Autotech’s Supercharged, Nitrous Oxide Golf
Big Fun in a Small Package
By Greg Raven
Back in December 1985 we introduced you to the Autotech SportTuning Project Golf. Project cars are a great way to advertise the parts you sell, and at the time Autotech started out the 1985 Golf had just become available.
Whenever there is a body change, as there was for Volkswagen for 1985, one of the first things most people want to know is if there is going to be a body kit available. Autotech answered this question by fitting an air dam, grille, fender flares, rocker extensions, rear skirt, and rear spoiler to their new car. To make the car visually striking, Autotech opted for a two-tone paint treatment with silver on top and red on the bottom.
With the more aggressive look the Golf then needed more aggressive tires and wheels to match. Autotech choose 15×7-inch WORK wheels from JICA in Torrance, wrapping them in 205/50VR15 Goodyear “Gatorback” tires. They then had the center sections of the wheels painted red to match the body color.
They then had a car that looked good, so they decided at the same time to make it feel good as well. So, in went the Politecnica electric window lift and power door lock kit.
In the February 1986 issue we continued the story with both with more interior goodies and a little teeth for the Project Golf. Inside, Recaro KRS seats in grey and red were installed up front, and in the rear Autotech had the seats re-covered to match. A red Momo steering wheel completed the look.
The teeth for this stage of the upgrade came in the form of suspension work. In went a Koni shock/spring combination to lower and firm up the ride. As you might expect, Autotech stress bars were also fitted to strengthen the chassis. The final touch was the addition of anti-roll bars front and rear.
In the June 1986 issue we showed you how Autotech was set to show the world that its car was more than just another pretty face, by bolting on one of the first-ever supercharger kits for the water-cooled Volkswagen. “Bolt-on” is the right choice of words, as the Autotech unit can be installed by enthusiasts with limited mechanical experience.
Autotech spent the next few months making refinements on what they had achieved so far, including a new Tokico suspension and Autotech rear anti-roll bar, which we featured in the April 1987 issue.
Now their Project Golf is completed. But before we bid farewell, there is one more chapter to be written.
The way to get more horsepower out of an engine is to help it breath better through porting the head and using a free-flow exhaust. To further enhance an engine’s breathing potential you can also force feed it through the use of a turbocharger or supercharger, as Autotech has already done. These devices mechanically pack air into the cylinder with an accompanying increase in power.
There is another way to force feed air to an engine and that is through the chemical process of nitrous oxide injection. Nitrous oxide, or N2O, is 36 percent oxygen by weight, as opposed to the atmosphere, which is 23 percent oxygen by weight. In a hot combustion chamber, the nitrogen separates from the oxygen, leaving it free to burn.
Up until now nitrous oxide injection systems for the Volkswagen have had their share of problems. After working with leading nitrous oxide system supplier NOS, Autotech has now come up with a system they feel offers a safe way of helping enthusiasts dip into the massive performance increases possible with nitrous oxide injection.
So how does a supercharged Volkswagen motor run when you add nitrous oxide? Nice. Very nice. The power curve of the stock motor is enhanced by the supercharger, and the nitrous oxide in turn enhances the power curve in much the same way: good torque on the bottom end with a smooth top end that contains no exaggerated power peaks or surprises. Legal speeds come and go so quickly and effortlessly that even an awareness of your heightened visibility to the authorities is sometimes not enough to lessen the squeeze of your finger on the nitrous button. This is big fun.
We haven’t driven a normally-aspirated Volkswagen with nitrous oxide injection, but all indications are that the difference will be even more pronounced than on Autotech’s supercharged Golf. Autotech’s kit comes with one nitrous oxide/gasoline injector nozzle (called a fogger nozzle), but the hot set-up would be to run individual fogger nozzles at the base of each manifold runner. This would provide the biggest performance gain while at the same time ensuring that none of the cylinders go lean under “boost,” which can result in detonation and piston meltdown.
With this project done, Autotech is looking towards bigger and better things in the future. That means their Project Golf is on the block for sale to the highest bidder. Whether you want the entire car or just information on the individual pieces, you can reach Autotech at 1800 North Glassell, Dept VWP, Orange, California, 92665, telephone (714) 974-4600.
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