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    Thread: Build Thread: The Greenland Polo

    1. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-04-2010 11:59 PM #1
      The time has come to start work on this project, which with its interesting background may just be TCL material. The subject is a seemingly unassuming almost base model 1999 Volkswagen Polo. It was ordered new via Denmark, and then spent the first 8 years of its life at the Thule Air Force Base in northwestern Greenland - 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle and less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole.



      By reading through the documentation supplied in or with the car, it was found that the car was driven approximately 3x,000 miles on the base, before being partially stripped (reasons unknown) and sold via a military depot in southern Virginia. There were four Polos brought into the USA at the same time; this one had no engine, but the best body from what I could tell from the small online photos provided by the liquidation company. I was able to view all of them briefly while on the base, and discuss them with a few personnel, and this car did seem to be best metal structure wise.

      This is all we had to go on when purchasing the car:



      Quote Originally Posted by auction
      No Engine, Running condition unknown.
      ..

      Along with the car, I received the original build sheets for the car, plus the military service history and a few other goodies. It was ordered with the following specifications:
      • Manual Windows, Manual Door Locks, Manual Mirrors
      • Manual Steering
      • Cloth Seats
      • Heated Seats
      • Height Adjustable Headlights
      • Blaupunkt AM/FM Cassette Stereo
      • Steel Wheels, Hubcaps, with Michelin Non-Studded Snow Tires
      • 1.9L non-turbo diesel engine
      • 5 speed manual transmission (Linkage shifter, but hydralic clutch).
      • ABS Brakes


      It then appears to have been fitted afterwards with a 110 volt distribution block in the engine bay, which had one wire running to the inside of the car (unknown to what it connected to), with a crudely installed external plug. It also received a roof antenna, and a receiver (+ transmitter?) inside - only the wiring was left installed when I received it.

      One interesting thing that will become apparant is that the car is COVERED in a fine layer of dirt/silt. It is everywhere. Inside every vent, every seal, throughout the interior, engine bay, underside and on top of the car. I can only guess that once the snow has cleared, the dirt/dust must get blown by the wind pretty severely up there at the Base. The base is of course famous for its location and use throughout the Cold War, with B52s flying out of there 24 hours a day (and infamously, one crashing near the base while loaded with live nuclear warheads).

      Any paint that was scratched or scraped away has rust under it, but underneath the car it is almost entirely rust free - perhaps they don't salt there (losing battle?), and the low temps remove moisture from the air? The base is the only Air Force location with a deep sea port, and this specific car obviously had access to the port (the sticker is still on the windshield..), so it couldn't have been too far from the sea salt though at any point of its life.

      Plans for the car? Well, first there's a laundry list of items that are missing or broken - rear bumper, taillight, drivers door handle, drivers door interior panel, front subframe and engine mount, engine, transmission, axles. Some things are there but are junk - wheel bearings (rusted and no rolling with no axles killed them), wiring harness (cut off in the engine bay) and probably more things that will turn up later.

      So, these obviously need to be addressed first. Keeping it a diesel would be the obvious choice, but there's literally nothing left except the fuel lines. I'd like something a little quicker in that case.. something that can never lose perhaps.

      Wheels, suspension, bodywork, interior? All to be decided, although with the neat background, the logos on the car and a 'fun fund' that's more closer to forced rat-look than trailer queen build, it's likely to stay as near to stock as possible.

      I'll leave this first post with the photos taken directly from the auction site, and then one from the journey home (!). Initial thanks to Vanaman for finding the car, and Dean et al in Richmond, VA for huge help getting the car home.

      Enjoy, Jamie.

















      More to come..
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    2. Member Bias_Ply's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 12:33 AM #2
      very cool find! what do the door badge and the window sticker look like?
      The good news: I gave up on being one of the cool kids!

    3. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 12:42 AM #3
      not to be nosy, but how much did you pay for that? I hope it wasn't a lot...

