Well before I started Volkswizard in 2002, I was writing for VW magazines and it all began with the story of my first Mk2 Golf GTI in 1997. Here is a summary of my published work since then and other interesting snippets that have seen both me and 'Volkswizard' appear in print and even on TV.
|The December issue of Volkswagen Driver will include my interview with Clubsport S 'ring record driver Benny Leuchter and episode 4 of Project GTI which has also been to the Nuerburgring!|
|In October I made my first visit to Audi HQ at Ingolstadt to report on the launch of the new Audi A7 Sportback and to tour Audi's state of the art new design centre. These two features will appear in the December issue of Audi Driver out late November|
The November issue of Volkswagen Driver will include episode 3 of Project GTI in which I report on the car's first track day with it's new R32 spec EBC/Bigg Red/Goodridge brakes.
I also report on Peter Felix's return to the VW Racing
Cup and his partnership with SONIC equipment.
The October issue of Volkswagen Driver magazine includes
episode 2 of Project GTI with a shakedown session on track at Rockingham
with help from Goodridge hoses, EBC brakes, Bigg Red caliper refurbishers,
NGK spark plugs, Michelin tyres, Nissens radiators.
October issue of CAR magazine included a feature on 'Uber Golfs' with
2 of the 5 cars used having been sold by us and with 2 others supplied
via our contacts (the 5th car was supplied by VW UK although I do actually
This was a very enjoyable and memorable day topped off by Ben Barry performing donuts in his long term Toyota GT86 on the way to the sandwich shop, good lad!
You can view a digital edition FOC here, pages 126-132 are what you want. (not sure how legal this is but I didn't upload it!)
The September issue of Volkswagen Driver magazine includes an introduction feature on Project GTI, a 2007 Golf GTI Edition 30 which I will be restoring and improving over the coming months with help from Goodridge hoses, EBC brakes, Bigg Red caliper refurbishers, NGK spark plugs, Michelin tyres.
The July 2017 issue of Audi Driver was a TT Special and ncluded a feature I wrote on a limited edition Audi TT quattro Sport 240 with just 2000 miles on the clock - it was also my first ever front cover.
|7th June 2017 Autocar saw my £100 Bora featured in the Reader's Rides section in the used car pages of Autocar thanks to an invite to submit my details from James Ruppert via Twitter|
The July issue of Volkswagen Driver magazine features my 4 page First Drive report on the VW Arteon, the significantly more upmarket replacement for the 'CC'. It was a proud moment being given the keys to my first 'WOB' press car at the international press launch in Hanover, Germany. The report was enhanced massively by a quick session with Charlie Magee, a professional photographer that VW made available whose work is often seen in CAR magazine.
The June 2017 issue of Audi Driver magazine has a report on Stanford Hall VW Audi show with a number of my images used including the lead pic of probably the best Mk1 TT in the country which photographed well on a dull day due to being in Kingfisher blue (and being very shiny)
The June issue of Volkswagen Driver magazine which is a 'GTI Special' features 3 pages on living with my Golf GTI Clubsport S
In May 2017 I had my 4th mention in 'CAR' when I submitted 250 words of advice on buying a used Mk7 Golf R. ' CAR' recently celebrated its 50th birthday and is one of the worlds most influential and longest-standing motoring magazines. It has a global audience in excess of 1 million people a month, who read either the UK magazine, one of its nine foreign editions or its popular website.
I'd recommened you buy a copy just for Ben Barry's hilarious (but creepy) road trip to Morocco in a BMW 5 series.
The May 2017 issue of Audi Driver magazine had a 9 page Mk1 Audi buying guide. And I still left a few things out (cam position sensor, brake pressure sensors, power steering racks...)
The March 2017 issue of Audi Driver magazine had a 6 page feature on fitting Cobra R394 parking sensors to a 2010 Audi TT RS
The February 2017 issue of Volkswagen Driver featured my four page story on the pre-delivery inspection of my Mk7 Golf GTI Clubsport S which took place on the 15/12/16 at Murray Volkswagen Newton Abbot. I hope to produce more feature that go into the ownership experience of one of the most desirable Volkswagens of recent times if not ever.
