One Golf, two engines and a complex transmission. What could possibly go wrong?
Volkswagen has made a lot of noise about its return to Pikes Peak, frequently referencing its history at the legendary Colorado hillclimb.
It doesn't own any records at the mountain, and it isn't a frequent competitor – in fact, the company has only entered once. So, what history is there to call on?
The car in question is a Golf MkII with two engines, for a unique form of all-wheel drive. Combined, the two 1.8-litre engines developed a handy 480kW, thanks largely to a KKK turbocharger running at 1.6bar.
Each engine is hooked up to its own transmission, giving engineers to option for front-, all- or rear-wheel drive depending on conditions. The system is fully mechanical, in direct contrast to the twin-motor Volkswagen I.D. R electric car will use at this year's event.
The Golf only weighs 1020kg too, thanks to an aggressive weight saving program. In restored form, the twin-engine MkII will be dialled back to around 380kW. Not mild or slow, then, but less likely to cause an expensive and messy failure.
There were a few traps for the unwary in the restoration, however. For one, the safety foam in the fuel tank had disintegrated and mixed with the fuel, putting the unique fuel-injection system in jeopardy.
All the rubber components required for the car were hard to source, as you might imagine of bespoke parts for a 1987 racer, and making sure the water-cooled radiator was operational took significant time.
Interestingly, there's no mention of the car's suspension. In 1987, it wasn't the engines, or indeed the fiendishly complex transmission, that foiled the twin-engine Golf's search for glory – instead, a dodgy suspension joint made the car uncontrollable with just three corners remaining.
Volkswagen will be hoping the I.D. R doesn't suffer a similar fate when it takes on Pikes Peak this June.