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    Thread: Build Thread: The Greenland Polo

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    1. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 12:59 AM #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..
      | 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 |

    2. Member Bias_Ply's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 01:33 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 01:42 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 03:13 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 03:57 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 05:44 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 05:58 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

    8. Member
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      08-05-2010 06:11 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 06:20 AM.

    9. Member
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      08-05-2010 07:25 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

    10. Member veedweeb's Avatar
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      08-05-2010 11:01 AM #10
      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.

    11. Member mikegilbert's Avatar
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      08-20-2010 08:53 PM #11
      Can't wait to see the progress.
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    12. Member Grobo1082's Avatar
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      08-20-2010 09:03 PM #12
      Awesome thread, keep up the great work, can't wait for more updates.

      Question: Once it's done, how are you going to go about registering it? You're in the US? right? Just curious.

    13. Member vivalahatch's Avatar
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      08-29-2010 05:36 AM #13
      I know nothing about military logistics, but does anybody know why they would ship a non-US car with no engine to the a base in VA in the first place?

      P.S. this is way more interesting than I would have thought possible.

    14. Member DasBaldGuy's Avatar
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      09-22-2010 02:19 PM #14
      Hey Jamie, you always have the coolest projects! Lookin forward to more
      -Obama Sucks-

    15. Member
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      09-30-2010 03:13 PM #15
      Maybe this is the original engine?

      http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...m=390243060798

    16. Moderator cfvwtuner's Avatar
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      09-30-2010 03:16 PM #16
      I came across this car and it's stisters on that gvmt auction site.
      I thought it would be an awesome project, glad to see someone save one of them

    17. Geriatric Member VDub2625's Avatar
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      09-30-2010 03:46 PM #17
      Nice find and would be a fun engine to swap in but the OE engine was a diesel with manual transmission.

      Man it would be interesting to unite a German (by way of Greenland) Polo with a German (by way of Japan) engine, in the USA! The car would be a world traveller for sure
      A2Resource
      .......

    18. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      09-30-2010 04:29 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by E Coded View Post
      Hmm, interesting (and a good price), but that engine is for the subframes that we never got in the USA - the Greenland Polo(s) use a Cordoba subframe which is the same as the Golf mk2 and mk3 etc. That engine appears to be from a 6n (etc) style Polo, which were the hatchbacks. It's probably why it's so cheap - it's not a bolt up swap like a 1.9 SDI should use.

      As mentioned by Vdub2625, my polo should have had a 1.9l SDI engine with a strange linkage shift but hydralic clutch 5 speed manual transmission.

      Nice find though, and great thinking!
      | 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 |

    19. Member MikkiJayne's Avatar
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      09-30-2010 05:07 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by E Coded View Post
      Thats the same engine I have in my mk2 A very light drivetrain and 100 torks makes for a fun car

      Never seen one on an auto box though, and AC is pretty rare here on those too. Taking the **** on the price IMO - I bought mine for £68 They are cheap as chips in the UK.
      Throw an Audi engineer down a hole with a ladder and he will fashion a shovel from it and tunnel his way out

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      You could always call your insurance and say that some vandals tried to swap your car to rwd while you weren't looking.

    20. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      09-30-2010 05:25 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by MikkiJayne View Post
      Thats the same engine I have in my mk2 A very light drivetrain and 100 torks makes for a fun car

      Never seen one on an auto box though, and AC is pretty rare here on those too. Taking the **** on the price IMO - I bought mine for £68 They are cheap as chips in the UK.
      Is you mk2 the 'small' or 'big' engine version?

      68 quid equals about $100, plus the $500 for shipping that would be very possible, so it's really not bad

      Oh, and I should be coming over for parts in November, I'll need to PM you to find out where in the country you are
      | 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 |

    21. Member yeayeayea's Avatar
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      10-01-2010 06:11 PM #21
      just popping in to say hello

    22. Member yeayeayea's Avatar
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      10-01-2010 06:43 PM #22
      and to say that we just got 12" of rain here, so you really dodged a bullet

    23. 10-19-2011 12:31 PM #23


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    24. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      10-19-2011 12:35 PM #24
      LOL Stupid interwebs known car getting caught broken down
      | 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 |

    25. 10-19-2011 12:54 PM #25
      Shop Truck - Round 3: Back With a Vengeance?!

    26. 10-19-2011 03:08 PM #26
      1. I didnt know the greenland polo ever broke down

      2.
      Quote Originally Posted by benjaminobscene View Post
      vortex eh? arent you on your honeymood?

    27. Member
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      10-19-2011 03:36 PM #27
      Funny thing that a danish car end up in the US. You dont see that very often.

      Do you have problems getting parts for it? Thats sometimes a issue for US Volkswagens in Denmark.

    28. Geriatric Member VDub2625's Avatar
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      12-21-2011 10:42 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris16vRocco View Post
      What's up with the caulk-looking **** on the oil pan and underside of the trans on that one? Did they break **** and caulk-up the holes rather than replacing parts?
      If you read, they are oil heating pads.
      A2Resource
      .......

    29. Senior Member Chris16vRocco's Avatar
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      12-21-2011 10:54 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by VDub2625 View Post
      If you read, they are oil heating pads.
      Ah, I was expecting the heaters to be more like the typical block heater design that goes in place of a freeze plug or something.
      Deal with it.
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    30. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      12-22-2011 02:57 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris16vRocco View Post
      Ah, I was expecting the heaters to be more like the typical block heater design that goes in place of a freeze plug or something.
      I guess it's what the military had on hand at the base. If you remember back to page 1 or 2 of this thread, mine had been hooked up to a standard 110 volt US size wall plug, which I'm going to put my money on being what they use on their bases worldwide, especially if they've built a base from scratch somewhere that has no existing power supply.

      | 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 |

    31. 12-25-2011 07:09 AM #31
      Those fogs *look* like they are from a Cordoba or an Ibiza facelift. Wish I had the stubby mirror on the right hand side (looking at the car from in front)!

      I`m surprised they havent fallen out but if they do they weight an absolute ton!

    32. Moderator the brit's Avatar
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      01-01-2012 01:38 PM #32
      Happy New Year everyone

      We used the Greenland Polo to go to the family Christmas gathering, which it did wonderfully on the 150 mile drive



      (yes, I really have to wash the hinges and door jams etc!)

      I'm trying to get some of the many small jobs done on the car while I don't have any of the larger pieces in the country right now, and just to slowly keep wrapping up all the jobs I should have done before. New Years Resolution maybe?

      The radio that installed last year has been acting funny (forgetting its memory, switching off with a pop etc). I suspected the wiring in the car, but everything is stock and tested perfectly. I had a European market, two channel stereo headunit that is in a funky limited edition style colour so I decided to install it. It's got full RDS, Traffic Announcement and the other Euro radio features.

      When I plugged it in, and finally worked out how to enter the code, it brought up its old memory of German radio stations:



      I then reprogrammed it to my normal local stations, and the first station it found is actually uses RDS:








      The gauge cluster has always had a couple of bulbs out, but I was never happy with the diesel cluster in there although it does have the correct mileage for the body. I brought over a Seat Cordoba cluster from a mainland European petrol car, which has the funky yellow numbers, orange needles and red lights. It was a direct swap and seems to be much happier working with the correct RPMs, which would intermittently read incorrectly with the diesel tach.



      I believe that correcting the mileage will require removing the EEPROM and reprogramming it manually, which is something I wouldn't mind learning from a nerd perspective. I remember visiting my dads work at a major computer supplier when I was 13 or 14 and dreaming of using their EEPROM machines to copy Sega Megadrive (Genesis) cartridges
      | 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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