Gabe Adams is a fairly unassuming man, his demeanor tranquil. But beneath the placid exterior is a junkie looking for a fix. His need for speed is completely contrary to his persona. But you have to watch out for those silent type As. They are the really insane ones. And while he walks softly, he carries a big stick in the form of his company's flagship vehicle: the Bluewater Performance Volkswagen R32.
Of course this is no run-of-the-mill R32. It couldn't be if it's attempting to become the fastest VW in the world. Adams is attempting to break a land speed record in his class at Bonneville by cracking 222.961 mph. Along with that, he also is attempting to become the world's fastest R32 and possibly the world's fastest Volkswagen.
"With the gearing and horsepower expected from the engine, 275 mph is not unreasonable," says Adams.
The process of turning a stock R32 into one that rockets across the desert halfway to the sound barrier is not one that happens overnight. So let's go back to where it all began.
Adams has been around cars since he was a little shaver. Like many of us, his father worked on hot rods and passed the torch along to him. "My dad raised me to be a Chevy man but obviously that didn't work," he says. "Nonetheless, it was a great experience and I never knew at the time how much those days and nights spent in his shop would affect my life."
Adams funneled his automotive passion into the German marque, becoming a proficient mechanic in the process. "We officially opened Bluewater Performance in 2009 because I was overwhelmed with people who wanted me to work on their cars," he says.
Adams acquired the R32 a few years earlier. "I had been secretly looking for an R32 behind my wife's back," he says. He found one at a local dealership, bought it and then decided to tell his wife, Nina, the news. "She seemed excited so I let her drive it home in the snow. I figured that would seal the deal."
It was a little after that when we ran into Adams at a local racetrack at Morrison, Colo. At the time he had it twin-turbocharged and was running 11s. Remember, that's at a mile above sea level. Nonetheless it wasn't exactly the only twin-turbo in the world. Years later the turbos were ditched for a single snail and the vehicle, although street legal, is a dedicated land speed record seeker.
At present, the R32, or bastard offspring of one and a thousand crazy bastards, is churning out 945 hp on a Mustang dyno. Compensate for drivetrain loss and the flywheel figure is more like 1,100 hp. Not too shabby for a VW. In order to handle this much power it had to be built to the tightest tolerances possible. Luckily, Adams lives next door to a machine shop that specializes in race motors. The pistons are Wossner 8:1 and a set of Integrated Engineering rods pushes them around. This forced-inducted motor is built to last.
The turbo setup consists of a Precision Billet 6865 turbo with an 0.81 aspect ratio mated to a custom tubular exhaust manifold and a 4-inch stainless Vband downpipe. Other plumbing consists of a stainless 2.50-inch hot side intercooler piping connected to a Treadstone intercooler and 3-inch cold side piping that ends at a C2 short-runner intake. The air inlet starts out with a 4-inch dry filter connected to a Pro-M 80mm high-flow mass air meter. This meter was installed to accommodate the additional horsepower and is capable of supporting up to 800 hp.
Other areas needed to be modified to cope with the power, namely the fuel system. If you can't get enough petrol in the combustion chambers you might as well be spinning your wheels. So to deal with this issue Adams came up with a system that has increased flow capacity and runs on E85 to boot. Take that, you tree-hugging nancy boys. The petrol starts out in a 10-gallon cell and travels through dual -8AN stainless steel mesh filters then onto dual Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps that each flow 700 lb/hr at 45 psi.