Restoration of Volkswagen 'Pikes Peak' Golf from 1987 has been completed

Pikes Peak
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The last time Volkswagen participated in the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was in 1987. Then the German rally driver Jochi Kleint climbed behind the wheel of a monstrous, twin-engined Golf II. The machine has recently been completely restored and is ready to participate in the 'Race to the Clouds'.

The Pikes Peak Golf has a complex drivetrain. It consists of two 1,8 liter four cylinders. They both have their own 1,6 bar KKK turbocharger. Together, the engines in the 1062-kilo Golf produce a power of up to 480 kW (652 hp). In addition, the Golf has two Hewland racing gearboxes - one for each engine. That way he can drive with front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.


During the training sessions for Pikes Peak in 1987, the Volkswagen underlined its potential by setting the fourth best time with just one working engine. Jochi Kleint even had the fastest time in sight during the race for a long time, but had to make a few turns before the finish of the gas and eventually stop. Because something had broken off in the steering system, the Golf was simply impossible to control.

Restoration not easy

The restoration of the twin-engine racer was not easy. The team of chief mechanic Jörg Rauchmaul wanted to keep the 30-year-old Golf as original as possible, but that pursuit was hampered by the heat damage the car had sustained in its short racing career. Moreover, some rubber parts were specially made for the car and it took a long time to get them new again.

Even more challenges

The restoration team faced even more challenges. For example, the safety foam in the fuel tank had largely fallen apart and pieces of fuel were falling when the Golf was attempted to start. Fortunately, Rauchmaul and his people realized it quickly, otherwise the specially modified DIGIFANT fuel injection system would have been irrevocable.

The correct adjustment

Much finesse was needed for the two engines to work well together. "The engines have to be adjusted in such a way that they run synchronously," says Rauchmaul, "otherwise the vehicle becomes unstable and impossible to control." The German is aiming for a power of such an 177 - 191 kW (240 - 260 hp) per engine and is convinced that it will work. “The Golf must be fast, but also reliable. That is why we do not get the most out of the engines. That would also not be appropriate for such an old car. "

Perfection required

However, the cooling system must do its job flawlessly, especially since a number of races are planned for the Pikes Peak Golf. It is true that during those performances he only shows 'only' 368 kW (500 hp), but the temperature in the engine rooms rises quickly. In the 1980s, Volkswagen engineers came up with a solution that was as simple as it was ingenious. The twin-engine Golf not only has fans to cool the radiators, but also a sprinkler system that sprays water above a certain temperature.

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