Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
My love for the 205 GTI is no secret. I've owned five of them, including running Retro Cars magazine's #Project87, and I've got nothing but praise for the rattly little terriers.
And the Dimma GTI was, in many ways, the Holy Grail of French hot hatch excess. Taking the diminutive proportions of the 205 and pumping them up to altogether more muscular girth (as was the style at the time - it was the 1990s, flashy bodykits were a given), it was no thrown-together chop job - Dimma built over 250 GTIs at their workshop, taking great care over the wide arches, the beefed-up bumpers, the custom wheels that turned the standard 15" Speedlines into 16" split-rims...
This particular one turns the retro tuning knob up to eleven with the period engine swap du choix, the Mi16 - basically a relatively simple way of getting reliable twin-cam power under the bonnet without hacking up the bay; this one also has throttle bodies with sodding great ram pipes.
The interior hasn't been overlooked either, with the overall quality of build reflected by the sumptuous leather retrim - all-in-all, a nineties boy racer's dream. And while some may regard it as slightly tacky in 2014, it rekindles a strong yearning in the soul of anyone who read Max Power and Revs in the 1990s. A flawless slice of hot hatch history.
Spotted at the 2014 Retro Show - click here for more photos.