Some '04 VW Golf R32 history

The first time I heard of the 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32 was in March 2004 while looking around in the forums at VWvortex. The posts I read were all positive and excited about the R32's impending (some areas received it earlier than others) arrival and although I took what I read with a grain of salt--given that Vortex is populated by VW enthusiasts, after all--their collective enthusiasm was still enough to peak my interest.

I was happy and satisfied with my 2003 1.8T GTI but I thought, hey, I don't have important plans this weekend, maybe I'll see if I can test drive a R32. And that, as the saying goes, was all she wrote. In a matter of days my 11-month old GTI was trade-in history and I was re-learning how to drive a manual.

What was it about the R that appealed to me? Well, ignoring the obvious 4-Motion AWD, I'd have to say that it was the fact that the R came out of the box with everything I'd been planning on doing to my GTI, and more so. Better engine and suspension, check. Lowered, check. Body kit, check. It was all there in one complete package that wouldn't have me planning future mods even before I drove it off the lot.

Surprisingly for a car
that was a huge success both internationally and domestically the R32 almost never made it to U.S. shores. VAG originally intended to only make 5000 R32s--none of which were going to be sold in the United States. The R32 only made it to the U.S due to a combination of factors: the lobbying efforts of a small group of U.S. journalists and the large U.S. enthusiast community, plus the fact that Dr. Pischetsrieder wanted to show off the R32, anyway, despite only tepid interest from VWoA and VWoG.

You can read more about the R32's history as it relates to the U.S. market, here--I took this from a post on, as you might have guessed, VWvortex.

Five thousand R32s were produced for the U.S. market to be sold over a two year period. In January-February 2004, the first R32s began to arrive in the U.S. and thirteen months later all 5000 units were sold with little or no advertising.

Not bad, eh?


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