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UK-MKIVS Car of the year 2015

The UK-MKIVs annual forum "Car Of The Year" vote has recently finished and the car that received the most votes was Franko180's MKIV Golf R32. This car project started when Franko's "daily driver" car (AUQ 1.8T engine'd MKIV Golf GTi) had reached over 205,000 miles and he made the decision to look for a replacement car. At that time a few options were considered, such as buying an Audi S3 8P, however during a visit to a local car breaker Franko came across a MKIV Golf R32 that was pretty much stripped down to a rolling shell. Despite initially looking like a wreck of a car, a closer inspection and a few enquiries revealed the following: Only ~58,000 miles, 1 previous owner, no crash damage, no panel damage, no exterior rust but pretty dirty and needing some TLC. After a bit of thought regarding the potential of this car a price was agreed and it was decided this was to become Franko's next "daily driver" car.

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The story given by the car breaker was that the car had been written off by an insurance company after the engine had been hydro locked. It was not known how this came to happen, it's been assumed that the car drove through some very deep standing water and water had been sucked into the air intake. Since water cannot be compressed inside the engine, the engine would be severely damaged and the cost of repairing it not economically viable to the insurance company. The insurance company put the car through auction, the breaker purchased the car and had removed and sold a lot of the parts before Franko decided to buy it. The main parts that needed to be replaced to make the car drivable again were (and not limited to): Engine/ancillaries, ECU, gearbox/transfer box, front/rear seats, front bumper/grills, headlights and wheels.


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It was decided very early in the project which direction to take this car, since Franko's daily driven 1.8T had given 10 years of reliable service and had racked up 205,000+ miles, the R32 was to be turned into a replacement daily driver, so it would be pretty much returned to a standard R32, with a few minor upgrades here and there but one major change. As it was a daily driver which would be used frequently on long trips, it would be running a 1.8T engine. The 1.8T was chosen as it mean't this car would effectively be an upgraded version of Franko's previous daily, but having the standard R32 specification means compared to a standard Golf GTi it would have better handling, steering, brakes, traction and power. This also mean't this car could become the Golf "R" that never was - a MK4 version.
If VW had made an equivalent 4 cylinderMKIV Golf "R" model in 2002-2004 then logically they would have chosen the K04-023 turbocharged 1.8 engine used in the Audi S3 / TT - the "BAM" 225 BHP engine and this was the engine chosen for this car. A very clean low mileage engine was sourced from a crashed MK1 Audi TT, however a lot of the hoses had been cut on that engine during it's removal by a breaker, so they had to be sourced / replaced. A TT / S3 02M 6 speed 4 wheel drive gearbox / transfer box was also sourced from the same TT donor car. The engine / gearbox were claimed to be very low mileage - just under 30k miles and they did look in excellent condition, but as precaution a very full service was undertaken - an oil service, spark plugs, coil packs, cam belt, water pump, air filter, pollen filter, fuel pump etc. To extract more of the engine's potential a few upgrades were installed including a Badger 5 V2.2 Turbo inlet pipe, R32 DSG air intake snorkle, Pipewerx 3" downpipe and sports cats joined to an R32 Milltek resonated catback exhaust. This was intentionally chosen to not make the car too loud, so it could be driven on long journeys in comfort. The R32 Milltek backbox is designed for a V6 engine so is much larger than any 1.8T backbox, this results in a fairly quiet car but with a subtle bass sound from the exhaust when the engine is on load. When the car was completed and made legal to drive, it was taken to R-Tech in Hinckley to have the ECU remapped and they produced a very smooth / torquey engine map with peak figures of 275 BHP and 314 FT/Lbs of torque. The engine installation and most of the mechanical work was carried out by Gaz Jones at VAG Auto Care Services in Lincoln (http://www.vagautocareservices.co.uk/), the work is second to none and the engine looks like a factory OEM installation.