The January 2017 issue of Audi Driver magazine features my 7 page buyers' guide to one of my own personal favourite cars, the original TT RS.
It also contains a profile of the original fast all weather estate car, the gorgeous RS2 and a technical insight into the charismatic 5 cylinder engine in the new TT RS.
The November 2016 issue of Audi Driver saw one of the
highlights of my writing career with a trip to Barcelona to drive the
new R8 V10 Spyder courtesy of Audi UK. Sadly photography wasn't a strong
point due to bad weather and being issued with a green R8 which wasn't
particularly photogenic but it was a hoot to drive both in the sun with
the roof down and also when running late and getting caught in a thunderstorm,
something my text attempts to share. There is also a 21 page photo report
on Audi Driver International, a great event I had the pleasure of visiting
and I was privileged to get a couple of laps around Castle Combe in
an R8 V10 Plus as a passenger with Audi Driving Experience instructor
Steve Warburton. As a thank you I took a picture of him and the car
which made it into print - this was the first time I've had a phone
pic published but then the Iphone 5 SE camera is the same as that in
the 6 which is a serious piece of kit and so good I now use it for my
car sales images and making videos, just wish I'd bought the 64 GB version
and the not the 16 GB!
The September 2016 issue of Audi Driver contained a7 page feature on my recent trip to South Tyrol region of Italy for which I rented an Audi A3 Cabriolet from Munich Airport. It should have been a Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 which would have qualified me to write a road test well ahead of any official UK press cars being made available but it wasn't to be due to AVIS trying to fob me off with a normal GTI when I'd booked the Clubsport from their supposedly 'guaranteed' range. Stil, with less than half the power we had probably twice the fun!
In June 2016 I was invited by Audi UK on behalf of Audi
Driver magazine to report on the new Audi Q2 at its international press
presentation in Zurich. It's not every day Audi launch a new model so
it was quite a big occasion and the 24 hours passed in a bit of a blur.
Being an enthusiast of not only cars but also car magazines what better
way to forget you have a fear of flying than to share a private flight
with members of the automotive press that you have been reading for
years. Tradition at these events is to share a car with another journalist
and being a long time reader of Evo magazine I was lucky enough to pair
up with their staff writer Will Beaumont. True to his magazine's remit
he was keen to find out if the Q2 could offer any "thrill of driving"
and surprised me somewhat by chucking the car around rather vigorously
on the twisty mountains roads of our test route - luckily both car and
driver proved very capable.
On this trip I'd heard about an Audi press event at Shelsley Walsh hillclimb, a relatively local place I had been intending to go to for many years. Audi's involvement was significant this year with legendary racer of Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches Hans-Joachim Stuck piloting a 1936 Auto Union Type C grand prix car up the famous hillclimb course just as his late father did 80 years earlier. If you've ever been to Goodwood, Shelsley is like a distilled version and it was amazing to just stumble across HJ Stuck sitting casually in the barn next to the car, happily signing autographs and posing for pictures. Whilst I wasn't strictly there on business I did manage to take quite a few images, 5 of which made it into the magazine and qualified me (somewhat undeservedly) for having my name listed alongside ex-Evo staff photographer Dean Smith who also covered the event.
|In April 2016 I was honoured to be asked by Ben Whitworth of probably the best car magazine in the world 'CAR' for my top 3 'Fast Volkswagens' for the regular 'Personal Dealer' section. I was encouraged to make it an interesting selection hence the inclusion of the Passat R36 which not even Ben was hugely familiar with. The Scirocco R is a nice package and the lack of the Haldex all wheel drive system gives it an edge once it's got going. But number one was the Mk5 Golf GTI Edition 30 which is my favourite GTI of all time because unlike the classics, it's properly fast as well as handling well, proving reliable and exuding typical VW solidity. The only negative about the piece was that the prices quoted for Edition 30s which I didn't supply were incorrect and were probably for the Edition 35 instead.|
March 2016, I worked out that the one option my wife's A3 needed was cruise
control and that a DIY guide may well make a decent feature for Audi Driver
magazine so having approved it the work began. The guide in the April
2016 issue looks more complicated than it is and it is much easier the
second time around buy for the DIY fitter who may only do it the once,
the £100 or so labour may seem like good value. However it's quite
fun to do and there is very little to mess up, just take your time and
make sure your car will take cruise and that you have all the required
bits before starting.
