352bhp 2.8 VR6 AAA GT32-turbo engined Volkswagen Golf Mk2
One of the most featured cars to appear in the pages of PVW, Vic Sharma certainly knows how to reinvent when it comes to his VR Turbo.
Words & photos: James Wallace
This is Vic’s fourth time in the mag with his trusty Mk2, but will it be his last? We doubt it…
Vic Sharma has appeared in the sacred PVW archive multiple times before, back in February 2009, September 2003 and also March 2002 with this very same Mk2 Golf. There’s no other way of putting this, few people have managed to achieve the same feat with the same car four times in two decades.
Back in ‘09 the car looked like a typical 90s Brit looker — big arches, a Rallye front end and a set of Worx splits rims, but over the course of the last 13 years Vic has systematically rebuilt and refined his VR6 monster producing something new from something that was already pretty flawless. It’s a testament to changing fashions and the gradual evolution of the scene, not to mention the modern-day expectation for ever more power. For Vic, this most definitely is not his first rodeo. Whereas the 12v VR6 is arguably a bit of a forgotten dinosaur now, thanks in no small part to the introduction of its 24v younger cousin, there’s still life in the old dog yet, and what a life it is proving to be for this particular AAA motor.
Never one to shun improvement, Vic and his brother Sunny, amongst others, have spent many painstaking hours turning this car into a truly show stopping bit of kit, just as it has always been really. A keen member of the Westside VW collective, Vic has plenty of inspiration and bad influence to draw upon from his fellow club members, not to mention plenty of knowledge and spanner twiddling craftsmanship amongst the collective. Having progressed from a VR transplant when it was featured for the second time in September 2003 Vic swiftly moved onto a Vortech supercharger setup so that the bottom end would see around 8PSI of boost. Since 2009 though it has been on and off the road for long periods at a time as Vic’s life became slightly more complicated and family centric, “Despite a couple kids and everything going on around me I was never going to sell it, it was kept largely at my garage without electric and we just worked on it when we had a chance to as I started collecting parts for yet another monster rebuild,” he told us.
Motivated by a minor incident where the bottom end decided to let go on the way to a show in 2009, Vic reveals that the meltdown was likely due to that crazy static stance, “I was having teething issues with the engine which was the supercharged VR6 at the time. That week I took off the oil pan and saw the oil pick up pump had smashed to pieces resulting in the oil not circulating properly. Maybe that serves me right for running the car so low?” mused a pragmatic Mr Sharma. Never one to be deterred he managed to source another VR6 lump and then got chatting with good pals Rakesh and his dad Ramesh at PJ Motors in Forest Gate. “Ramesh said, ‘bring me both motors and I’ll make you one good one.” It was an offer Vic couldn’t refuse.
While the bay was bare he couldn’t help staring at it thinking, “This is the perfect time to smooth it all out.” So with chisels, drill, hammer, grinders and anything else Vic could muster he set to removing the coolant bottle bracket, drip tray, power steering brackets and any other item that stood in way of cleanliness. Hell bent on a full-on show stopper, it then dawned on him that it now needed to be painted following an awful lot of crash, bang, wallop. “ Luckily he spotted a VW Scirocco at a dealership around the same time, so played it cool enquiring about said car in order to extract the colour code from the salesman, “I knew it was the right colour as soon as I walked up to it in the sun,” As luck would have it, Vic’s Bro, Sunny, had a bodyshop at the time (SS Autobody) and as Vic set to stripping the car down to the bare bones, “For the umpteenth time,” he says slightly exasperated, the car was moved to Sunny’s workshop ready for the unnecessary holes to be welded and filled over. “Sunny got stuck into the mess I had made,” quips Vic, “the plan was just to do the ‘bay and do the rest of the body at a later date,” so then attention turned to getting the healthy motor back into its rightful home.
