Prototype Golf Mk3 A59 Rallye3 min read
Now in its 13th year, the festival of classic cars and motor vehicles was once again a colourful automobile garden party. Thousands of cars from almost 120 years of automotive history assembled in the well-kept castle area: from classic and elegant to sporty and robust, from pre-war precision, production classics, style icons and rare items to racing cars and future classics.
he wide range of vehicles on show in 2018 once again attracted tens of thousands of international visitors to Jüchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Volkswagen brought its own impressive array of cars to Schloss Dyck. Autostadt was well represented at the Classic Days by just short of 40 vehicles relating to the theme ‘Passion, Pace, Performance’. Volkswagen Classic provided a mixture of elegance and rarity, summer driving pleasure and motorsport.
Even connoisseurs of the scene were astonished by one Volkswagen Classic sports car on display in the paddock: it looks like a Golf, and is a Golf – but this Golf looks ready to take on all comers out on the track. And so it was that a curious cluster of visitors was regularly to be seen gathered around this extraordinary Golf Mk3.
Volkswagen used the 1993 rallye Golf Mk3, named the A59, to explore the technical feasibility of an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system. The prototype was commissioned in 1992 by the research and development departments at Volkswagen AG. A Group A rally car was to be developed for Volkswagen Motorsport for the manufacturer’s return to the WRC (World Rally Championship). The concept from Wolfsburg was implemented by sms (Schmidt Motorsport) in Cadolzburg.
The appearance of the Golf Mk3 leaves one in no doubt that this is a sports car: wheel arch extensions, extracted sills, bulbous fender flares, side air scoops, ducts and bulges on the bonnet, and a striking rook spoiler. The interior is relatively similar to that of the production model, but a roll bar, digital instrument cluster with various additional displays, and built-in extinguishing system are more clear indications that this is a sports car. With a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine generating 202 kW (275 PS), the A59 was capable of a top speed of up to 270 km/h. A computer-controlled four-wheel drive system, with hydraulically controlled, limited-slip central differential and limited-slip differential at the rear, applied the power to the 16-inch wheels.
The proposed small-scale production of a Golf Mk3 A59 ‘Rallye’ did not take place. In the end, only two prototypes were made – only one of which was driveable. As a unique specimen, the A59 is a rarity per se. However, its outing at the Classic Days was also its comeback: the A59 had lain still for years, and was now returning to action out on the track for the first time since its major overhaul.