Cup, while Steffen Faas – finishing seventh – won the rookie classification. Johansson won the starting duel to take the lead ahead of Leisen, but he was soon put under pressure when entering the hairpin for the first time. Leisen pulled alongside the Swede and took the lead. The duel for victory flared up from the third lap onwards. In a door-to-door fight, the two raced through the ‘Motodrom’, with paint exchanged and mirrors flying. But in the eleventh and final lap, Johansson launched the crucial attack, passing Leisen on the inside after encouraging him to brake late. Johansson was euphoric at his first race win: ‘This victory is incredible because it’s my very first international race.’ The second and third rounds took place two weeks later on 1 May at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Competing on a new shortened circuit, VW used the weekend to promote the 2006 Dakar Rally, and one of the racers was given a sand-coloured livery showing the Volkswagen Race-Touareg rally prototype in action on both sides of the car. After the qualifying for race 1, Johansson was once again on pole, with Niclas Kentenich claiming  SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 31


Race action (clockwise from far left above): Philipp Leisen comes second at SpaFrancorchamps; 26 car-grid; Patrik Hirsch top ‘rookie’ at Spa

2005 polo cup racer Engine type Four-cylinder with FSI direct injection Engine capacity (litres/cc) 2.0/1984 Power output (bhp/rpm) 150/6000


Gearbox Front-wheel drive, six-speed manual Clutch LuK hydraulically operated single-plate Dampers/springs H&R coilover dampers Braking system ATE Racing ABS, ATE two-piston sliding-caliper with 334mm ventilated front discs, TRW one-piston sliding-caliper with 232mm ventilated rear discs Wheels RH alu-wheel alloy rims, 7.5J x 17” Tyres Dunlop 200/605-17 (wets and slicks) Kerb weight (kg) 1060 Dimensions (l/w/h mm) 3897/1670/1420 Body FIA roll cage, extended front wheel arches


 second place. Patrik Olsson was the quickest rookie in fifth place. René Rast celebrated his first touring car victory in the ensuing race, climbing from his third place start. The fight for podium positions culminated in a photo finish. After Philippp Leisen had received a penalty for bumping into Jimmy Johansson, Dennis Nägele clinched second place, and Johansson took third with an advantage of seven thousandths of a second ahead of Fabian Plentz. Patrick Hirsch was the best ‘rookie’, finishing in eighth place behind pole sitter Niclas Kentenich. Qualifying for the second race gave René Rast his first pole position, with runner-up Dennis Nägele alongside him. Jimmy Johansson and Philippp Leisen took positions three and four. A brace of storms destroyed three of race preparations firm Abt Sportsline’s tents and some of the race Polos were prepared in the open air. René Rast celebrated his second consecutive victory, in the second race, and took the lead in the championship standings. The 18-year-old repeated his victory from the day before despite spinning on the second lap, which caused him to drop behind to seventh place and having to fight his way back to the front of the field. Second and third places, respectively, went to the Swede Jimmy Johansson and Dennis Nägele, the drivers ranking second and third in the overall points table. Patrick Hirsch further

motorsport expanded his lead in the ‘rookie’ classification. René Rast went home with supreme satisfaction. ‘I would never have thought a double victory to be possible,’ he said, overjoyed. ‘I had a good start and drove at the front from the pole position, but after my mishap at the end of the start-finish straight had to be fight my way forward again.’ To be a fair racing series, for the first two races of the season, only half the number of Championship points were awarded in order to reduce the advantage of the more seasoned drivers over the rookies. On 15 May, round 4 saw the competitors at SpaFrancorchamps, Belgium. The Grand Prix circuit with its combination of quick corners and long straights is the longest circuit on the Polo Cup calendar. At the last moment, after heavy rainfalls, causing veritable floods and lots of spray on the track, René Rast snatched the pole position for the fourth race of the season. When the chequered flag was lowered, he relegated his rival Philippp Leisen to second place and will thus be starting from pole for the second time in a row. Jimmy Johansson and Fabian Plentz claimed positions three and four in pouring rain. With ninth place, rookie Christoffer Nygaard clinched his best qualifying result thus far. René Rast scored a hat-trick, with yet another win in the race itself. He defended his leading position to ultimately claim a comfortable start-finish victory ahead of Philippp Leisen. As the track was drying off, the spectacular fight for third place was decided by Jimmy Johansson, who claimed a podium position for the fourth time in a row. Patrick Hirsch, having started from position 15 on the grid, drove his 150bhp racing Polo forward to eighth place to further expand his lead in the ‘rookie’ classification. ‘I had a super start and was able to gain a small lead over Philippp Leisen as early as on the first lap,’ Rast said. ‘Thereafter, I was able to finish the race in a pretty relaxed manner.’ The weekend of 25/26 June saw the series visit Motopark Oschersleben for two further races. About an hour's drive away from the VW head office and plant in Wolfsburg, the spectacle was staged against the background of Volkswagen’s involvement in the famous Dakar Rally. The first qualifying session saw Jimmy Johansson clinch his third pole position, pushing René Rast and Philippp Leisen to second and third places respectively. Rookies Patrick Hirsch and Constantin Dressler captured grid positions eleven and twelve. The result of the first race was emotional, with victorious René Rast further expanding his lead in the championship to set a new record of four victories in a row. After a long fight for the lead, René Rast prevailed against the quickest driver in qualifying, Jimmy Johansson, and Philippp Leisen. Constantin Dressler was top rookie in sixth place. Because of a collision in the first lap, the

