Tommie Stobbe's Volkswagen Golf R32 (MKIV)
Practicality is not a word that springs to mind when enthusiasts work on their project cars. Exhaustive lists of customised parts that make a car inexplicably fast around a track or so low to the ground that it decapitates baby ants when driven are often commonplace. Such is not the case for the next car I've been sent to have a look at. Described to me as "a typical show car that you can use every day", I had to find out what all the appeal was and how it's possible for the two universes to meet with practical results. Not to mention being a Volkswagen, and we all know how popular they are among the modified car culture today...
Honestly? I was not expecting the sight that befell me at all when the aforementioned Volkswagen came into view around the streets of Castelletto. I could have imagined it being a Golf, which it indeed was - yet this one wasn't sporting a gigantic wing or vent-slashed body work. Nor did it offer up an exhaust system that could easily spit out a melon. This almost looked like a regular car...until I saw the way it was sat. Low, but not too low with simple chrome-finished wheels tucked neatly into the rims at a bizarre, yet not too unnatural angle. The driver, keen to detail me with every part of his ride, started her up and took me on a brief cruise around the town, enlightening me on this cross-breed of show meets daily car.
Engine & Transmission:
"I actually have another Golf back at home, but it's more the standard 1.6 version" the driver, Tommie, explained as we casually took a tour of the sleepy morning streets. A rainfall overnight had created a bit of a slick road, but it did nothing do dampen the enthusiasm of the Golf. "I've always admired the reliability of the Golf, yet I wanted more power than it could give me without spending a fortune on upgrades. So when I saw this R32 in the classifieds, I knew I had to get it!" The car sports the uprated VR6 engine and four wheel drive system. Tommie's given it a custom exhaust system which amplifies the cars punchy growl and fitted a Haldex differential to improve all around grip. The car's double-clutch system didn't need replacing and a carbon driveshaft was fitted to bring the weight down.
Chassis & Wheels:
This is the part where it really gets interesting. The car sits just low enough for the bumps not to be a problem and...despite having that wacky camber, the handling is unaffected. "I wanted the car to remain practical, but at the same time have a certain flair to it. I've seen cars that sit lower and have a set up which looks almost undriveable". So he's crossed both paths with the suspension set up and now has a show car which he can drive to and from events in, and actually race in if he feels like it. Huge four piston brakes sit behind the wheels, with cross drilled discs almost as large as dinner plates. Unnecessary parts have been removed in order to save weight, and the car now sits on 18 inch HRE C103's wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres. "And yes, I do use this car every day" Tommie states with a satisfied grin.
The car remains in the factory Deep Blue Pearl, and Tommie has kept the car looking as much as it did when it first rolled off the production line. No excessive bumpers or vents, no rear wing that belongs on an aeroplane. The car functions just as it should, to cruise calmly around the town and to suck the eyes into the back of your head when you put your foot down. I was grateful for Tommie to show me around this remarkable Volkswagen, as it proves you don't need to spend a fortune on your car in order for it to look good and perform just the way you want it to. I can't wait to see what Tommie does to his next car, should he ever replace the Golf.
'Mike Seddon is an avid follower of the car culture and has been present for both the Colorado and Southern Europe Festivals. He also goes trackside whenever possible and - armed with his trusty camera - strives to capture the best moments and cars from every event he attends'.