We hope it doesn't cause you too much distress when you learn that Mike Meszaros used to own a Ford Mustang. There. We've said it. It's out in the open!
Fortunately, he saw the error of his ways after observing VW crews like Dubbers Inc, Central Florida Euro and WFSU. He knew it was time for change and the German journey began with the purchase of an '03 Audi A4.
Having done his research, Mike thought he knew what he wanted. So over the next three years he put a lot of hard work into the car, making lifelong friendships along the way while pulling all-nighters in a carport in Cocoa, FL.
The Audi was a testbed for all Mike's ideas and eventually he had a bagged A4 on Rotiform BLQs, with an Ultra Sport front bumper and shaved Euro trunk.
But like a forlorn lover, Mike soon tired of the Audi and secretly knew he didn't build it for himself. It was built to please the scene, and a change was in order.
The A4 was returned to stock and traded for the '08 VW GTI you see here. "When I realized the Audi was built for people around me, I decided to build something I'd enjoy. And since I'd always wanted a GTI, I went for it," Mike said.
Since he'd already dabbled with air-ride, the VW would get a static drop on BC Racing coilovers. It was also fitted with classic BBS RS wheels and an OSIR rear diffuser. The potent 2.0T was uncorked with APR stage 1 software and a Carbinio intake. However, this only encouraged Mike to seek more power with a Godspeed intercooler and 3" downpipe. To ensure he was receiving all the available boost, a New South gauge was installed in the center air vent. Furthermore, the exterior had an OEM+ vibe thanks to a Votex front lip and Jetta Wolfsburg grille.
It was following a trip to SoWo 2012 that the BBS would make way for Mike's first set of CCW LM20 wheels. The car would remain in that style until one hot July day in South Florida when a manhole cover would rip off the front bumper and trigger the passenger airbag in a cloud of dust and broken dreams.
The situation looked grim for Mike but the GTI was taken to good friend Ken Nelson at European Performance & Repair to assess the damage. It certainly needed some TLC and would eventually emerge with a new subframe, dashboard and Rabbit front bumper.
"I always loved the Mk4 VW GTI but the MK5 had that big grille so the Rabbit bumper cleaned it up," Mike explained. The bumper also got a Votex lip and the GTI instantly became a wolf in Rabbit's fur.
The next concern was to ensure the GTI never had the chance to meet a manhole cover again. Enter EuroSpec Motorsports with Air Lift struts and V2 management.
The Air Lift air suspension wasn't cheap, so Mike parted with his CCW wheels in order to pay for it. He would buy some Land Rover wheels as a temporary replacement.
It took the help of good friend Mac Herron and a long night to get the GTI bagged with a black aluminum tank and custom copper hardline setup.
The addiction we all suffer from was taking hold and one mod led to another as Meszaros changed wheels, bumpers, tail lights, and almost everything else before the concept was complete. The Land Rover wheels were sold and AMG Aero 1 wheels took their place. The massive rollers required a visit to Clay Dean at De' Caudella's Custom Refinishing for some fender assistance and to refresh the paint.
When Mike returned to the shop a few weeks later, the VW GTI was wider, lower and had fresh paint on the rear quarter panels and front lip. But with SoWo 2013 around the corner, the decision was made to improve the interior.
The first thing to change was the seats, with an email to Cipher Auto to order its Euro Racing seats in black with white stitching. He also got an Auto Power roll-bar, which was received as a trade for the leather rear seat. Mac Herron then stepped in again to help construct the rear-seat delete in time for the big show.
Rather than inspire Mike, SoWo left him restless. So he decided the AMG wheels had to go, along with the OSIR diffuser, which was replaced by a European-spec TDI rear bumper that concealed a 3" turn-down tailpipe.
Mike found another set of BBS RS but these wouldn't last long, being traded for the gold CCW LM20 wheels seen here. Measuring a healthy 17x9.5" front and 17x10" rear, they fitted perfectly under the widened fenders.
Like a man with an impossible itch, the GTI was sent to Collin's Upholstery in Melbourne, FL where the door cards and armrest were refinished in a carbon weave material with white double-stitching to match the Cipher seats. "I'm not a huge fan of carbon fiber," Mike told us, "but I wanted something different to help set it apart from other Mk5s."
The final piece to the puzzle was a '12 VW Beetle steering wheel, which similarly received a carbon weave center.
And that brings us up to date. Mike Meszaros is truly happy but we have to suspect this won't be the end of the build. However, he wanted to point out that none of this would have happened without the help of Mac, Michael, Charlie, Jesse, Clay and Ken. "It was because of these guys the car looks this good. Without them, I'd have been lost," he explained. And that's what makes the VW scene so special - it's all about enjoying the cars and making great friends.
2008 VW GTI
Engine 2.0L four-cylinder 16v FSI turbo with APR stage 2 software, Forge Twintake, Godspeed downpipe, custom 3" cat-back exhaust
Drivetrain stock DSG transmission
Suspension Air Lift XL Slam kit, double billow rear bags, custom hardlines, five-gallon air tank, Dorbitz sway bar brackets, FK sway bar end-links
Wheels & Tires 17x9.5" ET25 f, 17x10" ET19" r CCW LM20 wheels, anodized gold, 205/45 R17 Falken ZIEX ZE512 tires
Exterior OEM VW Rabbit front bumper, VW Accessories lip, European TDI rear bumper, rolled front fenders, pulled rear fenders
Interior Cipher Auto Euro Racing seats, Auto Power roll-bar, New South Performance boost gauge in center vent, carbon weave cloth and white double-stitching on 2012 Beetle steering wheel, door cards and armrest, rear-seat delete, hardwood trunk floor
Thanks Lauren Nolte, Michael Wood, Jesse Sardina, Charles Devine, Mac Herron, Collins Upholestery, De Caudella's Custom Refinishing, EuroSpec Motorsports, Euro Performance & Repair