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    Thread: Restoring an A2 GTI: Vortex Project

    1. 05-22-2003 02:14 PM #1
      Well, the time has come to begin my next project. The subject car is a 1990 GTI 8V. The car was left abandoned for over a year and was headed for the scrapper when I got it. Although an A2 GTI is hardly a rare car, their status as a cult car makes them ideal for restoration, even if this car is only 13 years old.

      This project will be chronicled here as a guide for others interested in restoring their VWs. I'll break the project into 4 phases, each with its own "sticky thread". When the car is finished it will be a Vortex feature car, but you'll have access to the buildup here as it progresses.

      Some notes of interest; this restoration will fall into the category of a "custom/restoration". In other words, I'm not putting it back 100% the way it came from the factory. But the overall scope of the project is more restoration than customization. I won't be doing any of the typical A2 "showcar" mods (Audi door handles, badgeless grilles, etc.) Instead, I will attempt to rebuild the car with only mild modifications that were common at the time the car was new (Euro bumpers and lights, etc). The goal is to essentialy have a "brand new" 1990 GTI.

      So with that in mind, let me introduce you to the subject:

      More pictures will follow very shortly. Phase I will deal with the assessment and disassembly of the car. Keep an eye out for more soon

      Later,

      Bryan


    2. 05-22-2003 10:34 PM #2
      Bryan, Good Luck with the project. I look forward to seeing how it goes.
      Do be advised that Stock parts for A2s are disappearing faster as time goes on. So, be careful during the project because you never know when New Old Stock parts are No Longer Available.
      Charlie

      '80 VW Rabbit "C" - 81 VW Pickup - '85 VW Golf - 1987 GTI 16V - 2002 New Beetle - 2012 Toyota Tundra 4x4, 5.7L V8
      Visit the Unofficial GTI 16V Home Page at www.gti16v.org

    3. 05-23-2003 05:17 AM #3
      dope!
      i am doing the same thing but am a step ahead of you!

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      05-29-2003 07:44 AM #4
      Great project! But please - PLEASE - do keep the small bumpers

    5. 05-30-2003 06:01 PM #5
      I'm going to make one suggestion and it is based on the powdery white stuff on the car: Add an engine block heater. They are such a welcome addition in the winter. Maybe even a battery warmer and oil heater too. Can you tell I grew up in Mass/Maine? That's my $0.02.

    6. 06-01-2003 02:41 AM #6
      i agree....although, i have never had to use my block heater in my diesel. it has alsways started right up, even in the coldest weather.

    7. Member FujiTekniques's Avatar
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      06-13-2003 11:09 PM #7
      Cool! I have been dying to see what happened with this one ever since the great story surfaced about how you rescued it.

    8. 06-16-2003 06:39 PM #8
      Hey guys, just to give you an update. I haven't forgotten about the project. I've actually just had problems uploading pics so that I can show you whats happening. Until I can post the pics though, here's the update.

      I have the car almost completely stirpped for paint prep. All of the external trim is off, I purchased a used hatch (almost no rust!) at a local boneyard, the engine is out and being stripped. I have a new engine being built, and that's almost ready. I have to pull a few more wire looms and harnesses in the engine compartment before I can start preparing it for paint.

      As soon as I can post the pics I will. Until then...

      Bryan


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      06-16-2003 11:45 PM #9
      Keep it up!!

    10. 07-16-2003 11:33 AM #10
      thats a good story man, glad to see that car end up with a good home. it reminds me of how i got my car. i will share my experience with you. i was working for a landscape company and i spotted this clean gti sitting in someones driveway with no plates on it. months went by of me driving by and dreaming about the car. one day i worked up the nerve to go visit the owner and see if they wanted to sell it. i found an old cupple of which the wife owned the car, she looked to be somewhere around her mid 60's. the car had given them nothing but problems, and the husband explained that it would not run and needed some work. turns out they replaced the half shafts, head gasked, alt, and rebuilt the lower end (using the old oil pump). i took a quick look at the 92 gti of which i now wanted more than ever. she had quad rounds, teardrops, brand new looking interior, saging headliner, and a small surface rust spot under the rear pass window. i gave the man a few days to get the stuff for the car togther and come up with a price. when i returned i found him outside putting some spare parts in the trunk, which made me feel like fate had it for me and this car. the man explained that he had some guy rebuild the lower end, and he drove it for about a week and it just started pouring oil out. he towed it home and it did the same thing again so he parked it and left it there. when i poped the hood i noticed there was no oil filter and the lower ac line had a big oil stain on it. closing the hood and asking for the keys and a price i was extatic. the man said he would write me a bill of sale for $1 and told me to keep the dollar. i towed the car to my mechanic had a new oil pump installed, and now own a beatufull tornado red gti i got for free! she runs so good and pulls really hard, i love it. so good luck with your project, fate had this car for you.

