With the sound of metal on metal, the door of the by now 31-year-old twin-engined Golf II is unlocked. The smell of the car’s interior is reminiscent of model glue, and of a childhood spent gluing model aeroplanes together. But a brief glance at the seat shell and the countless switches and displays is enough to show that this is a different world altogether. Not a model toy, but a tool, built for one specific purpose: being the fastest and first to cross the finish line at the summit of the legendary Pikes Peak.
Inevitably, images from 1987 flit past my mind’s eye, mixed with the unmistakable roar of the two four-cylinder engines being pushed to their limit and the typical hiss of the turbocharger. The day dream brings me out in goosebumps: sitting in the driver’s cab, where Jochi Kleint sat in 1987, and racing the Golf along a gravel track. The voice of head mechanic Jörg Rauchmaul brings me back to reality.