Water-Cooled VW Performance Handbook

Readers comments on Water-Cooled VW Performance Handbook

Grassroots Motorsports magazine, July/August 1999, pg. 29

Speed Reading

Title: Water-cooled Volkswagen Performance Handbook
Author: Greg Raven
Publisher: MBI Publishing Company

Since its release more than 10 years ago, Greg Raven’s original Volkswagen Water-cooled, Front-drive Performance Handbook has been an excellent reference for VW gearheads. Well, the info is still good, but people just aren’t hopping up 1500cc Rabbits as much anymore. An updated version of the book was long overdue.

That revised edition just hit the shelves with the release of Raven’s Water-cooled Volkswagen Performance Handbook. Basically, they took all the good stuff from the old book and supplemented it with info on current and recent VWs.

That slightly less wordy title brings with it more updated data for today’s VW enthusiast, including lots of info on engine swaps. Want to put a 16-valve engine into your Rabbit? Raven will tell you how. Swaps involving later cars and engines are also covered. These swaps may not be competition-legal, but for street and strip, they’re perfect. For example, if you’re going to do the 16-valve Rabbit swap, Raven points out how it’s a lot easier if you start with a Scirocco-spec engine versus one from a 16-valve Golf GTI.

Besides information on all kinds of VW-specific upgrades — cams, pistons, differentials, headers, exhausts, superchargers, nitrous and more — the new book contains enough engine and performance theory to make it useful for most small-car enthusiasts, VW owners or not. Raven spends plenty of time covering the basics, like cam and cylinder head theory.

While not super exciting to talk about, Raven also spends some time talking shop safety, something we know that too many: people don’t think about enough. (Can’t have any readers blowing up their garages, can we?)

Some of the photos and info come straight from the old book (when’s the last time you saw the old JJD Concept twin tire setup?) and Raven is a bigger fan that we of drilled rotors and DOT 5 brake fluid, but still, the book really does a good job of educating the reader.

An Amazon.com customer, October 25, 1999

This is the best book to read on watercooled veedubs

I read this entire book in two days, as if it was a novel. This book is aimed at the real enthusiast who already has a knowledge of cars … buy it!

A reader from WI, May 4, 1999

Best way to begin going fast in your VW!

I bought the first edition of this book and also the second. Though some of the information remains the same, there is a wealth of new stuff on the A3 platform VWs. The author even stretches out a bit and gives performance advice for A4-platform cars. The photos are crisp and clean. The author really knows his material and the advice he gives is to be trusted. I have already done a number of things to my A3 Jetta based on this book and have really noticed the improvement in my autocrossing performance, as well as just plain street fun! This alone has made the book worthwhile! Buy it, try it, and then go fast!

A reader from Florida, April 7, 1999

The definitive water cooled VW hot rodding book

A reprint/ update of an earlier version, this is THE book for an A1 or A2 owner who has the need for speed. While much of the information can be gathered from other sources, such as European Car, who wants a garage full of back issues? Lots of good photos, well organized with an emphasis on engines & street performance mods. While the author seems to have a few friends in the business and a bias toward certain vendors, the overall info is good. Also, some of the information is a little outdated, such as illustrations of NLA parts, but about as good as a single marque book as can be found for the price. Typical Motorbooks text editing and the paper, at least in the first edition, will yellow over time.

As part of a library including a couple of manuals (Bentley and one of the more generalized books from either Haynes or Chilton) and Per Schroeder’s book, a good foundation for just about anything. As the past and present owner of A1, A2, and A3 VW’s, the earlier addition was pretty dog-eared until it was replaced by the updated edition. Recommended reference …