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      07-16-2003 11:57 AM #11
      Wow! Only a passionate VW owner would put that much time into possessing another VW. Yeah $200 but all the time and energy to get it .......to some people it's , but I totally understand.

      Good Luck!


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      07-16-2003 02:41 PM #12
      Awesome story...these are the kinda purchases that will make u find ways to NEVER let go of cars like this KEep us updated...

    13. Moderator Raring 2 Go's Avatar
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      07-16-2003 06:09 PM #13
      Hope the project updates are as satifsfying as the quest to own the car.

    14. 07-16-2003 07:47 PM #14
      What a great story...i was about to cry for the poor little GTI nobody wanted

      Hope it will turn out for the best.


    15. 07-16-2003 10:52 PM #15
      Hey! That's my car! I have been wondering where I left it! I'll be happy to pick it up in the fall. Oh, no-don't stop working on it; I'll just get it later. Thanks for your help.

      dave.......


    16. 07-17-2003 10:03 AM #16
      Quote, originally posted by racergti »
      Hey! That's my car! I have been wondering where I left it! I'll be happy to pick it up in the fall. Oh, no-don't stop working on it; I'll just get it later. Thanks for your help.

      dave.......

      I don't think so, Dave. If it was yours you'd be racing it by now! See you at Treffen.

      Bryan


    17. Member MartijnGizmo's Avatar
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      07-17-2003 11:02 AM #17
      Live is like a box of chocolates, you never knwo, what you gonna get.

      Really great write-up Bryan, I enjoyed reading it.


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      07-17-2003 04:31 PM #18
      There's a seemingly 'abandoned' car parked outside someone's house just around the corner from where I live. It's not a Mk2 Golf GTI, but one of these:

      A Peugeot 306 Cabriolet.

      It's been sitting there for about a year now and looks like it could do with a good home. However, someone must at least have an interest in it, as it seems to get a wash every few months (the hood seems to grow moss around the seams). They even take care to mow tidily around it when the grass of the lawn it's sitting on grows too long...

      I think the guy who owns it must've done something like leave the country, as I haven't seen him for an equal amount of time. Or... maybe something else happened to him...

      One of these days I'm just gonna have to knock on their door and ask how much they want for it!

      (Edit: Suppose I'd better mention it's not actually the car in the picture - but the one I'm talking about is identical in every way! Oh, and sorry for hi-jacking a VW thread...)


      Modified by HwAoRrDk at 1:33 PM 7-17-2003


      Modified by HwAoRrDk at 1:34 PM 7-17-2003

      平成16 年の MAZDA RX-8 230

    19. Member pdxtomct's Avatar
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      07-18-2003 02:08 AM #19
      Great story. The A2 GTIs are fantastic cars...I bought a 92 GTI several years ago and did a moderate restoration. That car was really tight and fun to drive. I sacrificed it when I got the first of my MKIV GTIs...I still miss that little guy and I will have another one someday. I wish you great success in this restoration project and I will stop back by to see how it's going.

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      07-21-2003 04:10 AM #20
      Bryan,

      Now that you're an "owner of a junk property", will you be able to register the car and drive it on public streets? What about the fact that this car is originating from Canada and, I guess, you don't have the original papers... will it make it more difficult? Will you require a certificate of registration from the province of origin? I mean that car could have been stolen, driven to Illinois and left alone in a parking with the licence plate removed...

      I once have been in a similar situation, I came across a 1991 Peugeot 405 GT from New York state. The car having an engine problem, the owner left it in a scrapyard. I called Transport Canada and they said I couldn't register it because of a security regulation that differs between US and Canadian models... If I would have bought it, I couldn't have driven it!

      Maybe it's different in Illinois... good luck!


      George


      Modified by Psyko at 4:15 AM 7-21-2003


    21. 07-21-2003 05:22 AM #21
      he should be all clear since he bought it from the towing comapny, which bacically "claimed" rights/ownership of the property because it was abandoned....

    22. 07-21-2003 11:11 AM #22
      Quote, originally posted by Psyko »
      Bryan,

      Now that you're an "owner of a junk property", will you be able to register the car and drive it on public streets? What about the fact that this car is originating from Canada and, I guess, you don't have the original papers... will it make it more difficult? Will you require a certificate of registration from the province of origin? I mean that car could have been stolen, driven to Illinois and left alone in a parking with the licence plate removed...

      I once have been in a similar situation, I came across a 1991 Peugeot 405 GT from New York state. The car having an engine problem, the owner left it in a scrapyard. I called Transport Canada and they said I couldn't register it because of a security regulation that differs between US and Canadian models... If I would have bought it, I couldn't have driven it!

