I am the proud driver of a 1987 VW Caddy pickup that I stripped down completely and rebuilt from the ground up (when I say ‘I’, I obviously had help from a panelbeater and mechanic).
This project took me the better part of two years to complete and I am extremely proud that I could take something that belonged on a scrapheap and, with my own vision, bring it back into 2017 with style.
That’s why when American entrepreneur and petrolhead Jamie Orr undertook the challenge of building a 3.6 litre V6 CitiGolf in only seven days, I was immediately captivated by his story, not only because he got the backing of VW and a range of local companies, but because the Citigolf is dear to many South Africans and it is our own icon.
He makes a living travelling the world and buying cars, and he fills shipping containers with these car parts and takes them back to the USA. He has built up years of experience and knowledge on how to ship these parts and complete cars around the world. His company, Orchid Euro, just started as a hobby and it has now become a lucrative, full-time business.
This was, in fact, not the first time that Jamie has been to South Africa. He first got a taste of our car scene as a judge at the VDUB campfest, and that’s when he realized how big the Citigolf craze is.
Orr chose South Africa because the Citigolf was produced in our country until August 2009 after 25 years on the line, and this meant that there were late models produced here that were not seen anywhere else on the globe … including the Deco, VeloCiti, CitiRox and the Citi Mk1.
Jamie opted for a two-tone blue and white CitiSport which is also one of the Citigolfs solely produced for the SA market.
He imported a 3.6 V6 engine and gearbox from the USA which was taken out of a Passat estate with the original wiring harness and computer box, all of which had been pretested before the engine was sent to Africa.
Jamie also brought a host of parts for the build from the USA so that his build would go easier, including engine mounts, a radiator and a set of 16 inch BBS wheels.
After the car was showcased at VDUB campfest, South Africa’s biggest VW car show, he drove it to the VW production plant in Port Elizabeth.
From PE, the car heads north to Germany, where he will meet up with the car to complete all finer adjustments and detailing on the car.
Then in May he will fly back to Germany to drive the car across Europe to Worthersee in Austria.
Only then will he take the car back to the USA – where import laws are very strict, so the car must be 25 years old to be allowed into the country as a classic – where it will join the rest of his collection.
Watch our Q&A session with Jamie Orr, also available on The Citizen Youtube channel: