Jump to content

Hector's Soft Blue Sport

Recommended Posts



Here we have my Soft Blue Lupo Sport, Purchased in May 2023 with three previous owners and a comprehensive service history folder, this Volkswagen Lupo Sport was a rare find. With a very sensible 63000 miles on the odometer, a great base to start building my version of the Lupo Sport, known as the Lupo Sport+!


The car was bought with a few known issues. The first, most significant issue, was that fact it would short out and shut off after running for about thirty seconds. This prevented us from test driving the car and limited the amount of time we could listen to it run before it need to be switched off. Second, the battery was not charging. I was not entirely certain that this was due to a malfunctioning alternator, but the seller stated that he thought so. However, he did not explain how all these electrical problems had occurred, only revealing that one day, when he was started the car on the driveway, it cut out. Upon attempting to restart the car, it wouldn’t restart and the fuses above the battery were blown. Another problem, which we were unaware of at the time, was the "Control Module" that was tucked behind the front bumper in the near side front corner. This module controlled the air conditioning system (yes, it came with air conditioning) and the fuse box above the battery, which is why the air conditioning wasn't working and the fuses were blowing. Another consequence of the faulty "Control Module" was the fan running nonstop. 


The car mechanically needed a replacement water pump and cambelt since they were due a few months previous. The engine made a "Tappy" noise, indicating that the hydraulic lifters needed to be replaced soon as well. The clutch was also past its best, meaning it was difficult to shift into gear and had a very low bite. Other than that, I thought the car mechanically was okay (Oops, all will be explained later)


In terms of appearance, the car was rough but honest; it had more lacquer peel than I knew what to do with it, not a single straight panel, numerous scrapes down the near side from the old lady hitting the garage wall when she was reversing it in, but on the plus side, it was completely rust free and had never had any bodywork done, so I could see exactly what I was dealing with rather than having hidden surprises. Furthermore, where there was still lacquer on the paint, it was extremely swirly, and the entire car had faded to the point where it was no longer the same colour.


Despite all these flaws I've described above, I was generally pleasantly impressed with how clean the car was, the sills were very straight and as mentioned above, it was rust free, which for a 21 year old car was really impressive, the interior was entirely stock but rather dirty. A de-baffled original rear backbox and TA Technix coilovers, which were lowered to an absurdly low height, were two modifications made to the car, however fortunately, the original suspension and backbox had been kept by the previous owner and were part of the sale.  Despite all of these issues, I could still tell that the car was very well-maintained, had a clean service history, had low miles, and had been in a garage for 20 years, which there was something to be said for that.


More to come soon; I'll write about how we transported it home next, but for now, enjoy this photo I took of it on the day I brought it home. Thank you for reading my build thread; I would be happy to answer any questions.


Instagram : Hector.Bishop.Penn


Edited by Hector.Bishop.Penn
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here it is, as promised, the second instalment of my build thread, which explains how I was able to "drive" the car that shorted out and barely ran, home 25 miles.


Following a viewing on Tuesday night and settling on a price to buy with the previous owner, the previous owner said we needed the vehicle out of his driveway by Sunday.Simple enough, huh? Not really. Sure, I could have talked to some recovery companies and gotten it resolved that way, but it would have involved more costs, which I did my best to avoid as much as possible. I therefore started to think of a plan for driving the car back home. After several nights of trying to figure out what to do and numerous discussions with my father, we finally came up with a plan.The plan of action was as follows:


We would basically be driving on whatever power the battery had left when we tried to drive it and get as far as we could with the alternator disconnected (to prevent it from shorting out). I would have a new battery in the boot of my other car, ready to swap it out on the side of the road if necessary. In an effort to rule out as many issues as possible, we also made sure we had some form of breakdown essentials, such as a general tool bag with items like spanners, screwdrivers, and other necessities inside, along with tow ropes and jump leads also being in the boot.


When Sunday finally arrived, we packed the tools into my other car and drove to pick up the car. We finished the paperwork, got the keys and set out on our journey without realising what might be ahead for my father and I. The car started without any issues after we disconnected the fan and air conditioning unit and turned off every electrical device to save energy.Less than three miles later, the car fully died on the roundabout. We hastily pushed it across the roundabout, up the road, and into the first side road in order to try Plan B. Initially, we attempted jump leads, but to no luck; the car remained completely dead and did not even have any lights on the dash. We put the new battery on, and she started up again. Since time wasn't on our side, we unplugged the alternator as soon as we were positive the new battery was the answer. We did this just in case the alternator continued to drain power.


The car drove flawlessly aside from the minor mishap; obviously, the suspension was incredibly bouncy and the front valance was grounding out on everything, but these were both known issues that were high on my list to fix. Fortunately, we only had one breakdown and made it home, which was somewhat of a relief. An extra bonus was that it didn't have to be transported home by a rescue vehicle!


Here's another photo from the day I brought it home. I'll explain everything later. Now for the exciting part—actually working on the car!


