Last month, we showed you how to install the hard parts of Oettingers K04 turbo kit for the 1.8T and told you to tune in this month for the horsepower figures. We have the ECU installed and the dyno numbers, but we arent particularly inclined to give you what you want just yet. Instead, we have some interesting information to share with you about Oettingers origins, as well as some stuff we learned when we sat down with Rüdiger Völkner, the geschäftsführender gesellschafter (CEO for those that arent quite fluent in German.MAX) of Oettinger, during the SEMA show. If you want the numbers, go straight to that section, but if you want to learn something about one of the oldest and greatest VW tuners past, present, and future, read on. Without further adieu, we give you Oettinger.
The Oettinger story begins 55 years ago in Frankfurt, Germany. Gerhard Oettinger obtained his mechanical engineering degree and, during the end of WWII, was a test engineer working on Daimler-Benz aircraft. After the war had ended, the British army was helping the Volkswagen factory resume production of the original Beetle, and Oettinger began tuning the little dynamos. Oettinger (the company), like most tuning facilities, had its humble beginnings in a small garage belonging to Oettingers (the man) parents. The company soon outgrew its surroundings, and the multi-storied headquarters now reside in Friedrichsdorf, just outside Frankfurt, and is easily discernible from the Frankfurt-Kassel autobahn.
In 1951, the OKRASA acronym pervaded Oettinger literature. Standing for Oettinger Kraftfahrtechniche Spezialanstalt (Which means Oettinger Special Motorcars.MAX), OKRASA became well-known in the racing world as the ultimate Volkswagen Beetle tuner. Starting with building progressively larger Beetle engines, and making the transition in 1964 to working closely with the Wolfsburg factory, Oettinger had truly become a player in the German automotive aftermarket. By 1974, when the Golf was released, Oettingers relationship with the powers that be at VW had given him access to new vehicles six months before their official debut. Oettingers tuning programs and conversions accompanied the cars to market.
In the late 1970s, Oettinger had progressed to the point of offering 1.8L and 2.0L conversions for the GTI and had 16-valve heads in production even before the factory considered that as an option. The OKRASA head was so good that it became the solution to VW Frances concern regarding the production of the Renault 5 Gordini. VW of France had asked the factory for a more powerful GTI and, though turbocharging would have been an option, engine bays of turbocharged 1.6L GTIs got too hot. The OKRASA head retained the standard cog-tooth belt drive, so it required no modification to the block, and it ran the second camshaft via a gear and belt off of that cam. From there, OKRASA Dipl-Ing G. Oettinger GmbH & Co AG (the company), proceeded to tune Volkswagen vehicles, adding Audi vehicles to the roster over time, and eventually changing the companys name to what it is known today, Oettinger Technik GmbH.
Oettingers philosophy can be found on its Web site, www.oettinger.de. To paraphrase: Oettinger believes that the construction of a high-performance vehicle lies not in pushing every aspect of the vehicle to its limits, but harmonizing all parts to create a better automobile without destroying what was created at the factory and came from the minds of the designers. This has been and will always be Oettingers philosophy when it comes to the end product the consumer will purchase. Peace of mind and customer satisfaction is the utmost priority.
Also, Oettinger only offers realistic performance numbers. These numbers lie at the lower end of any possible tolerances, so that no customer gets less than what he or she paid for. All conversions and parts come with a worldwide guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction. Aside from the high reliability of the engine products Oettinger develops, the products also increase output while either maintaining or improving both the emissions and fuel consumption. This environmental consideration comes by carefully modifying the engine management software.
Developed on test and racetracks, in the tradition of careful development of engine performance systems, are the suspension systems. The elegant alloy wheels are specially designed to guarantee that there is no guesswork as to whether or not the wheels will fitthey will, since the offsets and sizing are specially designed for Volkswagens and Audis. Further, the functional body styling is developed using the same original model used by VW to design the production body pieces. This keeps Oettingers tolerances tight and all aero pieces uniform, fitting every vehicle, every time. Oettingers commitment to customer satisfaction is only outshone by its commitment to the production of high-quality, tasteful, and distinctive products.
The Present and the Future
The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the Detroit Auto Show of the automotive aftermarket, and it is no surprise that it draws companies or representatives from companies all over the world. We were fortunate to be allowed the opportunity to talk with Rüdiger Völkner, CEO of Oettinger Technik GmbH. He was out visiting CEC, Oettingers American distributor, and others during the show and the weekend following SEMA, but we were able to snag him for awhile in order to get some info from him on Oettingers future.
Currently, Oettinger has quite a few projects in the works. For starters, it is developing products for the New Beetle for the U.S. and Japanese markets. The car is not that popular in Europe, but there is still a place for Oettingers special style of aftermarket products. Also, we were made aware that Oettingers relationship with VW is so tight that in certain other countries, such as Korea and Japan, it is possible to buy an Oettinger car from the dealerships. This relationship is something that Oettinger is working on establishing with Volkswagen of America.
In the works is a deal that would allow American Volkswagen dealerships to offer Oettinger body kits and other products as optional accessories. In the latest biannual Volkswagen owner magazine/accessory catalog, cars in the background can be seen adorned with Oettinger body kits, giving those that know what they re looking at an inkling as to whats in the future. These will not be the Oettinger parts that we are accustomed to but rather will be complete replacement bumpers as per VW of Americas requests.
Oettinger is also working on bringing its complete tuning program to the States with the help of CEC. The first step was the installment of the Oettinger turbo kit on CECs silver Golf and continues with the possibility of Oettinger opening a product development office in the U.S. Whatever the future holds, Oettinger will continue with the production of quality parts.
The car that we began with laid down an average of 137.7 hp with 18-inch Oettinger RZ wheels and an Oettinger sport muffler. This indicates that the muffler alone added about nine horsepower over stock. However, it is more likely that the muffler added about four or five horsepower, and that the motor is a strong one, especially considering the larger wheels. After the install of the Oettinger turbo kit in its entirety, CEC informed us that the car laid down 214.4 hp at the wheels. This is right in line with Oettingers reputed output of 230 bhp at the flywheel.
For an expected retail of $6,841, an increase of about 75 hp over stock with the concomitant torque increase can be had, along with Autobahn reliability. The kit consists of an ECU upgrade, Oettinger-spec K04 turbo, downpipe, spark plugs, fuel pressure regulator, resonator, modified intake pipe, replacement gaskets, and front and rear Oettinger badges. Also available from CEC is a 1.9L TDI upgrade that produces 150 hp.
For more information contact CEC at 800/766-0064, or visit www.cec wheels.com or www.oettinger.de.