Today I'm starting what I hope to do multiple times a week or maybe even every other day depending on how bored I am and how much people like it.
It's the Internet Dive! You must be wondering what this means, and I agree, it sounds bogus but hear my desperate cry for attention and be damn grateful for it. Every few days I plan on going on an Internet dive to find some goodies for a particular interesting and unique car and bring back treasures to the surface for you to enjoy on your coffee break. Some may be old adverts, some might be old screenshots via the Internet Archives and way-back machine, and some might be fan art or cool die-cast models based on the featured car, not to mention a little interesting history based upon it. Most of the time they'll just be swell pictures for your desktop.
For the very first Internet Grab I'm focusing on a car I've personally lusted after for quite some time, the 2003-04 Volkswagen Golf .:R32. It should be no surprise to regular readers that I'm a VW guy, it's in my name and in my driveway in the form of a GTI, but even if you're not a fan of the people's car, you can't deny that the marque has a tendency to release some desirably quirky models, mostly only in Europe much to the disdain of Yankees like myself.
The .:R32 was in essence Volkswagen's rebuttal to everyone who laughed at the MK4 GTI, and there was alot. Sure the car got better as it aged, with a 180hp turbo 4 banger and a proper 6 speed by the end of it's life, but it never felt hot enough to back up it's hot hatch roots. The .:R32 aimed to rectify that with bright blue painted new aggressive body, a Haldex all wheel drive system, and a howling VR6 mated to symphonic twin tailpipes. This car was the swan song of the MKIV Golf platform. Leather race-inspired seats? Check. Brushed Aluminium interior trim? Check. Automatic Climate Control? Check. IRS for all four wheels? Check. Premium audio system, sunroof, and the world's first production car dual clutch transmission? Check, Check, and Check.
That last point? Yeah, although the .:R32 was only offered with a 6 speed manual in the states, it was the first passenger car to ever be fitted with a dual clutch transmission in it's European configuration. So in essence, this car is the very bane of existence to Jalopnik itself, as once the DSG's were released, the proper manual never stood a chance.
And neither did the .:R32. It was too heavy, and too late to redeem Volkswagens MK4 transgressions. Sure it was quick, and it handled quite well, but it was expensive at $29,675. It was miles ahead of the STI's of the world in terms of refinement, but not performance or value and as such the .:R32 remained a niche vehicle for Volkswagen enthusiasts, something they've grown quite well at doing. The Golf R400 is the perfect example of this niche production that VW often does to titillate its fan base. There aren't many of these cars in the world so if you see one consider yourself lucky. Just 5000 made it to the US with 7500 sprawled across Europe and a measly 200 for Australia. Sorry Marty and Moog.
But enough with history. Here are the goodies you came for!
Old VW website advert for the .:R32
The .:R32 is one of the few cars in recent history to approach an increase in value and as such they have become popular collector cars.
A 2004 Motorweek review of the .:R32. Just look at that video quality.
Eary 2000's Nokia? Check. Also visible here are the paddles and DSG shift gate.
Some wonderful Volkswagen Print Ads
The rare Tornado Red paint color. Only 500 shipped to the U.S.
Rarer than the actual car at 3000 units is the beautiful Ottomobile Resin 1/18 scale model of the .:R32
And that wonderful exhaust note to bid farewell.
Thanks for reading!