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Rescuing a VW Golf from ULEZ Scrappage Scheme

Rescuing a VW Golf from ULEZ Scrappage Scheme
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Rescuing a VW Golf from ULEZ Scrappage Scheme

In today's digital world, it's pretty rare that a letter falls on your doormat, especially one you want to receive! But it was a letter that started this story and it was handwritten by a concerned VW owner being forced to sell his beloved car, due to the expansion of the ULEZ in Greater London. Intrigued and keen to help, we wrote a letter back... Let us tell you more!

Who hand writes a letter these days?

The letter we received was written by a Heritage Parts Centre customer called Mr Bendon. An 87-year-old gentleman, living in Essex, who had since August 2023, found himself inside the expanded London 'Ultra Low Emission Zone'. This meant every time he wanted to go out, in his non-compliant car he would have to pay £12.50 to the TfL for the privilege. Something that he said in his own words "just wasn't right". With a reliance upon his car for independence, and an awareness that these £12.50 charges would soon mount up, Mr Bendon decided he would have to sell his vehicle, or even worse, entrust it to the ULEZ Scrappage scheme, which "would break my heart" he told us. 

Mr Bendon at the wheel of his Montana Green VW Golf Mk2Mr Bendon at the wheel of his Montana Green VW Golf Mk2

The car in question.

Mr Bendon was the very proud owner of a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 Driver, finished in a rare shade called Montana Green. First registered on January 1st 1992, he was only the second owner having bought it as an almost new car in 1995. 

Resassuring us in his letters and later phone calls he revealed. "It has always been garaged and put away dry, even if we had got home in the rain at 2 am."

Mr Bendon getting his Mk2 Golf out of the garageMr Bendon getting his Mk2 Golf out of the garage

Collection Day! 

After a couple of telephone conversations, we committed to buying the car from Mr Bendon. We paid him more than he asked for, equalling the offer on the table from The Mayor of London, should he have taken the painful decision to scrap it.  

I travelled up from the south coast by train, meeting Barney in Essex, before driving the last few miles to Mr Bendon's home. 

He greeted us warmly at the door, invited us in and boiled a kettle on the stove for a cup of tea before things turned to business. A long-term VW fan, he had an unbuilt Golf GTI model on the side which he kindly gave us, and also a Golf GTI t-shirt which he's instructed his children to bury him in when the time comes. 

We walked out to the garage, which is nestled between two houses. We couldn't believe the car would fit through the gap... Check out the Instagram Reel of us getting the car, it's breathtaking stuff... It also explains the scuffs down both sides, as there is hardly any room to spare. 

I love my Golf dusting cloth kept in the carI love my Golf dusting cloth kept in the car
Mr Bendon shows us around his Montana Green VW Mk2 GolfMr Bendon shows us around his Montana Green VW Mk2 Golf
Mr Bendon and Heritage CEO Barney Dines look under the bonnet of Mk2 GolfMr Bendon and Heritage CEO Barney Dines look under the bonnet of Mk2 Golf

Sold as seen...

The car started on the button, and idled immaculately in the garage, before being driven out onto the drive for an inspection. We'd already said we would buy it, but some quick checks for rust on the sills jacking points and floorpans found nothing too troublesome, and we were impressed with how good the vehicle was, considering the 188k miles on the clock. 

It's a strange specification; a very late model car (albeit with small bumpers as it is a 'driver') but without any electric windows or power steering. The latter is notably absent when it comes to parking a 30-year-old car. The rear seats look like they've hardly been used, although we are told, fondly remembered by his grandchildren. There is one white sunvisor and another which is black... We haven't found out why yet -  we'll keep you posted, should we discover that story.

With the light fading, we shook hands, handed over the money, bundled up a big pile of service history and headed for the road, promising we would take the car back to see Mr Bendon again soon.

Barney and Mr Bendon shaking hands on the VW Golf driverBarney and Mr Bendon shaking hands on the VW Golf driver

What happened next?

The drive back to Sussex went smoothly with the Golf happily stretching its legs in the outer lanes of the motorway for the first time in many years. Having made it to the seaside town of Shoreham, it was a quick trip to see Mike at VDub Venture for a new cambelt and engine service kit, before Barney got behind the wheel for our annual Santa Cruise with his young daughter keeping his company in the back! 

VW Golf Mk2 at the Heritage Santa Cruise with white Porsche 911 and white Land Rover DefenderVW Golf Mk2 at the Heritage Santa Cruise with white Porsche 911 and white Land Rover Defender

The next step for us is to renew the MOT and get our team out to enjoy some time behind the wheel attending some local events. We've had a quote to repair the scuffs on the side, and even respray the whole car, but it would be the 'value of the vehicle' again to make it all happen. The most important thing is we have saved this great car from the crusher, and we will enjoy it for many more years to come, hopefully keeping it away from as many narrow driveways as possible.

Incidentally, Mr Bendon replaced the Golf with a Fiat 500. He wanted to buy a VW UP! but they are too wide to fit through that gap to his garage... How crazy is that?!! 

Want to buy a Golf Mk2? Check out our Mk2 Golf Buying Guide here

Andy 

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