770bhp reworked 1989 Volkswagen Golf Rallye Mk2 gets 4Motion 2.5T
What do you do if you love the visuals of the Golf Rallye but you long for the unique sound of a five cylinder turbo? German VW fanatic, Marc Herbrik appears to have the answer…
Words: Elliott Roberts
770bhp reworked 1989 Volkswagen Golf Rallye Mk2 gets 4Motion 2.5T
Having started his driving days at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta, it didn’t take Marc Herbrik long to hop over to the VW way of life. “The Fiesta failed after only a few months use, so I bought a Jetta 16v instead and never looked back,” the 37-year-old told us. With 129hp, the Jetta wasn’t just far quicker than the Ford, the build quality was far superior, too. It’s safe to say Marc was well and truly hooked on Wolfburg’s finest at this stage…
Following the Jetta came a string of VW projects including a Mk2 16v turbo, which used a KR lump with RS2 hardware. Next up was a Golf Syncro, which also had a 16v turbo but this time a full 4Motion drivetrain. Sadly, that car was destroyed in a fi re caused by a split fuel hose, which is when Marc made the switch to a Rallye. It’s probably as good-a-time as any to confess that Marc, who hails from Beilstein in Germany, actually owns two Rallyes. Git!
«I guess if they ever did go then it would be some sort of 911 replacing them — preferably a turbo!»
He bought this car, his first Rallye, back in 2008 and decided to use all the knowledge he’d gained from those early projects to build his dream car. “I’d always loved the look of the Golf Rallye and the car I bought had already been repainted in the factory L041 black colour, so I could focus on making it quicker.” When he bought the car it still had the original G60 motor in, plus it was super low on BBS split rims.” It was far too low for me, but in quite good shape to use as a project.”
Other than the sills, which have since been replaced due to the usual Rallye-specific rust issues these cars suffer from, the body remains standard. It was missing the hard-to-fine OEM brake ducts, which Marc eventually managed to locate. He had also found a set of Rallye Recaros that needed a retrim, but would look better than the original Rallye seats, plus they would offer more support in the corners. “I quickly swapped the BBS wheels for some more usable OZ Superturismo WRC wheels and also fitted a set of trusty KW Clubsport coilovers.” The first serious phase of the project actually began not long after he had bought the Rallye — Marc choosing to convert the car to a 4Motion drivetrain with the plans for a trusty 16v turbo to follow.
Having already converted one Syncro to 4Motion and built a couple of 16v turbo engines, it was more a case of perfecting what he’d done in the past rather than having to work out exactly how to do the swap. The really clever stuff would actually come as the first phase was nearing completion and Marc began to get itchy feet already…
“The original goal was to build the car was a reliable 500bhp, keep the outside visually stock but just improve the brakes, wheels and suspension to cope with the power. After the first phase was done, the car was then featured on a German TV show and received a rave review following the test drive. It was at this point that I started thinking about doing something more original.”
Having always loved the sound of Audi’s five-cylinder turbo RS2, Marc began looking around at what five-pot engines were available in the VW Group that would fit in his car’s bay. “Obviously, the RS2 motor wasn’t built to be used in a car with a transverse engine set up, but I soon discovered the 2.5-litre five-cylinder transverse engine Audi had started using in the then new RS3. The problem with that was that the engines were still very new, so extremely expensive and a lot of electrical work would be needed to make the ECU work with the direct injection engine.”
It was around this stage that Marc discovered the American 2.5-litre Jetta which used a similar engine, albeit a naturally aspirated version that produced around 150hp. Could this be a better suited base motor? Well, the simple answer was, yes! Now, when we say base motor, that’s exactly what it was because by the time Marc had done his homework, the list of parts he dreamed up to build his new motor into the force-induced beast you see before you was more than a little bit comprehensive. The BGP-code 2.5 engine was totally stripped down and rebuilt using custom pistons (that reduced the compression ratio to 8,0:1), H-profile rods, a stronger TT-RS crank, chain and oil pump. Stronger rod bearings were also used, while the main studs for the crankshaft were upped from M7 to M8 with ARP supplying all the important hardware to hold everything together.
