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Jeff Campbell mixed his paintwork experience with track passion to create this unique 500hp R32 turbo treasure.



We recently attended the SoCal R32 GTG near Los Angeles (see p78) where over 130 R32s gathered from across the US. There were cars of every hue, from Reflex silver, Tornado red and deep blue metallic to Black Magic pearl effect - we witnessed an array of stock and tuned R32s. But in the midst of it all, our eyes were drawn to a white knight - a Candy white R32 turbo, to be exact, with color-matched wheels owned by Arizona resident Jeff Campbell.

It took all Jeff's experience to plan and construct his R32. His VW collection began when he was 16 and purchased a '76 Rabbit. For the next ten years he built more street-driven cars, such as an '83 GTI, '90 Corrado and '01 Golf. He even ventured to the air-cooled realm with a '67 Beetle and '58 Porsche Speedster replica.



This VW experience went hand-in-hand with his bodywork experience. "I was in school and always into cars," Jeff explained. "I started taking auto body courses at the local Votech and while I was in the program I helped out a local body shop, pushing the broom and taking out the garbage. And when I turned 18 my dad told me to get out." This served to accelerate his work and education in the body and paint industry. For the next ten years he painted everything - from collision repairs to JDM swaps to European. He currently manages a paint and body shop in Scottsdale, AZ.



In 2004, Jeff finally reached a position where he could take his knowledge and obsession to the next level. He was tired of working on street cars, since his real passion was the track. And after working countless hours' overtime and saving every cent, he was in a position to buy a coveted R32. "We spend all this money modifying cars, so what better place to start than the R32 platform?" Jeff reasoned. "Instead of building street cars, I can build a car for the track and beat the hell out of it. If it blows up, I can fix it."



So on July 4th he went to the local dealership and traded in his '01 Golf for an '04 R32 in Black Magic pearl. Coincidentally, the '01 Golf had also been repainted, from its original silver to VW's Jazz blue. This time around, however, he painted the R32 for more functional reasons: "I didn't want a black-on-black car with no a/c on the track," he explained. So three months after purchasing it, the car was painted VW Candy white to reflect the desert heat and to give a pure motorsport theme.

Along with the repaint, Jeff took the liberty of modifying the body to tidy the R32's appearance. He added Bonrath's two-bar badgeless grille, but painted it a contrasting black. With no more VW emblem, he filled the hood and front bumper notches to complete the job.
 

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While shaving the bumper notch, Jeff further cleaned the bumper by shaving the side marker lenses in the bumper. He also shaved the trunk lid, removing the rear emblem and handle. Using his hard-earned experience, he then added further contrast by painting the section around the dual exhausts and the B pillars black.



Fitting his car in between paying jobs, Jeff finished painting the R32 six months later with help from Exclusiv Motorsports. "It's funny; I didn't meet the guys from Exclusiv until Dubwars '05 in California, even though they're from Arizona, too. I hooked up with them and right away they helped me yank the motor out and install a new clutch and flywheel. Once the motor was out, I painted the engine bay," he said.



Shortly after, Jeff imported a rare set of OE VW stubby mirrors. The driver's side was green from Japan, while the passenger's was silver from Europe. He painted both black.



 

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He then handed the car over to Exclusiv Motorsports, where they prepared the motor, transmission and suspension for track use. The 3.2 VR6 was already strong, but Jeff wanted more horsepower. So an EIP Tuning stage two turbo kit was installed, complete with a custom T4 Turbonetics turbo. It was mated to a balanced stainless steel manifold and external Turbosmart Ultragate wastegate to regulate exhaust pressure. Jeff also installed a front-mount intercooler but before its installation he opted to paint the core black for a sleeper look.



Exhaust gases exit out a new turbo-back exhaust with 3" stainless steel downpipe and 3" high-flow catalytic converter. The factory software was finally reprogrammed to accommodate the added 17psi of boost. Freeing more power are EIP underdrive performance pulleys.

With around 500hp, the conversion warranted an upgraded transmission and Exclusiv had already installed EIP's single-mass clutch package. This could safely withstand high torque loading and aggressive driving on the street or track.