AVAILABLE TO ORDER DIGITALLY HERE FOR JUST £3.99
|In February 2016 I joined CAR magazine's Ben Barry and Ben Miller on a chilly photoshoot in the Leicestershire Wolds. Ben Barry wrote a monthly feature called "Icon Buyer" where he pitches a new car (in this case the RS Clio) against a used alternative of similar value (Mk6 Golf R). Ben is running a Mk7 Golf R as a long term test car so his opinions were even more interesting and after a solo test drive in the 6R he came back surprised at how fast it was, he also loved the steering wheel. I'd followed the Clio earlier with Ben at the wheel and found it childsplay to keep up, much more so than the 65 bhp would suggest but it wasn't the performance that swung it for me but the sense of full on German built solidity, something lacking from the Clio|
|In July 2015 Fifth Gear featured our old Project Corrado #3. We had put them in touch with the new owner who gladly helped out and managed to get the other sun visor signed by Tiff (Jason Plato had signed the other one when he drove it a few years earlier). VIEW THE FEATURE BY CLICKING IMAGE ON RIGHT>|
April 2015: Literally days after selling my Mk7 Golf R, I was contacted by Ben Barry of Car Magazine who was after an owner's opinion of living with a 7R for the June 2015 issue. Coincidentally it was going to be compared with a B7 Audi RS4 which I'd also owned for a year and written a buying guide for Audi Driver magazine (see below) which we allowed Ben to take inspiration from. Rather than provide both owners opinons, we put Ben in touch with a chap who'd bought an RS4 from us in late 2014. Which would I have? The RS4 is a great tool and a lovely thing to behold but the R is such a pure driving tool and yet has at least as much refinement as the RS4 but is a little soulless when driven sanely. You could lease an R for around £7000 for 2 years which sounds like value until you realise that with RS4 prices so stable, it's unlikely to cost you any more.
|The May 2015 issue of VW Driver magazine contained a feature on a 2001 Golf V6 4motion which had been modified by famous German tuners/race team ABT and actually driven back to the UK when it was new by none other than VW Driver editor Neil Birkitt and featured in the magazine twice. So when I was offered the car in March 2014, it was only a matter of time before it would appear in print again. Unfortunately I was ill and couldn't meet the deadline for writing it myself so Neil wrote the feature using some text from my web site where the car was advertised. It had sold just a few days earlier and lives nearby in Henley-in-Arden PREVIEW THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE AND BUY IT FOR JUST £3.99||
|The April 2015 issue of VW Driver was an 'R special' and my contribution to it was a DIY oil change step-by-step guide. PREVIEW THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE AND ORDER IT FOR JUST £3.99||
|March 2015: The TT Special issue of Audi Driver magazine saw 9 pages from me, 4 pages on Project TT and 5 pages on the buying process for a TT RS Roadster. PREVIEW THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE AND BUY IT FOR JUST £3.99||
Driver Magazine's Project TT (2015): Having blogged a number of project
cars on this web site, a chance conversation with Audi Driver magazine
publisher Paul Harris at Audi Driver International hatched a plan to document
a Mk1 TT project in the magazine. Within a couple of weeks a car was purchased
and 7 weeks later the introductory article was published in the January
2015 issue. Part 2 where the sump was removed and a service performed
was in the February 2015 issue and Part 3 in the March 'TT Special' issue
covered replacement of the rear brakes and an MOT. The next episode will
feature a conversion from the standard 312mm brake discs to R32/TT 3.2
spec 334mm discs supplied by www.eurocarparts.com
braided hoses with a set of used calipers refurbished by Bigg
Red of Worcester. Future episodes will covered cambelt change, wheel
refurbishment, bodywork tidying up and a few subtle modifications...
