Few guys take a more hardcore, hands-on approach to their project cars as Warwick, Pa., resident Brian Berwind. Berwind is a well-rounded gearhead who isn't necessarily stuck on one particular marque. He just likes fast cars. Growing up in his father's house it was American musclecars. In fact, the first time he ever really had a good look at a Corrado was one day when he was out driving his dad's Mustang and he came upon a pair of modified examples. The experience left a lasting impression.
Later he picked up a tech position at a local Volkswagen dealership. He went through seven or eight different VWs before he had the chance to grab a Corrado of his own. When this one showed up in the pre-owned lot at work he finally got his chance.
Berwind says he kept the car stock until about 90,000 miles. Then the modifications began, innocuously enough: simple bolt-on parts, an intake here, an exhaust there. Then he decided to "spray it," as he says-nitrous oxide, a simple dry-port 90-shot kit that only served to sharpen his appetite for more speed.
Some time after that he tore the entire car down and had it refinished in the original burgundy paint. Everything came out: motor, interior, window glass. And then, slowly, it came back together, finishing with a fully built engine block and Vortech supercharger bolted to the motor's cool side. Berwind ran it at about 14 psi with no intercooler. Since he was now employed at Schimmel Performance he wasn't afraid to experiment with various extreme states of tune. "We had about six VR blocks laying around on the floor," he said, "So I was like 'Whatever-I'll smoke this motor and just bang another one in.'" You have to admire that kind of resolve.
On the blower Berwind was able to squeeze out around 300 hp at the wheels, which was good, he said, but not quite enough. So he switched to a turbo. The car has seen two iterations thus far. The first included the basic hardware that made a load of power but wasn't terribly efficient; the second saw Berwind add a liquid-to-air intercooler, cold-air intake and revised engine management parameters. With everything dialed in, it now made peak power of 488 hp at the front wheels. He has the dyno slip to prove it.
Now the car is in pieces again and its owner is laying plans to push it further, including a new gearbox and full sequential fuel injection. Considering where it's been, five-hundred-plus at the wheels doesn't seem unattainable. Under the guidance of mentor Bill Schimmel, and picking up tire hookups from his friend Ben Hill at Bridgestone whenever he burns through another set of high-po S03s, Berwind looks set to claim one of the sickest Corrados around. The sickest we've seen in a long time, anyway.
According to the man himself, this is one particular project that seems to have a mind of its own: "I told myself I wasn't going to do anything with it this year, but whether I like it or not it gets torn down every winter. I don't know. I guess it's just... an obsession."
That's probably an understatement.
1994 Vw Corrado Vr6DrivetrainTransverse front engine, front-wheel drive
EngineSchimmel Performance (SP) 3.0L VR6 long block, JE pistons, SP head spacer, ARP head studs, main studs and rod bolts, SP oil cooler, SP intake manifold, ATP exhaust manifold, Garrett GT 35/40R turbocharger, Tial wastegate and blow-off valve, SP wastegate dump pipe, SP intake and turbo plumbing, A'PEXi AVC-R boost controller, SP 3-inch exhaust,
Borla muffler, SP ignition wires, SP liquid/air intercooler, 15-gallon fuel cell, SX fuel pump, filter, rail and regulator,50-lb injectors, Aeroquip lines, DTA P8Pro engine management,Innovative LM-1 wideband
Transmission/DrivetrainQuaife synchromesh six-speed gear kit and torque-biasing differential, ARP ringgear bolts, 3.3 final drive, SP stage three clutch, AWE short shifter
SuspensionBilstein PSS9 coilovers, Autotech lightweight rear anti-roll bar
Wheels and TiresOettinger RE, 8.0x18Bridgestone S03 Pole Position, 225/35-18
InteriorCustom instrument cluster, AutoMeter instrumentation, Recaro SRD seats, Schroth four-point harnesses
PerformancePeak Power: 488 whp @ 6500 rpmPeak Torque: 409 lb-ft @ 6000 rpmmeasured at the wheels