"handbuild" Prototype by VWM

In automobile production, economies of scale are all-important. The main Volkswagen plant is geared to produce cars like the Golf in runs extending ultimately to eight-figure numbers. The few hundred thousand Scirocco, Golf Cabriolet and Corrado models are farmed out to the coachbuilders Karmann.

 

 

Even smaller runs like the 5,000 Rallye Golfs produced for motorsport homologation are made in the Brussels plant. One-offs or very small runs of really special cars are the speciality of VW Motorsport. For VW Motorsport is more than just the factory’s competition department. Like BMW, VW sees its Motorsport division as playing a rather wider role. In their new premises in Hannover, VW Motorsport personnel are competition, development, limited edition production and customer special wishes rolled into one. They even have a restoration department which can turn rusting hulks into pristine exhibits for the VW AutoMuseum in Wolfsburg – or for customers. In the squeaky-clean main workshops, a visitor would see the mechanics working on existing Rallye Golfs, or knocking new bodyshells into shape for their competition debut, while other specialists may even be building the 130bhp VW LT Van support vehicles that follow the rally cars to events.

Turn the corner and you are confronted with the area where the ‘specials’ are built. A oneoff heavily modified G60 Passat was being built for VW Motorsport head, Klaus-Peter Rosorius, during my visit, and in a bay next to it, a customer’s standard looking Polo hatchback was in for servicing and tuning. It had a supercharged G40 engine under the bonnet; GTI performance in a shopping car! Directly opposite this a fivedoor Golf syncro with slightly flared arches and big wheels lay at rest. A turbocharged 200bhp 16valve engine had been installed in this car. The rest of the facility was given over to production of just 70 Limited Edition Golfs. 

Built largely by hand, these cars were based on a fivedoor syncro with its viscous-coupled four-wheeldrive system. To this was added ABS, power steering, electric windows, central locking, steel sunroof, heated front seats, a full leather interior and an on-board computer. Tuners in Germany have already begun to exploit the latent potential of the G60 engine, offering conversions ranging from 180bhp to 200bhp for the Corrado and Rallye Golf. VW Motorsport go one better right from the start by applying the G60 supercharger to the 16-valve rather than the eight-valve engine. The result is 21 Obhp (DIN) at 6,500rpm and 1861b/ft of torque at 5,000rpm with an 8.8:1 compression ratio and the supercharger providing 23psi of boost. More than that, this power is developed from an engine 86 with full compliance to US emission regulations via a pair of three-way catalytic convenors, a clean engine that runs on super unleaded fuel! Digifant electronic injection is important in achieving such controlled efficiency. The Limited mav look like a standard five-door Golf with 6,5J x 15in BBS alloy wheels and 195 50YR15 Pirellis, but this wolf in sheep’s clothing has the drivetrain from the Rallye Golf including its complete front-end beneath the standard front wings. This means that the inner arches are larger to take wide tyres without fouling the suspension and the new gearbox and large capacity radiator are also grafted in. ‘Thus, various bits of the car are sent from Brussels and Wolfsburg to come together in Hannover. 21Obhp in a car the size of a Golf is a lot, but the Limited is not a strippedout racer; it is a compact, all-weather luxury express. It tips the scales at 2,8051b at the kerb which makes it some 7001b heavier than a GTI 16Y. ‘That weight eats into the performance, but even so 7.2-second 0-60mph time and a 142mph top speed is not to be scoffed at. ‘The Golf G60 Limited is the fastest production road car to have left any VW plant destined for a private customer. Like most of the projects that emanate from VW Motorsport, it was the brainchild of Klaus-Peter Rosorius. it took a long time to realise this project,’ he explained, ‘but we were fortunate to have the help of many engineers in the design and development department at Wolfsburg. ‘The idea was to have a nice, elegantlooking production Golf without external modifications but lots of fascination under the bonnet.’ That aim has been achieved by the 70 Limited cars which are restrained in outward appearance even to the point of having simple, single headlamps. One customer who owns No 031 has fitted a four-lamp grille and wider 7J Borbet alloy wheels but all the other Limited cars have left the factory in their metallic anthracite paintwork with just the blue grille surround and subtle VW Motorsport badges to distinguish them as instant classics. As for the future, Limited Editions of the Corrado and Passat have not been ruled out and when the VW VR6 engine is released, who know s what we might see from VW Motorsport.

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