Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bakers Dozen Racing Built a Diesel-Powered VW Golf Rally Car.

Baker's Dozen Racing's Diesel-Powered VW Rally Car


I met David Baker of Bakers Dozen Racing in a very peculiar way, and it shows how small this world really is. Stay with me here ...

I have been an active member on YarisWorld.com since 2006, and David's father, Steve, was also a member. Steve and I had the usual forum back-and-forth, and when I started the Subcompact Culture Facebook Page, I noticed Steve as a follower. Then one day I get a message via Facebook from a David Baker. He explains that he's Steve's son, that he follows Subcompact Culture, and that he's moving to Portland, Oregon to take a job at the same place that I work. I could hardly believe it. How small of a world is this place? The answer? Small—especially if you're into cars.

I got to know David and quickly realized he was my kind of "car guy."  He likes the more interesting vehicles (as does his father) and appreciates small cars. After a while as an engineer in the Pacific Northwest, he ended up moving back to the East Coast, which is where he's originally from, to take another engineering job. By the way, to make the world even smaller, he moved back towards the Boston, Massachusetts area, which is where my dad's side of the family resides. So when I was back in Boston last April, I had a chance to meet up with David at his shop in Rhode Island, and see his VW rally project. And this isn't just a VW rally car—it's a diesel-powered rally car.

David didn't want to build the same-old VW rally car; he wanted to try something different, and frankly, an oil-burning VW is certainly different ... and awesome. The MKIII GTI is already a competent starting point and adding the torque of a tuned diesel engine would make for plenty of torque coming out of corners. Yes, this would be awesome and was 5–6 years in the making.

Building the diesel-powered VW rally car

David started with a 1995 VW GTI shell. To this he removed the sunroof, added aero catches, seam welded a host of bits, installed a 10-point Rally America-spec roll cage, and FIA-approved seats and belts. A few other goodies, such as OMP pedal covers and a Navi foot rest were installed for good measure. He uses a raised MKIV shifter, has a 1/4" skid plate, and threw on a set of rally-spec mud flaps to keep the dirt down.

Baker's Dozen Racing's VW rally car

Being a rally car, it'd need a rally-spec suspension. He opted for a Hotbits DT2 rally suspension to which he added Burmeister caster plates. The car uses VR6 plus knuckles and control arms and Wilwood Dynalight front calipers on the brakes. Additionally, he added Golf MK4 alloy rear brake calipers, a hydraulic e-brake, braided lines, and a Wilwood proportioning valve. I can see the Scandinavian flicks already.

Modified AHU TDI rally car engine

Under the hood there resides an AHU TDI diesel engine with a Banchworks stage one chip, a Frozen Boost water-to-air intercooler, PP520 injectors, and a ported and polished head. Other go-fast parts include NĂ¼ral race pistons, a Techtonics 2.5" downpipe, Euro Sport exhaust system, and a 12-row oil cooler. With the extra power, David upgraded to driveline to include a SPEC stage-three clutch, Eurospec Sport lightweight flywheel, and importantly, a KAAZ rally differential.

Rear shot of Baker's Dozen VW rally car

Other miscellaneous bits include roof vents, a GreaseCar EGT/boost gauge, carbon fiber door cards, and a Terratrip rally computer and intercom system.

David says he and his crew are basically a grassroots rally team trying something different. Plus, he's following his dreams and passions by building this. We totally approve.

The car's first race is May 9 and we wish David and his team the best of luck. You can follow along on the Bakers Dozen Facebook Page.

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