Ahead of VW sending the I.D. R electric race car to set a new record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the German automaker completed a restoration of the twin-engined VW GTI that entered the 1987 running of the famous event. With the hard work done, VW apparently decided to have a little fun with the bizarre machine by entering it into the 2018 Eifel Rallye Festival in Daun, Germany.
Most all-wheel drive vehicles use a system of differentials, clutches, or other sorts of couplings to route power from the engine to both axles. Volkswagen decided to do something very different with this GTI race car (gallery below), though. Up front, there's a longitudinally mounted turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder, and there was an identical power plant at the rear. In combination, they produced 644 horsepower. Despite having two engines, the driver only had to manage a single throttle pedal, and there was only one gearshift to change cogs. This whole setup sat inside a tubular chassis, and plastic body panels contributed to a vehicle that weighed just 1,020 kilograms.
During the recent restoration, VW's team detuned the engines to produce a total of 494 bhp for greater reliability by putting less stress on the powerplants.
Gallery: Volkswagen Golf GTI Twin-Engine Pike's Peak Car
VW also brought a second twin-engined GTI to the Eifel Rallye Festival. This earlier car with Digital Computersysteme sponsorship competed at Pikes Peak in 1986. It featured a pair of 1.3-litre turbocharged engines with a total output of 500 bhp.
Since these machines are so rare, neither of their drivers are pushing them too hard. However, it's still a rare treat to see either of them on the move. These GTIs represent a fascinating dead end in the development of rally cars.