At FCP Euro, we're constantly finding cars that tempt our wallets. "I know what I got" or not, here is one of our recent favorites.
A hot wind, often dusty or rainy, blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to southern Europe. A bit of a mouthful, right? Well, that is where the Volkswagen Scirocco derives its name. Believe me, if I could tell you why I would.
What I can tell you is how the VW Scirocco came to be. It was the early 1970s, and at that point, the Beetle and the Karmann Ghia were becoming a bit long in the tooth with production runs spanning many decades. Due to the low demand of the Beetle, VW was struggling financially as customers were in search of a new "people’s car."
VW knew they needed a modern replacement for the Beetle, and began work on the Golf. However, what most people don’t realize is, VW’s first water-cooled coupe wasn't the Golf, but actually the Scirocco. While Guirgetti Giugiaro designed both the MK1 Golf and the Scirocco, it was the more aerodynamic, backroad carving, Scirocco that was launched six months prior to its more famous sibling in 1974.
Much like their predecessors, the Golf and Scirocco shared the same platform. Both cars were two-door front-wheel-drive hatchbacks with the same basic running gear. However, the Scirocco was clearly the sportier car with a lower seating position and more exotic design. It’s really quite odd, VW was practically competing with themselves between these two cars.
Speaking of competition, in the early 1980s, Audi was dominating the entire rally world with their four-wheel-drive Quattro. Volkswagen was a little jealous of all the attention that their sister company was getting and decided to build a Quattro of their own.
Rather than developing their own four-wheel-drive system, VW Motorsports decided on a much simpler approach—use two engines, one in the front and one in the rear. Wait, did I say simple? I was kidding.
VW Motorsports chose none other than the MK2 Scirocco to base their 4WD BiMotor Frankenstein build. Two prototypes were created. The first used a pair of 1.8-liter stroker engines with high compression pistons, special heads with high lift cams, and individual throttle bodies with a rev limit of nearly 8,000 rpm.
UK’s Motor Magazine tested the car, and I imagine they probably thought throwing an additional engine and transmission in the back of a front-wheel-drive car was a rudimentary approach to four-wheel-drive. But they did find that this had one serious side effect—it was fast; really, really fast.
Not only was it as quick as a Lamborghini Countach LP500S in the quarter-mile, but it was a second faster to 110mph than a Porsche 911.
And really, that’s no surprise when you realize this 3.6 liter, 8-cylinder monster had 360 hp and weighed only 2,400 pounds. That translated to a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph—faster than Audi’s Group B Sport Quattro. It was undoubtedly fast in a straight line; however, the handling was another story.
A pair of 5-speed manual transmissions with limited-slip differentials allowed for plenty of grip, but a fixed torque split caused the car to plow into corners with severe understeer. Volkswagen resolved this issue by installing a slider on the dash that varied the amount of throttle the front engine would receive when you accelerated.
While the first prototype was essentially an unrefined race car built for testing, the second prototype was a street car with a more finished, factory look and used for shows. It featured production-based 1.8-liter engines with Oettinger 16v heads putting out a combined 282 hp and was fed through a pair of 3-speed automatics. The engineers found that the torque converters did a better job of synchronizing the power between the two engines.
Despite the less radical engines in the second prototype, the car was still fast, especially by 1983 standards. And with widebody vented box flares and Fuchs alloy wheels, it certainly looked the part too. Dare I say, Quattro like?
The interior also featured a wicked cool VDO gauge cluster featuring two tachometers and temp gauges with a digital speedometer in the center.
Now, onto the Scirocco that you can actually buy. While it may not be twin-engined or four-wheel drive, it does have quite a few things that make it special.
Under the hood, you’ll find the original 1.8 liter has been replaced with a 2.0 ABA swap. And if you thought that wasn’t enough, bolted on top is a Neuspeed supercharger pushing 11psi. Installed are all the necessary supporting mods such as a P-Chip tune, intake, fuel pressure regulator, and even water/meth injection. While this Scirocco may have only one engine, with nearly double the power of a stock Scirocco, you probably don't need another.
Putting the power down through a 5-speed 02A gearbox with beefed-up axles and even a limited-slip diff, you’ll be sure there’s no one tire fire here. And with Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, and an upgraded rear sway bar, you won’t need to worry about corners either.
Inside it's all old-school. You’ll find vintage Recaro Trophy seats, Momo three-spoke wheel, gauges to support the engine mods, and even a plush dash-cover straight out of the eighties.
This is one car you truly need to drive to understand. It's guaranteed to bring a lot more smiles to your face than cars that are many multiple times more expensive.
JR is asking $6500 for this modified 80s time capsule. You can find all of the details, including the maintenance completed and the maintenance it needs in the listing below.