When you first set eyes on a 2004 Volkswagen R32, you may not be overly impressed. After all, it is a Volkswagen and it very much looks the part. That's not to say that Volkswagen is incapable of producing something that is truly unique, but only that it's a lot less likely that this particular company is going to produce something that's highly sought-after by a number of collectors, the venerable Beetle notwithstanding. That being said, there seems to be an entire group of people that genuinely love this car. As a matter of fact, they love it so much that they'll pay virtually any price and do practically anything in order to get their hands on what they consider the perfect example. Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at this car and see why it's appealing to so many individuals.
When you're looking back at any past model of an automobile, the first thing you're going to want to know is some of the basic specifications. How did it perform? What made it unique? In this particular case, you're talking about a relatively small car. As a matter of fact, its curb weight was only just over 3,000 pounds. A lot of people get confused because Volkswagen classified the automobile as a sports car, yet it definitely doesn't look like a sports car in any capacity. It's a two-door, but it's a very small two-door hatchback with a small wheelbase. If anything, it looks like the company decided to go more the economy car route as opposed to making it a sports car. However, things start to change once you realize that in this very small car (with its very low curb weight), Volkswagen placed a 3.2 L V6 engine that was capable of producing a whopping 240 horsepower. That's quite a lot in any automobile, but especially in one that's this small. As a matter of fact, some people that have driven the car have equated the power produced by the engine to something like riding a rocket ship. That's probably a fairly accurate analogy, especially when you consider the fact that the car weighs so little.
Couple that with the six-speed manual transmission, and you are genuinely in total control as the driver of this automobile. You get to decide when to shift gears and that in turn means that you're getting the most power to the wheels to get you where you want to go, provided you know how to operate a stick shift successfully. Perhaps the most surprising thing here, other than the fact that this is indeed a sports car, is that it doesn't really get terribly great gas mileage. In fact, it's only capable of about 26 miles per gallon. It makes sense when you stop and think about it, largely because it produces so much horsepower. After all, a V6 that's capable of producing that much power is going to be quite thirsty. It doesn't tend to surprise people that are really familiar with the car, but it does catch people off guard who don't know what they're actually looking at. Someone that isn't aware of what this particular automobile is capable of takes one look at it and assumes that it's something their grandmother would drive back and forth to the supermarket. It might look like that, but this car is definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The Craze for Collectors
At this point, you probably have a slightly better understanding of why some people genuinely fell in love with this car. In case you're considering picking one up for yourself, you're also probably wondering just how plentiful they really were. Volkswagen made some interesting choices with this car, not the least of which includes making 5,000 of them in 2004 alone. After that, they didn't produce this particular model again until four years later, for the 2008 model year. At that point, they once again produced the exact same number, 5,000 examples. Perhaps that's one of the reasons that collectors go so crazy for the 2004 model. There were definitely a fair number of examples produced, but they were only produced for a couple of years and then phased out. That fact alone makes these automobiles something special.
The Bottom Line
Collectors can be a rare bunch, regardless of the particular item in question that is being collected. For example, they have a tendency to be willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money in order to get their hands on the item that they're searching for, even if it doesn't really make a lot of sense to anyone else. These cars are somewhat rare, but it's not impossible to find one in decent condition. As a matter of fact, one that is in decent shape can usually be found for somewhere around $15,000. However, collectors have been known to pay as much as $62,000 in order to get their hands on one. A lot of people would think that a person who is willing to pay upwards of $60,000 for an automobile like this is slightly insane, but to each their own.
These days, there are still a fairly decent number of these cars on the road, although they certainly aren't as plentiful now as they were in years past. It's hard to believe that this car is not all that far off from being 20 years old, hence the reason that the driveable examples are solely dwindling. If you want one, you should still be able to find one but you might have to do a little bit of work on it after the fact in order to make it truly your own. One thing is certain, people that aren't aware of what this little car is capable of will continue to underestimate it based on its appearance alone. Perhaps that's the very thing that makes it so much fun to drive.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith