Since the first day this business started trading there likely hasn't been a single day that a Volkswagen Golf of some description hasn't been either booked in, owned or stored here for work. It's the one car model that seems to stay with us, regardless of the direction the business moves. There's no denying the VW Golf as a classless, timeless design in any of its forms, some more so than others I'm sure will split opinion.
I think there are a handful of reasons why the VW Golf is so prominent in our business history. It's a 40-year-long span now, so classic and new car owners all fit within the bill. We have show car owners with new and old models, they're an extremely popular daily car of which we have plenty in our portfolio. They're as happy in front of a stately home as they are a high street roadside, they just fit.
Enough about our passion for Golfs in general, more about this special Golf Gti Clubsport Edition40 which started its journey with us helping our client find a decent model for him to start a project and has ended up becoming our own car due to a change of projects, it just so happened to be the right time and we couldn't be happier with it.
So November 2017 we started talking to our client about what project should be built next, he'd expressed an interest in a Golf R and for various reasons (mostly ours) we managed to come out of the conversation agreeing on the Clubsport, the search lasted around a week with various Whatsapp messages sent and a lot of units rejected, this is the car we ended our search with. An ex-demonstration VW Golf GTI Clubsport with very good spec. Albeit the car was missing the Recaro wingback options from the Clubsport spec, so these were added by ourselves early on. An extremely expensive option when purchased after the fact, but the car had to be right.
Seats ordered. Car delivered. The booking with ourselves wasn't until a month after delivery so a few extras were supplied and installed.
With this work complete and a few miles under its belt, we brought the car into the workshop to start its car audio system. There's no other way to describe this system than "complex"... There were a lot of modules, all doing an individual job, all wired to work simultaneously via the new Alpine X902D-G7 Golf 7 specific head unit, either on the main screen or split screen. For example, both front and rear cameras can be used at the same time, live time whilst on the move or as parking cameras with a little bit of pinning out and rewiring. Clever stuff. Another example would be four HDMI sources working on a single HDMI input on the unit, switchable from the deck and via a manual switch mounted in the centre console area.
We actually started with all of the source products, the media side of the system essentially. These were laid out and installed systematically. You know you're into a heavy job when you're planning an orderly procedure for the installation of source products. With two wiring diagrams drawn it was time.
Here's a breakdown of what we would call the "source products"
- Sony RSX-GS9 High definition head unit
- Alpine 902G7 mk7 Golf direct replacement head unit
- Alpine Digital TV
- Alpine DVD Alpine front and rear cameras
- Alpine camera control module
- Alpine HDMI switching module
- Playstation 4 slim
- Target Blue-eye tetra police scanner
- Laser track flare
- Clifford G7 CAN security
First in were all of the accessory sources, such as the DVD/TV/Playstation unit, these were all fixed in place on the floor pan of the car with the seats removed, of course, we deadened the floor pan prior to this. With these installed and all looming done and in its relevant position we installed the brilliant Alpine X902D-G7, a Golf mk7 specific head unit that upgrades the cars factory infotainment system ten-fold.
This unit features Apple Carplay, Android Auto, TomTom maps with 3 years subscription, DAB, FM, Camera control amongst hundreds of other features. Most importantly it retains the cars OEM control features that the original unit controls and displays.
With this primary source unit fitted, we moved onto the secondary source unit, installed as an indulgence for higher end sound. The Sony RSX-GS9, arguably our favourite deck, is a High-Resolution media centre, with various control of USB and Digital Audio Players (DAP's if you're savvy) and iPhone control. The unit uses an app to control a lot of its features, although this isn't absolutely necessary it really does help when the unit is mounted in the glovebox out of the way. In this installation this unit is for the times you're on your own, functionality doesn't play the most part and you want to listen to your music with the purest signal path. Foot down, relax and listen with no interuptions.
Through some of Nick Williams incredible editing here you can see the glovebox lid closed with the unit sat in place of the VW infotainment unit no longer needed with the Alpine. Inside the glove box, there are two controllers discretely mounted, these are for the Laser Track Flare and Target Blu-eye systems, both units contributing to keeping our client point free on his license! Mounted here so as not to be a distraction whilst driving, both units have a loud enough audible output to allow early detection of emergency service vehicle and possibly block laser-based speed traps. Oh, and open garage doors, of course!
With all source/control units installed it was time to move onto the fabrication aspect of the job. The car was deadened using our Skinz deadening package and all panels removed were treated to the same, then a partial rebuild of the interior of the car such as carpets/seats etc to enable us to move forward. Next on the cards were the doors, we don't have many pictures here without switching to phone pics, you'll just have to trust that we did a serious job of baffling the doors, deadening them and installing the excellent Gladen Audio Aerospace midbass units. The rear doors were treated to Gladen Audio SQX165 components which were dialled down to nearly nothing but allowed for an "all round" tune setting on the DSP when complete.
