When it comes to VWs, a great project car may sometimes elude you for a number of reasons. Things such as bad timing, accidents and budget (or lack thereof) have cut down many dreams in their prime, leaving only a few Photoshopped images and some archived posts somewhere on an internet message board as a reminder of what could have been. Other projects that actually get off the ground may simply not pull everything together at the right time.
In the case of longtime VW enthusiast Matt McClosky, his perfect project came down to making a smart business decision. He had to build it.
Matt is the owner of Technik Motorsport, located in Rotterdam, NY and he knew there's no better business card than one with 400whp. The process wasn't all puppies and kittens though, as this GTI was not his first choice of platform. "I bought it after I wrecked what I'd intended to be the shop car, which was a pristine '92 GLI. Some jackass T-boned me, so it was an early demise for that vehicle," Matt said.
After the accident and a bit of searching, another candidate appeared in time to get the car built before Waterfest 11, its official debut. "It was originally a '92 8v Montana green GTI with close to 200k on it. It was totally stock, aside from Rallye headlamps." Matt informed us.
Since Matt had already gathered the vast majority of the parts he planned to use, he wasted no time tearing into the GTI. As a former musclecar guy, there was no doubt the car had to make power, and lots of it.
The intended VR6 engine was broken down and rebuilt from the ground up, with lots of positive manifold pressure in mind. Pauter Machine forged rods were matched with 9.0:1 forged JE pistons, and assembled with Raceware hardware, ensuring a bulletproof bottom end.
The head was also rejuvenated, receiving a port-match job to ensure a seamless flow from the C2 Motorsports short-runner intake manifold. Burned hydrocarbons are then expelled through a custom-built Technik Motorsport 3" stainless steel exhaust system.
The heart and soul of Matt's Mk2 is the turbo system. It's based around a Precision Turbo/Garrett GT35R, plus a Precision Turbo intercooler and custom 2.5" piping.
Knowing this hardware would be thirsty, Matt spared no expense on the fuel system. "It has a Dash 8 feed to the pump under the car, then it's Dash 6 all the way to the front of the car - all braided stainless steel lines and two Aeromotive pumps," he said.
Even though Matt knew he wanted big power, we were surprised to learn he chose to stick with the standard ECU. "I wanted to see how far I could go with factory chip tuning and see how far I can push the envelope," Matt Said. So he contacted Chris Collier at C2 Motorsports for a custom-mapped 36# injector chip.
An item you wouldn't normally expect to find in a turbocharged VR6 is the super-aggressive 288 Techtonics Tuning camshafts. These were chosen after one particularly expensive season on the drag strip. "This summer was pretty rough for transmissions. I broke first, second, third and fifth gear this year, and that's when I decided to change the camshafts. They took about 30-40 lb/ft of torque out of the power band, so it comes on a little softer, and that's to help the transmission," Matt said. "Originally I had 260/264 cams but the 288 cams work surprisingly well. They moved the power band up about 1000rpm, but other than that it still makes phenomenal power. It wants to pull a hell of a lot further though - redline now is about 8200!"
Luckily for Matt, he handles plenty of transmission upgrades at his shop, so the expense wasn't as much as it could have been. Aside from the gear sets, the remaining driveline parts are nearly indestructible, with a Peloquin torque-biasing differential plus a stage 3 axle and hub system from Drive Shaft Shop. A Clutch Masters four-puck rigid disc and high-strength pressure plate then ensure every last drop of torque makes it to the tarmac. The final drive was also altered to suit the turbo system, and a taller fifth gear from a TDI maximizes the top speed potential.
The result is phenomenal horsepower and reliable delivery, even with the stock ECU and ignition system in place. "So far it's made 403hp at the wheels at 20psi and has been running great. I haven't had a single problem with the car," he said.
Matt's GTI frequently sees the track, and the best 1320 time to date is 11.89sec at 122mph running 18psi boost. "I got a 1.99sec 60ft time, so there's lots of room to improve on that... the car is a hell of a lot quicker than it's showing right now," Matt assured us.
With nearly 475 crank horsepower, the suspension had to keep things under control at high speed. So the upgraded suspension is based around H&R coilovers, with Mk3 VR6 spring and shock rates. A 25mm H&R front sway bar helps keep the extra heft of the VR6 under control, while a 22mm bar is in the rear.
Despite huge horsepower and a 150+mph top speed, the brakes are based on stock Passat VR6 parts. "It's a Passat caliper and carrier, and it's actually a G60 rotor that's been machined and drilled to fit the five-bolt hub." The primary reason for this is the drag strip: "I don't track the car except in a straight line, so I've never needed more brakes. It'd be nice to put big brakes on it, but you run into issues with 15" slicks, so you can't go any bigger," Matt relayed.
Schmidt Modern-Line Monoblocks fill the fenders, measuring 16x9" both front and rear, with an ET15 offset, and 215/40 Toyo T1-S tires attempting to put the power to the ground.
You may be familiar with the phrase "it's what's on the inside that counts", but Matt knew the exterior had to bring people in for a closer look or the purpose of the car would be lost. He also knew exactly what he wanted, and drew from his formative years in the VW scene for inspiration.