Putting the power to the ground was going to be more troublesome. He looked to Haldex to upgrade the AWD system with its HPP Sport Controller, which increased torque to the rear wheels before they begin to spin.

Jeff then proceeded to upgrade the suspension components with H&R coilovers. With the new ride height and stiffer dampers, he reduced body roll with a 28mm Neuspeed sway bar in the rear. An Autotech front strut tie bar and Yarrowsport rear stress bar also contribute to chassis stiffness.



 

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Already content with the R32 braking performance, Jeff didn't replace the stock rotors and calipers. Instead, he opted for Neuspeed's stainless steel brake lines and Mintex Red Box pads for improved heat tolerance during severe braking maneuvers.



Up until now, Jeff had confidently tuned each element of his R32, but was more hesitant about the wheel and tire combination. He first tried a controversial set of wheels and waited to see what others would think. "I'd never been on the internet forums until Derek at Exclusiv led me there," he explained. "I then spent three months on the forums and discovered everybody's an idiot. I mean, I used to have blue wheels and did it for pure shock value. It was funny. I saw all these different threads criticizing my car."



 

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The interior was transformed in accord with the track theme. Already race-inspired, the factory seats remained until Jeff spotted a goldmine on eBay - an interior shop in Kansas had two sets of Recaro A8 seats in cloth, one used and the other brand new. A used set typically sold for $3000 on the street. "How am I going to tell my wife I spent $3000 on seats?" Jeff wondered, but after negotiating with the shop owner he purchased both sets and turned the used seats over for a profit. He also sold the factory seats to redeem his wallet and please his worried wife.



The rare Recaros were then given to Exclusiv, where they manufactured custom brackets modeled off Mk3 pieces. OMP street harnesses were added to hold Jeff tight on the track. To improve chassis rigidity he removed the rear seats and mounted an Auto Power four-point rollcage that he painted black.



In Jeff's previous street cars he had orchestrated full audio systems in the trunk and door panels. However, for his R32 track car he was adamant about retaining the factory stereo to save weight.



Jeff Campbell

LOCATION: Phoenix, AZ

OCCUPATION: Paint & Body Shop Manager

2004 VW R32

ENGINE: EIP stage two turbo kit, EIP turbo-back exhaust with high-flow catalytic converter, EIP lightweight pulleys, Haldex HPP Sport Controller, urethane engine bushings, intake manifoldpainted black

DRIVELINE: six-speed transmission, EIP short shifter, lightweight flywheel and street clutch

SUSPENSION: H&R coilovers, 28mm Neuspeed rear sway bar, H&R 10mm spacers (rear), Autotech front strut bar, Yarrowsport rear stress bar, Auto Power four-point rollcage with removable cross and harness bars

WHEELS & TIRES: 19x8.5" BBS CH wheels, 235/35-19 Michelin Pilot PS2 tires

BRAKES: Mintex Red Box pads, Neuspeed stainless steel brake lines

EXTERIOR: shaved hood and front bumper notches, shaved side markers, rear emblem and hatch handle, black exhaust surround, B pillars and Bonrath two-bar badgeless grille, OE VW stubby mirrors, Hella Mk5-look headlamps with black surrounds and HID conversion, JE Design rear wing, Hella Magic Colors smoked tail lights, Hella smoked side repeaters, car painted OE VW Candy white (LB9A)

INTERIOR: Recaro A8 black/grey seats on Exclusiv brackets, OMP harnesses, rear seat removed, VW center armrest in black leatherette

AUDIO/VISUAL: none

THANKS: My family and Exclusiv Motorsports
 

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very nice !!
 

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Thats stunning! I reckon only in america would you retain the centre armrest on a track car lol!
 

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I began reading this thinking Very Cherry had written it after attending the Socal R32 GTG until I read the part which said (see p78) or similar :)
 

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That looks well 'ard!

Love what he's done with the matt black paint on the door mirrors & rear bumper. Simple, but very effective.
 

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This was a fantastic read. This car is the reason I found this site. I am buying a 2004 R32 in the spring and I was looking around and white on white looks BEAUTIFUL!
 

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O yes what a great read and I love it in white , stunning !
 
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