2019 Volkswagen Golf R
Anyone who has been riding the VW bus for any length of time wont need any convincing that when it come to a little mad marketing, the Wolfsburg boys are at the head of the line. While most motoring manufacturers throw out the occasional out of the box rendering, or perhaps craft up some crazy clay model creation to tease the Internet with, on the whole when it comes to the showroom stock its the same old yarnworthy offerings. A couple of spoilers and some signature floor mats, maybe even a sticker or three… it’s hardly pushing the boat out. Volkswagen though can always be relied on to shake up the status quo a touch, taking unexpected ideas from drawing board to driveway and taking bizarre to the bank. Dont look to Toyota to give you a sedan or hatchback with a custom trimmed interior and a mountain bike or snowboard strapped to the roof, only mid 90’s Trek and K2 edition Golfs and Jettas got those. Looking for a special Rolling Stones edition Renault or Pink Floyd Ford? VW’s been there and done that twenty five years ago… even had a Bon Jovi edition Mk3 Golf (yes that was actually a thing!). If you think the VW lads churned those beauties out after a couple of ales at lunchtime, check out the Otmar Alt and Harlequin Edition Golfs… just say no to drugs kids.
Well VW are at it again, while the other car companies are keeping their heads down in these less than stellar times for the auto industry, our favourite German motor making firm has pulled another surprise out of the hat. How about a new Golf R in pretty much any colour you want? Mk1 Mars Red, Mk3 Ginster Yellow or Jazz Blue, Lambo Huracan Viper Green… they’ll even slap on Copper Orange or a vivid Violet. The Wolfsburg boys have broken open the crayon box and they’re not holding back; retro shades, new wave awesomeness, pearls, metallics… you name it and there’s a good chance they’ll load up the spray guns and get busy. “Its part of the Spektrum Program,” explained California based serial custom car creator Jason Whipple. “VW offered the Golf R for the first time in the US for 2019 with a choice of forty limited edition colours,” he went on. “There’s literally something for every taste, from classic old school VW colours to some pretty crazy new shades that a out there.” The paint program was certainly a bold, if not totally unexpected move by VW in the States; the US High Court wallahs have been giving the firm a good going over with a legal lead pipe lately and public confidence is hardly in good news territory. Scandal and slow sales aside, the simple fact is that the American market almost never gets much of the fun stuff when it comes to VW. So when in 2018 rumours started swirling that the Spektrum cars might appear in Stateside showrooms, Dub devotees in the Colonies were a few steps short of even cautiously optimistic, however when custom coloured cars started appearing just across the border in the Canadian market things started warming up. “I wasn't looking for a new car at the time but my buddy Fish… Richard Fisher, who runs a VW dealership in Chicago called me out of the blue and just happen to mention he had two allocations under the program,” recalled Jason, “I didn't need much convincing,” he laughed.
2019 Volkswagen Golf R backside
If the marketing suits at the factory had a target buyer for their custom hue hot hatches, Mr Whipple fit the bill. “The first car I bought in high school was a 1986 VW Jetta GLI 8v,” he revealed, “It’s been down hill ever since.” The last few decades have seen our man gradually honing his tastes and skills, elevating his love of VWs through producing and marketing go faster bits and building a series of cars that have put him well and truly on the map. “In the dark ages of the internet I was on the GTIVR6. net message board and started making front motor mounts and selling them under what was my first business Turn2", he told us, “I got a feature in European Car Magazine and things really took off for me. I went on to make mounts for other VW's as well as strut braces and cold air intakes,” After selling the business in the late 90’s Jason moved from Virginia to California and started working for the AP Racing Brakes importer selling to professional racing teams. Working at a shop located at the famous Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma California was a huge learning experience; the air was thick with talk of performance engineering and the track awash with racing heritage. “I moved on and did a short stint working for M2 Performance doing 3rd Gen RX7 and Subie STI parts. That wasn’t my passion so I quickly took an opportunity to work for STaSIS Engineering doing Audi performance and touring car racing.” Five years later in 2009 he teamed up with one Brian Henderson and started a little wheel company you may have heard of called Rotiform. With a driving passion for speed and style, especially with a VW flavour, owning a limited edition flagship Golf R was almost like a gift from VW for services above and beyond the call of duty. “It was extremely limited with fewer than two hundred cars in total allocated for the entire USA. I spent the night after looking at the colour options and ordered one the next day.” The super rare racing edition took an extra two and half grand to acquire, but that seems cheap at the price considering the cars were pulled off the production line and hand painted at the factory.
