Watch: SMS Takes Legendary Mk3 Golf A59 Out of Mothballs

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Five years ago, this car was thought to be a myth, a fabrication, the fanciful dream of the forum faithful, but in 2014 the myth of “Car Zero” was confirmed in the pages of Volkswagen Driver Magazine.

Built by Schmidt Motorsport, a Bavarian racing team that had previously built competition cars for Audi, the Mk3 Golf A59 was VW’s abortive attempt to get back into the World Rally Championship.

I hardly need to tell you that the Mk3 was a bit of a performance disappointment when it came out. Heavier and less essential than its predecessors, Volkswagen wanted to earn the car some competition bona fides. So they commissioned a prototype with the promise of a run of 2,500 to satisfy homologation rules.

In this video, Schmidt Motorsport takes Car Zero out of storage to sit alongside the protoype that VW took to its museum.

And Schmidt delivered. The A59, first of all, looks the business (though that’s the work of VW’s own design department) and could have been quick. Schmidt started with a Golf Rallye (as you do) but quickly determined that even its undercar tunneling wouldn’t be able to hide driveshafts and exhaust piping out of harms way. So they took out the hacksaw and started reshaping things.

Next, they raised the suspension towers (do deal with gravel stages) so high that the hood needed to be reshaped to fit them.

Under the hood, they fitted an all aluminum block with a big turbo (though VW wanted twin G-lader superchargers to show off the tech) that were good for 275 HP in street guise and up to 400 hp in competition tune. Car Zero, though, just has a 16-valve engine designed to look like the aluminum engine in museum prototype.

There’s considerably more to go over (read Volkswagen Driver’s excellent report on it to learn a whole bunch more), but all these changes, though useful if VW wanted to beat Mitsubishi in the ’94 season (when it was meant to start competing), proved to be too expensive for the company that was allegedly near-bankruptcy and dealing with the mid-90s recession.

Sadly, these may be the only A59s on display anywhere (and judging by the plastic wrap, you’d have to ask real nice to see this one in person), so your chances of seeing it are slim. There are rumors about other versions and wind tunnel mock ups, but they’re hard to pin down. A slightly modified version of the same basic designed did race in Rallycross for a long time, so keep a close eye on those Eifel Rally videos and you might catch a glimpse of something similar.

The post Watch: SMS Takes Legendary Mk3 Golf A59 Out of Mothballs appeared first on VWVortex.


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Author: Sebastien Bell

Five years ago, this car was thought to be a myth, a fabrication, the fanciful dream of the forum faithful, but in 2014 the myth of “Car Zero” was confirmed in the pages of Volkswagen Driver Magazine. Built by Schmidt Motorsport, a Bavarian racing team that had previously built competition cars for Audi, the Mk3 […]

The post Watch: SMS Takes Legendary Mk3 Golf A59 Out of Mothballs appeared first on VWVortex.

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Just a figment of your imagination.