The term “salvage auction” probably brings up all sorts of horrible images in one’s mind. Completely destroyed cars that look as though they’ve been run over by a Caterpillar D9 or perhaps used as Satan’s barbeque grill. Every once in a while, there’s a diamond in the rough. Today is one of those days.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of off-the-wall engine swaps. The kind that would make purists cringe, but then be a little curious: “you did what? So…. how well does it work?” Like a Ford/Mazda 2.3 liter 16 valve 4-cylinder from a Ranger into a ’64-ish Ranchero. But I digress. Someone with more mechanical aptitude, money and garage space can try that one out. I would even feature it here – despite the lack of a hatch.
What I have found is a swap that makes perfect sense. No questioning, tilt-your-head-to-the-side-like-a-confused-puppy looks here. Just a modern Volkswagen TDi engine dropped into the front bay of a Mark I Golf. Pretty simple idea really, the TDi would make more than enough power to scoot the little rabbit around with pretty good authority and return phenomenal gas mileage doing it. Or, you could get a little crazy and tune that baby to about 200 horses and 300 lb/feet of torque. The builder of this ride, Greg Howell, chose the latter.
Admittedly, my participation in the construction of the epic twin-engined Toyota Corolla FX32 hatchback was limited. Perhaps the most visible contribution was the relative straightness of the Home Depot-sourced green and orange painted stripes. But it still gives me great pleasure to announce that my car won Class B at the 24 Hours of Lemons Colorado race this past weekend.