Forum Friday: Homemade Golf R SportWagen

We’ve said it before: wagon people are a unique (and very passionate) group. They drool when any long-roof passes by. Audi S-Avants elicit stares of desire. So what can someone with an Avant-fetish do when their favorite manufacturer refuses to bring the high-performance version of their wagon to the states? Well if you’re VWVortex member 20vTa4, you build your own.

Before we get into the details of this build, we should mention that this is not the first custom wagon 20vTa4 has built. He once merged a MK5 Jetta wagon with a MK5 R, then he built a one-off MK7 Golf GTI SportWagen. And just to be clear, he isn’t just trading bumpers, wheels, and badges. Oh no, he completely disassembles both cars and swaps in everything down to the door panels, Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) magnetic suspension, front and rear parking sensors, and even the headlight washers. And everything works. Amazing.

So how did 20vTa4 tackle building the U.S.’s only MK7 Golf R SportWagen? To start, he bought not one, but two totaled Golfs: a 2016 Golf S SportWagen and a 2016 Golf R. The wagon had some damage to the top of the hood that caused the airbags to deploy, yet the damage was minimal. The R, on the other hand, suffered substantial passenger cage buckling after a rear-end accident, but the mechanical bits were all in great shape.

There are a few other interesting tidbits with this build. First, the S SportWagen is a manual transmission, but the R is a DSG, so this is the first build 20vTa4 was swapping in an automatic transmission. The R was also slightly modified with a CTS Turbo intake, diverter valve, 3″ catless downpipe, and more.

But most interesting is how interchangeable all the parts truly are on an MQB Volkswagen: the only welding was to one bracket. ONE. There were a few other modifications: two holes were drilled in the firewall (there were punch marks from the factory where they needed to be drilled), and a series of nutserts were added for items like gas tank mounting straps. The rest is almost entirely plug-and-play. If you liked Legos as a kid, here’s the adult version.

And if you’re thinking this took years to build, you’re dead wrong. On December 20, 2018, 20vTa4 posted the first images of his two totaled Golfs. And on March 2, 2019, the Golf R SportWagen had an official State of New Jersey registration. That’s only a little over two months. Throw in two holidays and it’s a two-month build. Incredible. Sure there were some details to work out, but the car was completely driveable in around 60 days.

Take a look at the thread for more details. You’ll see some issues along the way: the exhaust and rear valance, the rear Golf R seats don’t have auto-fold mechanics (an ingenious and simple solution was found), and where does one find a black SportWagen headliner?

Now you may ask yourself: Why not start with a 4motion Sportwagen? Well when you pick up two totaled cars for very just a little scratch, and the all-wheel-drive bits are all on one model, it’s cheaper just to transfer them over. Which then begs the question: How much did this cost? Well, 20vTa4 doesn’t reveal his total, but he does say it cost around half of a new Golf R. Nice.

So if Volkswagen won’t give you a Jetta R, or a manual Atlas TDI, or a manual Arteon 4motion (*cough* that’s what I want *cough*), take a look at 20vTa4’s work, and then roll up your sleeves and make your own.