AUTObiography: Mike Chaplin’s 2000 VW Golf Sonic

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Next up is VWvortex reader: Mike Chaplin

How long have you owned this car? Almost a year.

Is there anything unique about the history of this car? It was originally bought as one of two MKI race cars and built by VW Motorsport for racing in South Africa.

Why did you choose this car to purchase? I heard it start up at a local Dyno Challenge and decided then and there, I had to have it! Eight months later it was advertised in the Autotrader… and I bought it.

What other cars did you consider? I wasn’t even in the market as I had a pretty hot Opel Corsa GSi with NOS.

What was your objective with this car? To be able to spank some of my buddies with faster cars… hehe!

What tuning style best describes this car (ex. Euro, Bling, OEMplus, street racer, auto crosser)? It’s a street racer with awesome power-to-weight and minimal body mods with NO bling!

Who helped you build this car? As I mentioned, it was originally built by VW Motorsport SA and the original owner who worked at a VW dealership. Who could do it better?

What makes your car special? It has a unique racing history, along with the awesome VW Polo Cup 1.9i engine, and yet it looks like a pretty normal MKI Golf.

What is your favorite part/feature/function? Undoubtedly the sound of that 1.9 liter 8 valve engine with a 300 degree cam… struggling to idle!

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car? The original owner must take all the credit for that, although I’ve kinda tweaked the looks a little.

What don’t you like about this car? I don’t like that it is so difficult to drive slow… but I love that is so wicked and fast and so difficult to drive slow!

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car? As I mentioned, the original owner built it. I believe the only problem was to re-license it to put it back on the street!

How did you overcome the issue? All I know is that it had to be checked by the relevant authorities, etc.

What would you change if you could? Nothing! Except perhaps to strip the interior and put in the original roll cage for racing.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project? About 11?

What would you do to the car if money were no object? I would strip out the interior and put in two racing seats with the original roll cage and harnesses. The sound is pretty basic right now, so I would do a nice removable fiberglass install, and maybe some 18” Oettinger rims for show days.

Who has been your biggest critic of this project? Dad… hehe. When he saw it drive into his yard, he checked it out, shook his head, and walked back inside without saying a word.

What do your family and friends say about this car? My buddies love it, and I often get offers from guys who hear that engine burbling away. My family just smiles.

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car? Without a doubt the time I spanked a MKV GTI through a fast, twisty section… in front of the whole club on a breakfast run! Yeeeehaaaa!

Has this car competed in any events? Results? Apparently, it raced at a couple of the local race tracks, but I’m not sure of its success. It has a bad reputation around town… just after I bought it, everywhere I went people would stop me and tell me about it beating BMW M3s and VW GTIs. The only trophy it has won was “Best VW of the Day” at a local Dyno Challenge.

What is your favorite place to drive this car? It loves to run hard and rev freely, so taking it through some fast twisties is absolutely awesome. It handles beautifully and comes on cam at about 3000 rpm, pulling all the way through 7000 rpm!

What is your ideal day with this car? An early morning breakfast run up through the hills with some buddies in tow, and no cops in sight!

Who gets to drive this car? Me!

If your car had a motto, what would it be? More petrol, please!

If you had to name your car, what would you name it? Bitch (‘cos she is)!

What was your previous project? An Opel Corsa GSi with NOS.

What is your next project? I would love to do a 2-door MKIII street racer with a wicked 1.9i engine, 18s and stripped interior. We don’t get them in South Africa, though, so I may have to move to the USA before I can start on it!

What one word best describes your car? Wicked!

Anything else you’d like to share? It is the most awesome car I have ever owned. Okay, so it doesn’t have air-conditioning or power steering, but it is more fun than sex! Well recently, anyway!

Owner Information:

Name: Mike Chaplin

Occupation: Graphic Designer

Club Affiliations: VW Fusion, 200+ Club.

Vehicle Information:

Year: 2000

Make: VW

Model: Golf Sonic

Mileage: 135,000 km

Original Color: White

Current Color: Candy White

Engine: VW 1.9i

Engine Modifications: 2.5 Caravelle pistons, 1.8 crank, Stage 3 gasflowed head, bigger valves, MP9 fuel injection with “green” injectors and bigger fuel rail, Mr Turbo engine management, 300 degree cam, CDA carbon ram-air intake.

Exhaust Modifications: 40mm branch (wrapped) into removable collector with 57mm freeflow stainless steel 2-box exhaust.

Transmission Modifications: standard 5-speed.

Suspension Modifications: 40mm drop with Eibach springs and Koni shocks, large roll-bars front and rear, front strut brace.

Brake Modifications: MKII vented/slotted disks with Hawk performance pads up front, GTI disks at the back.

Wheels and Tires: 15” VW Velociti rims powdercoated black with 195/50/15 Yokohama S-drives.

Exterior/Body Modifications: VR6 front spoiler, Raceline rear spoiler with brake light, center-pillar blackouts, vinyl covered roof, tinted windows.

Interior Modifications: Jetta seats and door panels recovered in black and white vinyl, Isotta steering wheel, Wintec race pedals, white gauges with matching gauges in dash.

Audio/Video/I.C.E.: Pioneer f/l CD with remote, Planet Audio 5-channel amp with 2x12” MTX subs in sealed box, 5” door speakers and 6x9” rear speakers.

Thanks/Props: Obviously VW Motorsport and the original owner for building it right; Theo, who sold it to me; Sean, who helped me sort out the sound; and Rich, for making me believe it was what I wanted.

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