    4. Member Oval Baja's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 02:13 AM #4
      Minimum bid is $150.. (used to be $30).

      http://www.govliquidation.com/auctio...tionId=3507808

    5. Member Swapped6n's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 02:57 AM #5
      hah cool, Ive seen some nice examples of those.

      Ill post a few pics up sometime soon, when I can find em

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      08-05-2010 04:44 AM #6
      great car, we have the same one, its only badged as seat cordoba
      the sdi engine will last forever, they are very economical, there is a lot of space inside for such a small car
      pic:

    7. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 04:58 AM #7
      Very cool history of the car -- I'll be watching this thread for updates!

      Some inspiration:

      2008 Audi TT Coupe 3.2 VR6 Quattro 6MT - Ibis White / Black
      2006 Audi A8 L 4.2 Quattro - Brilliant Black / Amaretto
      1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC - Black / Black

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      08-05-2010 05:11 AM #8
      My brother had a sedan version. 1.6 75hp and lowered to be barely driveable
      With a Seat cupra (or vr6?) front lip, it kinda looked bad ass from front when sitting so low
      It wasn't that bad, but then again, I was a kid.

      About that SDI-engine, maybe it was a good thing that it's being taken away
      Sure it's strong, but a TDI probably gets better mpgl and it's more enjoyable to drive

      edit: have to say, I loved the interior over our much newer corolla
      Last edited by duke774; 08-05-2010 at 05:20 AM.

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      08-05-2010 06:25 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by duke774 View Post
      About that SDI-engine, maybe it was a good thing that it's being taken away
      Sure it's strong, but a TDI probably gets better mpgl and it's more enjoyable to drive
      only on highways, on normal roads no.
      65hp is small amount of horsepower but for everyday driving you actually dont need more. plus this cars are great in the snow

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      08-05-2010 08:32 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by svantevid View Post
      only on highways, on normal roads no.
      65hp is small amount of horsepower but for everyday driving you actually dont need more. plus this cars are great in the snow
      i don't remember driving the 1.9 SDI, but heard comments about it. I know it isn't always about horsepower, but i don't think it has the easy going torque as TDI's have.

      I've driven few thousand miles with a 2.4D (n/a) VW Caravelle and it was bad. It doesn't have a rev range where it performs well and absolutely no "grunt" of a diesel. You can get the thing moving pretty easily by just letting the clutch off, but that's about it. Even the 1.9TDI's in those are considerably better

    11. Member MikkiJayne's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 08:57 AM #11
      Interesting find! I didn't think there were any Polos at all in the US. Getting bits for it is going to be interesting Lots of time on ebay.de methinks

      A tweaked TDI would be fun in there
      Throw an Audi engineer down a hole with a ladder and he will fashion a shovel from it and tunnel his way out

      Quote Originally Posted by shwak23 View Post
      You could always call your insurance and say that some vandals tried to swap your car to rwd while you weren't looking.

    12. Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 09:13 AM #12
      I don't get the attraction to these things, but looks like a cool project nonetheless.
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    13. Member l88m22vette's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 09:33 AM #13
      Yikes, I applaud a unique project, but that one is going to be a bear
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    14. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 09:35 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      not to be nosy, but how much did you pay for that? I hope it wasn't a lot...
      About $500 for the shell.

      Quote Originally Posted by svantevid View Post
      great car, we have the same one, its only badged as seat cordoba
      the sdi engine will last forever, they are very economical, there is a lot of space inside for such a small car
      You're spot on, it is just a rebadged Seat Cordoba - same production line, and a lot of the parts have VW Spain or SEAT Spain stamped on them.

      Quote Originally Posted by MikkiJayne View Post
      Interesting find! I didn't think there were any Polos at all in the US. Getting bits for it is going to be interesting Lots of time on ebay.de methinks
      I've been sandbagging on the build thread a little bit. I have already got most of the missing parts imported to the USA, and ready to bolt on. This should help keep the time length of the basic get-it-running-again build quite a bit shorter

      This is actually my third Polo in the USA. I just brought in a 1982 Breadvan for my wife as well (one owner, low mileage). This estate is very unusual though, as it's much newer that can be personally imported.