Instagram : Hector.Bishop.Penn


Edited by Hector.Bishop.Penn
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Nothing much has been happening lately as a result of experiencing engine problems in the latter part of 23'


Over the summer, I gradually worked through the car, cleaning and fixing things as I went along. Two things in particular needed attention: the inside, which was very dirty and the suspension, which was temporarily switched back to the original suspension since the coilovers made it was so low that it was impractical to drive. As soon as I get an opportunity, I'll upload some photos!


Following the suspension replacement, the car was able to be driven again and go on its first test drive since I bought it. All in all, the experience went well; the car ran smoothly but was a little "Tappy"; the suspension was very worn out, but I knew this and the brakes needed to be replaced because they were past their prime.When I got home from the test drive in the dark, I just parked the car and went in. The next weekend, when I got a chance to take a closer look, I saw that the rear of the car had a lot of black deposits all over it that looked sooty and oily. The health of the engine was certainly up for debate, so I cleaned it off and did it again the next weekend, thinking that maybe it was just because it had been parked for three months and had never heated up. To my disappointment, this was not the case and the black deposits turned up again the next weekend.


A quick trip over to see Sully @ Sully's Automotive Services verified that there were undoubtedly issues with the peddle box, clutch, and engine. Once Sully verified this, I got him to book me in for the engine rebuild, clutch replacement, and pedal box repair. These photos show the work that was done; it's safe to say that the engine's health wasn't great..


The valves that are completely covered in carbon buildup


The Head + Rocker Cover after being removed from the car, ready to undergo cleaning and carbon removal at the vapour blasters.


The Head + Rocker Cover after being vapour blasted




We installed new pistons in it after noticing the old ones had heavy scoring.



The car during reassembling the engine





After the car was put back together, Sully completed the first 150 miles of engine bedding in before giving it back to me to finish the remaining 850 miles. To ensure the engine was operating at peak efficiency, an oil and filter change was necessary at 500 and 1000 miles, respectively. The picture above shows how amazing the car looked once complete and it's amazing how quiet it is compared to how it used to be. Undoubtedly, the car is flawless & quiet now, all the while delivering the amount of power it should! In order to stop carbon buildup in the future, Sully blanked the EGR valve, Additionally he fixed the Aircon.


I couldn't be happier with the car and would highly recommend Sully for any necessary engine work, he's definitely the best in the business whilst being extremely knowledgable and helpful! Please feel free to message me on Instagram with any questions. 


Now over to me to sort the suspension, brakes & exhaust...


Instagram : Hector.Bishop.Penn

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Nothing major to report on my Lupo Sport over the last few weekends 


Acquired one of the last genuine old stock Lupo Coolant bottles from VW Parts International since my one was starting to show signs of its age and had turned "yellowy" over time. After I got it swapped over, typically my coolant cap started to show its age against the new bottle, guess that will be replaced as well now...

What a difference it made to the engine bay.


Proof that the little things are what really matter 🙌🏻


Instagram : Hector.Bishop.Penn

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Few weeks behind on these updates, so here goes


Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, the sun decided to come out at last and dry out the roads, which gave me the opportunity to play with the sport! Probably completed best part of 250 miles over the few days, certainly blew the cobwebs off that's for sure! Also gave me the chance to properly use the freshly built engine to its full potential, Sully has certainly built some masterpiece, couldn't be happier!



A matter of days later, the Sport was taken to Jack @ Motion Fabrication for a custom Kam Racing exhaust system. The system was modified to fit the Sport, including the addition of a 16" centre silencer to reduce noise & swapping the tip back to the OEM Sport one. It's safe to say that he did a fantastic job; the tip is perfectly positioned in the centre cutout, so you would never know that it had a modified exhaust from the outside! Sounds absolutely incredible, the centre silencer achieving the ideal balance between engine roar and exhaust rasp with a bonus being the manifold is gorgeous!


I've kept the old exhaust that Jack took out of the car in case I decide to put it back in stock.


I've driven 1000+ miles in it since the exhaust was installed, which is ridiculous for me, but I just can't get over how great it sounds! Something I never thought I'd say: the SDI was thrown in the garage for literally two weeks while I "dailyed" the sport. Really fantastic every day, apart from the fuel bill. The car is really starting to come together now, the next major task on the list is to refresh the rear beam, suspension and brakes, which should get it really tight to drive.


Instagram : Hector.Bishop.Penn 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, mk2 said:

I like the new wheels... 👍🏻

Thank you,

They are the OZ Superturismos (Gen 1) that were used on the Lupo GTI Cup Cars back in the day! Most likely will have them refurbished with the wording altered to "Volkswagen Racing" to make them more fitting to the car's era. The center caps will also likely be changed to the chrome/black Volkswagen logo, similar to what the MK4 R32 Aristo wheel has.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/8/2024 at 10:59 PM, mk2 said:

Good choice on the tyres too. It's what I buy :)

Yep, I was right. Very nice wheels.


Since few of the more recent tyres are available in 15", I think the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 is the best choice for road use. Having said that, I'm planning to try the Pirelli P1 Cinturatos next time I need tyres, the same size, 195/50/15, people say they work really well on the road and marginally better on the track.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.