Up top, Marc used a CNC-machined head which was ported with larger Ferrera valves and new springs were used with titanium valve spring retainers. With the aim of 700+bhp, Marc wanted this motor to be as bullet-proof as the 16v turbo it was going to replace. A custom fuel rail was then fabricated with 1000cc injectors and a stand-alone Trijekt ECU (as used on the previous engine) was once again called upon to manage everything.
On the turbo side, Marc didn’t hold any punches either, with a whopping Precision PT6266 turbo (and matching waste gate) being fixed to a 76mm downpipe. “Back in 2012, building the engine was the hardest part, as it hadn’t really been done before so most parts had to be custom made. Even programming the ECU was a lot of trial and error as we had no timing tables to go from.”
It’s probably a good time to mention that, other than the bodywork, Marc has carried out all the work himself: “I work in IT and my job is purely related to my brain and knowledge. Information technology is a very fast business, so I need some sort of hobby that I can use my hands for and calm down from the daily grind.” Marc makes what he’s achieved here sound relatively simple, and we get the impression it hasn’t been too taxing for him if the truth be told.
So, with the engine built up, mapped and run in, what sort of power did he achieve? “The car is currently limited to around 770hp and 800nM in order to keep the transmission in one piece.” Speaking of which, with an Audi S3 6-speed 02Q gearbox transferring power through 4Motion all-wheel-drive and billet axles, how does that translate in the real word and out on the open road: “If I’m honest, even with 700hp it’s an absolute handful!"
This phase of the build was actually completed back in 2012, and since then Marc has just been enjoying the car while fine felting it as he goes. “I took the car to Worthersee in 2012 and it was one of the first cars to run this engine, certainly the first Rallye. I got so much positive feedback and so many double takes when people realised it was a five-cylinder engine tucked in the bay.”
Going forwards Marc doesn’t have too many plans for the car, just to replace the sagging headline with perhaps an Alcantara one: “I’d also like to get the cam adjuster connected to my custom ECU for optimised mapping.”
Would he ever contemplate another project, given that he has this Rallye for fast road use and his second Rallye is a 560hp 16vT 4Motion car built purely for the track? “My daughter was born last year and so priorities have changed a lot for me. I certainly have my hands full with the two Rallyes, but I guess if they ever did go then it would be some sort of 911 replacing them — preferably a turbo!,” he smiled.
While Rallye prices have gone through the roof over the last decade and less people are inclined to modify the rally-bred road cars, we still strongly believe that if a car is tuned or reworked in such a way that it compliments to original car and has been carried out to a high standard, then this can not only been seen as a good thing, but it also won’t decrease the car’s value. It’s safe to say in Marc’s case, it’s probably increase the value somewhat. Being a Rallye owner myself, if I could swap out my car’s original 160hp G60 for a burbling, flamespitting 700hp, five-pot turbo motor then I would do in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t you?
«Building the engine was the hardest part, as it hadn’t really been done before so most parts had to custom made»
- ENGINE: 2.5-litre BGP engine from US Jetta with, lowered compression (8,0:1) with custom pistons, stronger Rod Bearings and ARP rod bolts, new connecting rods (H-Profile), TT-RS crankshaft, chain and oil pump. Main studs for the crankshaft increased from M7 to M8 bolts using ARP bolts, CNC machined cylinder head ported with larger Ferrera valves, disabled secondary air system, new camshaft springs with titanium valve spring retainers, 1000cc injector Dynamics fuel injectors, Trijekt ECU completely custom mapped, custom Fuel Rail. 76mm Downpipe going into 2x 55mm and then into 72mm again, custom stainless steel turbo header, Precision PT6266 turbocharger and Precisions wastegate, 70mm stainless tubes for boost, Wagner intercooler, 23-row Racimex oilcooler, converted to use a steering pump driven by the belt from the alternator (special billet holder and double belt pulley), Audi S3 6-speed 02Q gearbox, main shaft filled with billet material to strengthen
- CHASSIS: OZ Supertourismo WRC rims, KW Clubsport coilover suspension, K-Sport 322x32mm brakes (front), 288x25mm VR6 discs with 38mm R32 callipers (rear), converted to 5x100 with custom hubs, Audi S3 4motion conversion with billet axle, Golf Mk3 ABS
- EXTERIOR: Full repaint in orignal L041 black, sills replaced
- INTERIOR: Recaro Rallye seats (new), Golf 3 speedometer, Haldex control based on boost (can be switched off or fully 50:50 locked), boost gauge, everything else original