Water-Cooled VW Performance Handbook
About this book
I tried my best in this book to offer something for each of the many varieties of water-cooled Volkswagen, which is more easily said than done. The first Rabbits were pretty straightforward cars, and the addition of fuel injection gave them tremendous hot-rodding potential. My first water-cooled VW was a 1977 Scirocco, which served as the test bed for many of our early experiments on performance enhancement. The articles about those experiments appeared in VW&Porsche magazine.
I was also fortunate to have met James Sly during this time. (If you’re ever in the Carpinteria area and in the mood for the best food you’ll ever eat, drop by his restaurant, Sly’s, and tell him I sent you.) James had boundless energy for trying new things on his VWs. James was already writing for VW&Porsche magazine, and introduced me to then-editor Greg Brown. Within a couple years, I was working full-time as the technical editor for VW&Porsche alongside editor C. Van Tune. (VW&Porsche has since become European Car magazine.)
As water-cooled Volkswagens evolved, however, performance tricks for previous versions often either didn’t work or had no relevance in the new versions. The newer cars came out with sub-frames, electronic fuel injection, engine management systems (which control both fuel delivery and ignition timing), and other improvements (such as the narrow-angle V6 engine). As of late 2006, water-cooled VWs have been produced with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12 cylinder engines, in vehicles that range from basic to best-of-class.
The sweeping changes we’ve seen in these cars since 1974 make it difficult to fit tuning tips for every water-cooled VW into one book. Therefore, I tried in the 1999 book to offer tuning tips for A1 through A4 Volkswagens, alongside core information that will allow you to evaluate techniques and components introduced after this book was printed.
There is now a 2011 edition of Water-Cooled VW Performance Handbook, which is available on-line, from quality book stores, and VW aftermarket sources.
The first two editions are listed on Open Library if you need to find someplace to borrow or otherwise locate a copy. (They’re not available as e-books.)