I first came into contact with Rob Tomlin from Supercar Detailing through mutual friend Elliott Roberts, editor at Performance VW Magazine. “Could you help my mate with a few Beetle parts?” he asked. So we chatted on the phone and got on well. A year passed and another call “Could you help with some Mk2 parts…”
Working with the best
So we supplied Rob the Mk2 Golf headlining material he needed for his Mk2 16v and having spoken about it before, made arrangements to go and meet up at his workshop near Tonbridge in Kent.
Turns out Rob spends his day preparing and polishing exotica for clients, including local Porsche and Ferrari dealers and a whole host of classic car collectors too. But come the weekend and in his own time, he enjoys driving old VWs.
A change is as good as a rest
Of course, these aren’t just any ‘old VWs’. With his penchant for perfection, they are immaculately prepared and detailed within an inch of their lives. Rob chucks us the keys “I’ve gotta get this Porsche Targa finished for collection later today, can you get some photos on your own?”
A Photographers playground
Along with our regular snapper Lee, we were joined by Marcus from Birdhouse, a fellow VW nut and as it happens another acquaintance of Rob and Elliott. He was on hand to shoot a video for us too – check it out here.
With the keys to two of the nicest examples, I’ve ever seen in my pocket we were afforded free reign of the industrial estate that Rob works from. A selection of barn back drops, a plethora of pallets and crates, a vineyard and a variety of greenery; every scene we created quickly became our new favourite.
Rob’s Beetle was originally built by Mark Drydon at Flatlands Engineering. “I’d been out and bought what I thought was a lovely 1964 Beetle and took it to Mark for some work,” Rob tells us. “But Mark gave it the once over and told me it was bad. He offered to sell it on for what-ever he could recoup back for it and we negotiated a deal on his personal car, which was this”.
If you are familiar with Mark’s work this will come as no surprise. The underside is finished in an immaculate coat of gloss black and with Rob’s attention to detailing, you could easily use it as a mirror. All components are powder coated gloss black to match of course. This is what you would call a ‘complete build’. Everything has been thought of.
The Mk2 Golf 16v is a hugely appreciating classic and Rob has a fantastic example here. You’d be forgiven for thinking he’s messed with the odometer, as by no means does it look like a car that’s completed 99k miles and it’s still on its original coat of Tornado Red. The KR code ‘valver lump has been subject to a thorough going over; the engine bay is a work of art in itself.
Before it was cool
We grab twenty minutes with Rob before we have to leave. “I’ve been doing this 15 years,” he tells us “before detailing became cool, and because of that, I’ve built up a great customer base. Many of my customers have more than one car which keeps me very busy. I’m currently preparing 3 Porsches for the Salon Privé at the end of August.” If you are unaware of this event, check out the link – this is a car show like no other, it even has a formal dress code!
Don’t give up the day job
Whilst Rob will continue finessing Ferraris to pay the bills, his passion for Volkswagens rages on. “I’ve got an Oval up at Mark’s at the moment…” he mentions “and I’m always on the lookout for Mk2 Golfs”. Whilst his day job doesn’t give him much time off, when he does get it, you know what he’ll be driving…