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Homage to a Great

The Edition 30 that pays respect to days gone by.


Matthew Smith | VW Golf GTI Edition 30 |

Photography Courtesy of: @tara_m_photography

One of the most beloved hot hatches on the market for what seems like an eternity, the Golf GTI is somewhat of a reality show icon within the car world. As well known as its human counterparts; Simon Cowell, Paris Hilton and the Kardashians, the model is a household name yet offers fans so much more than its celebrity status obsessed individuals.

An immersive drive, handling that makes the chassis feel as if its bolted to rails, and exterior styling pretty enough to melt the hearts of hardened VAG hate clubs, the Golf GTI is an all-round package for any enthusiastic driver. For me, the MK5 sits as one of the more exceptional generations of the platform, and at the top of this range sits the Edition 30 - the mark of remembrance.

Introduced to the UK in 2007, the Edition 30 was conceived to celebrate (you guessed it) 30 years of the GTI marque. Quick to snap one of these special editions up was Matthew:

"I have always wanted an Edition 30 and when I saw this one come up for sale I had to buy it. I travelled 6 hours down to Cornwall to collect it and as soon as I did, the work started on it."

Like a child desperate for instant gratification of their new Hot Wheels, Matthew dived straight in and started tweaking the GTI to his taste. Opting to maintain an OEM+ approach, the cockpit and exterior bodywork of the Edition 30 have evaded a great deal of fettling.

"Exterior modifications I have kept quite tame. It has a full custom R32 exhaust system on it with the rear diffuser to match. It's also running the full TRC low line kit which makes the car look incredible".

You may be reading this, sat glaring at your phone screen, and noticing a very large elephant now sitting in your room. That being,

that whilst exterior upgrades are minimal, the exterior aesthetic looks very different to the norm. Well, let me explain. Whilst tweaking the suspension and adding a new set of wheels can earn you some negative press, the overall results can be exceptionally profound, especially on a model that was already pretty from the day it rolled out of the factory. When it comes to the wheels, Matthew did not choose to make his life easy. In-fact, can you guess which luxury manufacturer the wheels on this Edition 30 are from (no cheating)?

Which Luxury Manufacturer are the Wheels Taken From?

  • McLaren

  • Aston Martin

  • Ferrari

  • Porsche

Before I reveal the answer to the question above, Matthew explains what the challenges were in terms of ensuring these dream wheels would fit on the GTI.

"The biggest challenge I have had while building this car was buying the alloys brand new and then trying to find someone to re-drill them to fit the right PCD for the Edition 30."

If you answered, Ferrari, to the question above, unfortunately you would be wrong as they are of course taken from 007's choice of transportation, the Aston Martin. More specifically, they are the 19" alloys from an Aston Martin Vantage. Whilst installing high-end manufacturer's wheels onto other platforms is nothing new (think Bentley wheels on Audi's, VW's & Seat's and classic Ferrari 5-spokes on pre-2000 European builds), the choice to go for Aston Martin apparel is far less common.

"The inspiration behind the build was just to make it look classy and insane at the same time which is why I haven't done too much to the exterior. The Aston Martin wheels are definitely the feature of the car."

Honestly, seeing the alloys hunkered into the arches with the red callipers and grooved discs proudly on show, makes me wonder why no one has done this to their MK5 before. It's a clean, elegant, yet somewhat aggressive look when aired-out and slammed on the deck. They compliment the look of the GTI and enhance the aesthetic of Matthew's build no-end. Un-surprisingly, they remain in high regard with Matthew:

"For me, the best features of the car are the boot build and wheels. I love how clean and simple the build is in the boot and it catches so many eyes. I also love the Vantage wheels as they are one-of-a-kind and you won't find them on anything else."

Everything about this Golf is tidy and tasteful. To further enhance the OEM+ feel the boot build that Matthew mentions is a simple, yet effective sight to behold. A half-sunken air tank and exposed hard lines is boastful but not egotistical. It makes onlookers aware that there is some serious kit underneath the bodywork but doesn't shove it in their face. Even the small decision to retain the standard black carpets in the boot and not go for something wacky and wonderful show that some real thought has gone into creating a build that looks as if it could have rolled out of a showroom in this condition over a decade ago.

"The interior had to be kept the same as, in my opinion, the GTI seats are so clean and comfy that I couldn't change them."

If it's not broken, don't fix it. Although Matthew has had a habit of fettling with his motors ever since he first passed his test.

"There has never been a particular thing that got me into cars but I have always had a passion for them; working on them and doing them up. Since I passed my test I've always loved messing about with my cars - the previous 5 I've owned have never been left standard."

Happily, Matthew dailies his Edition 30 which is nice as it means another piece of automotive history is out there on display for everyone to see. Now we're in an age where turbo chatter is bad, the raspy tone of a performance exhaust is an enemy of the peace, and consuming petrol or diesel at the pumps is more of a crime than murder, examples of car culture need to remain in the

public eye.

"To drive the car on a daily basis is challenging but I love it. The looks I get driving to and from work and when just driving around places is unbelievable and puts a smile on mine and other people's faces."

The Edition 30 heralds back to the good ol' days where driving a car was a much rawer experience. Designers were allowed to let their creative visions flow, rather than worry about emissions and efficiency ratings and cars (despite being far less powerful) had a certain charm and character about them. Matthew has renewed this feeling by letting his creative spirit enhance the very model that was there to celebrate one of the automotive world's most influential marques. It's clean, simple, tasteful and well executed and quite frankly, I love it!

Spec Sheet:

Power Output:

  • 290bhp

Suspension Setup:

  • Airlift Performance w/ 3P Management

  • Slam Series Struts

Wheels & Tyres:

  • Genuine 19" Aston Martin Vantage Wheels

  • Michelin PS4 Tyres

Performance Modifications:

  • Ramair Induction Kit

  • Stage 1 Remap

  • Fully Custom R32 Exhaust System

Exterior Modifications:

  • Full TRC Low Line Kit

  • R32 Rear Diffuser

Interior Modifications:

  • Custom Boot Build

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