DirtBox MK1 1.8 20v


OK lets start in the year 2000 when i and my then girlfriend purchased a good solid mk1 1.3 for £20. due to its registration plate and general state of shabbyness it was soon crissened dirtbox

what the car looked like when purchased

shabby but very sound metal. 

side shot of the car in its original condition

The engine was a write off! One con rod was completely bent and the crank had got so hot that the baring had melted togeather! Fortunatly I had a MK2 1.3 engine that was similar but with a more modern head and electronic ignition module. This didnt take long to fit and made it a cheep run about wilst other cars are off the road.

2001 to 3

I then fitted a mk2 16v to my girlfriends mk1, she used box to run arround in whilest her car was off the road. 

Once i had finished that i decided that it would be a good time to up grade my mk2 and so it came off the road for a G60 convertion. Box was once again pressed in to service. 

Driving box was an experience, the 1.3 was nippy but the carb had a tendency to ice up and conk out after about 30mins driving at night! Driving in the rain was also a ******* because of the aftermarket sun roof that leeked right on to the drivers kneck. I always said if i did her up then that would be the first thig to go!. 

2004 to 5

So any how in 2004/5 i decided to grow up get rid of my debt and buy a house, the G60 was sold and box sat in my parents garrage for the next two years or so. 

I started doing the cheep stuff on the car but work was very very slow. The first thing was the roof.

I had seen this done once and it is a time consuming but fairly simple task. Cut of the old buy a new roof and merg the two. If spot weld drilling isnt your thing then this ait for you! Check out the tools area for info on the spot weld drill, i went through a couple of them removing this roof. After the old roof is all of the spot weld sections need griding down with an angle grider. then its allready for the new skin.

picture of the car with the roof skin removed

This is the result, old roof skin can be cut out roughly, peeling back the gutters is fun... special spot weld drill bit ensures that the roof supports remain intact. 

A trip to the scrap yard later and i end up with a nicer roof, thanks to the scrappy for putting a dent in it, whalst helping to load it!

picture of the new roof on the grass

now just to flip it over and un spot weld, this time from the other side so the skin remains intact. 

many hours and a trip to A&E later....

the stucture of the doner roof without the skin

roof skin cut off

Great now to marry the two togeather

the new skin on the car

Tip: i would later be told off by a body repair man for welding the roof on a the back. Apparently it should be braised. 

Next on the to do list would be the dash, i really like the look of the polo dash in the mark one and it looked like a good fit. So when one came up i jumped for it.

I have seen a lot of these convertions but was un impressed at there cutting to make it fit. I decided that if i was going to do it i would want it to be fully functioning, blowers and all. 

Therefore the first job was to fit the new heater matrix. 

Before my relentless angle grinder attack

the original dash mountings before being cut out

and after

the newly welded firewall

new hole for the mk2 style outlets

The new hols in the firewall for the heater matrix

not pritty but this is necessary to get the new air ducting to fit. Concerned about strength, a proper strut brace will be needed.

Looking good

the polo dash installed in the car

behind the dash i have also kept the polo wireing loom and fues box. The fuse box is now located on the drivers side. This is much nicer than the original mk1 box. In total three looms will merge at this point. polo, mk1 (rear) and the engine loom. 

the wireing loom and fuse box

speaking of engines. I toyed with putting a 1.6 polo 16v engine in, but since my G60 sold i thaught lets go for somthing more like a 1.8.

Helpfully this is where my audi a4 broke its gear box. Hunting on ebay i soon found a breaker. I picked up a whole tralors worth of bits for £450. basicaly a complete 20v engine and box + loom ecu.

After the A4 was back on the go, i decided that the 20v would be a neet engine to put in the mk1, after all it was just knocking about in the garrage. 

Note, this is a 20v non turbo ADR lump. Still i could always upgrade later as funds opened up. 

AS the car was a 1.3 that would mean that the "front" (drivers side (UK)) would need to be changed over. 

The new engine mount placement

A quick cut and welding job later, all good. 


On to the engine, as everything was abit of a mess, i thaught i would tidy the lot up with some paint. I also sourced an 1.8t inlet manifold as the audi one was silly. This is probably not the best inlet to use as NA lumps like this need long inlets, so i was expecting to have to change this in future or turbo.

