It’s not too often that I have absolutely no idea what kind of vehicle I’m seeing as I walk the rows of one of the car graveyards I frequent, because even the wildest glue-gun-assaulted art car generally shows some semblance of its original shape. Oh sure, some puzzling English beast (such as an Alvis Combat Vehicle or Hillman Husky) might sneak into a U-Wrench yard now and then, but mostly I see familiar machinery. Today’s Junkyard Gem was a complete mystery at first glance, though.
Once I spotted the Rocky Mountain Rambler 500 stencils (hard to make out on Astroturf but also applied to the interior), I understood more about this car. We saw a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed Acura RL 3.5 that ran the 2000 RMR500, in the same junkyard last fall, and this R32 participated in that event as well.
The R32 is a special-edition, high-performance Golf that should be sufficiently valuable to avoid this fate at age 12, so I was skeptical that I was looking at a real R32 here. The car’s VIN says it’s a real one, which means it started life with a 250-horse VR6 and a six-speed manual… but all the tasty R32 stuff is long gone by now. My guess is that it became a salvage-titled gutted shell, maybe after being stolen, and someone pasted enough cheap VW parts back in to make it a runner.
The Rocky Mountain Rambler 500 features plenty of dirt-drivin’ in pitch-dark Colorado locations, so the team installed this nasty light bar.
The Immortan Joe/Lord Humungus look is strong here.
I couldn’t get the hood to open, so perhaps the original R32 VR6 still lives beneath the faux velocity stacks (though I can’t believe someone would have yanked the manual transmission but left the good engine behind).
It’s green. Very green.
Looking at footage of the RMR500’s route from last year, I can only hope that this car still had its 4Motion system in effect.
Resale value on something like this is low, very low, so I expect to see more RMR500 machines in Denver-area yards.