GARDENER'S SPECIAL

The family of Vuolle is very known in car circles of Finland. The head honcho of the family, Marko, hasn't left a car in stock form since he was born, as far as we know. Now this enthusiasm has seemingly spread to other family members, also. This time it's time to introduce the car built together by Marko and his wife, Heli.

Heli is not only a car enthusiast, but also a passionate greenthumb. The life of a gardener consists of carrying bags of soil or different gardening tools around, and it's not really handy when you drive a small sedan with a rake popping out of a window. Marko soon got tired of lack of a truck, and bought Heli this '88 Caddy as a graduation present. It was more or less a cadaver of a car, but it worked and had a truck bed capable of carrying stuff. That was good enough, for a while..
Heli and Marko were on a Historic Rally event when Heli spotted an old Ford Cortina, and mentioned liking the tail lights. When they got back home, Marko immediately rummaged their attic, and found a pair of dusty Cortina's tail lights that he'd stashed at some point. The installation wasn't just plug and play, since the rear panels had to be dramatically remodelled and the tailgate had to be welded shut . A couple date nights in the garage, with a welding machine as a chaperone, and the rear end of the car looked nothing like before.
Now that the rear looked so good they had to do something about the face, too. Marko asked around in social media about different headlight assemblies, and almost immediately Tuomo Valkkio mentioned that he had some spare parts left from his Datsun project. After a brief visit tuo Tuomo's home, Marko came back with a surprise: the whole front end of a Datsun 620. Datsun is a little wider than Caddy, so the parts were split in half, and then narrowed down to fit the Caddy. The front grille was installed first, and after that the front end of the bonnet, and finally the bumper. The valance panel was taken from a Volvo 142, since Caddy's own didn't fit the new, bold features, and grinned in protest. The headlights are actually tractor's headlights, and the tiny blinkers are motorcycle's blinkers. The cherry on top is that beautiful MK1 GTi Golf's front lip, that really looks like it was born to sit there.
Since they'd gone this far, it was time to give the Caddy the whole Vuolle treatment. This means cleaning the door handles, i.e. removing them altogether. The doors now open with solenoids using buttons placed on the walls of the trunk. The floor of the bed was functional, but Heli didn't like the clanky metal feel and look. She soon found the solution when visiting a gardening shop, and bought some wooden tiles meant for a patio, and then placed them on the bed. The sides of the bed are lined with wooden strips to give it that clean, finished look.
With Japan Racing JR10 wheels the stock suspension looked more or less like an off-roader, so something had to be done about that. After some modifying the front end accepted coilovers, and with that the front height was gotten under control. The rear lowering was achieved by flipping the rear axle over the leaf springs and using some spring spacers in between them. This naturally meant that the struts had to be chopped, but the ends justify the means. Around these times Heli and Marko also did the prep work for the painting, and finally painted it themselves.
The ascetic stock interior did not please the eye of the queen bee, and since the door handles were just holes on the door cards anyway, Heli decided to do the door cards anew. The new, decorated panels are equipped with retro-style metallic handles. Marko then had an idea, that Chrysler Voyager's bench seat would fit like a glove, and with ease. Well, Caddy is a two-seater, and has a handbrake and a gear stick between the seats. What's hard for some is easy for others, and so Heli and Marko moved the handbrake and gear stick onwards, and now the bench seat actually fits pretty well, with custom seat rails. The seat being a large artifact dominated the interior, so rest of the interior was color matched with it. Marko also found a steering wheel from a VW Polo, which gives the interior a fresh look. To compensate for the lack of an AC, the rear window was made into an openable one, that works with your regular kitchen cabinet hinges in a true MacGyver fashion. Marko and Heli just seem to get these bold and different ideas, and somehow make them work with ease; or at least it looks like easy. This medley of car makes and models has seen its share of car shows, but what we appreciate the most is that even if it looks like a piece of candy, it's always carrying bags of soil around.

SPECS:

CAR:

VW Caddy MK1 1988

ENGINE:

1.6 petrol

SUSPENSION:

Modified coilovers in the front, flipped rear axle, spring spacers, shorter shock absorbers

WHEELS:

Japan Racing JR10 8x15” ET15

TIRES:

Nankang 185/45/15”

EXTERIOR:

VW Golf MK1 GTi spoiler, lower front valance panel from a Volvo 142, blinkers from a motorcycle, headlight assembly from an old tractor (4 pieces), door handle removal with electrical opening system, openable rear window made with kitchen cabinet hinges, Ford Cortina MK1 tail lights, modified rear end, bed is covered with wooden tiles (originally meant for patio use), Datsun 620 front bumper, front grille and front part of the hood (narrower than stock of course)

INTERIOR:

Plywood door cards covered with wood effect wallpaper, bench seat from a Chrysler Voyager, VW Polo 2007 steering wheel, dashboard and other interior parts painted to match the bench seat, handbrake and gear knob have been moved forwards

NEXT:

If there's time left from other projects, a repaint and an air suspension

THANK YOU:

The biggest thanks goes to my beloved husband, who didn't realize that cheaping out on the prize of a graduation gift would cost him later on. In other words, thanks for making this happen! A big thank you to Emilia and Milka for keeping our house in a decent shape while we lived in the garage. Thank you Santtu for your involvement in this project.

ONLINE:
modcars.net