Home Volkswagen Engineering and Motorsports VW Volkswagen Sport Tuning
VW Trends - October 1999

This fresh look at watercooled Volkswagen performance is packed with wise guidance for those seeking to improve their cars. Sections cover vehicle systems such as suspension, wheels and tires, brakes, intake, ignition, exhaust and the driveline.

The book begins with an overview of the subject and then makes recommendations for a variety of intended vehicle uses, from grocery getter to dedicated race car. Per Shroeder emphasizes basics of modification with an eye toward thorough preparation of the total vehicle. He is well qualified, as he has won a regional championship at SCCA’s Nationals in Solo II autocross competition.

Generally, Volkswagen Sport Tuning deals with cost-effective street-oriented modifications and those suitable (legal) for relatively restricted racing classes, including Stock, Street Prepared, Showroom Stock, and Improved Touring. As a result, there is not a lot of information on high-dollar setups such as turbos, dual carbs and aftermarket EFI. The goal is clearly stated to be real, proven performance for street and track, not the mere apearance of performance.

The reality of budget constraints that most enthusiast face is not forgotten, either. The advice is practical, including detailed, VW-specific tips on what to look for when purchasing a car. On the balance between theory and "what works, what doesn’t," it leans strongly toward the latter.

Information provided in this book is gathered from the author’s considerable experience from respected tuners, and though there are actual advice and product recommendations, these are sure to be disputed by some and should be taken as the opinions of the author, not of the Deity. This is especially true of recommendations for vehicles that are to be used for competition. Volkswagen Sport Tuning should not be used as a substitute for an SCCA rulebook, which is a truly educationala read in itself. Also, some "rule-bending" tips are given purely as information, not recommendations, with the understanding that they are already well-known by those who practice and police them. Volkswagen Sport Tuning reflects changes in the VW enthusiast scene that have come about in recent years, so there is not a lot of detailed technical information on rebuilding engines and transmissions. Hand in hand with stricter enforcement in most areas of laws regarding modifications, the availability of high-performance, thorougly engineered powerplants from the factory, has generally made it both cheaper and easier to swap in a newer, more powerful engine than to rebuild whatever came in your car for high-performance duty.

Volkswagen Sport Tuning is an up-to-date treatment of its subject matter. It is my guess that this volume will age well, as it is based on decades of experience and development. Dating, as it occurs, will likely be by the rise and fall of specific products rather than changes in general practice. The latest iteration of the Volkswagen chassis, the Golf and Jetta IV and New Beetle, is evolutionary, so much that is in this book should apply to these cars. If you are serious about modifying your VW, Volkswagen Sport Tuning is an excellent primer."