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1997 Volkswagen Golf GTI - Commute Killer

Wanna Reach Triple Digits Going To Work, Get A Job At 1552 Design

Carr Winn
Feb 1, 2002
Photographer: Philip Royle
0202_eurp_z+1997_volkswagen_golf_gti+side_view Photo 1/1   |   1997 Volkswagen Golf GTI - Commute Killer

1552 Design spent 22 hours in two 24-foot U-haul trucks, with one tractor trailer pulling up the rear, to get from the cold Northeast to Sarasota, Florida. Now they're closer to the beach, they have more work bay room for projects, and they have a convenient strip near their new facility for balls-out testing of their work. Brad uses this strip daily to put his GTI through the motions. His Euro isn't for the new showroom, it's just a way for Brad to do what he loves without worrying about deadlines or F-ups.

Since time wasn't an issue, Brad concentrated on combining a collection of aftermarket goodies that would do two things-look good, and more importantly, truly function. Let's start with the looks.

The exterior is Nimbus Grey, giving the GTI the same feel as the Audi TTs that come from the factory dipped in the same color. The sleeper theme continues with the subtle metal extended flares, filled side markers, and the timely disappearance of the rear wiper and spoiler. The license plate is perfectly framed thanks to a shortened plate opening. And even the bumpers don't fight for attention, unlike every other Mk 2 that Brad seems to come across.

On the inside, the dash is a custom Mk 3 conversion from a '97 Golf. The cockpit is highly modest with a steering wheel from Sparco, a VW golf ball shifter, and the seats are SRDs by Recaro. Now for the heart and soul.

The muscle comes from a '97 VR6 engine with a VW 1.8T airbox and a Techtonics exhaust to enhance the power distribution. Tranny wise, there's a Velocity flywheel, and a Quaife limited-slip differential to handle the GTIs VR6 heart. During workout sessions, Brad rows through the gears with a Neuspeed shift kit. Now, when it comes to keeping the car on the straight and narrow, the chassis also got a couple of Neuspeed goodies.

Neuspeed's 25mm front antiroll bar and 28mm rear antiroll bar add stability, and help keep the Compomotive 16x7.5 wheels and the 205/40-16 Yoks to the pavement. Neuspeed front and rear struts also protect the precious rollers. VW Motorsport adds to the list of mods with A-arms and a rear beam. And in case Johnny law happens to find the 1552 test strip, Brad's GTI is packing Ferado red brake pads, and Neuspeed stainless steel front and rear brake lines.

To me, it isn't the flashiest car-I mean, it doesn't really offer eye candy the way the Euros of Sunset Boulevard. do. But, it screams enthusiast. The guys at 1552 Design all know how to make a car look like it belongs next to a star crib. But, the test of an enthusiast is what connects to the keys in their pocket. In this case, Brad Beardow decided to use his skill to make a daily driver. No need for game systems, DVD players, or some sort of crazy Frankenstein engine transplant. Brad wanted reasonable power, an exceptional power-to-weight ratio, and the suspension and handling to control it. And why creep around at five miles an hour, when you could be hitting triple digits cruising into work every morning. Oh, and one more thing... when it comes to clients, 1552 does care about deadlines and F-ups, why do you think being on time is so crucial?

'91 VW GTI[Driver Specs]Brad BeardowSarasota, Fl

Occupation:Co-owner of 1552 DesignWhy start with an old school platformOlder cars are more fun to build and drive. Not to mention cheaperThis car should gobble up the 11/44-mile, but your tech sheet says 15 seconds, what happened?Easy. I can't drag race for shit.

[Performance Specs]HP: 180 @ 5,800 rpmTQ: 185 @ 4,200 rpm0-60: 6.3 (est)11/44-Mile: 15 secTop Speed: 140 mph

[Tech Specs]Engine:2.8L VR6, VW 1.8T molded air box, Techtonics MK 2 VR6 exhaust, Neuspeed chip, Battery transferred to rear

Transmission:Quaife LSD, Neuspeed shift kit, Velocity clutch, Velocity Flywheel

Suspension:Koni adjustable coilovers, Koni struts/shocks front and rear, 2.25-inch drop, Neuspeed 25mm front antiroll bar, Neuspeed 28mm rear antiroll bar, Neuspeed front strut brace, Neuspeed rear strut brace, VW Motorsport A-arms and rear beam

Wheels & tires:Compomotive 16x7.5 MO wheels front and rear, Yokohama 205/40-16s front and rear

Brakes:Ferodo Red pads, Neuspeed stainless steel brake lines front and rear

Bodywork/lighting:in.pro. crystal clear 7-inch lights, metal extended flares, filled sidemarker, rear wiper and spoiler removed, shortened plate opening with lock upside-down, exterior painted Audi Nimbus grey, side molding and holes filled, exhaust cut out and filled, hidden exhaust tip, Euro bumpers

Interior:Recaro racing seats up front, custom MK 3 conversion dash from '97 Golf, Sparco steering wheel, VW golf ball shifter, back seat removed

Mobiletronics:None

Props/shout-outs/mad love:Eurotech of Tampa, Jason Reid (best body man in the biz), Elliot, Greg, and Chester

By Carr Winn
6 Articles

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