Meeting a very special someone who helped her regain inspiration for her project car, Jemima’s modified 9N3 VW Polo’s made a triumphant return to the scene. And this time, it’s more unforgettable than ever before…
Whether it’s your phones which do it while you’re sleeping or the sea of ‘new and improved’ stickers you see at supermarkets, it seems like the 21st century is nothing but a string of continual updates as we aim to permanently better our lives.
And while many of these ‘Version 2.0’s turn out to be nothing more than silly marketing ploys, the second incarnation of Jemima Cox’s VW Polo here is well and truly the real deal, proving to be one of the biggest transformations since Optimus Prime turned into a pickup truck. And most amazingly of all, it almost didn’t happen before she met the love of her life…
If you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you might recognise Jemima’s car from its first feature back in 2014. But for those that don’t, let’s get you up-to-speed. The once-red, 9N3-shaped hatch initially belonged to our young owner’s grandmother, who gave it to Jemima on the proviso that she helped drive her around when necessary now she’d become unable to get behind the wheel herself. Jemima wasn’t too keen with driving at this time either, with her confidence shaken after a couple of nasty crashes in the previous few months meaning she needed to gain confidence up again in order get rolling once more and help her granny out.
Following the sad passing of her gran, Jemima knew that she’d never be able to part with her beloved hatch, so thought it’d be a great idea to add her personal touch to it seeing as it was inevitably set on being a long-term feature on her driveway. Although boasting seriously low mileage, the bodywork featured a number of scrapes and dings on almost all sides, meaning the first task was an all-important body smooth and re-spray in the car’s factory red hue. Then came a string of tasty alloys (highlights of which included a set of BBS RX2s powder-coated in purple and gold), before Jemima was faced with the rare opportunity to snap up some JDM Autostrada Modenas split rims.
Rebuilding these frankly awesome wheels herself and adding an air suspension system into the equation, the final piece of the puzzle in the car’s previous incarnation was the inspired choice of a full leather interior from a Ferrari 360. Quite a comprehensive build for a first attempt, we think you’ll agree, but in this case, it’s only the start of the story…
“At the end of 2015 I had the idea of a complete revamp,” our warranty controller begins to bring us up-to-speed about what’s been going down since the car’s last feature. Keen to mix up the exterior, the plans began with an attempt to source some rare Cup Edition bumpers to tweak the appearance. Created to celebrate the success in the firm’s one-make race series at the time, the Polo Cup Edition was a fierier version of the GTI coming with more power and a rather distinct body kit.
“They didn’t sell the Cup Edition in the UK though,” Jemima reveals. “So I contacted a friend of mine who managed to import some over for me from Germany.” The kit is instantly distinguishable from more vanilla Polos in the range with its deeper meshed vents both front and rear, and while it also comes with an equally unique boot spoiler, Jemima decided to finish off the combo with a more reserved GTI item here instead.
Keeping momentum going, next up was perhaps the most noticeable update to Jemima’s project so far… “It was time for big changes, so after I’d got all the parts together I tracked down Elazer Lawrence in Huddersfield who deleted the front number plate recess, fixed some previous bodywork bodges and did a full colour change for me,” she modestly explains. That last bit is the most important – the super-smooth curves now gleaming in their all-new bronze hue. It’s a colour scheme that’s made something of a comeback on brand new motors in the last 12 months or so, but opting to apply it to a modified motor is a bold move that Jemima’s well and truly nailed. Sometimes, it really does pay to be different…
Finishing up with Sparco Racing Crimson NS-II wheels to really cause an impact and an all-new look, Jemima enjoyed a fantastic couple of show seasons with one of the most extensively modified Polos in the country. But you know what they say: too much of a good thing can be bad for you, with our young owner sadly hitting a bit of a creative wall last year… “I lost the love for it a little and she was neglected, not going to many shows,” Jemima sighs, reminding us all of a feeling we’ve all probably had at one stage or another in our car ownership experience.
It often takes something pretty significant to snap ourselves out of life’s lower points, and for Jemima, the remedy to all of her car problems revealed itself at the 2016 Wörthersee car event held in the Austrian mountains each year. “I met Brendan there and he inspired me to love the Polo again!” she grins. Now happily shacked up with Jemima, you might recognise Brendan from his equally-as-epic modified Audi TT, with his words of encouragement enough for her to get back up and running.
“I decided to change up the wheels and went back to my Autostradas because overall I was still really happy with the way she looked on them,” Jemima justifies her switch back to her favourite ever rims. “I stripped the wheels down myself, had the centres painted a custom rose colour that I spent a long time mixing up with samples, then put them all back together.” The subtle new hue seems to pop off the bronze body, creating a striking and unique balance that perhaps shouldn’t work on paper, but somehow effortlessly does in the flesh.
Now back with a bang, Jemima’s second stage of her Polo’s modified life is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and memorable yet. Sticking alongside her trusty steed after all these years due to the huge sentimental value it holds means she’s gone perhaps further than anyone else in the country when it comes to personalising one of these fun little cars.
There’s even more plans in the pipeline for the very near future, too (spoiler alert: they involve a lot of carbon fibre), but with the fantastic support and love from those closest to her, we’re sure it’ll be a walk in the park. Stay tuned for ‘stage three’ of this fascinating story…
TECH SPEC: VW POLO
Full respray in bronze; Cup-spec front bumper and rear bumpers with front number plate delete; GTI-spec side skirts, headlights and rear spoiler; deleted side strips and rear wiper; fin-style roof aerial; colour-coded wing mirrors; metallic black window pillars; de-badged bootlid; HXRNY sun strip.
1.2-litre petrol engine; custom STG Performance exhaust system.
Five-speed manual gearbox.
8.5x17in Autostrada Modena Racing three-piece split rims; 20mm PCD adaptors with wobble bolts; Air Lift Performance Slam Series XL front struts with custom top mounts and anti-roll bar delete; Air Lift Performance universal rear air bags with modified rear axle; chassis notch; OEM disc brakes.
Ferrari 360 Modena black leather front seats; custom trimmed rear bench to match front seats; suede interior panels and pillar trims; carbon fibre air vent and dash trims; Bag House Customs hardline boot install with body-coloured air tank; Vibe Audio speakers, tweeters, crossovers, amplifier and subwoofer; Pioneer App head unit; Suede interior panels & pillar trims.
Bag House Customs; HXRNY; Eurospotter; Rikki Grande for all the support; my Granny for leaving me the car and of course my boyfriend Brendan for all his help and support.
Words Sam Preston Photos Chris Wallbank