"Ever since I was a teenager I've read UK magazines. I was always inspired by the mono wiper and I liked the Audi-style handles and the old school European stuff. They've always been on the cutting edge, as far as I'm concerned. The stretched tires were new for me, but most of the bodywork came from what I used to dream about all the time when I was a kid. So I pretty much built the car I'd always wanted."
With his dream Mk2 in mind, Matt began stripping the green GTI. He installed a centered, single wiper kit while deleting the driver's side wiper, but he has held onto the Golf Rallye grille. "I haven't found a badgeless Rallye grille that fits right. They all seem to end up warping. You almost have to make one yourself if you want to get it right," he told us.
The door handles are from an Audi 90. "They're rear handles, so there's no locks in them," he said. "I used the Mk2 Golf latches and just bent the linkages to fit."
To continue the smooth theme, the rear plate tub was smoothed and filled, while the US-spec banana markers and side moldings were deleted. OEM fender flares were then sourced from the European GTI G60 and provide both an aggressive look and more space for the Schmidt wheels.
Knowing the engine would receive lots of attention, Matt partially smoothed the bay and deleted the rain tray. A nice byproduct of this is the turbo now sits out in the open, in case somebody didn't notice the car featured forced induction.
After the battle scars of 200,000 miles were set straight and the panels finished, Matt left the car at Brian Unser's paint shop. "The only thing I didn't do is apply the paint myself. I did all the bodywork and sheet metal in my shop, though," Matt said. The color is Porsche GT silver metallic, taken from the 2004 Carrera GT.
With serious motorsport activity planned and triple-digit speeds available, Matt installed an S&W eight-point rollcage to ensure maximum safety. Corbeau Microsuede A4 seats keep the driver in place during spirited driving, and Corbeau SFI five-point harnesses replace the standard belts.
On the street, the silver Mk2 has earned a bit of a reputation. "It's a bike eater. And there are very few imports around here that want to mess with me any more, so it's usually the guys on bikes that want to play with me," he said. "The 1000s give me a good run for the money. Up around 150mph they definitely start giving you some trouble. I've had the car to 155 and the TDI fifth gear definitely gives it more but the car starts getting a little light up there," he chuckled.
As it stands now, the car is doing what it was designed for - attracting attention to Matt's business and showing customers what can be done. "It gets a lot of street use... and a lot of drag strip use... but it's basically a shop demo car and gets the crap driven out of it."
Tech SpecMatt McClosky
Location: Rotterdam, NY
Occupation: Network Administrator/Owner Technik Motorsport
1992 VW GTI
Engine: 2.8 liter VR6 with 9.0:1 compression forged JE pistons, Raceware head and main studs, Pauter Machine forged rods with oversized small ends, Techtonics Tuning 288 camshafts in port-matched head, Garrett ball-bearing GT35R turbo, Precision Turbo intercooler, custom 2.5" charge piping, C2 Motorsports 36 lb software written to 15psi, C2 short runner intake manifold, MSD DIS-4 Plus HO ignition, Aeromotive Fuel System from tank to injectors with A-1000 external fuel pump, 3" stainless steel exhaust from downpipe with slash-cut tailpipe, A'PEXi AVC-R gear-specific boost controller, PLX Devices M-300 Wide Band O2 monitor
Drivetrain: rebuilt CCM 02A five-speed with 3.38:1 final drive, 0.71:1 fifth rear, Peloquin TB diff, Drive Shaft Shop stage 3 axle system and hubs, Clutch Masters four-paddle rigid-hub clutch disc and matching pressure plate, Eurospec flywheel
Brakes: five-bolt conversion with 11" front discs, rear disc conversion, PBR ceramic pads, stainless steel lines, new hard lines under body
Suspension: H&R coilovers, H&R 25mm front and 22mm rear sway bar, powdercoated chassis components, manual steering rack
Wheels & Tires: 16x9" Schmidt Modern-Line Monoblocks wheels ET15, 215/40-16 Toyo T1-S tires
Exterior: smoothed hatch, shaved rear emblem, seams, door moldings, front side markers, rear wiper, rain tray removed and partial engine bay smoothing, A/C delete, driver's side wiper delete, custom full-sweep mono-wiper, Audi 90 rear door handles, keyless entry and alarm, big bumpers, European G60 flares, new OEM side skirts, OEM satin black GL mirrors, Golf Rallye headlamps and grille, body, interior and rollcage re-painted Porsche GT silver metallic LM7Z, tinted glass
Interior: Corbeau A4 Microsuede seats, Corbeau SFI five-point harnesses, eight-point chromoly rollcage, Momo F1 steering wheel, custom instrument cluster and Auto Meter gauge panels
Audio/Visual: Sony CDX-M610 head unit, Infinity Kappa 5.25" components and 10" subwoofer in custom enclosure, Alpine MRPF240 and MRPT220 amps, relocated Optima battery
Thanks/Contact: Technik Motorsport (www.technikmotorsport.com), Morgan Spurgas at Synapse Motorsport, Brian Dodd at Shuffles Motorsport, Paul Wieland at port80ware.com,Chris Collier at C2 Motorsports, Mark and family at germanautoparts.com, Clutch Masters, M&H Race Master Tires, Gary Peloquin at Peloquin Differentials