From time to time the stars align and vehicle projects emerge that are inexorably destined to go down in history as cult cars. Unfortunately, these projects do not always come to fruition.
Volkswagen had many options to prepare a good display of products at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, one of the most important events for motor lovers on the other side of the Atlantic, which is characterized above all by muscle and power, and by the most exotic preparations. An event to which the brands come with their best clothes, their best preparations, and in which the component suppliers present their best products with the focus on customization.
Volkswagen could come with the most obvious preparations, from its sports cars, its GTIs. It could also do the same with the product in which it is putting all its efforts and investments these days, its electric range. but could also recall the legend of the most radical Golf, which could have been and was not.
Volkswagen has exhibited these days one of its most exotic and longed-for prototypes, the Volkswagen Golf Mk3 A59
The legend of the most radical Volkswagen Golf
His figures leave no room for doubt. Year 1993, in the years of the Volkswagen Golf “box 3” on which this sports car was based. 275 hp of power at a time when other contemporary cult sports cars delivered 227 hp like the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, or the 250 hp of the Porsche 911 Carrera 2 (964). The Volkswagen Golf R today, 30 years later, delivers 320 hp and 333 hp in its “20th Anniversary” version.
Under the hood a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with aluminum block, of course turbocharged, which would later be used in different competition projects, associated with a six-speed manual gearbox. On the other hand, a all wheel drive system with central differential with variable distribution, actuated by hydraulics and supervised by an electronic control unit, as well as a limited slip differential on the rear axle. 16″ wheels. Of course those were other times. Competition wheels with good rollers, 225/45R16 tires, and brakes with Brembo calipers and perforated ventilated discs.
270 km/h top speed.
Its 275 horsepower, its all-wheel drive with hydraulic center differential and rear limited-slip would have made it one of the most radical sports cars of its time, and for years to come.
A very radical preparation
If what is not seen impresses. What you may have already observed in these images will have surprised you even more. Carbon fiber and Kevlar shape a Volkswagen Golf silhouette highlighted by a body widened beyond reasonable limitsa large spoiler and a threatening front with a bulging hood with air intakes and outlets everywhere.
The lightness, as it could not be less, was and continues to be a virtue. In this preparation could not miss a plastic tailgate, rear window and side windows in methacrylate and fiberglass for the hood.
On board, they could not miss Recaro sports seats, a safety cage and digital instrumentation typical of a competition car.
Volkswagen’s goal was to enter the WRC and produce at least 2,500 units of this street sports car, in order to meet the homologation requirements.
The most radical Golf that could be and was not
Volkswagen commissioned the development of this sports car, which would have been the most radical version of the Golf at the time, and perhaps in its history, with the aim of entering the 1994 World Rally Championship. It was not a racing car itself, but of the street sports car that would be launched on the market in compliance with the homologation requirements. What would have meant that Volkswagen sold at least 2,500 units of this street sports car.
Schmidt Motorsport (SMS) was in charge of developing it and, if it had gone ahead, of having prepared the 2,500 units that would have been sold. But unfortunately, the project did not prosper. And the Volkswagen Golf Mk3 A59 – that’s how this project was named – would never be produced.
According to Volkswagen, this unit, the same one that is exhibited these days at the SEMA Show, is the only one that was built or, at least, the only one that was officially completed. However, in the past we have already pulled the thread of this story and how this prototype would give rise to some children not officially recognized by Volkswagen, other preparations that were completed following the script of the A59 and that have absolutely nothing to envy the original.