So, source units complete, speakers in place and door cards back on, all deadening complete it was time to shift our attention to the actual design and fabrication. The brief at first was free reign, however, as usual, this soon changed to try and keep a fair amount of space in the boot. This isn't a problem here, we aren't fans of completely removing the functionality of a car in the name of a good sound. In some show aspects it works, in our usual work we will try and install as discretely as possible.
Whilst the design for the sub box was complete, the measurements were sent to our fantastic metal guy Jim Carter to CAD and CNC our design for 19mm sheet aluminium, we set our sights on the centre console, as this sub box was to be the centrepiece of the boot we carried on in other areas. The centre console was removed, the underside was modified to help fit the Mosconi RCD controller. We stripped this down to fit in the aperture for the cigarette lighter charge point. Our initial idea was to separate the volume knob from the board and have the screen in the rear view mirror, however the new infinity style VW mirror, as wonderful as it is, just wouldn't prove fruitful for this project.
Moving forward from this, the aiming was done for the A-pillar mounted Gladen Aerospace 80mm Midrange and 28mm tweeter - these were then put into fabrication, completed with a scalloped face from the tweeter and trimmed. Sounds easy when you put it like that, doesn't it? The results were fantastic.
This marked the whole car, other than the boot area, complete. What we now had were a thousand cables, all with different duties, 5 amplifiers, two particularly high-end subwoofers, one large DSP, 3 distribution blocks and various other odds and sods to fit in the boot of a typical hatchback sized platform. I'd be lying if I didn't mention for around two hours we had 2 installers and a sales manager stood at the back of the car trying to figure out just how we were going to lay this out, it seemed impossible for a short while. Well, impossible to have it come out looking anything half decent!
Whilst we were stood there deliberating, likely procrastinating due to the weight of what we were about to start, Marcus (Sales) came up with the rather old-school idea of dropping the amplifier for the rear speakers in the boot lid and reinforcing the boot rams. This was almost brushed off at first as it just isn't our "feel" but the more we looked at the options and pro's/cons of the situation it actually stacked up very well. Great Idea. In all of the time the amplifier was mounted in that area and the car being on display, only one person noticed it was there, the rest had to be pointed in its direction, which to me particularly, is a fantastic modification, one you have to look twice at to realise it's even there. Of course, the pictures make it look completely obvious, you'd kind of have to be there.
It wouldn't be a Studio Incar fitted amplifier if it didn't have an edge-lit surface. The panel was cut extremely well by Sam, we had to fabricate two small end pieces where the rear panel kicked back below the amplifier. The amp is held in place by a sheet of aluminium bolted down to factory bolt points, a particularly solid mounting for this as it's location dictated. Smaller gauges of cable were used for this unit to allow passage through the factory grommets and into the car.
The sub box had been with us a little while by now, all 65kg of it, without subs. This raised a few eyebrows with the speaker box purists, we'd done the math. There's no way we'd spend this amount of someone else's money for a failure. The bass from this enclosure with the two Gladen Audio Aerospace 10 Subwoofers was nothing short of outstanding.
This was built, subwoofers fitted and mounted in the car then bonded down. the rest of the boot fabrication had to be built around this. Aluminium is superb but it certainly has no tolerance, for anything. The shape you have is the shape you have unless you want to redesign. We knew this hence the design of the box and already had a plan for the fabrication.
The mk7 (not R) has plenty of space under the factory boot floor line, we used this space to mount two Mosconi zero 4 amplifiers to run front midbass and subwoofers, one on left and one on right, bridged. The amps provide huge power for 4 channels especially when bridged. Above these, we floated 2x Mosconi A class 2 channel high-end amplifiers to run the midrange and tweeters actively.
These units were enclosed with fabricated panelling, with an open design for cooling, very minimalistic and trimmed in Alcantara to finish. side panels were built to house the processor with a glass face to protect this unit, then a matching blank for the driver's side of the boot to neaten things up. This gives a very symmetrical, minimalist feel and retains nearly all of the OEM boot space, with the purpose build load cover in place the line of the fabricated panels actually sits below that of the factory boot floor. This wouldn't have been possible without moving the 5th amplifier up into the boot lid.
Once complete, set up begins. Of course, during the install, at each stage things were tested to make sure we knew everything was working before we got too far ahead of ourselves so we knew the system was going to fire up straight away. The first thing we did was fire up the Playstation and had a game of Fifa! Which was novel... We set up the DSP, 3 different settings, aligned to the driver, no alignment and then a fun setting with a few levels raised and safe crossover points for higher volumes to suit our clients' needs for a fun sounding system.
We hand delivered the car and flew back home, the car was received extremely well. We're extremely grateful to be allowed free reign on installations as large as this, I think to date this is as far as we have been in a single platform and given the amount of equipment it would be quite easy to end up in a bit of a mess, I'm sure most will agree the car has come out very well indeed, it surpasses everything that was asked.
Thanks for reading, especially if you got this far! Please, any questions at all then feel free to get in touch with us via - firstname.lastname@example.org As always all product supplied and installed in-house.
Many thanks to Nick Williams for his outstanding image work on our project once again- NWVT Facebook and Instagram. Enjoy the rest of his shots.