All of the bolts, aux parts such as alternator, brackets etc were sent off for chroming, a compression lowering spacer gasket was also fitted while the engine was out as fellow Westsider, Sajjad, had decided to steer away from his turbo VR and gone R32 instead, “I didn’t realise I needed a turbo setup at the time, but it was too good a mate’s rates deal to turn down.” With the car back in Vic’s garage the block was painted black, the upper inlet, rocker cover and gearbox were also colour coded to suit and he got stuck into extending and hiding the wiring loom in the chassis legs. “it was time consuming but not too complicated to do as it splits off to each component as it needs to.”
There’s also a 6-puk racing clutch in there that Vic says, “is surprisingly easy to live with,” but the real art in the bay comes in the form of the cooling system, turbo setup and PAS plumbing, all of which are brilliantly packaged and stealth like. “I had to totally redesign the cooling system without an expansion tank. The upper and lower rubber radiator pipes I decided to ditch and get them made in ally as they are the main focal point in the engine bay. I needed to get the boost pipes made up also, so off went the car to a place called Flowtech. Paul, Terry and Stuart did an amazing job for me.” says Vic. When hooked up to a Corrado high flow ally rad and a Rallye Intercooler it’s genuinely quite difficult to tell that there’s a Garret GT32 snail hanging out the back at all from certain angles. Mapped and refined by Vince at Stealth Racing the VR6 AAA ECU remains in place, but with some nifty skills on the rollers there’s an incredibly useful and safe 352nhp and 426ft. lbs of torque now on offer, which Vic believes is, “More than enough for any front wheel drive Mk2.” The noise from turbo back 3” stainless exhaust is also incredibly civilised, until Vic pins it and all hell breaks loose. “Not bad for a home built motor, eh?” muses Vic.
With the engine purring along and with ample power to make it effortlessly fast in any gear at almost any point in the rev range, it was now time to complete the outer skin, and Vic was keen to retain much of the 90’s look this Mk2 has sported since the early noughties, none of the OEM+ vibe we’ve come to know and love recently, “It retains the Audi A6 door handles, totally smooth bumpers and deleted side repeaters, but I wanted to go back to a (dare I say it) rare Bonrath single headlight grille so that the Bonrath single wiper conversion wouldn’t look out of place.” Combined with ’90 spec front arches and G60 spec rear arches Vic has christened this look the, “Super 90” spec and there’s no doubt those custom built 8x17" BBS E50 rims sure do fill them up reassuringly. With Sunny on the guns, the Scirocco green hue was dusted on and the car was back in no uncertain terms. “To see it looking complete was quite emotional,” says Vic. “There were times when I thought I’d never get it back on the road, but all of the time, energy and emotion that goes into a build like this is definitely worthwhile, at no point did I ever even think about selling it.”
Dropped on old skool AVO coilovers (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – ED) the ride height is quite literally mental for a static machine with such a honking powerplant up front. In fact, we naturally assumed it was on air when we arrived for the snaps. The stopping power too has uprated with Tarox B32 6 pot calipers and matching 320mm discs up front and Tarox 280mm rear discs with Mk4 Golf ally calipers out back.
It is an all-consuming machine this one, there is literally no stone left unturned and every possible element of the car has been lovingly reworked. So, with everything looking up to spec, Vic soon realised that flogging his Audi S3 interior perhaps wasn’t such a clever move.
Then the idea came to him, An early Corrado dash is in my opinion the best-looking dash in a Mk2. Some nice bucket seats, no rear seats and some sort of boot build – sounds really easy, right?” Questions Vic. He already a Corrado dash in the loft so he started trimming it down where the edge meets the windscreen, this had to be done perfectly to leave no gaps as it’s an area that’s well exposed through the windscreen. He also had to move the brackets slightly which go through the bulk head and modify the steering column bracket for clearance for the clocks, but the fit and finish inside remains first class. Let’s not forget either that the Corrado uses the same 4wd chassis as the G60 and the Rallye, so even the gear shifter surround had to be altered so there wasn’t a big gap between the gear selector surround and the centre console. The exquisite dashboard and centre console fitment remains the area most often asked about when Vic is on the show ground.
