Steve Brown's Memere and Pepere are the ones really responsible for this car. After all, his grandparents are the ones who co-signed the loan when the young sailor returned home after his first few months in the Navy. Now, 6 years later, they probably wouldn't recognize the little 2-liter.

On the long trip south to Virginia Beach from his native New Hampshire, Brown "blew a transmission out near Baltimore-and that's when the project started." A friend in Virginia suggested he contact nearby New German Performance for the tranny repair. Since Brown also "wanted a Volkswagen that would spank-up on all the Hondas down here in Virginia Beach," where the operations specialist is now a Navy instructor, he started looking at options for more power. The kindred spirits at NGP were more than happy to help Brown on his search. With the now-famous 1.8t engine still just a gleam in a German engineer's eye, "Ed and Dave convinced me to do a 2.0 turbo instead of a VR6 swap," he said. "We decided to do something different."

First up was a New Dimensions turbo kit (155 bhp and 175 lb-ft at 8 psi), but Brown soon felt the need for more power. An SDS stand-alone engine management system boosted the output to 174 bhp and 193 lb-ft at 10 psi, and "that's when it all came together," said Brown.

About this time Brown went through his "The Fast and the Furious" show-car phase. The Golf sported TSW Hockenheim wheels, a big Strictly Foreign front bumper and lots of yellow trim bits in both the engine bay and the interior. In the end, Brown realized, "It wasn't what I was looking for; I didn't really like it, so we decided to change it over to the 'Euro' look. Once we put the three-piece Schmidt Modern Line wheels on, 8.5x16 in. in front and 9x16 in. in the rear, wrapped in 215/40-16 Continental Contact Sport tires, the bumper sat on the ground like a plow."

Then the Navy stepped in and inadvertently helped the project along. A long deployment to the Persian Gulf provided the time and the money (where are you going to spend it in the middle of the ocean?) and opportunity to leave the car at the tuners for another round of modifications. After a few months at sea, Brown returned to a car transformed.

New European bumpers and fender flares were in place front and rear, connected by R+A M3-style side skirts. MkIV-look headlights fit snugly in a Mattig "Bad Look" grille and were complemented by ZKW fogs nestled in a Euro front airdam. A New Dimensions scoop was carefully integrated into the hood to feed the ND intercooler below; a shaved rear wiper, alloy antenna mast and Mattig DTM mirrors completed the body mods.

By Tim McKinney
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