      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      I don't get the attraction to these things, but looks like a cool project nonetheless.
      Unusualness, and a nice little wagon with interesting specification for a late 90s car.
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      08-05-2010 09:38 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      I don't get the attraction to these things, but looks like a cool project nonetheless.
      Different for being different's sake, I would guess. VW guys get off on it.

      I remember my aunt had a Polo just like this in England before moving up to a Golf Wagon. I remember it being small and crappy even when I was a 14 year old. Probably had to do with her having two little kids at the time too.

    16. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 09:50 AM #16
      Here's some further inspection of the damages:























      | œ Orchid Euro Importation œ |

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    17. 08-05-2010 09:55 AM #17
      i guess the obvious question is even though its been imported by the us goverment, how are you going to get it tagged, titled, and insured for road use being that its relatively new?

    18. Member veedweeb's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 10:01 AM #18
      It then appears to have been fitted afterwards with a 110 volt distribution block in the engine bay, which had one wire running to the inside of the car (unknown to what it connected to), with a crudely installed external plug.
      I'd guess it's had a block heater fitted, to warm the engine up before starting it.

    19. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 10:03 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by big bentley View Post
      i guess the obvious question is even though its been imported by the us goverment, how are you going to get it tagged, titled, and insured for road use being that its relatively new?
      Definately a good question. Happy to report that it's all taken care of already. I was not going to put any money into the vehicle until it was all sorted out.

      Quote Originally Posted by veedweeb View Post
      I'd guess it's had a block heater fitted, to warm the engine up before starting it.
      Absolutely. From what I've read, -30'C is not uncommon, so I suspect that when the engine wasn't running, it HAD to be plugged in. I wouldn't be surprised if it had several heaters, hence the distribution point.
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      08-05-2010 10:14 AM #20
      Damn, that's one hell of a project. Awesome history though, will be worth it when its done
      Can't wait to see it progress. Never seen a polo in my life.

      If I had to guess how it arrived in such an abismal state .. Perhaps it stopped running (or was just in bad condition) and it was raided for parts to keep the other base Polos running. Can't be too easy to get overnight parts from Japan shipped to the effing North Pole.

      Edit: that 1.9 diesel is probably the same one found in mk3 Jettas (and Canadian Golfs, I'm told), right? Perhaps also the B3/B4 Passats.
      Last edited by Troike; 08-05-2010 at 10:17 AM.
      << so it Hz >>

      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
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    21. 08-05-2010 10:20 AM #21
      im rather curious how you got around that one..

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      08-05-2010 10:25 AM #22
      Very interesting... while the car may be un-assuming. It is a Polo Estate... and thats unique here for sure.
      Love this history on the car too... that really makes it cool. Its intersting that they decided to scratch out some decals... but left one on the door intact.
      The car worked for this company
      http://www.greenlandcontractors.dk/en/
      Wonder what its role was...

    23. 08-05-2010 10:32 AM #23
      Nice write-up. I guess an official build thread means it's officially time to start building!

    24. 08-05-2010 10:50 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Troike View Post
      Edit: that 1.9 diesel is probably the same one found in mk3 Jettas (and Canadian Golfs, I'm told), right? Perhaps also the B3/B4 Passats.
      The SDI is the naturally aspirated version of the TDI, with direct injection.

      The early Canadian Mk3s and B4s got a 1.9L turbo diesel, with prechamber injection -- the predecessor to the TDI, with much simpler technology.
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      08-05-2010 11:55 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by the brit View Post

      You're spot on, it is just a rebadged Seat Cordoba - same production line, and a lot of the parts have VW Spain or SEAT Spain stamped on them.
      actually the lights on the front and back are a little different only seats don't hold the price as well as polos. they also share a looot of parts with mk3 golfs and also mk2s. engine, gearbox all mk3, suspension parts mk3, front antiroll bar mk2 gtd and so on...

      you have to be careful, all of this early cars with 1.9 sdi have a problem with the reverse gear (so i heard, correct me if i'm wrong), the gear itself is supposed to be to weak.