With a pair of GT3 seats mounted on customised Corrado subframes, so they’re lower in the car, Vic had to think about some moo cow to increase the opulence inside. But before that could happen, he set about bolting in the Flowtech rear cage and making the false floor that conceals where the starter battery now lives. Long term trimmer and friend, Junior Grant, at In Car leather and entertainment, had trimmed Sunny’s Audi 80 estate back in 2012, so he was the natural choice for the stitching.
The dashboard, under trays, door cards, gear shift and handbrake surround along with some of the boot build panels and the Audioscape door pods were initially set over, but after further talks it was also decided that they would trim the straight sections and Vic would have a pop at carbon skinning the more complicated compound curves of the intersections. With patience, time and amazing attention to detail, Vic has become quite the carbon fibre expert, and his carbon craftsmanship can now be seen throughout the car. “I researched the procedures and got cracking on with it, and to this day now I'm so glad that I did it as I am getting jobs out of this.” Having made some tweeter pods using the existing door mirror interior covers, the carbon fibre twill now also wraps around interior grab handle inserts, door lever, rear ashtray lid and the front seats grab handles – he become quite the connoisseur. The end result of the moo cow with a bad cold (it’s green!) is truly second to none, and because Vic is all about that back to the 90’s vibe, there’s also a hefty dose of bass as well, thanks to a boot build that benefits from an Audison VRX420 amplifier, 3 ten inch Rockford subs and some Infinity components up front for the tingling, high end stuff.
All in all it’s just a total triumph and car that we’re almost certain we’ll see here again in another few years once Vic gets itchy fingers once again. Everything about it is epic. The noise, the smell, the workmanship and Vic’s incredibly laid back, humble attitude about the whole thing. With something this special we’d expect the owner to be proper cocky, but Vic is anything but, he’s a VW stalwart who we hope to meet again, and again, and again! The end.
DUB DETAILS352bhp 2.8 VR6 AAA GT32-turbo engined Volkswagen Golf Mk2
- ENGINE: 2.8 VR6 (AAA), GT32 turbo, custom boost pipes while retaining the standard 3" MAF housing, custom 3" down pipe and exhaust system, twin 4" pipe Remus back box, head spacer gasket, custom made water pipes, F1 six puk racing clutch, hidden wiring loom, Golf Rallye intercooler, Mocal oil cooler, Corrado alloy radiator with twin Spal fans, smooth bay. Corrado power steering bottle hidden behind the grille, with new lines also added
- CHASSIS: 8x17 BBS E50 with 185/35 R17 all round, Avo coilovers, Eibach anti roll bars front and rear, Powerflex bushes all round, Tarox B32 6 pot front calipers with matching 320mm discs, Tarox rear 280mm discs with custom made carriers and Mk4 ally rear calipers, new braided brake lines throughout
- OUTSIDE: Bonrath single head lamp grill and wiper, totally smoothed bumpers with recess lines, foglight, indicators and rear tow eye erased, side indicators removed, front ‘90 spec and rear G60 arches, side skirt jacking flaps smoothed, Audi A6 handles. Ariel, rear wiper, badges, rear plate plinth removed and smoothed
- INSIDE: Corrado dash, centre consoles and under trays, gear knob, Porsche GT3 carbon fibre front seats all retrimmed in green leather. false floor and custom-made rear boot build, Flowtech rear custom-made roll cage wrapped in leather and skinned Carbon fibre. Custom made tweeter door pods, door lever and grab handle skinned in carbon fibre. Bbs steering wheel leathered with the centre trim skinned in carbon fibre ICE: Alpine head unit, Audison vrx420 amplifier, Infinity kappa tweeters and mid bass, Rockford Fosgate 10" x3 sub woofers
- SHOUT: First off, a massive big shout out to my brother Sunny (SS Autobody) Rakesh and his dad Ramesh, Flowtech 0208 586 1717, Junior at in car leather and sounds for the trim, Ash tyres 0208 5970011, Vince at Stealth racing 01926 812259. Mj interiors for trimming the steering wheel
“There were times when I thought I’d never get it back on the road, but I never thought about selling it"