It was in every issue in 2015, start off with the intro feature HERE for just £3.99
The October 2014 issue of VW Driver saw a feature on an 11,000 mile 1983
Mk1 Golf Cabriolet belonging to a friend of mine. He had it to delivered
to me to get back on the road after years in storage and I mentioned it
to the editor who decided it was feature worthy.
AVAILABLE TO ORDER FOR £3.99 DIGITALLY HERE
In May 2014 I was given a Beetle TDI courtesy car while my Golf was in
for some work and over the 3 weeks I had it, I realised how little I actually
knew about VW's contribution to the retro car market. As a result I was
able to fill 4 pages of the August 2014 issue with my observations.
PREVIEW THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE AND ORDER IT FOR JUST £3.99
|2014: On 10th March 2014, Fifth Gear finally included the filming of my R32 at Millbrook from September 2013. I had a cameo role changing the oil on it between Vicki thrashing it up the mile straight, seeing if new oil makes the car quicker up to 100 mph. Click here to watch.|
After 17 years, at last a front cover!! The April 2014 issue of VW
Driver magazine saw me and my brand new Mk7 Golf R over 5 pages and as
the main image on the front cover. I was describing the buying process
from when the idea hatched, to first impressions after delivery. Even
after just 2 days I could tell the car was something special, and this
was confirmed by full road tests in the top monthly magazines who to this
point hadn't really rated an R model - By around a week, VW Driver was
the first UK magazine to publish any sort of R feature on UK tarmac -
a full road test will be published in the May issue out mid-April. DOWNLOAD
THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE
Or order the May issue digitally with full UK road test of a DSG R HERE
|2013: In 2012 I went to the Swiss Alps and bought a low mileage B5 RS4 for the trip with a view to fulfilling an ambition and maxing one on the autobahn. Sadly I only managed 150mph but I can be forgiven as when the cambelt was changed weeks later it transpired the timing was out killing performance. This story is in the Dec 2013 issue DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99||
|VW Driver - December 2013 : I managed to buy a nearly new Golf GTD at a good price, one of the last batch before production switched to the Mk7 and a few days later pointed it down the M5 to a chilly Cornwall. This road trip compares the GTD to the GTI, is it finally a worth rival or just a derv drinking deception? DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99|
|2013: In August 2013 a relatively boring trip to the Belgian Grand Prix turned into highly concentrated petrol head paradise with Rallye Deutschland occuring the same weekend just 60 miles away as well as a visit to the nearby Nurburgring and flat out blasts on derestricted autobahns. In fact the F1 was a bit of an anti-climax in comparison! DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99||
|2012: In late summer 2012 I was contacted by VW Driver editor Neil Birkitt. He'd found a slightly ropey sounding Golf V6 4motion in south west Birmingham which he planned to convert to LPG. I accompanied to view it thinking that would be that but it ended up with me for a few months during which many loose ends were dealt with culminating with a new MOT.|
|2012: When Vicki Butler-Henderson wanted to sell her Mk2 Golf GTI 16v she was advised by 2 separate parties to get in touch with me and in return she gave Volkswizard a mention in her Daily Telegraph article about her time with the car. I was proud to handle it as remembered it from a Top Gear magazine "Young Driver" supplement from the late nineties. Our paths crossed at a Porsche driving day in May 2013, luckily one day after securing the car's sale.|
|2012: I can be a bit impulsive and while I am very loyal to the VW Group, I do read Evo so when a 5 star Evo car comes up for under £1k it can be hard to resist. This 306 GTI-6 was so tidy it was weird and Pistonheads also thought it was a bargain when they chose it as "Shed of the Week" in November 2012.|
always wanted a Corrado VR6 and this one which I sold in 2007 was offered
back to me. It needed some love which was what the feature in Jan 2012
VW Driver mag concentrated on but its history and spec made it worth the
effort. However due to lack of use I sold it 13 month after purchase while
this issue was still on the shelves. The first Corrado VR6 I ever drove
was registered as H15 VRG and owned by a chap near Doncaster.
DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99
Probably the highlight of my writing career was the B7 RS4 buying guide published over 2 issues in Audi Driver magazine (Feb & March 2011). This is part 2. Too much time spent on www.rs246.com tapping into the expertise of others was responsible for this dare I say definitive guide which made the Evo version published a few months earlier look pretty thin.
DOWNLOAD PART 1 OF THE B7 RS4 BUYING GUIDE HERE FOR JUST £3.99
DOWNLOAD PART 2 OF THE B7 RS4 BUYING GUIDE HERE FOR JUST £3.99
I've bought and sold a few Golf R32s and 2010 seemed to be a particulary R32 heavy year so in the summer I wrote a buying guide much on the lines of the RS4 one which was published in the October 2010 issue of VW Driver magazine. Bit of trivia - the first R32 I ever drove was the one on page 5 back in 2003, a press office car also used on Top Gear.
DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99
another one written by someone else about one of my cars, a very special
Mk2 Golf GTI then owned by concours stalwart and all round good egg Chris
Burt from Daventry. I think it's fair to say this is a 'Marmite' Mk2,
even I am still undecided! October 2010 VW Driver magazine.
DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL EDITION HERE FOR JUST £3.99
In July 2002 I took part in my first track day at Castle Combe in my standard
(bar the Sportline wheels) Jetta GTI 16v. 2) I have always looked at the
adverts that Autocar pick out to depict the market for the car they are
featuring as a good used buy with some envy, but in September 2010 it
was my turn.3) I'd always been disappointed with driving at the 'ring
so put this into writing for Evo's Soap Box page but they decided to scrap
that so it made Star Letter instead. 4) My Vento VR6 at Combe in 2004
owned my 2nd B5 RS4 for a year I was able to write a comprehensive buying
guide for the model which was published in the February 2010 issue of
Audi Driver magazine. I had taken inspiration from the buying guides in
Evo Magazine which up until a few years ago were were very good. In fact
I even emailed them offering them this guide but they have never been
big fans of the B5 RS4, instead they did one on the Porsche Cayenne of
2007 I was lucky enough to be offered this great track prepared Mk2 GTI
16v and in the ideal world I'd have kept it indefinitely because building
one like this would have cost £10k +. I did keep it for a few years
eventually selling it in 2010 due to lack of use - it was way too hard
for road use and the shortened final drive ratio made it very noisy when
|This a summary of the ups and downs of owning a B5 RS4 based upon my experience of one during 2007 & 2008. It was published in the May 2008 issue of Audi Driver magazine. Trivia time - the car shown was one of just 3 of the UK allocation of 400 specially ordered in Denim Blue at an extra cost of £1500. I sold it to a friend of a friend and it lives around a mile away from me now. The last pic was taken at Spa on return from the 'ring in April 2007, the track was being redeveloped so we just drove on!|
I started Volkswizard I soon decided I needed some premises and in 2002
I stumbled across where I have been based ever since. It was a stroke
of luck that my neighbour there was Leslie Wilson who was preparing cars
for the VW Racing Cup and was a great mentor to me. Darelle featured here
was his son and was a great driver, here
is some You Tube footage from Donington Park. Writing this to help
his career path was the least I could do. February 2007 VW Driver.
|March 2006 saw VW Driver publish my DIY guide on replacing V6 4motion cooling fans. This was an annoying quality issue with V5, V6 and TDI 150 fans that VW should have helped rectify. Instead owners were left to fund £500 worth of fans plus fitting. I'd guess that 80% of cars out there will have faulty fans but luckily it doesn't cause too much damage until they completely pack up after which you'll soon need an aircon compressor and possibly an engine.|
was one of my favourite features - great cars, great weather, great owner,
great location, great photos. Roy was a good customer of Volkswizard when
I could tempt him away from his local VW dealership! He worked at Silverstone
so we had the place to ourselves one Saturday afternoon in Spring 2005.
