The Volkswagen Polo was built to deliver sensible fuel mileage to Autobahn commuters zipping their way to work at the same time every morning. This is an engineer’s car. When Volkswagen churned these out, they were meant for average everyday boring Germans to drive home for a rousing evening of gewurztraminer and missionary position. It was a good little automobile, but it was never meant for anything like this. Now it’s a rip roaring zoom machine, ready to shit on your carpet and then punch you in the face.
If you’re not already a fan of motorcycle engines in lightweight cars, you really only need to watch this ridiculously fast Volkswagen Polo climb a hill at nearly 12,000 rpm. Patrick Wendolsky’s Mk2 Polo is a wild little pocket rocket sporting the 160-ish horsepower Yamaha YZF-R1 engine. If you want to go quick in a compact front-wheel drive economy machine, just add a one-liter eater and subtract a whole lot of weight.
According to the folks at Hillclimb Monsters, this machine has been stripped down to its bare minimum for an as-raced weight of just 1212 pounds. That sounds ridiculously light, but consider for a moment that a bone stock Polo weighed about 1773 pounds from the factory floor. That means Wendolsky removed over 550 pounds of dead weight from this car. Factor in that most of these cars had less than sixty horsepower new, and the car’s power to weight ratio has evolved from around 0.033 hp/lb to 0.132 hb/lb, which is supercar territory. Stellar.
And because it’s a race Volkswagen, this machine still likes to pick up the inside rear wheel going around corners at full chat. That just adds to the vehicle’s charm. It is equal parts cutesy and rip-out-your-throat. It looks sketchy as all hell, and for that reason, I love it. You should, too.