"I told myself I would never modify it-I'd just get the car, pay it off, and that would be it. But you know how that goes," explains Jacob Gardiner-Moon, an IT contractor from Northampton, UK. "You spend a little bit of money, and the next minute you're spending a lot of money."
After getting his driver's license in a Vauxhall Corsa and spending some time behind the wheel of a Citroen DS 3, Jacob picked up a Volkswagen Polo and set to work getting the look right, applying some basic mods that included swapping out the factory bumpers for WRC Edition pieces and upgrading to Xenon headlights. But with a three-cylinder, 1.2L mill under the hood making all of 60 hp, it wasn't long before he was ready for something with a bit more pace.
"I kept eyeing the R every time I'd bring my Polo in for service," he recalls. "I knew I had to have one at some point in my life. I didn't have a particular spec in mind-I just wanted to get to that engine more than anything else." Jacob eventually zeroed in on a low-mileage, DSG-equipped Golf R dressed in Deep Black Pearl and wasted little time making it his own. "I started with pretty standard stuff—tint, wind deflectors, that sort of thing. Then I decided to upgrade the brakes."
Massive Lamborghini brakes we might add... After that, all bets were off. He soon discovered the factory wheels no longer fit over the new eight-piston calipers he'd retrofitted. But rather than backtrack, he decided to lean into it, snagging a set of 20-inch Ferrari wheels commonly found on the FF and 458 he came across in an Instagram ad. He hoped for the best but knew it was kind of a gamble. "A Golf with Ferrari wheels...it could either look spectacular, or it could look really crappy. I decided it was worth the risk."
He was pleased with the result, but the new shoes suddenly emphasized the need for suspension tweaks, which prompted Jacob to ditch the factory hardware in favor of an Air Lift Performance 3H system. The original plan now a distant memory, he set to work on the interior, sprucing it up with a long list of carbon-fiber components from DeutschCarbon, a custom Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel from RS Carbon, and a pair of carbon-backed and yellow-stitched Plush Automotive Wingback seats. The sound system got its fair share of attention as well, scoring two new amps, a processor, component speakers, and three 8-inch subwoofers, all from Hertz Audio.
From there, it was on to the bodywork, where Xenonz UK supplied the carbon front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser, while the rear roof spoiler was sourced from Oettinger. The grille, mirror caps, and bumper vent inserts are RS Carbon pieces.
But since the Golf R's boosted 2.0L was the original motivation to embark on the project, Jacob also wanted to make sure the VW would have the performance to match its sinister look. Accordingly, he installed MRC's 410-bhp Stage 2 tuning kit as well as an R600 intake, turbo inlet pipe, and muffler delete kit from Racingline, along with a GFB diverter valve and a Scorpion downpipe. "I plan to go Stage 3 at some point," he notes. "I have the turbo and fuel pump ready. I'm just getting the rest of it together now."
In the meantime, Jacob says he's happy with where the project is now but admits the gears are always turning. "I suppose the next thing I might do is additional audio upgrades. I may also change the wheels later...and there's some thoughts of potentially going widebody."
He pauses for a moment. "I suppose it all comes down to funding, to be honest."