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When the car was first recovered it was found to have a dirty interior, lots of dog hairs, lots of the ancillary parts from the R32 V6 engine were thrown into the car by the breaker and there was a mysteriously large number of stones / gravel on the carpet. At the time it was thought that possibly the car had been in a pond / river (for the engine to have been hydrolocked) but it wasn't the case as the carpet was completely removed for cleaning and the sound proofing also removed and neither were wet. The interior carpet was thoroughly cleaned with a "Rug Doctor" and the standard sound proofing replaced with new items from VW. Extra sound proofing was added to some parts of the interior and boot area to attempt to reduce road noise. A damp patch on the roof headlining material and damp/condensation on the interior side of the rear nearside window was also found to be caused by leaking sunroof hoses, so all four were replaced. The headlining had sagged, so this was scrapped and a replacement sourced which was undamaged but dirty so it was decided that it would be re-trimmed in a dark material, along with the A/B/C pillars, also all black OEM handles / visors / seatbelt clips / lighting etc were sourced, in essence the headlining / pillars were re-trimmed to a very similar colour to the US MKIV R32 or UK MKIV Golf Anniversary. This mean't the entire interior was removed (not including the dashboard) and the car's interior body was cleaned from top to bottom. Initially to allow the car to be driven and MOT'd an Audi A3 Recaro leather interior was installed, this was eventually swapped for a full R32 leather black Konig interior, but this also was eventually swapped for a black half leather R32 Konig interior as this better suited the car for daily driving. A US centre console was installed along with an OEM leather armrest. The standard R32 instrument cluster with the half height centre LCD "FIS" display was upgraded to a full height FIS display (which also had the main LCD replaced due to common age related fade issue). The standard R32 dashboard air vents were swapped for Bora air vents as these have extra LED indicators for the markings on the vents. A "comfort indicator" module was installed along with an OEM cruise control stalk. A FIS-Control module was installed to display extended car status information on the centre trip computer "FIS" display, such as voltage, boost, oil/coolant temperatures and much more.

Chassis / Exterior

Regarding the chassis, the car was kept to standard R32 specification so this means it has "VW Racing" springs and shock absorbers, an R32 "quick rack" steering rack, R32 19mm front ARB, R32 23mm rear ARB, R32 334mm front brakes and R32 256mm vented rear brakes. Also soon after the car was driving it had both front wheel bearings replaced with OEM VW bearings. Since this car is an R32 it has factory installed 4 wheel drive based on the MK1 Haldex system and the 4 wheel drive is fully working with the 1.8T engine / gearbox, so all of the power is available with great traction in all but the worst weather conditions. In comparison to the AUQ GTi this car is found to have much more stable cornering, due to a mixture of the increased weight (4WD adds weight), stiffer ARBs, independant rear suspension etc. The exterior is totally standard, a MKIV R32 front bumper was sourced to replace the one sold by the breaker (along with grills and pop up headlamp washer jet covers) and the rear bumper was repainted due to multiple scratches and one deep scuff. The body work had a few minor dents pulled out by a local "dent master" and had a basic detail to bring the Metallic black paint back to life. The boot handle was replaced as it was starting to suffer from the common MK4 issue of corossion around the edges, it was also checked for operation when replaced as a lot of MK4 boot handles / locks are now seized due to age / moisture ingress. Initially to get the car into a rolling chassis a set of 17" Audi TT Ronal wheels were put on the car, which were soon swapped for a set of genuine 18" BBS CH002 alloys which were eventually swapped for a set of a R32 standard OEM OZ Aristo 18" wheels (which were refurbished in a standard silver colour).

Final words, future plans

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The car has turned our better than expected and is doing it's daily driving duty superbly. Clearly it doesn't have the character / sound or low down "grunt" drivability of a standard V6 R32, but the 1.8T has great performance and produces a hefty amount of torque when coming on boost and door to door has produced 41+ MPG on some longer motorway journeys. The car is complete but it may receive an inter-cooler upgrade in the future as it is currently running with the standard S3 / TT twin side mounted inter-coolers which were a limiting factor in the tuning of the car performed by R-Tech. The car is also running a standard Gamma radio/cassette player, so this may be upgraded eventually. The full build thread for this car can be viewed here:


Great car, Well done Franko! I was reading the build thread just the other week, really fascinating. 

Great story and a cracking motor. Well done.

An inspiring build,somewhat galling to know quite how much energy and determination some people have, not to mention the knowledge. Thank you, enjoyed it very much.

Great build Franko and well done mate.Great car.

Cheers guys, thanks for the nice words, it's still driving really nicely.

I realise I am somewhat late to the party, I've not been on the forum for a while, beautiful, really nicely finished, such dedication has turned out an amazing car.


BTW if you're still looking for a head unit, I have a Sony DSX-300BT which has a hidden compartment for an iPod or mp3 player, complete with wiring loom adapter.


Keep up the good work

Some real dedication in this build.


Btw if you want to part with your Bora, ever, you let me know!

@Rusty88888, sorted for a head unit already mate, its on the build thread. Stayed OEM for the factory/clean look.


@jaspalr, the Bora has changed a lot, double the power/torque, so not really the same car that you saw :)