      Maybe it's different in Illinois... good luck!

      That's a very valid concern, but one that I've already investigated. The body shop that is painting the car is a licensed rebuilder, and they will be handling the red tape to make the car legitimate. In reality, I will sign the papers over to them, then buy the car back from them once it has passed all of its inspections. I will then hold a "salvage title" for the car. Since the Canadian GTI is essentially the same as the American-market version, there should be very few snags.

      Bryan


    23. 07-21-2003 07:31 PM #23
      I've been spending too much time in the "community" threads. I think I just gained a few brain cells back . Great opening story. I can't wait to hear your progress and see pics. BTW I have a vested interest. Your lil' GTI is identical to mine, color and all.

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      07-21-2003 09:06 PM #24
      cool story!!
      Could you please explain where on door handle is the code for making new keys.
      Somebody broke into my car even I have Armor door plates. They hold up but right side door handle did not and part of it including tumbler is gone .
      This happened last year andd since that time I don't do the area where this happened (Shop Rite parking lot).

    25. 07-22-2003 11:57 AM #25
      Quote, originally posted by a2gtinut »
      cool story!!
      Could you please explain where on door handle is the code for making new keys.

      The code is stamped on the inside part of the trigger arm, and it will probably be caked in grease like mine was. Use a litlle WD-40 to clean it off and, if the door handle is original, the code should reveal itself. The code is only stamped on the right side handle though. It should contain a couple of letters, probably "AH", indicating the type of blank, followed by four numers, which are the "cut" of the teeth.

      I'll add a pic as soon as I can.

      Bryan


    26. Member KeithVH's Avatar
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      07-22-2003 05:28 PM #26
      Great story! Best of luck!

    27. 07-23-2003 09:48 PM #27
      I thought the 90s had big bumpers. Guess I'm mistaken. Anyway, let me know if you need any stock parts for your resto job. I'll hook you up as best I can! jim @ http://www.vwparts.com 1.800.736.3550

    28. Senior Member Capt.Dreadz's Avatar
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      07-30-2003 07:23 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by jettajim25 »
      I thought the 90s had big bumpers.

      Both my 90 GTI & Golf came with small bumpers. They were made in 89' but had small bumpers. That one above look just like my 90 GTI when i first got it

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    29. 07-30-2003 09:44 PM #29
      Hey I am doing the same thing you are except I am restoring a 1991 Vw Jetta Diesel. I bought a parts Jetta and I am swapping thoughout, Let me know if you need something I live in Chiago too. The car I am taking everything out of is a 1992 Jetta 1.8L. It had a rebuilt engine not to long ago, but the guy I bought it from couldnt get the computer stuff up and running.

      Anyway Good Luck let me know if you need something.


    30. 08-01-2003 02:28 AM #30
      my vote if you care is to keep the color white

      if you change the wheels make them matte black---porsche 16 x 7 fuchs would look killer if you can get proper adapters

      in college i owned a 86 gti without power steering ---what a great car---i enjoyed it more than my current 2000 gti 1.8t


    31. n00b Psyko's Avatar
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      08-07-2003 11:18 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by jettajim25 »
      I thought the 90s had big bumpers.

      It's true, I also noticed that... I guess big bumpers came out only mid 1990... Seems that Volkwagen likes to complicate small things like that such as changes in radios mid 2002, cloth seats designs in 2001 and 2003, cup hodlders in the Beetle in late 2001 and of course the 1999 Golds and 2001 Passats... It's very hard to tell the exact model year of a Volkswagen without looking at the serial number compared to Japanese cars, for example. But I prefer VW for that matter, you don't feel like driving an older model 6 months after you bought a brand new car


      George


    32. Member lnoriel's Avatar
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      08-08-2003 09:47 PM #32
      I watch with great interest because I am in the exact same project.

      Although the chassis and body work of my own project car is a California based car, rust damage is not as severe. However, age and road hazards have taken their toll and require some of the same procedures being undertaken in your project.

      I am enjoying this series of articles very very much. Thanks

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    33. 08-09-2003 01:56 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by lnoriel »
      I am enjoying this series of articles very very much. Thanks

      Looks familiar . Glad you're enjoying the article. Can't wait to get it finished.


    34. 08-10-2003 04:39 PM #34
      I just picked up a 90 coupe. Im trying to find out if the doors from my 92 gli will fit. any info will be very helpful!

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      08-25-2003 10:46 PM #35
      This is a great article I am considering buying a GTi or GLi for my next project volkswagen. So, with that being said, I will be paying close attention to what you are going to do next. This is very inspiring and is pointing me into the right direction. Thanks.
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