Everyone loves a superhero. Put on earth to defend against evil and restore the faith of the people, it’s not often you find a stanced car that can take the crown as the ultimate hero of car culture – until now.
See, just when you thought it was too late to own and modify a juicy, 6-cylinder, supercharged ride in the current climate, Dave Phillipson’s mighty Golf R32 comes to the rescue and shows it can still be done, and done bloody well!
Owner, Dave, is already a hero of the scene, having built a shed load of motors over the last 12 years. And it’s only due to bad forces of evil that he hasn’t had his ride slapped across the cover of a mag.
But we’ve all seen the films, and know the good guy always wins, as has Dave with his best build yet: his stunning, Superman- themed, 400bhp Golf r32.
This German hero has no alias either – what you see at shows is what you’ll see on the street, thanks to Dave’s motto of driving the car properly, while standing out from the crowd.
How has he managed to make it so damned good? Well, there’s only one way to find out…
Let’s be honest, owning a stock R32 isn’t shy in the horses stakes, so owning a tuned one as a daily is something we take our modifying hat off and bow down to.
Although Dave isn’t new to 6-pot engined VWs, having owned several previous Mk.3 VR6 projects, even he can’t stop getting excited when asked how this supercharged Mk.4 performs. “It just keeps going and going when you put your foot down,” he says with a big grin across his face. “Once it’s off, it’s like an absolute train!” he adds.
With that shiny supercharger whining away at every opportunity, Dave explains why he went for belt-driven induction over a turbo: “I’ve had turbo cars before, and this is just less aggressive and nicer to drive… plus not a lot can go wrong with a supercharger!” he confirms.
Due to the Golf already being fettled with, Dave managed to buy it for less money than a standard R32, but his experience with motors told him his new lump needed a bit of TLC before he could unleash supercharged powers onto the road.
“It was ‘charged a couple of owners before me, but I could tell it wasn’t maintained properly,” Dave says, “so when I got the car home I put on a proper belt for the supercharger, not a cheap rip-off.” Dave then called on his ten years’ experience working in the modified car industry to rebuild the exhaust himself, taking the worn cats out and replacing them with silencers in the new system.
The change has freed up more power from the R32, and our man plans to eek out even more from the 3.2-litre lump later this year. Dave explains: “The current map can definitely be improved, so once I’ve had a look at that I’ll have over 400bhp out of the car, easily.” Not bad for a daily hoot, eh?
For the wheels, Dave says he fell in love with the supremely concave Cades Apollos at the 2012 Autosport show, and didn’t even let the BMW fitment put him off getting them for his VW.
Some hub adaptors and spacers at the rear had the Apollos sitting mint in the pearl blue arches, before the Xquisite Automotive lad took inspiration from the world’s second-best superhero to decide on a truly heroic colour scheme. “I went for candy red on the wheels and then wanted to go all out on the Superman theme, as red and blue goes so well on a car, and it’s not seen so much right now,” says the man himself.
With the right colours attached to the VW, Dave wanted air-ride for posing and practicality, and there was only one bloke he was going to turn to. Dave has known Havair owner, Geoff, since they raced each other across France to a Heaven On Wheels show a couple of years ago. After catching up with him on the Fast Car stand at TRAX last summer, the fabricator was sold on the idea of air for his Dub.
“It’s for practicality as much as show nature,” Dave reckons “With my missus running a static slammed Mini, we needed at least one car that could easily get over speedbumps!” he laughs.
Despite what you might think, the ‘bags don’t mean the R32’s supreme handling has gone down the shitter. “The ‘bags are stage 3+ so it still handles well. It’s got the best Havair gear going, and Gaz struts, so it’s more than up to the job when I’m not dumping the car at shows,” he says.
Every box is well and truly ticked and shows you can have a ride that’s as flashy to look at as it is fast to drive. Winner!
As you’d expect from a top-spec VAG, the interior of the R32 is a bloody good place to be. Dave knows this only too well, and has, so far, refrained from changing too much inside the Golf, aside from some trick additions to the dash and boot.
Up front, the Superman inspired red and blue theme continues with the clock-matching New South boost and oil gauges, while the Alcantara-trimmed AVS digital air gauge chilling in the driver’s side vent looks the nuts, and hints at an overhaul of interior colours in future. The cover car champ confirms: “I am thinking about a full retrim soon, but I won’t be swapping seats around or anything as they’re awesome as they are.”
In the back, the Welwyn Garden City lad has made awesome use of his boot, building a neat install around a cut out of the Superman logo to reveal the air-ride housing. “I was going to trim the back myself,” says Dave, “but after designing and building the install I realized it was a bit beyond me, so I rang up d:class and they did a great job instead.”
A healthy splash of Hertz audio supplies the beats should you ever get bored of the supercharger’s whine. Which means even on the inside, Dave’s got everything ticked, by building an all-round heroic motor worthy of its super tag.
Tuned VW Mk.4 GOLF R32
Standard R32 bodykit with number plate smoothed from front bumper; delocked door handles; BMW carbon front lip; Golf Mk.5 rear wiper; VW Sharan rear boot badge.
3.2-litre V6; Stage 2 VF Engineering supercharger kit, comprising of Vortech V-9 supercharger, front-mount intercooler, intake pipe with K&N filter, & oil catch tank; rev limiter increased to 7k; soft rev limiters completely removed; increased supercharger pull belt wrap; additional billet idler pulley bracket for stage 2; Bosch OEM pressure relief bypass system; 6061 billet aluminium CNC brackets; 4-ply silicone couplers with OEM screw clamps; Army-Navy swivel fittings with high pressure OEM oil lines; OEM serpentine belt; custom Art Of Speed remap; 6-branch Milltek manifold; custom Powerflow cat-back twin-exit exhaust system including decat pipe.
8.5×19-inch and 9.5×19-inch Cades Apollo BMW-fitment wheels custom painted in candy red; 213/35×19 Falcon tyres all round; TPI wheel bolts and lockers in satin black; Kei Racing 5×120 to 5×100 15mm hub adaptors; 20mm H&R rear spacers; full Havair Stage 3 air-ride including 5-gallon air tank; custom Havair front struts; Havair custom rear set up; 8-way faster electronic valve block; 2x Air Zenith OB2 compressors; 8mm and 10mm air lines venting to atmosphere; AVS remote control system; AVS switchbox; Neuspeed uprated anti-roll bars; Performance blue Haldex controller; CRN performance brakes with Mintex pads all round; Vibratechnics performance road engine mounts; Powerflex bushes.
Konig half-leather interior; AVS digital gauge mounted into driver’s heater vent trimmed in red Alcantara; New South jewel steering column gauge pod with New South boost and oil temperature gauges. AUDIO Custom boot build trimmed in red and black Alcantara; Kenwood double-DIN headunit; Hertz HX250D subwoofer; Hertz HDP5 5-channel amplifier; 2x Hertz MLK 3PA 3-way system; connection distribution block.