Dream A Little Dream: Jason Balaze 1982 Volkswagen Golf

Jason Balaze’s teenage dream becomes a reality after all those years.

Way back when Jason Balaze was just a teenager, the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf had caught his eye, and that teenage desire stayed with him throughout his adult life. Having already built a 1988 Volkswagen GTI and a 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo, he saw an opportunity to achieve the dream of his younger self when he stumbled upon a 1982 Volkswagen Golf. With a bit of a resto mod build on his hands, he decided that this was a perfect opportunity to build a period correct version of his teenage dream car, with as much attention to detail as possible.

His aspirations for a period correct build meant enlisting the use of the VW 2.0L 16-valve engine of the era, and since Balaze knew he was going the distance on this build, he decided to go the distance on the engine as well. Weber DCOE carburetors were the most iconic bolt-on of the car’s time, and they would certainly be of use here. The 2.0L 16-valve engine was built from top to bottom, featuring changes like a ported head, titanium upgraded valvetrain, Techtonics Tuning cams, and much more. All in, the engine now boasts 160 horsepower at the front wheels.

Balaze went into this resto mod build with the intention to drive it hard when it was finished, and the quality of parts throughout the build reflect that. Additionally, he had to oversee the processes himself, so Balaze did everything on this car, with a little help from some friends. Being a perfectionist inspired by quality builders around him, his intentions to build a pure driver’s car slowly morphed into a love for its show-worthiness, especially as body work started. Over the course of three long years, Balaze toiled away in the garage and in shops to perfect the build he had envisioned.

In true resto mod fashion, every original rubber seal, bolt, and wire has been replaced or upgraded. Changing all the wiring out is a tedious job, but with some coaching from his friend Gab from Gab Eurosport, Balaze got it done, and installed a custom CE2 wiring harness for the engine side as well. Over time, he acquired every single quality performance part he could find to throw at the ‘82 Golf in order to keep it able to be driven as hard as possible. Sure, it would be a show car, but at the end of the day he still planned to give it hell on the street.

Keeping the build period correct, even in the interior, was a must for Balaze. Thanks to his sponsorship with Recaro, he managed to secure and customize some beautiful Recaro seats that fit the theme of the car perfectly without going overboard. A classic Momo steering wheel with a GTI horn button, OMP pedals, and 20th Anniversary seat belts go the distance in creating a tastefully modified interior that stays true to the original design from Volkswagen.

After countless hours of body work, which included shaving the Euro-spec bumpers, as well as a year-long paint process, the car was as close to completely restored as Balaze could imagine. With his teenage dream car in his possession, it was off to Eurokracy 2020 for the big reveal. Upon showing off his years of hard work at Eurokracy, Balaze’s hard work paid off! He took home the honor of “Best Mk1” for his efforts.

Show stopper status aside, Balaze is still all about the drive, and the car he built absolutely delivers. With sponsor LiquiMoly having his back, we know this car will be doing tours around the block for years to come. While he could stop here, Balaze says that he never knows when it’s really over, so this 1988 Golf may see yet another transformation in the future. Until then, we’re just glad it’s being enjoyed as intended.

Featured on the cover of PASMAG #167. CLICK HERE for issue preview.

Photography/Video by Dylan Morley (@4thmedia)



Owner: Jason Balaze
Location: Carignan, Quebec, Canada
Vehicle: 1982 Volkswagen Golf
Engine: VW 2.0L 16V I4
Horsepower: 160 whp


FB: /69jason
IG: @jasonbalaze


  • Ported head
  • Light lifters
  • Titanium valve springs and retainers
  • Techtonics Tuning cams
  • Autotech oil pan
  • Weber DCOE carburetors
  • Long intake
  • Carter fuel pump
  • Custom (fuel lines, aluminum rad w/ slim fans)
  • 42 Draft design oil catch can
  • EAA Engineering ABF serpentine conversion
  • Custom CE2 wiring harness


  • Techtonics Tuning (header, exhaust system)


  • 4Y transmission
  • Hurst shifter
  • Techtonics Tuning (short shift kit, weighted rods)


  • BBS RS wheels
  • Toyo T1R tires
  • Momentum Motor Parts 11-inch front brake rotors
  • Girling 60 front brake calipers
  • 9.4-inch rear brake rotors
  • VW 20th Anniversary GTI rear calipers
  • Akebono brake pads
  • Custom braided brake lines


  • KW Suspensions V3 coilovers
  • 034Motorsports top mounts
  • Fast Bunny top mount risers
  • Neuspeed upper front stress bar
  • Eurosport (lower front stress bar, rear stress bar)
  • Autotech rear sway bar


  • Custom paint
  • Euro spec shaved bumpers
  • Powder coated exterior trim
  • FIFFT smoked tail lights
  • Crosshair headlights
  • Smoked signals


  • Custom (Recaro seats, door panels)
  • Momo steering wheel
  • OMP pedals
  • Hurst shifter
  • Rear seat delete
  • VW 20th Anniversary seat belts


  • Retro bluetooth radio


  • LiquiMoly
  • Recaro


After countless hours of body work, which included shaving the Euro-spec bumpers, as well as a year-long paint process,...

Posted by Performance Auto & Sound Magazine on Monday, October 3, 2022

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