The Million Dollar Scirocco Is Both A Customized Drag Racer And An Art Car With A Message
The Mark 1 Volkswagen Scirocco was a slightly sportier take on the evergreen Golf and while it may not have resonated with many US buyers, it did quite well in Europe, so a well-maintained original example is a desirable modern classic today. But Jason Whipple’s 1980 Scirocco S is about the furthest thing from original as you are likely to get…
“I took a perfectly good car, pulled it apart and changed everything about it,” says Whipple, co-founder of the California-based wheel company Rotiform Wheels. “I call it the ‘Million Dollar Scirocco’ because it seemed, at the time, I was spending a million dollars on it.” Aside from the eye-catching paint job and custom wheels, Whipple’s car has a hand-built 2.0-liter 8-valve motor capable of putting out 180hp to its front wheels through a modified transmission. Whipple has been a Volkswagen fan for decades; now in his forties, he has a collection of VWs, from a new Golf R to three other Sciroccos, “They are the quintessential, affordable sports car. They are right and nimble and, because of that, move with grace and balance. It’s hard to find that in a modern car today,” Whipple explains. “It’s the joy of simplicity when I drive it.”
The ‘Million Dollar’ Scirocco has been 10-years in the making. Initially starting off as a side project, it ended up being turned into a custom art car when Whipple met fellow VW enthusiast and British graphic artist Nicolai Sclater. The original plan was for the two to team up on a skateboard deck design but once Sclater saw Whipple’s modified but still white Scirocco the plans changed. “My instant reaction was obviously ‘I want to paint that car’,” says Sclater. “It reminds me of the height of my glory years. You know, that really good rebellious period of life.” Whipple granted Sclater free reign of the design and handed the car over with a combination of both excitement and fear for its makeover.
The end result is as unique and bespoke as the car’s mechanical modifications. Sclater incorporated a number of slogans into his design, intended to elicit a reaction from passers-by and have them engage with the car in a meaningful yet light-hearted manner. Phrases like “the future is our fault” and “things won’t change until we do” in blurry lettering had onlookers staring intently at the little coupe when it was unveiled.
Sclater’s aim was to have people take stock of their actions and be more considerate of people and the environment. “It’s all about working together rather than approaching the world as one massive competition,” he said. While not everyone will get the intended message, Whipple is extremely pleased with how the car has turned out and loves how it sparks conversation wherever it goes. With the ‘Million Dollar’ Scirocco finally completed he is already onto his next project, called—perhaps unsurprisingly—the ‘2 Million Dollar’ Scirocco. It’s finished in traditional Volkswagen Mars Red and will be put into service for the school run.
Images courtesy of VW