This month we have been focussing on accessories, and personalising your VWs to your own taste and style. We caught up with Martin Peryagh, creator of the ‘Wickerdackel’ Mk2 Golf which had aesthetic additions in abundance. Here’s his take on why finishing touches are so important.
A quick background on Martin’s car, before we set off though. At a time when ‘identikit’ Golf’s were being churned out (albeit very well) a couple of brown Mk2’s hit the scene and the PVW cover, and caused quite a stir. One such car was Martin’s; inspired by the aircooled style, I recall discussing the build and his ideas with him before it even started and I had a hunch it was going to be special. I asked some questions to find out more, and maybe gain some inspiration for my own builds too. In case you are wondering the name “Wickerdackel’ was coined from ‘Wackeldackel’ the german name for a nodding dog accessory, and the club Martin was apart of, and blended with ‘wicker’ for reasons that will become obvious.
VWH: Your ‘Wickerdackel’ Mk2 definitely caused a stir when you launched it back in 2008, what was your favourite part about it?
MP: A difficult choice, as there were so many, but the headlamp set up or the all clear rear window. The headlamps were mounted inside chrome bowls, the wiring hidden and fed straight into the chassis leg; the rear screen a genuine South African sourced item, with no heater element.
VWH: Your car was non-conformist – the wicker door pockets and parcel shelf, the banjo steering wheel, ‘Ghia number plate lamp and Beetle hubcaps. Did it matter if people got it? Or were you happy either way?
MP: I wanted to create a car as though it was built alongside the Karmann Ghia or Beetle in the late ’40s to late ’50s. It needed to be aircooled in essence. I knew it was odd-ball and a bit left-field, but I’m happy with the results, the wins and the feature I got. PVW were more than happy, they kind of understood it, enough to feature it back in November 2009. I was overwhelmed that it made the cover, especially as it was my first major build and that I was a scene unknown, despite being on the VW show circuit for around 20 years.
VWH: The brake pipes in your engine bay were deliberately coiled; what inspired this ‘form over function’ modification, did it affect the driving at all?
MP:The brake lines were inspired by an old motorcycle i spotted (possibly a Harley) and also a Porsche electric hub motor vehicle i saw at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2007, they had polished copper lines to prevent the cracking and give some flexibility. I wanted to do something with the brakelines as on left had drive vehicles, the master cylinder is very prominent; So I made a feature of it and created another focal point in the bare engine bay. Braking ability wasnt affected really as it was only a 1.3 engine car and ran on standard brakes, the car being more a cool cruiser than a road rocket. I’m sure removing the master cylinder and servo as some people do, in a bid to make the engine bay minimal affects it more.
VWH: Your Edition38 build thread challenged the ‘show it all off’ ethos, and was a deliberate tease, do you think this emphasises the finishing touches when seen in the flesh – or does the internet sew the seed to allow for the enthusiasm when the car is finally debuted?
MP: I loved the days of waiting for the magazines to come out, or seeing the real show cars on the show scene, without build threads or internet too. I remember around 1990 or 1991 seeing an awesome show Beetle and being totally blown away by it, the level of detail was unreal; I was a big fan of the Machine 7 built ‘Homer’ too. I think mobile phones, the internet and forums kill the surprise. I went to huge effort not to leak any details of my Wickerdackel build, as so many people could spoil the effect if the cat got out of the bag. It was a nervous time, especially when I had to outsource, as additional people could and would know more about the build
VWH: If you could go back in time, what one touch would your add or change about the Mk2?
MP: A rear mounted type4 engine into a 3dr Golf Syncro bodyshell; an idea almost did if I had used a Syncro shell as my basis back in 2007
VWH: If / when you build another VW what will it be?
MP: Something small, but maybe not a Golf. I’ve been storing up ideas for 2 different models of cars, one smaller and one sleeker that my next ideas will be applied to.
VWH: I know you wouldn’t give away the next batch of trick touches, but what are your current influences?
MP: Currently I am inspired by ‘Avus era‘ Auto Union racers, and Italian styling houses such as Cisitalia, Ghia and Touring Superleggera. I’d hope to combine these influences to produce something slick and purposeful.
VWH: When you look at other peoples cars that have been built, what neat touches tick your boxes? Any particular favourites?
MP: Russ Whitehead’s awesome Red Mica Golf2 blew me away, along with the Marco Haeger-built silver Golf1. Martin Neuhauser’s Wicker car was a huge inspiration to develop that idea and push the boundaries further. I just wanted to mess with the tried and tested look of spilt rims and 20v engines that were saturating the show scene at the time.
VWH: And a few quick fire ones..Favourite car ever? Favourite decade for car design?
MP:Porsche 901 series 911 swb, and the 1960’s.
Big thanks to Martin for taking five minutes to answer a few questions. With those answers in mind I can’t wait to see what gets built next time, perhaps it’ll get you thinking about your VW project too?
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.