    26. Member bzcat's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 01:04 PM #26
      The dirt covered interior and engine bay seems to suggest this car was submerged in water at some point... maybe explains why the engine is missing.

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      08-05-2010 01:12 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by svantevid View Post

      you have to be careful, all of this early cars with 1.9 sdi have a problem with the reverse gear (so i heard, correct me if i'm wrong), the gear itself is supposed to be to weak.
      Mmm reverse gear is totally missing
      Throw an Audi engineer down a hole with a ladder and he will fashion a shovel from it and tunnel his way out

      Quote Originally Posted by shwak23 View Post
      You could always call your insurance and say that some vandals tried to swap your car to rwd while you weren't looking.

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      08-05-2010 05:13 PM #28
      6KV Good luck with it though..

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    29. 08-05-2010 09:46 PM #29
      are you certain this particular one is worth fixing?

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      08-05-2010 09:54 PM #30
      HOW, exactly, this car became so beaten up is what I'd like to know...

    31. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 10:20 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by c0mmon View Post
      are you certain this particular one is worth fixing?
      It's hard to find a better one in the USA

      Quote Originally Posted by HerrGolf View Post
      HOW, exactly, this car became so beaten up is what I'd like to know...
      I don't think it takes much imagination. Winter average high temps are -20'c, it's inside the arctic circle, there's no garages, there are regular storms that requires all personel to remain indoors unless there's a war going on, and there can be 160mph winds, in fact, the world record for low level wind speeds was held here (207mph). I'm surprised the car's in such good shape, considering it was government vehicle subjected to 24 hours of sun per day in the summer months - and I bet it never saw wax.
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      08-06-2010 11:07 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by the brit View Post
      Definately a good question. Happy to report that it's all taken care of already. I was not going to put any money into the vehicle until it was all sorted out.
      How was it taken care of?
      Audi TT mk1 FAQ zero Porsche wheels given

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      08-06-2010 11:50 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by c0mmon View Post
      are you certain this particular one is worth fixing?
      its a project that is unique (not that that actually matters) and that the OP is is excited about (that is what actually matters), who cares if it is "worth fixing".

      If people only spent time on stuff that was "worth fixing" we would see alot fewer interesting older cars on the roads today. Hell two of my cars are not "worth fixing" but I've put all kinds of time and money into them because I enjoy the process and I'm not building them for anyone but myself.
      Dave

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      08-06-2010 05:14 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by rs4-380 View Post
      its a project that is unique (not that that actually matters) and that the OP is is excited about (that is what actually matters), who cares if it is "worth fixing".

      If people only spent time on stuff that was "worth fixing" we would see alot fewer interesting older cars on the roads today. Hell two of my cars are not "worth fixing" but I've put all kinds of time and money into them because I enjoy the process and I'm not building them for anyone but myself.


      cool project, jamie

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      08-19-2010 02:59 PM #35
      Here's the last week of work, squeezed in when I've had some spare time.

      Obviously, the dirt in the engine bay has been power washed away. My driveway's got a nice coating of grey Greenland mud on it now. After that, the 110v external power wiring was removed and I got a chance to inspect some more of the engine bay. It's a hydro clutch setup, which is great for me as it saves me hassle of installing that stuff if it had a clutch cable.

      There's lots of stuff missing, or half installed. The rear engine subframe is hanging on by 2 bolts, and the steering knuckle unclips at will. A lot of the suspension bolts are hand tight too. I suspect that when someone was trying to remove the engine they though dropped the rear might have been easiest, and then changed their plan half way through. Well, it's all simple stuff to sort out for me - at least the subframes still on, so it rolls and I have less parts to track down.

