When you see something, you try to identify it, then categorize it and then either pretend to understand it or admit to being clueless. Then something like this comes along: 680-plus hp, four-wheel drive and under 3,000 lbs. Would you file it under "madness" or "genius" or has the fine line between madness and genius just been blurred by four 50-yard strips of soft-compound drag tire?

EIP Tuning has forged a reputation for power on the street and on the strip. It helped introduce Rotrex superchargers to the market and has had more fun with the 1.8T than should be allowed by law. However, it is the venerable VR6, the big block of the VW line that is the company's mainstay. Its engineering exercise is a Golf that has that has been taken to incredible heights. The car, owned by Rich Chavacci, of EIP Tuning, has been the test bed for EIP's staged turbo kit program and has made the rounds drag racing on a nationwide basis, all while retaining street-able performance.

As Chavacci and his crew at EIP gradually developed and refined their VR6 Turbo kit, upgrading it in "stages" and pumping as much as 4 bar worth of boost into the chambers, horsepower figures skyrocketed and the numbers on the timeslips started dropping. Prior to the four-wheel-drive conversion, Chavacci piloted this car down the quarter mile in a scant 11.1 seconds. Spectators of the spectacle later told him that the tires were smoking until he let off the pedal at the finish line, essentially a quarter-mile burnout. He thought about adding wheelie bars, replacing the glass windows with Lexan and going with full slicks to get it into the 10-second bracket, but four-wheel drive had always been his first choice.

To make it work, Chavacci had some contacts in England locate the essential ingredients. They include parts from the coveted Rallye Golf, the Golf Country and the A3-based VRSynchro sold in Germany. The most complete section consists of the Rallye Golf's rear driveshaft, viscous coupling, differential and independent suspension. To make that fit, the gas tank was removed and part of the spare wheel housing had to be cut away. A racing fuel cell now sits under the hatch.