VW POLO STEILHECK (86C) – Vítor Santos

Counting down to the end of the holidays, we took the time to see and hear a story full of memories and adventures.
With a random setting, without any great preparations or plans, we got to shoot some photos and got to know a little better the man behind the machine.

In a mixture of photos, good company, and a lot of stories, we tried to know a little more about what makes this “little” VW Polo Steilheck 86C, a one of a kind project, by Vítor Santos.

Bold and simple may define this Breadvan. A box-type body, that keeps all the memories and adventures from the very first day in Victor’s hands to this day.
The smell of gasoline mixed with the aggressive sound of the Double Webber Carburetors applied to the small but energetic 1.0 engine, sharpens all our senses as it pulls us back to the good old crazy 80s.
Stories and mods that Vitor tells us with a smile that goes beyond the mouth and is reflected in the eyes.
Used to making miles around Germany, this Polo is the very pure definition of daily driven, with as many adventures as kilometers driven.
This is a car that has left us curious about how it is possible to get so far with “so little”.

“You’re driving down the road, some old man honks at you and gives you the “thumbs up”…you stare at him, he doesn’t know you from anywhere and you thank him…that’s what matters…now the cups?, the cups are gathering dust around the house” – Vitor Santos, Canal Youtube Ícones

According to Vitor, 2018 was a year of rediscovery and presentations.
Vitor went through events all over Europe showing that the “little ones” easily fit in among the “big ones” when it comes to distinction and notoriety.
In all the events he attended, Vitor left his mark and there was no show’n’shine where the “little” Steilheck wasn’t present.
The journey of events began at VW Days (France), where Vitor was called up on stage with the Polo to tell the story behind all the adventures and mods that had passed so far.
Next stop? Belgium in Retroworks and VW VIllage passed through the Netherlands in MIVW and walked through the brand’s homeland, Germany in Polo Treffen and Vau-Max.

But it seems, in 2018, Vitor thought that just one Polo wasn’t enough and decided to buy one more. This time, challenging himself to go further in this new stage.

But what about the Polo that brings us to this post?
With a wide range of changes, Vitor did not stop with aesthetics. And in 2019, he renewed the look of this “Breadvan” with an air suspension with Airlift 3P management, which, according to the owner, proved to be a sure bet.

Tests made at home are not to Vitor’s liking, and according to him, there is no better test than the road. He traveled 3800 kilometers from Portugal to Germany, where he lives, passing through Denmark and France.
With a 4-speed gearbox and zero problems.

In 2019, the news that he was going to be a father again, caused the mod changes on the little Polo to pause for a bit.
But by 2020, more organized and with a bigger family, he was back with the Polo and all her adventures.


As in any project, all the pieces had to be in harmony and Vitor thought the little Polo was missing something. That’s where the current BBS RS 15” came in.


A touch that, in our opinion, cannot be missed.

With the desire to make it look more retro, he removed all the stickers and other references to his country (except the registration plate), leaving only the side Vinyl.

When comparing photos from the beginning and how it is now, we see that a lot has been done.
Some changes go unnoticed to the less observant. From the smallest changes, which only an “attentive eye” notices, like the traditional plastic bumpers, to the bolder changes like the air suspension system or the Recaro interior, we all agree that this Polo has already come a long way, and it doesn’t seem to end there…

In the photo we can see the simple and almost original interior that the car had before the most recent changes.


And now, shall we pop the hood?

  • 33KW 1.0 (REF. AAK) Engine
  • Double Webber Carburetors
  • Original 4-speed gearbox
  • Stainless steel exhaust line and headers
  • Stainless steel water radiator with expansion vessel annulment

The engine was redone from A to Z and once again, to be different, Vitor kept the small 1.0 instead of the bold 1.3 turbo, which had been planned before.

In a “world” where Vitor saw others switching to the 1.3 engine, he wanted to stay as faithful as possible to the car’s history and maintain originality.

It was a difficult session to schedule due to the current world panorama, but in the middle of bad things, good things can happen and Vitor had to extend his stay in Portugal, thus giving us time to make the session with the parameters we demanded for ourselves.

We know that the difference is made in the small details and our commitment is to register them.

The interior was another positive bet made, with a taste for detail. Even simple, without great adventures or exaggerations, this interior stands out for its quality.

With almost all the parts changing colour to brown (a colour that initially was questioned because of the way it would fit the car), acquired mostly in Germany, the final result proves once again to be a right choice.

We know that the story doesn’t stop here and the most certain thing is that our lenses cross paths again with this project.

And who knows maybe on that day the surprises will be in a different format, trying to portray moments that remained to share in this project that although small, is full of “spirit”.

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