      In my stash of parts that just arrived, I got the drivers door cleaning up and the mirror installed. Unfortunately, it's a slightly earlier style mirror so although it works fine it's not the right shape cover. I'll have to track down a late model but non-power one later - it doesn't seem like a very popular option though.

      I removed the front end, and replaced the missing bolts on the steering rack and rear subframe:



      and at the same time, took a further look at what's left of the wiring in the engine bay. All of the engine wiring has been cut, as have the battery terminals etc. I have got replacement terminals, but wanted to double check my diagrams and test that I can remove the diesel +12v feeds that supplied the glowplugs etc.



      So, for the first time in a long time the car got power. Lower mileage than I expected:



      I've brought a few of the missing parts over from Europe for the car. The missing drivers side taillight was bolted on the moment I got it here, to close that big hole in the body, but today I mounted up the rear bumper.

      How the car came, with newly installed light:



      Power washed some of the worst of the mud off the bottom. I got to discover that the bottom of the car smells like a fish mongers, or the Jersey Shore. Lovely.



      Replacement bumper from a matching red Seat Cordoba Variant. I know (hoped?) they were interchangable, but I still haven't cross referenced the part numbers to see if they're identical. Either way, it's a bumper!



      Re-glued the foam to the re-bar:



      Fitted. Still need to find the correct hardware to bolt it up fully, and to screw it onto the diffuser:



      It's a used OEM bumper, so the scratches match the rest of the car nicely




      I've also been slowly thinking about the engine that's going to be swapped in. It's a 1.8T 20v AEB from a early B5 passat (Nevar Lose except for Sludging version). Several things need to switched from the longitudinal setup to a transverse setup. The oil filter housing has been traded with a VW Fox owner for a ABA setup. The open hole on top needs to be tapped to M12x1.5 to use the turbo oil feed fitting. The hole with the socket in it will be used for the oil pressure switch, and is already the correct thread size.




      And in the spirit of cross-referencing, I'm going to be doing a lot of it instead of just buying everything off the shelf in Europe. It's mainly the engine bay, so here's what i've found already:

      ABS hubs are mk3 Jetta/Golf. I'm going to put new ones on when I do the front bearings:



      Control arms are mk2 Golf/Jetta:



      Engine mount bracket is mk3 Golf/Jetta:



      Engine mount itself is a mk3 Golf/Jetta. Need to decide if I want to run stock, or give Black Forest a call for something upgrade:



      Front engine mount bracket, mk3 Golf/Jetta.



      Front engine mount, mk3 Golf/Jetta.



      Trans mount and bracket.. following a theme here, is mk3 Golf/Jetta:




      Fan shroud/setup. This had me worried, but it turns out that a B3 Passat is the same thing. That means that a mk2/3/Corrado should all work, with minor trimming or modification.



      I have a set of mk2/3 Golf/Jetta coilovers sitting around in case they fit.. The fronts are the same, which is great. The rears say they are specific to the Polo, but I just don't believe it. Maybe the length of the housing is Polo specific, but I going to be they all mount up the same and with the adjustability I should be able to overcome the height difference. We'll see how the weight of the polo does against the heavier mk3 though - I bet there's little difference in the rear though.



      That's your update for now.
      Last edited by the brit; 08-19-2010 at 03:07 PM.
      | œ Orchid Euro Importation œ |

      Currently driving or working on too many cars...
      | '93 Fox 16v - PVW | '99 Greenland Polo Diesel | '89 Rallye Golf | '83 Golf GTi RHD | '75 Swallowtail |
      | '82 Caddy 1.9D | '85 VW LT Car Transporter | Mk2 Jetta Limo | '90 Jetta 8V | '96 VW LT35D | '03 SpintLT35 | '02 GTI 337 | '03 GTI 20v |
      | '09 Aprilia RS125 | '81 Kawasaki AR80 | '59 NSU Quickly | '64 Honda Cub C65 + '65 C105 | Trek Madone 7.9 | Trek Crockett 9 |

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