Stage 3 411bhp Volkswagen Golf Mk6
The Channel Island of Guernsey has a population of 65k, measures 25 square-miles and the maximum speed limit is 35mph. Although beautiful, it’s not an obvious automotive hub. Tom Godfrey both sourced and built this swashbuckling Mk6 Golf R there though. With an eye for the treasure, he’s our kind of pirate…
Words: Graham Leigh Photos: Si Gray
Thomas Godfrey is a 25-year old panel beater although, with the level of craftsmanship displayed on his Golf, you’d think he was a far more experienced hand. As with many of us, Tom’s automotive journey started with a Ford Fiesta. A rev-happy Mk6 Zetec S to be exact. “The Fiesta got me interested in the whole modified car scene. I learnt so much from it including fitting exhaust systems, coilovers, wheels and carrying out some custom touches to the bodywork. I liked the creativity of the show car show scene, going to events to see what other people have produced and then thinking of ways to be individual”.
This stunning Golf R is actually only Tom’s second car but he has more recently invested in another Mk6 for daily duties, this time in the form of an economical trusty 1.4.
The Golf R took some financial commitment from the young apprentice but he saw the potential in the tunability of the R and the quality of the whole package and thought it would be a better long-term route than tackling a lower-powered car. The German build quality was the icing on the cake and Tom has not looked back since making the switch to Wolfsburg. “To me, the Mk6 Golf is the best looking model since the Mk2.
I had a very specific wish list when it came to the right Mk6 R. It had to be a DSG as I knew I was going to go down the tuning route and don’t like the feel of the heavy clutch in traffic, also they can handle a good deal of power with stock clutch packs on a remapped gearbox plus you can’t beat the sound of a DSG gear change! Next was the ‘Black pack’ which includes black 19” wheels and black headlamps as opposed to chrome. I didn’t want the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) option as I knew I was going to put the car on air. Doing away with DCC brings up dash lights and a necessity to invest in controllers to rectify them. Working in a body shop and witnessing the number of cars we have to replace sill panels on due to the (blocked) drainage down into the vehicles influenced my choice to search for a non-sunroof model. I was determined to get the rare but awesome optional Recaro wingback seats, too, although I had resigned myself to the fact that I may have to purchase them separately”.
Back in 2016, Tom thought that he would have to make the substantial journey across the water to the UK mainland for his desired purchase and was duly checking the classifieds daily and had been doing so for a torturous six months. “I was scrolling through Facebook one day and came across a new post. It was an advert for one of the three Mk6 Golf Rs that were on the island with the exact spec I wanted including those illusive Recaro wingbacks. An appointment to view it revealed that it was a good one and the deal was done. At 19 I had finally bought the car I was after since first ever seeing one back in 2010”.
The 40,000-mile example was a good starting point. It was a 2010 ex-UK car that had been imported to Guernsey two years prior. A Pearl white car from the factory, the previous owner had resprayed the car Audi Nardo grey. Although not Tom’s first choice of colour, he did like the contrast with the black headlights and wheels. The Golf had also been treated to a Revo Stage 1 remap including their in-house induction kit and a full 3” Miltek exhaust with sports cat which meant that it was handsome and at 300HP, powerful enough to enjoy as it was for a period. Tom’s end game was always to create a show car but the then-teenager needed some time to save up funds and stash some choice parts before the project got fully underway.
As you may expect from a bodywork guy, Tom’s original intentions were to turn his attention to the engine last after having got the Golf looking its best. However, just before he was due to embark on a driving holiday to France, the turbo oil seals failed. Tom hurriedly removed the offending turbo and shipped it to Turbo Dynamics. The decision was made to plump for a prototype KO4 hybrid unit and this was duly shipped back to Guernsey and fitted up just in time to make the France-bound ferry.
Once back from holiday, a GFB DV+ diverter valve was fitted along with Audi R8 coil packs with NGK iridium spark plugs. Tom then turned his attention to getting the car ready for a stage 3 level of tune. A custom front mount intercooler was fitted with bespoke aluminium pipework and CTS hot and cold side boost pipes. To increase flow, a Relentless 3.5” downpipe was fitted. An Autotech high-pressure fuel pump was installed as well as a new cam follower as a preventative measure. The car was sent to tuning specialist, TSR where they carried out an AKS runner flap delete, walnut shell blasted the inlet manifold, ultrasonically cleaned the injectors, and added an RS4 fuel return valve before mapping the car accordingly. TSR gave the DSG box their Stage 2 remap too to allow the stock clutch to safely deal with the increase in power. Rolling road figures of 411 BHP and 383 lb/ft speak for themselves.
For Tom, there was only one way to achieve the requisite drop: “When I purchased the vehicle it was on H&R lowering springs and I felt that it sat way too high at the back. After finally saving up enough money, I purchased an Air Lift Performance kit with 3P management and their front and rear struts. I carried out a chassis notch to stop the car from sitting crooked when aired out as I had noticed this can be a Mk6 thing”. All suspension bushes were upgraded to Powerflex items. The first set of aftermarket wheels fitted were BBS RS2s which Tom had refurbished in white with gold split rim bolts. These were run for a year whilst he looked for the forever wheels. Rotiform LSRs in a 18x9.5” square set-up give the car a more aggressive look than the previous heavily tucked BBS.
After three years of daily duties, the Mk6 had begun to show some battle scars. Tom took the car off the road for what was supposed to be a simple refresh back in December 2020 where the wings and bumper were to receive a repaint. However, a closer inspection revealed that the paint wasn’t up to his exacting standards and the decision was made to bring the respray plans forward. The car was stripped down and an extensive parts list was ordered including new front wings, front bumper, Votex side skirts (which took a nail-biting nine months to arrive from the States) and all new windows as well as clips, screws, seals and weather strips. The R was then taken back to bare metal, the new panels fitted and the bumper washer jets were smoothed over whilst the rear bumper had the number plate aperture shortened.
The brave but striking shade of Renault Liquid yellow was chosen partly as a reaction to the previous subtle Nardo grey that never suited Tom. This wildly different choice meant that “once all the bodywork was complete, the car was then primed completely white. The next step was to rub the whole car’s primer down including every single panel on the vehicle inside and out. The 3-stage paint finish then required the car to be sprayed yellow before a pearl layer was applied to provide that shimmering effect those of you familiar with the hue will recognise. Good friend, Joe was entrusted with laying the paint with Tom rubbing down and preparing in between coats. The pair worked tirelessly over one long weekend period. The hard work was worth it with the Golf winning the Guernsey 2021 Car Show. An excellent first outing for the project. The playful yellow is punctuated with the moody black and grey weave of carbon fibre. The wonder stuff is the material of choice for the splitter, diffuser, wing mirror covers and spoiler tip.
Attention was then directed at the interior. Seat Skinz came up trumps with their seat cover kit. Black leather outers, Alcantara centres and yellow stitching tie in the cockpit with the outside. A black Alcantara with yellow stitching airbag cover and matching handbrake cover by Wheel Finesse continues this theme. Vibe Belts made eye-catching custom yellow seatbelts. The carbon fibre exterior touches are complemented inside with carbon-skinned door card inserts, full centre console, and dash trims. A Liquid Yellow Cross Works half cage brings a bit of Club Sportesque Motorsport style to the build. Tom’s carpenter father was drafted in for the impressive boot build that features a half-sunk Liquid yellow air tank, BAF Motorsport K-Brace and OEM VW carpet. It's great to see a modified Mk6 that is so complete as such builds are still relatively rare with the platform, especially ones that use the coveted R as the base car. With its brave colour choice and show car aesthetic, it won’t be for everyone but that’s part of its charm. “It’s taken six years to get the vehicle to where it is now. The car was built for me by me and is done to my tastes”. We love it. When it comes to well-thought-out touches and attention to detail, this one is nothing short of a treasure trove. A Golf arrgh! (sorry).
DUB DETAILSStage 3 411bhp Volkswagen Golf Mk6
- ENGINE: Stage 3 411bhp (383lb/ ft) TSR tuned, Turbo Dynamics hybrid turbo, Revo induction kit, GFB DV+ diverter valve, Audi R8 coil packs, NGK iridium spark plugs, custom front mount intercooler, CTS boost pipes hot and cold sides, Relentless 3.5 inch down pipe, Miltek non-res cat-back, Autotec high-pressure fuel pump, RS4 fuel return valve, AKS runner flap delete, Vis oil pump freewheel sprocket, Forge engine dress-up kit, gloss black coolant tank, charcoal canister and scuttle panel
- TRANSMISSION: Stage 2 DSG remap
- CHASSIS: Rotiform LSR 18x9.5” et35 with custom Rotiform polished centre caps, Toyo Proxes 215/35/18, Air Lift Performance struts, Air Lift 3P management 3/8, chassis notch, Powerflex bushes, stock Golf R brakes painted BMW Mineral grey, EBC Yellow Stuff pads, ECS drilled and grooved discs
- EXTERIOR: Full respray in Renault Liquid Yellow, smooth front bumper including removed washer jets, custom rear bumper (number plate recess reduced by 6”), Votex side skirts, carbon fibre side skirt splitters, splitter, diffuser, spoiler and wing mirror covers
- INTERIOR: Golf R Recaro wing back optional seats, Alcantara centres and leather bolsters with black and yellow stitching by Seat Skinz, carbon fibre dash trims, full centre console, DSG surround, ashtray, door card inserts, handbrake, DSG gearknob, Alcantara DSG and handbrake gaiter, Alcantara airbag cover by Wheel Finesse, boot build including half-sunk Liquid yellow air tank, BAF Motorsport K-Brace in Liquid yellow, Cross Worx roll cage in Liquid yellow
- SHOUT: My mum, Katrina, Dad, Chris and my girlfriend, Angela. Chris for building my boot install and all of them for supporting me and putting up with my stress around the house when coming home when something hadn’t quite gone to plan on the car. My previous boss Colin Le Maitre (Autocare) for use of facilities, my current boss Jamie Sarre (ARC) for use of facilities, Luke for the custom intercooler pipework, Seat Skinz for getting my seats perfect and last but definitely not least Joe Bryce (Subo) for the paint job on the car. Without him, this car would not be what it is today and I cannot put into words how thankful I am.
The three-stage paint finish required the car to be sprayed yellow before a pearl layer was applied"
«The advert was for one of only three Mk6 Golf Rs on the island with the exact spec I wanted, including the Recaro wingbacks»
«I carried out a chassis notch to stop the car from sitting crooked when aired out»