Love and Attention – R32 VR6-Swapped Volkswagen Corrado

Blog Feature

The Volkswagen Corrado VR6 was the successor to the Scirocco and just as awesome of a car, but it was missing another set of 12 valves and R32 treatment.

“I bought the car two days after my daughter was born,” recalled Steven Davila, the owner of this amazing transformation of a 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC. At just 22 years old, he finally had the car he yearned for and at the time, he thought he was getting a great deal on it at just $900. Then he took a closer look once the rare rain and cold faded away.

VW Corrado R32 Side Profile

The windshield wipers didn’t work on top of having a broken windshield. The Corrado barely ran thanks to a blown head gasket and timing chain issues, the chrome of the original wheels was chipping away, dents and rust added character to an old faded paint job. None of it deterred Steven, “The car just needed some love and attention.” So, he went to work fixing the main issues he could.

VW Corrado R32 Rear Quarter

First up was getting the engine in running order but that was only for a short time. By late 2012, he found someone he could trade a 1989 GTI 16V engine for a 24-valve VR6 out of a 2003 Jetta GLI. This set in motion the chain of events, including buying eight different Corrados for parts, that lead to the car you now see before you.

LRG-Email-cta-small

VW Corrado R32 Interior

There was one key element to the build, “I wanted to keep my stock dash and cluster,” Steven said, “so when I would drive around or go to shows with my hood closed, people would think it’s just a 12V VR6 SLC.” A good thing because the interior of the Corrado is a very lovely thing. It would be a shame to have gone in and drastically changed it. However, there are touches done to separate it from a standard Corrado affair. You can already see some of them, including that Momo Competition 350mm steering wheel.

VW Corrado R32 TR Motoring Shifter

That tall, TR Motoring shifter puts the knob just in reach of the steering wheel while it is also enhanced by a Neuspeed short shifter. The combo gives a short and crisp feel to the European race specification six-speed transmission.

VW Corrado R32 Gauge Cluster

As mentioned, the gauges work with the 24V VR6 swap but are stock to the 12V version found in the SLC.

VW Corrado R32 Boost Gauge

You might get some hint that something is going on underhood with that aftermarket boost gauge in the vent. Steven says he used to have a supercharger under the hood, but he decided to remove it in favor of simplicity in the engine bay.

VW Corrado R32 Interior Seats

“Since owning my first MKII GLI and it having come stock with Recaro seats,” said Steven, “I knew this Corrado needed to have them, too.” You can also see the Weichers X bolt-in roll cage just behind them.

VW Corrado R32 Underdash Tray

The under-dash shelf comes from the European version of the Volkswagen Corrado. It also gives a place to mount switches for the air suspension system, controlled by an Accuair management controller.

VW Corrado R32 Door Panels

The door panels were also reupholstered to match the Recaro suede and the stitching matched the gold coloring of his new BBS wheels.

VW Corrado R32 Air ride System

The rear seats were deleted along with the original cargo floor. Now, a custom spare tire well fits a full size and matching fifth BBS wheel, which is enhanced by some mood lighting under the acrylic panel. The false floor allows the air tanks a place to rest. You can also see all of the custom tubing that fits through bulkhead fittings for a very clean, yet aesthetically functional appearance.

VW Corrado R32 Air Manifold

You can also see the manifold in which the Accuair system controls the height and pressure of each corner. “Eurobroke” is Steve’s Instagram handle.

VW Corrado R32 BBS Rennsport E26

When it comes to European cars and matching wheels, you’ll never go wrong with a set of BBS wheels, especially these discontinued magnesium ones.

VW Corrado R32 BBS Rennsport E26

These are the BBS Rennsport E26, a true multi-piece, magnesium wheel in 17x9 that Steven has wrapped in a set of Falken Azenis tires. The suspension drop is done with the aforementioned Airlift bags but they also sit on a set of Bilstein PSS9 coilovers.

VW Corrado R32 BBS Rennsport E26

The brakes are Brembo four-piston calipers from a Porsche and use a set of Zimmerman drilled rotors. You can also see the lug stud conversion done to the original Corrado hubs.

VW Corrado R32 VR6 Engine Bay

Now, we see the 24-valve VR6 in its full glory. It’s sitting just under a discontinued Eibach strut tower bar that’s been matched to the polished chrome of the valve cover and intake manifold.

VW Corrado R32 VR6 Engine Bay

Yes, even that classic HPA intake manifold has been chromed out and you can even see the extensive wire tuck job that Steven did. “The hardest part of the build was the engine harness since it took us 14 hours to make it happen,” said Steven, “After that, I didn’t want to see another schematic again,” he said laughing.

VW Corrado R32 Mishimoto Cooling System

Cooling the engine is taken care of by a custom Mishimoto radiator and custom hoses feeding the 24V VR6.

VW Corrado R32 Exhaust Tip

The exhaust is also all custom and terminates into a Magnaflow muffler. It doesn’t take away from that unique VR6 sound but it makes for a much more ear-pleasing tone. Just past the muffler, you can see the signature tread pattern of the Falken Azenis RT615 tires.

VW Corrado R32 Euro Headlights

The car looks sleek thanks to a set of European VR6 Corrado E-code lights and front bumper. The clean look is heightened even further by the custom R32-badged grille and Kamei Grille Spoiler.

VW Corrado R32 Badge

Rather than de-badge it, Steven had the “Corrado SLC” badging color painted to the car’s body. This way, it’s subtle but not missing and a nicer take to the common de-badging trend. Flanking the carbon kevlar rear trim piece, you also see that the taillights have been custom converted fully red instead of having any amber lights. Again, a custom touch that’s away from the typical European conversion or “Euro-style” lighting.

VW Corrado R32 Owner

“I did all the work on my car with the help of my wife and friends,” says Steven, “The only things I didn't do were the outside paint and the door panel upholstery.” He laughed, “The only two things that I don't like doing. Everything else was done by myself.” We must say, he has a very understanding partner. Helping him build the car, letting him go get it after having their daughter, that’s someone we’d all like in our lives.

VW Corrado R32 Front Shot

From a head case to a head-turner, this VW Corrado has certainly come from a long way compared to what it started. “I still call it my crap car,” he stated, “It’s pretty cool when people see the car and they see how much work, time and dedication I have put into it.”

VW Corrado R32 Profile

Many people would have given up and demanded their money back from the seller. Not Steven, though, “I was so excited I didn’t even noticed in how bad of shape it was in at first. I just knew I wanted a silver Corrado SLC.” He not only gained that but a great looking car through the process. He saw the beauty that lurked underneath, it just need his love and attention.

If you're in a similar spot with your project, take heed of Steven's Corrado. Take your time, give it the affection it needs, and you'll end up with something wonderful in the end.

Story by Justin Banner
Photos by Antonio Alvendia 

If you like this VW Corrado, you can find additional Volkswagen content at volkswagen.fcpeuro.com, as well as more build features like this one here. If there's anything specific you would like to see, or if you have any questions/comments, leave them in the comments section below.

News, Deals, and DIY's for your car

 

New Call-to-action