2019 Volkswagen Golf R engine: 2.0T EA888, RacingLine R600 intake, RacingLine oil management with catch can, RacingLine oil dress up caps, RacingLine oil cooler kit, RacingLine dipstick, RacingLine turbo 90 inlet, hose and muffler delete, 034 Motorsport Density Line engine mounts and dogbone, 034 Motorsport downpipe with sport catalyst, Forge Motorsport front mount intercooler, intercooler hoses and turbo blanket, CSF race radiators and DSG coolers, Oettinger exhaust, United Motorsport software wth E85 capability
A little over four months later one of only six US market Irish Green Golf Rs finally turned up, A classic 70s VW old school hue laid down to respect the past while embracing the future, “Its perfect,” enthused Jason, “It strikes that perfect balance.” Apparently little known underground reclusive custom car creator Carl Taylor’s green MK3 with the green AZEV wheels was a major inspiration for the colour and indeed the entire build, “Carl is my hero, I want to be like him when I grow up,” insisted Jason. Whipple’s association with the world’s leading auto aftermarket exhibition SEMA is becoming a regular thing, there hasn't been a year in recent memory where a vehicle that he has had a hand in building hasn't been at the event, aside from his custom designed Rotiforms on scores of projects, the “Million Dollar” Berg Cup inspired hand painted radical Rocco SEMA sensation from a couple of years ago… JW’s work. “I’d wanted to do something with H&R for SEMA last year but by the time the car arrived time was super tight, so getting the car done for the November deadline was literally a race to the finish,” explained Jason. A general concept for the build was quickly created that would fit Whipple’s vision and still work with the limited timeline. The car was to remain Jason’s daily driver so nothing too extreme was on the cards, the plan was to enhance the product, working with what is after all a pretty awesome piece of kit straight out of the box. Adding a touch of additional flare to the exterior falls to renowned German tuner Oettinger, working with VW the old school Dub tinkerers have come up with a comprehensive package including a new front spoiler with splitter, deep sideskirts, a race inspred rear quad tailpipe diffuser and an aggressive roof mounted spoiler complete with open racing flaps. Completing the outside optics and filling the wheel wells are, not surprisingly, a set of custom Rotiform rollers rolled out just for the project. Colour coded Irish Green DTM nineteen inch alloys fill the corners, with wide thirty profile Toyos covering the nine inch girth, if you are particularly taken with the eleven spoke forged rolling stock dipped in emerald green awesomesauce, the lads will be happy to send a set your way as they are now a regular addition to the Rotiform range.
2019 Volkswagen Golf R interior: RacingLine shifter paddles, RacingLine carbon rear body brace
“This was a build for the H&R Special Springs booth at SEMA 2019,” Jason reminded us, “so naturally it has only the best that they offer. I'm running an amazing set of their RSS Coilovers. They are more of a track focus and are damping adjustable and come with some trick alloy camber adjustable top mounts. The beauty is that they are so balanced and quick reacting that you can run a really firm track oriented setup on it as a daily,” he continued, «I love it. To shore up the notoriously flexy rear end of the car I have the RacingLine carbon fibre rear brace, it’s a beautiful part. I also recently added a 034 Motorsport rear anti-roll bar for a little more trailing throttle oversteer.” Jason admits as far as chassis tweaks go its the stoppers that are his favourite part of the underpinnings, Anchors supplied by a Milton Keynes based Tier 1 tuner working with VW corporate, “the RacingLine carbon front brake kits are the absolute nuttiest brakes you have ever seen on a VW and a streetcar no less,” he reports the carbon ceramic 380mm six pot front brake kit looks as good as it works. Drivetrain wise the German factory boys have done a sterling job, a touch under 290 turbo fed ponies is plenty to be getting on with, especially scooting around Los Angeles, with the hatch being hot enough under the hood for daily driving duties, Jason concentrated his efforts on upgrading the supporting cast around the motor. VW partners RacingLine again got the nod to refine much of the power and looks in the engine room. “I did all the power mods and radiators, intercoolers etc myself,” Jason assured us, “as well as some of the suspension and brake work, I am lucky to have good friends that run some of the best shops around and that came in very handy given the time crunch.” The fi nishing touch in the power, looks and indeed motor musicality department has to go to Oettinger, these guys have been in the VW tuning game at the highest level for decades and the results literally speak for themselves.
To say that Jason is well pleased with the project is something of an understatement, the reception to the green machine at SEMA and since has been thumbs up all around, “I wouldn't change a thing,” he smiled, “I am absolutely smitten with it. This is the fi rst car in eight years that I have kept more than eight months.” Taking a ridiculously rare iconic fl agship motor and messing with it could have gone horribly wrong, but in the hands of wiley Mr Whipple its just another success story to add to his collection, and when it comes to his favourite feature of the R car we have to agree with him. “It’s that colour… it’s money!”