This feature made the GTI Special issue of VW Driver magazine in June
by Evo road trips, Nov 2003 saw me and friend/photographer Paz Chauhan
hot foot it across Northern Europe to Wolfsburg to visit the recently
opened VW theme park, Autostadt. I saw my first Golf V there on display
inside as the infamous 'Golfsburg' world press launch had just taken place.
The A4 used wasn't too bad, its 20v 1.8 engine was hungry for high revs
so ideal for 100mph+ cruising and even then did 100 miles to £10
of unleaded, those were the days..
long after I started at Dark Lane, my neighbour Les Wilson began building
this racing Bora from a 1.6 road car. There were numerous issues but they
got there in the end with Mark eventually coming 2nd in the VW Racing
Cup. The Bora made it to GTI International one year (I suspect 2004) and
Mark let me and Les join him to have a go on the sprint, let's just say
the results were unexpected...For a season the car was sponsored by VW
Driver and I wrote a monthly report on how it was doing. .
is a write-up about how VAG COM is so useful from December 2003 Audi Driver
magazine. With a further 8 years of daily usage of VAG COM (now VCDS)
behind me, its still proving a priceless piece of kit - what was depicted
here was just scratching the surface.
|I totally forgot about this one in VW Driver June 2003! This was the first car that had the benefit of being 'in the trade'. It wasn't the mintest Mk2 ever but it remains one of my all time favourites thanks to the the sharp small bumper looks and excellent Recaros.|
|I bought my first VR6 from a big garage in Fulham who taught me a lot about how not to sell cars - 1) the rear axle bushes were totally gone so when I joined the A40 to come home it felt like the rear axle was loose 2) they carefully removed their name from the top of their pre-printed invoice which made it worthless in law. Oh well, I put it down to experience and had a lesson in the importance of good rear axle bushes and how not to have repeat business.|
early days of Volkswizard. The Capri Green Jetta 16v was bought from a
long term owner in Peterborough on a dank Feb evening in 2002. The red
16v was sourced by me from chap in Barnoldswick, Lancs in the summer of
2001, sold promptly to a chap from Oxfordshire who spent loads on it and
then sold it back to me, something he did a few times in the following
couple of years with different cars.
is what I did on Saturdays before Volkswizard sapped all my time. I wrote
this and took the pics which came out OK considering the bright spring
sunshine and gleaming white car. Paul sold the white Mk2 to someone who
added many thousands of miles very quickly so it didn't remain 'mint'
for much longer. The photo location was Walton Hall, a hotel in Warwickshire
and had been used frequently by magazines including an S4 2.7T feature
and a BR Motorsport Zender VR6.
|I never did get to meet the subjects of this story published in the June 2001 issue of VW Driver magazine. In the early days of internet forums I started an email group on Yahoo! called 'Mk3golfownersandenthusiasts' and Matt Sutherland was one of the first members.|
|September 2000 saw VW Driver magazine publish a self-written piece on my Mk3 Golf GTI Anniversary. I scrimped and saved to get one of these and had to settle with a high mileage ex-fleet car but it served me well over the year I owned it, only selling to increase my car buying capital.|
|May 1999 and VW Motoring Magazine. This was my first Mk3 Golf GTI, in fact it was only my fifth car ever. Interestingly the pics were taken at the Transport Museum in Wythall near Becketts Farm Shop. Little did I know that 3 years later I'd be starting Volkswizard just up the road.|
|This is where it all started. The Spring 1997 issue of GTI Special, an extra magazine from the publishers of VW Motoring. I kept this Mk2 for 2.5 years and it was a great car and definitely helped sow the seeds of Volkswizard. Where is it now anyone?|