PROVOKING INSANITY - Volkswagen Golf MK3.5 Pickup 1997

When you have a somewhat deranged young man from Rauma, Finland (to be fair, they all seem to be more or less weird), a car, and an axle grinder, you never know what's going to happen. This time a Golf Variant transformed into a pickup, and in a very short time too.

The owner of this Golf MK3 is Topi Kaija, who is very well known in the circles. For some time now he's been dropping his cars very low, but this project takes the cake. Topi and Golf started their mutual voyage in 2012, when Topi needed a new daily driver. The Tornato Rot -coloured Variant was in a decent shape, even though it had major power steering issues and the paint job was trying to escape. Topi works as a car painter, so that was not an issue.
The car is so low it literally sends showers of sparks behind it when it's driven. In the front the suspension consists of shortened JOM struts with short cartridges and BC Racing springs. In the rear you'll find TA-Technix struts, Nissan 200SX's cartridges and Toyota Hiace's springs. The frame rail has been modified so that the engine-transmission package could be lifted a little. The lower control arms were sliced a little, so that they would coexist in peace with the subframe. The list of all suspension related mods is very long, but here's a few of them: notched tie rods and driveshafts, drop-plates between rear hubs and axle, raised rear axle, modified front upper mounts, etc.
These arches are borrowed from a Golf MK1. The rear fenders were widened a little so that a larger wheel would fit without issues. The wheels were bought in a rush, since the deadline (AutoSaloon) was approaching fast, so Topi ordered these TML offroad wheels which have a somewhat exotic bolt pattern of 6x139.7 (not a direct fit). These outrageous wheels have ET numbers of -32 (front) and -41 (rear).
The interior was upgraded with beige leather seats and a wooden steering wheel. Every possible part has been painted black, including the roof panel. The interior looks surprisingly subtle, especially when compared with the drastic modifications done to the exterior. Could it be that the MK3 Golf was already perfect on the inside..?
Young people sometimes chop the roof when they want to create a convertible. Topi wanted to do something like that too, but the idea got a little twisted on the way from his brains to his hands. The idea to create a pickup from an estate car (in a month) was born, and without further ado the project had begun and the axle grinder sung its song. The next month was a cycle of work, garage work and three hour sleepytimes. When you provoke a lunatic and give him a challenge, you can help create something spectacular.
After the chop job the car was painted, and final repairs were done in a hurry. A driveshaft had broken (again) and penetrated the gearbox, but luckily a friend in need had a spare box available. A new windshield was changed, and then the car was quickly driven to Helsinki, where it was a part of American Car Show. Golf was driven back home to Rauma, and the most surprising thing happened during this trip: not a single driveshaft broke. About 30 of them have broken during this project, you see. With great lowness comes great.. driveshaftness.. I'm out.



Volkswagen Golf MK3.5 Pickup 1997


Stock 1.8 liter stationary engine




There are struts, yes


Cheapest brakes that Motonet had to offer


TML offroad wheels, 10x15” ET-32 in the front and 10x15” ET-41 in the rear


Nankang NonSticky 2


MK1 Golf arches in every corner, front lights have been swapped, the front grill and the hood are from a Vento. Some of the roof has been removed.


Leather seats and a wooden steering wheel




Something concerning the engine bay, perhaps. And maybe some wheel related stuff.



A big thank you to Marko Wallenius, Niko Moisio, Janne Sipponen, Samuli Sihvonen, MDComprex (!) and everyone else who has helped. Things get a little out of hand when you provoke a lunatic..

IG @topppsu
Build project: