Back in 1979, the Polo GLS was top of Volkswagen’s baby car tree and was quite the luxurious supermini. With chrome trim embellishments and polished hubcaps, the GLS certainly looked more upmarket than its N and L brothers, and Volkswagen claimed it offered ‘a bit more power and a little more style.’ Dan Higgins must have thought so, too, as his plans for modding this particular flawless example soon took a back seat. We caught up with him at the Stanford Hall 2010 event, where he told us his part in PLM 686W’s story
Dan Higgins has been the proud owner of this concours clean 1980 Series 1 Polo GLS for almost two-and-a-half years. Totally standard and original from its polished hubcaps to its dealer sticker in the rear window, the car has just covered over 22,000 miles in 30 years. It very nearly didn’t stay a remarkably unmolested piece of Polo history, though; when he bought the car in November 2008, Dan had all sorts of Euro-look plans brewing, including taking the car to the deck on a set of 13” rims. But, he couldn’t bear to do anything to it. ‘I soon came to realise that this wasn’t going to happen, I just couldn’t do it. The car was immaculate and it would have been a shame to alter such a great example. With the car being in flawless original condition and with only 16,000 miles on the clock, I know I wouldn’t have made many friends if I would have begun to alter the car in the slightest,’ he says.
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Since ‘Higgo’ took ownership, the car has been taken to many events and driven with great pleasure during the summer months, picking up a few prizes along the journey. ‘The car isn’t perfect and I’m rather picky with little niggles. Therefore, my future plans for the car are to sort out the little bits that need sorting and then after that just keeping it dry and clean,’ Dan says. Not perfect? It looks it to us! PLD 686W is almost the stereotypical one lady owner from new car, and was first purchased from Volkswagen in part exchange with a 1976 Polo, so the GLS was somewhat of an upgrade for the then owner.‘I still have the original bill of sale as well as a folder full of service history and previous MOTs. Since the first owner, the car changed hands once more within the family before it fell kindly into my hands, to where it shall stay for a long time,’ Dan enthuses. At the Stanford Hall 2010 event, Dan and the GLS finished a credible third in the Polo class, testament to the car’s fantastic condition.
The GLS was the top of the range Polo production model back in 1979 and was fitted with a 1093cc 50bhp engine, and lots of standard equipment that borrowed much from larger, more expensive cars. Appointments included chrome trim; Dan’s car received some additional and optional extras on top of the standard spec making it that little bit special including Wolfsburg crest mud flaps, a push-button radio and rear fog lights. And it’s originality and rarity is just part of the reason to leave the car as it is, according to Dan. ‘Due to my eagerness to modify all of my cars I’m also the proud owner of an 1981 base-model Polo N. This is my project car and is where I shall execute all of my initial dreams and ideas of a retro/Euro-look Mk 1 Polo. The GLS will stay like this for a long time, though, and I intend to keep it as original and factory fresh as possible,’ Dan concludes. An idea as flawless as the car in our opinion.