race was lead by the Safety Car for four laps. After re-starting the race, Johansson maintained the lead but was kept under permanent pressure by Rast. The second round of qualifying saw Swede Jimmy Johansson remain the dominant driver, with even a storm, rain showers and an interruption not flustering the 20-year-old Swede. With position two on the grid, Fabian Plentz achieved his best qualifying result so far. René Rast was placed third. The best rookie was Christoffer Nygaard from Denmark, who managed to claim eighth place. Local driver Fabian Plentz from Hanover celebrated his first victory in the second race in front of a home crowd, dogged by extreme weather conditions. Patrik Olsson and Matthias Teich finished second and third respectively. After six of ten races, the fight for the title in the series remains undecided. While the championship leader René Rast, retired after body contact with competitors, his immediate rival, Jimmy Johansson received a 60-second time penalty for hitting Rast and thus remained without points as well. Best rookie Constantin Dressler finished eleventh to take the lead in the classification for touring car youngsters. The spectators at Oschersleben, including numerous Volkswagen employees, witnessed a turbulent second race. At the start, Fabian Plentz accelerated to out-run Johansson, who shortly thereafter hit René Rast's car, for which he received a subsequent penalty by the stewards. On the fourth of 14 laps, Christoffer Nygaard caused a stir, which triggered the Safety Car. In the first corner, his Polo slid sideways across the kerbs, went straight up and rolled over a few times. Climbing out unscathed, the Dane stated: ‘I have proved that the Polo is a very safe car.’ After the re-start, all the way through to the waving of the chequered flag, Fabian Plentz maintained a narrow lead, while the chasing pack of cars were fighting some tough duels. ‘I’m overjoyed about having won my first race in the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup. Today, I’m going to celebrate,’ he rejoiced. VWPR 2005 ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup calendar 15 -17 July, Norisring; 5-7 August, Nürburgring; 26-28 August, Zandvoort (NL); 21-23 October, Hockenheim. Series championship standings 1 René Rast/Germany, 225 points 2 Jimmy Johansson/Sweden, 186 points 3 Philipp Leisen/Germany, 184 points ‘Rookie’ championship standings 1 Constantin Dressler/Germany 251 points 2 Patrick Hirsch/Germany 244 points 3 Markus Grünewald/Germany 223 points SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 33

our cars

personal passions A

s in my last running report for L307 JTM, I had intended to write this earlier. The last update was at 81,000 miles, some four years ago. I’m happy to report that I still have the car, and that it is still my only source of transport. But, as it's been a while, let me re-tell ‘our’ story. I bought this little Satin Silver car in January 1999, after a desire to own a ‘sporting’ Polo in 1991, when I passed my driving test. The Coupé GT was then new and part of the then-current model range, and I was driving a Series 1 Polo N from 1978. Being an art college student, it was daily transport for the 60-mile round trip to study. When the time came, I 'upgraded' to a 1986 Polo base-model hatchback, and then a 1989 Coupé S, fitted with a Zender bodykit and lowered suspension. I first saw L307 in the pages of Auto Trader where I then worked. A shortlist of three Polo GTs was drawn up, when the Coupé S’ time was up, and L307 was deemed fine as a suitable replacement. Undoubtedly the

polo coupé gt Owner Richard Gooding Date acquired January 1999 Mileage 137,000 Engine capacity (litres/cc) 1.3/1272 Power output (bhp/rpm) 75/5900 Modifications Eibach springs, Koni dampers, Bonrath polyurethane bushes/anti-roll bar mounts

best car of three, I had seen the car for sale at a local VW retailer some three years earlier, but the time wasn’t right for me to buy, even if the car hadn't already been sold. However, this time I could, so a deal was struck. Of course, that was over six years ago, and through that time, 'we've' been through good times and bad. I have now driven over 86,000 miles in the car, but for all its 137,000 miles, it still can provide fun in small and large doses. I was initially attracted to the car because of its unusual specification. A 1994 model built in late 1993, it is equipped with front fog lamps, tinted glass, metallic paint, heated washer jets, headlamp washers, an alarm, and an electric aerial was fitted when new. All it lacked from the options list were alloy wheels, a split-fold rear seat and a sunroof! Darkened tail lamps were part of the 1994 Polo Coupé spec, but when one was damaged, I retro-fitted a set of earlier standard lenses, and reverted the darkened side repeaters and white front indicators that I had previously added, to the standard orange examples.

