We have got a number of Mk2 Golf geeks working at Heritage Parts Centre; none more so than our Product Engineer & Quality Manager Chris Battersby, who owns this Oak Green 16v example which is currently mid-resto. As a former Mk2 Golf and Jetta owner himself, Andy went to find out more.
Andy: So Chris, tell us the story, how long have you had the car?
Chris: I bought the car in late 2009. I had always wanted an Oak Green 16v and l looked at quite a few before spotting this one advertised locally. My mind was pretty much made up before I even saw it. I used it as my daily driver for a year before taking it off the road in late 2010 in an attempt to save it from getting worse, after the MOT inspector highlighted a lot of rust on the chassis.
I took the engine and sub frame out in the winter of 2011 to tackle the rust, only to discover it was far worse than expected. The repairs snowballed, especially after taking the arch and sill trims off only to find more rust. It ended up as a fully stripped shell and a much bigger project than anticipated.
Andy: And in that time, you’ve got married and had a little one too. How’s fitting your project in around family life going?
Chris: It’s been very difficult as I’ve moved house a few times and had to put the car in storage for a while, so I haven’t been able to devote the time to it that I had hoped. These days I only get a day or two a month to work on it so it’s going to remain a project for some time yet. The welding is almost complete though and I would like to get it painted next year so I can start the rebuild. Most of the parts to bolt back on have been restored while off the car and are just here waiting to be fitted.
Andy: You’ve been working at Heritage over a year now. Have you been involved in any Mk2 Golf related projects you can tell us about?
Chris: I have been involved in a few interesting projects. One being the jacking point repair panels that we now have in stock. These were made from 3D scans of genuine panels and samples were tested on my own car before signing off production, so they are as faithful as possible to the originals. We are also working on re-producing the wiper blanking plug and grommets which have been obsolete for some time, and also manufacturing the fuel filler repair panels which are a common part to rust on the Mk2 Golf.
Andy: Can you explain a little more about your role within the business? What is your background?
Chris: I am responsible for all new product development, quality control and managing the returns department. I have a background in automotive engineering and spent 6 years in diesel fuel pump development for passenger cars. I also worked for a steel fabrication company which has given me the much needed welding skills to repair my Golf.
Andy: Back to the Golf – what’s your plan once the car is completed? Are you working to a deadline, or will it just be finished when it’s finished?
Chris: Once the car is finished I just want to enjoy it. Maybe a few road trips with the family and take it to some shows such as our Heretics meets in the summer. The car will be 30 years old in 2020, so fingers crossed it will be on the road before then. If I miss that then I will try and get it finished before 2030!!
Andy: What lessons have you learnt from your Mk2 Golf project that you can apply to your work as our Product Engineer?
Chris: I have a long shopping list of parts I need to put my car back on the road, many of which are obsolete or hard to come by. Knowing what the majority of Mk2 owners need helps us focus on reproducing the right parts. If I had my way we would make everything but sadly it’s just not feasible. Keep an eye on our website as we will continue to add more parts in the future.
Andy: Do you have any tips for enthusiasts looking to get into Mk2 Golf ownership?
Chris: Take your time searching for the best car for your budget. Make sure you check all the major rust points such as arches, sills, floorpans and rear turrets (particularly on the fuel filler side). Also bear in mind that many parts are becoming rare, so good condition bumpers, door trims and roof gutter trims are a must as they aren’t easily replaced. I would also recommend signing up to a Mk2 related forum or Facebook group, as there is a wealth of knowledge out there to help you improve or maintain your car and keep it on the road.
Andy: Thanks for taking the time to show us your car Chris, we hope you manage to get it back on the road soon!