Over the years, we’ve seen countless modified Volkswagen Golf GTIs, many of which have been built with a style focus. But every now and then, someone builds one up with a big power goal.
Craig Czank is one of those people. As a drag racer he craves power, and the answer to most of his problems is to add more of it.
You might remember the story I did on Craig’s man cave here in South Africa last year, and if you look back at that and the cars in his collection, you’ll see that his power addiction is quite serious. There’s everything from American muscle to loads of bikes and Japanese cars too.
Craig also has a Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI that he built for his son, and it’s this car I want to share with you today.
On the outside, things have been kept simple. Adding bodykits can actually make these cars looks cheap and nasty really quick, so I’m fully on board with Craig’s thinking here.
That’s not to say it’s completely stock, though. The large VW badge on the grille was removed, which also necessitated smoothing the front edge of the bonnet out, and an aftermarket front lip was added to the bottom of the bumper. You’ll also notice some yellow detailing, including a colour change for the GTI badge.
On the sides of the Golf, the most noticeable visual change is the dark grey decal with attached performance parts shopping list, but Craig has also upgraded the mirrors with carbon fiber covers and yellow indicators, while the side skirts were colour-matched to the exterior’s Reflex Silver Metallic paint.
The GTI sits nice and low thanks to coilover suspension, which also help the 2-piece BBS Speedline wheels fill the arches nicely. They come in at 19×9-inches and are wrapped in 225/35R19 Achilles ATR Sport rubber. Braking performance has been improved through Mk6 Golf R (6R) discs and calipers at all four corners.
Completing the visual modifications is an aftermarket hatch wing, Golf R32 tail lights, along with an R32 rear bumper fitted with a carbon fiber diffuser.
Under the hood sits the most important part of this car – an EA113 engine from a 6R. This is basically the same unit the MkV GTI came with, but features a reinforced block, redesigned cylinder head, uprated pistons and connecting rods, and high pressure fuel injectors. Craig’s 6R engine benefits from Wossner forged pistons and Carrillo forged rods, and the crankshaft was knife-edged and heat-treated. Up top, the head was ported and fitted out with Ferrea valves and springs before being bolted back down with ARP hardware.
The engine’s internal upgrade makes perfect sense when you learn that Craig was looking to more than double its output, which also explains the Garrett GTX3076R GEN II turbocharger chosen for the build. All the supporting mods are in the mix too – a large front-mount intercooler, Integrated Engineering intake manifold, an Audi RS4 fuel pump and injectors, plus Audi R8 coils.
Tuned through an EcuTek and running a 50/50 mix of 95RON fuel and ethanol, plus water/methanol injection, the GTI sees anything from 500 to 600hp at the front wheels dependent on boost level. To get that power reliably to the ground, Craig is running a Golf 6R 6-speed manual transmission with shot-peened gears, a triple-plate Tilton clutch, and upgraded driveshafts.
Inside, the first thing that catches your eye is the bright yellow custom bolt-in half-cage that does away with the Golf’s rear seat. For the driver and passenger, there’s 6R Recaros and TAKATA Racing harnesses.
The MkV GTI might have been around since 2004, but it’s still a very popular enthusiast model. For a 16-year-old car, I think it’s really aged quite well. Craig’s Golf is not over-complicated; it’s got a few subtle styling additions, a well built motor, and a recipe that’s proven to work.