I got the engine fitted and running before any paint work so i was sure that all was well. IT was a big job matching up all the wireloombs but i got there in the end. The original factory imobaliser was still intact. The early engine meant that it was not in the clocks but a seperate white box, bit of a result.

Engine on a stand all painted red block silver head

engine all painted up, new head gasket. Thanks go to audi for using RIBE bolts on the head!! What was wrong with splines!

other engine components painted

For stopping i would need a bigger setup, to alow for more hp in the future so i thaught i would go for some gurling 60's, these are two pots from an audi 100. I used them on my G60. 


very rusty brake caliper

ah much better, after a wirebrush on an angle grinder. I highly recommend those

thesame caliper after a workover with a power wire brush

now fitted with some 280mm disks and a spacer kit .

brake caliper painted and installed

I picked up some BBS RM's from a mate, they were cheep but needed a lot of work, new bolts and dishes would end up costing me £££!

A BBS RM split rim on the car to test clearence

Oh yea seats!

audi tt mk1 front seats in black leather

Audi TT leathers. An absoulte doddle to fit. if you have a plasma cutter. I like these seats alot as there runners are all buit in so no hassle with subframes. Using the plasma cutter i cut the original front seat mount box section out. then using some angled steel bar made new cross beems and support for the floor pan. To support the rear of the seats another metail is welded between the the orignial runners, eight bolts later and the seats are in.


October 07 and the car is ready for paint im happy with everything. A mate agreed to spray as he works for a shop in the big smoke. Thanks! dude!

As it was being painted i requested some audi handles and a number of holes done, plus the rear arches were looking a bit iffy.

so it was shipped off there! 

As box was awating the spray my mate managed to spray up the wheels,this meant i could get on with the process of rebuilding the rims. Its simple but time consuming doing up all those bolts!

A finished bbs with polished outer and blue painted centre

i kept getting updates of the progress whilst she was down in london, the boys sorted out the rear arches and a few other parts that needed doing but i think everyone was really impressed at the low levels of rust considering she was bult in 1983.

wheel arch cut out

audi door handles welded in

audi door handles painted

lovin there work, audi door handles were somthing i really wanted to give her a cleen look, the kits are redaly avalible but there is some work to be done to create a working handle.

finaly, after almost a year, shes in the booth!

spike painting the car in the booth

car in the booth all painted

ONE YEAR LATER.. im in no hurry if you hadent noticed she arrives back on a low loader


YEA BABY! Finaly shes back!! I think the guys were a little embarased that it was away so long so they did an extra good job on the paint. I could use it as a mirror!

Dirtbox back on the drive way all painted

ummm love it etc, now its down to me not to put any scratches on it!

painted bare engine bay

Golf MK5 colour by the way.

Time for all those new bits i had been buying in the year ish she was away. Because i had trial fitted everything before paint the process of putting it all togeather was really simple. This is so important, the last thing you want to do is realise you need a braket welding on at this stage.

All the new shiny bits ready to go

in with the engine

Engine in

pluse some new carpet and a fiew other odds and ends then shes done! well nearly!

Oh yea

finished car on the drive

the interior with polo dash and tt seats

New door cards, headlineing (a ******* to fit btw!) carpet all from newton commercial thanks guys. Audi seats are so comfortable! Polo dash with the late type clocks all working. starter button from an honda S2000 with the Audi a4 switch in the centre console with the imobaliser system intact. So you need the key to start this baby. Also a Toad Ai606 to keep the insurance happy. I didnt bother trying to explain that it had a factrory fitted imob :).

Engine bay

The engine bay, a fiew things still to do but finaly i can drive it! Now its mostly sorted but she doesnt feel quick enough yet. however in between starting the project and finishing i got an S4 twin turbo, so thats probably why. 

The rad set up looks neet here but its a real pain to get all the air locks out any tips here would be good i have seen it done on a fiew cars now. I may change it back to one with a seperate expantion tank.

So there we go it only took 9 years, but i wasnt paying attention for most of them

Would have been at inters this year but all my mates broke there cars so i decided not to bother, maybe next year! may have even fitted a sound system by then!