It’s always exciting when we encounter a Volkswagen Lifer. These guys are committed to what they do. Cars aren’t just a hobby, but a way of life. Chris Little is a prime example of a Lifer; he’s lived and breathed VWs since the day he could drive. Now 24 years old, building VWs is second nature to him.
I’ve never driven anything but VW, he began. It’s mostly the styling and the community that brought me into the scene. It’s nice to meet people that like the same stuff as me.
At the tender age of 16, Chris’ first car was a ’92 Jetta. Always on a budget, he picked it up from the neighbor across the street for only $500. Since then, every car has been built from the bottom up. Chris has owned more than 15 Dubs, including this breathtaking ’94 Golf GL.
I got this one when I was 19. I bought it for $50 off my buddy’s dad! It only needed an engine and inspection, he explained.
Being a VW gearhead for almost a decade, he had plenty of parts stored at his home in Quebec. To get the new project driving, he installed a spare 2.0L 8v motor with five-speed manual. But that same winter, a plan for more performance was drafted.
I was going to do a built 3.0 VR6 turbo for the track, but I bought a Corrado instead because my all-time favorite car is the Corrado, he admitted. Building two projects simultaneously, the Golf got the short end of the stick. Although it didn’t receive a bulletproof motor with forced induction, Chris still sourced a 2.8 VR6. The familiar bolt-on upgrades were fitted such as a Magnaflow exhaust, intake and GIAC chip.
With a VR6 motor, the Golf’s focus changed from track car to daily driver. Once it passed inspection, I started beating the crap out of it. It’s my daily car and I drive about 620 miles a week to school, work and shows, he told us.
Along with the VR6 swap, Chris had all the right parts to upgrade to a five-lug wheel conversion and larger front brakes.
For the suspension, he didn’t bow to the air-ride trend. Since he was originally prepping for the track, Bilstein PSS9 coilovers offered shock and ride height adjustment.
The most expensive purchase was the wheels. Going for the wide, Euro-look, Chris ordered 16x9" Schmidt TH-Lines with black centers directly from Germany. To fit these wide wheels, Chris stretched a set of Falken tires over them, adjusting the camber and rolling the fenders to resist rubbing.
With all the mechanical bits wrapped up, it was time to consider the styling. Content with the original appearance, he didn’t alter much. Dipping into the OEM parts bin, he updated the front-end with a Jetta clip.
He then shaved both bumpers along with the hatch for a cleaner look. Not skimping on the details, the wipers and antenna were also deleted.
Originally a drab blue, the Golf begged for an update and since Chris worked at a bodyshop, it wasn’t going to be difficult to get the best quality finish. Subaru’s Moss green was selected from the color palette, but it was mixed to add more grey. I haven’t seen any Golf this color before. At night, it looks charcoal but in the day it looks greener, he revealed.
Progress continued with the interior, where the rear seats and trunk were stripped and exposed. An FK rollcage was welded in place with an additional Z-brace in the rear.
Up front, the factory seats and shifter were upgraded with parts from a Mk4 Golf City. The shaved dash vents, headliner and shift boot were reupholstered in black suede to add some class.
To monitor oil pressure and the air/fuel ratio, Chris fabricated a custom gauge panel where the radio sat. The interior was finished with a wooden Momo steering wheel and Lupo pedals.
Nearly complete, Chris revisited the engine bay as the final order of business. I took the motor out because I wanted to tuck and delete some things. It was a daily driver, so I wasn’t going to go crazy, but just clean it up, he said.
The secondary air injection equipment was tossed, then the battery relocated to the trunk. Chris extended some wires to make them look less cluttered. The transmission was color-coded and the rad support was shaved and painted as well.
I haven’t seen another Golf like mine, especially a five-door. I’ve tried to keep everything subtle, he concluded.
While the intentions for this car have changed from the track to a daily driver, Chris has shown what it means to be a VW Lifer. Finishing the project in about five months, he sourced all the parts and did all the work himself. This Golf was truly second nature to him.
ET Tech Spec
1994 VW Golf GL
Owner: Chris Little
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Occupation: auto body repair
Engine: 2.8-liter VR6 12v OBD1 engine swap with cold-air intake, Neuspeed wires, 2.5" Magnaflow exhaust, deleted cat, GIAC chip, shaved bay and radiator support, polished intake, relocated battery, upgraded engine mounts
Drivetrain: five-speed manual with Sachs clutch
Brakes: 11.3" VR6 front brake conversion, stainless lines, Hawk HP+ pads
Suspension: Bilstein PSS9 coilovers
Wheels & Tires: 16x9" Schmidt TH-Line wheels powdercoated black with flat center caps, 215/40 R16 Falken FK-452 tires, 10mm front, 12.5mm rear spacers
Exterior: Jetta front-end conversion with E-code headlights, shaved bumpers and hatch, VR6 front lip, deleted wipers and antenna, color-matched tail lights, badgeless grille, Subaru Moss green paint
Interior: Mk4 Golf City shifter and seats, FK rollcage, shaved dash vents, suede headliner and shift boot, Lupo pedals, Momo Sport Line steering wheel, Sparco hub adapter, relocated Alpine radio, Auto Meter oil pressure and AFR gauges