He was a a German Naval officer on the WWII frigate Der Strum, and his name was Kessler. His ship was a fairly unassuming piece, smallish but stout in beam. It was certainly not as fearsome as the Bismarck, which may have been why it was so deadly. Kessler would disguise his ship as a simple merchant vessel, and when British boats approached, it would shed the cover and blow them from the water. All told, he sent some 15 ships to the bottom, far more than did the Bismarck.
This GTI, much like Der Strum, is an unassuming machine but packs a deadly punch. Beneath the hood lies VW's vaunted 24V VR6 engine, augmented with HPA's Stage III turbo system featuring a single Garrett compressor supported by a host of additional mods. After it was securely strapped to Vishnu Tuning's Dyno Dynamics dynamometer, the Golf made an impressive 275 whp and even more torque. We also brought an unmolested 24V GTI to the party, figuring it would be a good idea to get a baseline and see how far the car had progressed. During its three successive runs, the GTI made 157 whp at 6400 rpm and 161 lb-ft of twist at 3300 rpm. Do the math. The delta is considerable.
Word has it the Australian-built Dyno Dynamics unit is one of the best dynamometers in the world, better than even the MAHA. However, it has been known to measure 15% less than a standard Mustang or Dynojet. Given that adjustment, this puts the turbocharged Golf right at 300 whp. Not bad for your basic commuter vehicle.
This particular car belongs to a loyal customer of New Dimensions. Blessed with formidable monetary resources (and an M5 as a daily driver), the owner gave Mike at New Dimensions a simple request: Make it fast. And over a year's time, the New Dimensions crew did just that.
The GTI has been equipped with what HPA calls its Grass Roots Turbo Kit, a basic forced- induction turbo system designed for the beginner enthusiast. The program is comprised of HPA's proprietary cast exhaust manifold, a T3/T4 Gar-rett turbocharger, 60mm downpipe, oil and coolant feed/return lines, a side-mounted intercooler, uprated fuel-pressure regulator, HPA's proprietary head spacer plate, in-line fuel pump, powdercoated boost pipes and a retuned ECU.
In its basic form, the Grass Roots system reduces compression to 8.1:1 and produces 13 psi. Claimed output is 300 bhp. With an MSRP of $3,875 and installation time of 12 to 15 hours, the HPA system offers an exceptional power-to-money ratio. But, like most power-hungry VW enthusiasts, the owner of this car asked that it leap from Stage I to something like Stage 3.5 or maybe 3.9. After a year in New Dimensions' facility, the owner's initial modest investment rose to around 12 grand. We would have liked to test HPA's Grassroots Turbo System right off the shelf-no such luck. I imagine its claimed 300 bhp is estimated from the crank-in lieu of an independent dyno run, it will remain just that, a claim.
Scattered amid the pristine countryside of northern California are miles of serpentine pavement, perfect for a shakedown run. As an open stretch came into view, I eased onto the throttle-and held on. At 3200 rpm, the boost comes on with all the finesse of a WWF body slam. Despite the great work of the Quaife limited-slip differential, this VW lit up the tires in the first four gears to the extent that we attracted the attention of the local heat, who responded to our smoke signals.
"Ya'll are done here, RIGHT?" said Mr. CHP.
"Yes, sir...we've got just a few traction issues," I replied.
"I guess so. Now go do this somewhere else, somewhere I can't see you."
A look at the dyno chart reveals an engine that realizes its full torque in a very small rev window, less than two grand. It means the car has something of an "on-off" feel: You're either accelerating like a madman or panic braking. Moreover, when the car rockets forward, it actually causes your foot to slam into the accelerator pedal. I guess you could say the car has too much power. I suppose there are worse problems. A more skilled driver could have made the car perform better, but he wasn't with me that day. On long sweepers, the car would come into full boost mid-turn and threaten to fly into outer space. On long straights, however, this car is a king. The sheer grunt of its forward thrust is worth the price of admission.
In addition to the aforementioned parts of the Grassroots system, HPA's Stage III system includes a larger 70mm downpipe, race cats, a cast proprietary intake manifold, high-flow injectors and MAF, a reprogrammed ECU, in-line high-flow fuel pump, and race-grade connecting rod bearings.
New Dimensions took development even further, equipping the engine with Neuspeed's 24V power pulleys, an RS4 MAF housing, ceramic heat barriers, an Aquamist 1D water-injection system, Jetex 2.75 cat-back exhaust, Apexi AVC-R boost controller, and a GFB Stealth pressure relief valve. In ND's fully equipped R&D facility, the head and intake manifold received an intensive port and polish job.