HERE’S another not-quite-what-you’d-except-at-Drag-Challenge car that’s participating at the 2017 event. It’s the 1976 VW Golf of DC regular Tim Bailey, who has now been part of all four Drag Challenge events so far. He's run a different car each time, starting with his Procharged VZ sleeper.
The tatty old VW (being one of Volkswagen’s more ‘modern’ water-cooled cars, it doesn’t quite earn the title of ‘Dak-Dak’ like an air-cooled Beetle does) has been in the Bailey family for years and has more than 655,000km on the shell.
“It’s been with us for at least 20 years,” says the Drysdale, Victoria, local. “It’s been passed around and dumped in backyards. You can see a bit of rust in it these days!” He’s right – there are a few orange stains on each guard and along some of the bodyshell’s seams.
Tim repowered the car with a 1.8 from a later-model Golf, found on a web forum for $100. A T3/4 turbo was bought brand new, and the engine was disassembled and had some dust blown out if it. “I put the old 1.6-litre head on it,” he says. “I also used some ARP bolts for the head and the rods.”
Some European cars of the 1970s such a Volvos, BMWs and VWs had Bosch-branded mechanical fuel injection, and it’s from these cars that Tim has cobbled together a fuel injection system for his ‘It Can’t Be Done!’ Golf. Adding more fuel for when the four stockers are maxed out are three extra, activated with a switch controlled by boost pressure.
That was all done about eight years ago and Tim has driven his patina-encrusted Golf at least another 140,000km with the booster in place.
Under the lot is a FWD gearbox taken from a diesel-powered Golf – the taller gearing being better for boost and brawn – and up top there’s a classic tube-frame roof rack for carrying his camping gear and tools. The final link to the tarmac is a set of cheesy old semi-slicks to get the power down to a first-day best run of 14.3 seconds.