our cars Over those six years, a set of 15” ‘Solitude’ alloy wheels have come and gone, as have 3 windscreens and unbelievably, only two sets of tyres. The second set – only fitted this year followed the example of the first full set of Vredsteins, and are the Dutch maker’s at the front, while Toyos adorn each rear corner. All are on the original steel wheels, and are the standard size of 165/65R 13. Grip and handling are good, due to the lowered Eibach springs and uprated Koni dampers fitted in 2002 at 100,000 miles. The car does very occasional track work, and when riding on the 15s, was nigh impossible to unstick around Cadwell Park and Castle Combe circuits. Polyurethane bushes and anti-roll bar mounts have also been fitted, in addition to a larger 22mm master cylinder for the braking system. Cheap discs and pads from German, Swedish & French are used, and give good value-for-money, lasting for up to two years. The normal roster of service items and parts has been fitted over the period of ownership. Spark plugs, filters, oil, wiper blades and other ancillary parts have been replaced at regular intervals, along with additional items such as wheel cylinders, brake shoes and wheel bearings. Luck was with me until January 2002, when the head gasket failed – a very common Polo fault which I had until then avoided – and left me with a very hefty bill. I was also lucky with the fuel tank, as this is my first Polo which has needed a new one owing to the filler neck rusting through, being changed in December 2003. The car eats windscreens, and is currently on its fourth! After many years of trying with different cars, I finally achieved my goal of a concours win with this car at Tatton Park in 2004. Although not pampered as much these days, the car still attracts attention at the Volkswagen events I attend, and still seems to push the right buttons for some enthusiasts. I now work in London , so the car only gets driven at weekends, but the semi-retirement seems to suit it, and has undoubtedly contributed to its overall good condition. The most useful addition this year has been an MP3 player cassette adapter. I previously had a CD auto-changer in the boot, but through the fitment of the very firm suspension this was deemed unusable. Overall, the qualities with which L307 first impressed me are still evident. It’s seemingly very lively under acceleration, now handles well with the revised suspension, and is comfortable enough for the journeys that I make. Newer vehicles put this all into perspective of course and makes it feel its age, but it is characterful, and a bit of a buzz box at times, which I like. It does all I ask of it, and even though it is fast approaching its 12th birthday, I still enjoy driving it, and that surely, is all I can ask for. VWPR

polo coupé cl Owner John Brown Date acquired 1998 Mileage 55,000 Engine capacity (litres/cc) 1.3/1272 Power output (bhp/rpm) 55/5000 Modifications GT/G40 body styling


his isn’t going to be a saga of big-bore exhausts or be-Jabba’d G-chargers, but it may show what can be done to upgrade a Polo with a small budget and some ingenuity. J640 NVV has the ‘optional’ five-speed box, so performance is adequate enough to surprise the odd Clarkson wannabe who thinks all Polos are shopping trollies, but on the standard 4.5 rims with 145 tyres she felt rather nervous. I’ve stuck with the standard suspension, partly because on unmade surfaces you need decent ground clearance, but I dropped lucky at the BVF Malvern show a couple of years ago with a set of five genuine VW 5.5J x 13” alloys. A good clean, two coats of wheel silver and a set of 165/65 Vredesteins, and they deliver the goods and look the part. Apart from the front foglights, the red bumper stripe and black badges are basically cribbed from the car’s GT/ G40 big brothers (pinstripe tape and black aerosol respectively). A ‘Polo’ badge may replace the ‘Polo CL’ on the tailgate in due course, if I can decide what to badge her as! Moving to the interior, after a couple of upgrades, the sounds are now courtesy of an Alpine single-CD head unit and four speaker set up, coupled to a Beru power aerial. I have also swapped the instrument pod for a GT type with rev counter, and armour door plates and an alarm. With little more than 55,000 on the clock, J640 NVV has been pretty reliable, the main dramas have been the clutch jamming in, – a spring in the driven plate broke up – a head gasket and a flickering brake warning light which announced the resignation of the rear wheel cylinders. VWPR SUMMER 2005 VW POLO REGISTER NEWSLETTER 35

VW Polo Register Newsletter Issue 22  

Publication about Volkswagen Polos from the UK's longest-running organisation for the model.

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