picture 1 picture 2 picture 3 engine picture door card picture
In late June 2000 I stopped at a petrol station on the A3 Guildford bypass for sustenance. In the garage next door I saw an early MKII golf GTi so had a look. Hidden around the corner was a sad looking BAJA BUG which had obviously had some interesting history. It was advertised at £995 and the screen sign stated that it had been used as a Sony Playstation Show Car.
A quick look around the car revelled a total lack of indicators, number plates and rear lights, the front seats were loose and the bonnet falling off because of broken catches. The paint was suffering from a lack of care and there was a small amount of rust on the heater channel closing panels. It was a project car, a project for someone else.
As the weeks went past and I drove past I stole a look at it each time. Eventually I stopped and asked the garage owner about the car. It was for sale as is, with no warranty and no MOT but the price was open to negotiation. My ex had liked the discrpition of the car so when I said that I was going to take it for a test drive, just to get it out of my mind, she came with me. Half an hour and a £500 cheque (and £6.99 for a tow rope) later we were towing home our new car. It did run but I broke the electric shut off key while looking at it. I was given 2 months to have it on the road, it had to be ready to use for the Brighton Breeze or it went........
Over the next few weeks I completely replaced the lights using nearly new headlights from a scrap yard, rear lights from a Morris Minor Traveller (although these have now been replaced with new plastic replicas used for Land Rovers) and Vauxhall round side repeaters as front indicators and new re-routed cable throughout.
I moved the screen washer bottle nearer the sreen and re built the wiper linkages as they only moved half an inch. I replaced the cracked windscreen with a second hand one, refitted the seats, bolted in the battery, removed miles of Phoenix Gold silver speaker cable and an AV switch panel, fitted a new driver door handle with a working lock and many other little jobs.
The worst part was the rust, it would appear that the heater channels had been replaced but as I tried to patch the closing panels it became obvious they needed replacing. Rather than removing the body I adapted the panels so that they are now bolted on the outer edge of the floor pans and welded on to the body deseaming the join normally hidden by the running boards. Hopefully this will last a few years before a proper lower body rebuild is in order.
Although running very rich the engine seemed basically sound so apart from tiding up this was left alone.
After a few short runs I decided to drive to work, a 20 mile mostly Motorway run only for the 12v supply wire to drop of the coil, in the dark on a country lane at 5.45 in the morning, with no torch this wasn't discovered until after a tow home and a days work. The next try was more successful so we attempted the Brighton Breeze. We joined the convoy at Crawley and arrived in Brighton quite early so parked the bug and went in to town for lunch. When we got back the car had gained a rosette, we had won highly commended in the best of show awards, not bad for first time out and in a car that had sat under a tree for 3 or 4 years. TotalVW magazine took loads of photos for a future mention in their journal so watch their space.
Since Brighton Breeze the car started running on 3 cylinders which after a top engine stripdown showed that the inlet valve seat insert on No.3 had dropped out stopping the valve closing. The strip down gave me a chance to study the engine spec though. During a very wet November I rebuilt and installed the misfunctioning head but didn't manage to get it running when I had an offer of some mechanical work and the rust being repaired by a friend of my ex in return for some driving lessons for his wife (see my CV)so the bug was towed away just after christmas (2000). The car was then returned to me in mid 2002 with no further work being completed. She languised in my garage until I reached the sad decsion that I was unable to dedicate the time, space or money to do her up as she deserved so advertised her for sale, the sad deal being completed in May 2006
Engine. - Original 1500cc block. It appears to be a 1641 cc barrels and pistons with twin port heads and 38mm valves. I don't think it has been polished or ported to any great degree.
Carbs. - Twin Kadron Solex H40\44EIS with original paper element air filters.
Exhaust - Dual Maniflow cannons, black with chrome tips.
Ignition - Bocsh chrome 009 and blue coil.
Shocks - Adjustable coilover.
Wheels - 15"
Body - Baja cutaway wings and F#$D Escort RS Turbo roofhigh spoiler. Smoothed front and fiberglass bonnet.
Interior - Lime green and petrol interior with black valour roof lining and high back seats of unknown origin. Custom built rear and front shelves. picture
Nothing at the moment but read what UNICAR fitted in a previous install
(06/02/01) "it's feckin loud" Apparently in my rush to reassemble the tin ware between showers I managed to cut one of the wires to the coil.
(01/11/03) Since my ex became an ex not a lot has happened, she "dumped" the car outside my flat at 3am, I have since stored it in my garage and been decorating my house or playing with my MGs awaiting time and money.
visit my MG Metro or 1970 VW Type2 Bay Window Microbus or VW 1973 Bay Window Devon Camper or MGed Maestro van.