Of all the reasons to start modifying your car, crashing it into a cinder block retaining wall has got to be one of the most creative. After deciding a standard collision repair wouldn't fill his needs, owner James Wie decided to take his 2001 Passat full tilt and revise the B5's rather bland demeanor with a show-caliber transformation.
Performance mods within the engine bay are limited but well placed and were installed by the car's owner. The factory intercooler was upgraded to a front-mount SPP unit, along with an SPP Electric Fan Kit (EFK) designed to scavenge additional power from the heavy fan clutch. An ECS underdrive pulley plays a similar role. A Remus downpipe and exhaust help negate backpressure and give the understated VW exhaust note a toothy snarl. The most significant power gains are imparted by a Garrett chip, which remaps boost, fuel and ignition curves to the tune of an additional 47 hp and bumps maximum torque output to 250 lb-ft.
Within the wheelwells, H&R springs and Bilstein shocks were staged to improve a notoriously squishy VW suspension. Axis Milano wheels, sized 8.5x19 front and 9.5x19 rear, wrapped with Falken rubber, 245/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear, comprise the running gear.
Wet Works Garage effected the beautiful exterior paintwork and body tricks, detailing nearly every inch of it while keeping the finished product remarkably subtle. Distractions like the badging and door moldings have been removed and smoothed over. The front bumper now incorporates a smoothed-in airdam and nondescript black steel mesh grille, and a small custom diffuser, almost invisible, was added to the top of the rear window. The pebble-grain surface applied to the lower portions of the factory ground effects has been sanded down completely, and odd cracks and crevices present in the bumpers have been filled and smoothed. Handles from a Mazda Miata have been grafted into the doors, and indicator lights were smoothed into the fronts of the factory mirrors. The paint is a custom concoction mixed to closely resemble BMW Laguna Seca Blue. Paint has even been applied to the engine bay, down to the engine shroud and radiator support.
Within the cockpit, seating surfaces have been skinned in black leather with silver "carbon-fiber look" leather inserts, while the door panels have been stitched with blue alcantara. The dash vents were color matched to the car's exterior, and a pair of Autometer gauges indicating boost and air-fuel ratio were installed on the A-pillar.
The stereo consists of a Sony head unit with integral LCD screen, MB Quart component speakers, two amps that together crank out no less than 1400 watts of power, dual 10-in. Lightning Audio subwoofers, dual Sony LCD monitors in the forward headrests, and a Microsoft X Box. Like the rest of the car, the stereo installation is extraordinarily well mapped and very clean. All the bulky equipment is in the trunk, but unlike a lot of "custom" systems we've seen, this installation leaves most of the trunk storage space completely open for what it was intended-storing stuff.