You Like Supercharger Whine? This VW Polo Has It In Spades
There’s no duet quite like that of a high-revving engine and its supercharger.
As fun as whooshing, fluttering turbochargers are, their sound never quite compares to that of naturally-aspirated or supercharged engines. Their exhaust-scavenging design means that any power and efficiency gains are offset by the loss of character to the exhaust note. If you want boost and sound, though, superchargers never really went out of vogue, and their lag-free provision of boost still appeals to many builders and drivers alike. That's why a German racer, Peter Naumann, fitted his 1.4-liter Volkswagen Polo hill climb car with a supercharger instead of a turbo, and the result is a car that squeals like a piglet being tickled to death.
The engine itself is, according to Naumann's website, chosen in part to comply with Berg-Cup Group H regulations, which applies a 1.4 multiplication penalty to the displacement of supercharged engines, allowing the 1426cc engine to come in just at the top of the class' 2000cc limitations, with a post-penalty displacement score of 1996cc. Penalties and displacement modifiers of this sort were common in motorsport during the '70s and '80s, when forced induction was seen as a threat to naturally aspirated engines. It allowed naturally aspirated and forced induction engines to coexist in a competitive environment.
Weighing in at around 825 kilograms, or approximately 1820 pounds, the 1.4-liter engine, making 310 horsepower at 8,000 RPM, is enough to get Naumann's little front-wheel-drive Polo scooting forward like the piglet trying to escape its death via tickling, and its power-to-weight ratio clocks in at around 341 hp per ton, or the same as that of a Nissan GT-R.
YouTube channel HillClimb Monsters uploaded, with the permission of the owner of the original video, a highlight reel of some of Naumann's supercharged Group H VW Polo screeching up a hill at an event in 2015, and it makes some of us at The Drive consider going on a crusade against turbocharging, just so we can hear more whining like this (though some of The War Zone's articles elicit such a reaction from many Facebook commenters.)
Unfortunately, the uploader of this video states that Naumann is in poor health, and fighting for his life. For the sake of Naumann, and his magnificent Polo, we hope he survives to race again. People and their custom-engineered race cars don't deserve to be so cruelly parted. Godspeed, Herr Naumann.