Ved Kay has owned his Volkswagen MkV Golf R32 for over a decade now, but what started out as simply wanting to add some width to its body turned into an extensive eight-year project in which no stone was left unturned.
I first met Ved back in 2013 when I visited Australia for the first time. I had known about Selectnine and Zen Garage before my trip from Johannesburg to Sydney, so made it a priority to drop by.
At this time, Zen Garage still had a physical space, which was a great place for like-minded people to come and hang out at and talk cars. I met Zen‘s Justin Fox and Ved from Selectnine at the shop, and since then have kept in touch via Instagram.
Ved started his R32’s wide-body conversion back in 2012. Working with the guys from Concept Garage, the plan was to build a one-off kit from fiberglass that would be moulded into the original bodywork to give the Golf an OEM+ look. The main push behind the wide-body was so that Ved could fit a much larger wheel and tyre combination than what the factory fenders allowed.
Given that Ved and Concept Garage were working from scratch, grinding and cutting down the factory fenders, shaping them and then moulding the newly-designed fenders and modified front and rear bumpers in place took a long time.
At the completion of this stage in 2014, the R32 was fitted with the same custom 19-inch Forgeline wheels it wears today. The car was then used as a showpiece, both for Ved personally and Concept Garage as a promotional piece for their new shop.
The Golf remained this way until 2016, when Ved decided it was time to go all out with a number of track-spec performance modifications.
A brake upgrade was first on the list, and as you can see, Ved opted for an OEM parts-bin package – 996 GT3 RS calipers matched to 380mm R35 GT-R rotors up front, and a Porsche 997 setup at the rear.
It took some work to fit the big brakes, and this part of the build was handed over to the guys at Heasman Steering & Suspension who first mocked everything up in Solidworks.
Some parts needed to be machined from scratch, while others – like the VW Passat wheel bearing housings – were modified to suit. Custom brake hats were also required for the 5x112mm wheel fitment.
At first, Ved left the calipers in their OEM red finish, but soon after tried something different with hydro-dipping. Ultimately though, he settled on a custom silver finish with yellow Porsche logos, which I think is by far the best look.Finer Details
As you may know from my recent feature on a sequential-transmission-equipped and 700whp Lancer Evo X built by Powertune Australia, I was back in Sydney over the New Year break.
The Evo shoot came about because of Ved’s car, which was also in the Powertune workshop being finished off. In fact, it was so fresh from going under the knife for some high performance mechanical surgery that it had yet been made road legal again, hence why this shoot happened on-site.
Before I delve into the performance upgrades, of which there are many, let’s take a closer look at the R32’s exterior. The centre section of the bumper which extends up into the grille area was replaced with a custom carbon fiber piece, and there’s also a new carbon front splitter and side mirrors to match. Headlight eyelids are one of those love-it-or-hate-it modifications, but I think they suit the whole mean demeanour of this car well.
Looking down the sides of the car shows you just how wide the fenders actually are.
From a rear-on view the wide-body conversion is a little harder to spot, but your eye is immediately drawn to the exposed rear subframe (more details on this in a moment). There’s also a carbon fiber wing and LED tail lights.Engineered Excellence
Shortly after the brake conversion was completed, Ved sat down with Chea from Powertune Australia to work out a plan of attack for the engine and drivetrain. The idea was to over-engineer everything so that it’d last out on track, so while Ved asked for 350kW at the wheels (470whp), the car has been built to support 500wkW (670whp). Boost was required.
As you’d expect, the engine underwent a complete rebuild using some of the best gear available for the application. There’s 9.0:1 Mahle Motorsports forged pistons, Carrillo forged connecting rods and a balanced crankshaft in the Bar-tek girdle-strengthened 3.2L VR6 block, while the DOHC 24-valve cylinder head features custom porting, 262-degree cams, and Ferrea valves, springs and retainers.
A key partner in the engine build was HPA Motorsports, and to that end the turbo package is based on HPA’s FTX600 kit for the VR6.
The only real difference between what Ved has and what you get in the 600hp HPA kit is the switch to a custom tubular turbo manifold and some modifications to the water-to-air intercooler. When you open the hood, the visual result is pretty spectacular.
On the cool side you’ll find a Blitz SUS Power air filter, a custom 4-inch intake, and a flex-fuel system that comprises of a custom surge tank, twin Walbro 450lph pumps, and 1,650cc Bosch injectors.
The turbo itself is a large twin-scroll BorgWarner EFR 8374 with twin Turbosmart wastegates employed for boost control. Just check out the work that went into the custom stainless steel manifold.
The custom pipe-work continues with a 4-inch down-pipe running into a 4-inch single exhaust that splits into two tailpipes at the rear.
Other modifications include a custom oil cooler setup, billet engine mounts from 034 Motorsport, and an Ecumaster EMU Black ECU with additional CAN expander.
To cope with the extra power, the R32’s driveline was beefed right up, starting with a DQ500 transmission from a 2017 TDI Tiguan. Not only is this VW/Audi’s strongest DSG box, it has longer gear ratios which are well suited to the turbo setup. Currently, the gearbox is running its stock clutches, but the transmission ECU has been remapped by Etuners to suit the Golf’s torque output and RPM range.
Powertune also added a complete axle-to-axle Golf Mk6 R rear differential setup.
The rear subframe was also removed, refurbished and upgraded along the way. Meanwhile, the suspension features KW coilovers, H&R sway bars front and rear, and SuperPro bushes throughout.Shifting Expectations
Inside, a few upgrades have transformed the space. This starts with a custom half cage built by AGI Australia, a pair of Recaro Sportster seats with Velo harness belts, and an OMP steering wheel.
The most interesting addition is the MME Motorsport WRC-style push/pull paddle shift system. Ved only has his right arm, so this single shifter paddle allows him to manual shift up and down gears with ease – something not possible with the factory twin paddle arrangement.
Eight years is a long time for a build, but in this case it was well and truly worth the wait. Nothing was rushed and everything was planned out well in advance, allowing Ved to complete the process in stages as his budget allowed.
Ved got his car back from Powertune just before Australia’s Covid-19 restrictions were put in place, so hitting the circuit is something that’ll have to wait for now. But I’m sure that when a little bit of normality returns to our lives, Ved will waste no time getting this very cool R32 out for a blast around Sydney Motorsport Park.
Build Photos by Ved Kay