I was on my way to our local Honda dealership in Hayward, Calif., to buy a new 2000 Civic Si when I noticed a Volkswagen dealer a block prior. I had heard good things about VW's new 1.8T and thought it would be cool to own a GTI, but didn't think I could afford one. Still, I decided to stop and check them out. Driving up to the dealership, a four-door 2000 Golf GLS 1.8T still wearing its protective white stickers caught my eye. After admiring the car from top to bottom, inside and out, I knew this was what I really wanted to own. Fortunately I was able to make it happen. Those sales guys jumped through hoops.
My original plan had been to trick out a Honda- which would not have been all that "original." But now I was well on my way to creating something altogether different with the Golf-and thankfully so as I really didn't want to be the "typical" Asian guy with a fixed-up Honda.
With help from my wife Mina, a number of friends and family, as well as a several shops, including TwoThreeTuning and Kustom Workshop in Pittsburgh, I set out with three goals in mind: Complete the project within 4 years; win the New Dimensions Charity Car Show; and have the car featured in a magazine. All of which have now come to pass.
I've built the car exactly the way I wanted; sporty, comfortable and reliable with clean European accents inside and out. I also incorporated a handful of unique modifications and spent more than $40,000 in the process.
It's a large sum and it took a while to complete since it was done one segment at a time, but I have no regrets. It's my daily driver and I couldn't imagine stepping behind the wheel of anything else.
2000 Vw Golf GLS
SpecificationsEngine Type1.8T, inline-four, 20-valve, turbocharged and intercooled
External ModificationsK03-052 Turbo (K03 Sport f/AWP); Samco blue turbo inlet hose; ATP Super front-mount intercooler kit (tall Spearco core, polished aluminum piping and blue silicone hose connectors); ATP 3-in. turbo downpipe, race pipe and stainless-steel cat-back exhaust; Carbonio 3-in. carbon-fiber cold-air intake; K&N breather filter; HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve and steel BOV flange; Unorthodox Racing Polished Ultra SS lightweight pulleys; ATP polished intake manifold and valve cover; ABD Racing carbon-fiber engine cover, oil cap and water reservoir cap cover; Audi S3 OEM engine cover; Optima Red Top battery
Engine ManagementGIAC 4 1.1 bar chip, GReddy Profec-B SPEC-1 electronic boost controller
Drivetrain ModificationsSachs 228mm Power Clutch disc and pressure plate, and 12-lb lightened flywheel; Audi TT short shifter; ATP polyurethane engine mount bushings
SuspensionH&R Coilovers w/Bilstein PSS adjustable ride height; Neuspeed front strut bar, front lower tie bar, 25mm front sway bar w/adjustable endlinks and 28mm rear adjustable sway bar; Alpha 1 Motorsports Chromoly rear strut bar w/quick disconnect
BrakesECS Tuning Stage IV Porsche front big brake kit (14-in. cross-drilled & slotted/cadmium-plated rotors, Boxster four-piston calipers); ECS Tuning front SS brake lines and Stage 1R rear big brake kit (12.1-in. cross-drilled and slotted/cadmium plated rotors): Hawk Performance HPS front brake pads; Mintex rear pads
wheels/TiresBBS LM 8.5x19-in. two-piece forged, 25mm offset, silver w/polished lip, H&R 8mm/15mm front/rear spacers, Toyo Proxes FZ4 225/35-19
BodyRieger Tuning R-RS styling package w/ABD Racing side skirts; European front rub strip; OEM German front/rear European bumpers; Freedom Design rear upper hatch spoiler; Hofele rear hatch blend, Kamei front sport grille; Kamei carbon-fiber door grip shells; Hagus M3 mirrors, DTM Autohaus carbon-fiber hood; Sparco steel hood pins, In-Pro E-code projector headlights w/HID conversion kit; Bonrath single-wiper conversion, Hella European taillights; MHW smoked side markers; ECS Tuning foglight wiring kit; Bonrath front splitter w/adjustable stabilizers; Polo OEM rear wiper
InteriorSparco Torino seats w/sliders; Sparco clubman three-point double-buckle harnesses; MOMO 320mm steering-wheel hub adapter and shift knob; Teniq Autosport Race snap-off steering wheel system; Brabus carbon-fiber leather shift boot; Wiechers polished aluminum half rollcage; Audi TT pedal assembly and dead pedal; Alientech remote window controller; ABD Racing SS door sills & silver gauge faces; MHW chrome gauge rings, Autometer C2 air/fuel gauge & dual gauge pod pillar mount; A'pexi Mechanical Indiglo boost gauge; HKS Type 1 turbo timer; Polarg blue front door lights, Broadway 240mm rear view mirror
Audio/i.c.e.Alpine CDA-9807 head unit; Alpine TUA-T020 XM tuner; Clarion Monsoon sound system w/eight speakers and 200w amp; Blaupunkt DVD/MP3/CD-R player; Clarion TVX5653 5.8-in. in-dash LCD screen; dual Rockford Fosgate 250a2 400-watt amps
Performance15.004 at 96.7 mph (1/4-mile)