There are seven trillion (that's nine zeros for those counting) internet users worldwide. That's a ton of online daters, gamers, too many kitten searches and plenty of LOL, SMH and WTF. And this VW GTI owes much of its existence to the web...
"Blue hadn't been available since the Mk4 GTI and because I missed it so much, I drummed up tons of signatures through an online petition in the hope of getting VW of America to bring back the blue paint for the Mk6 GTI. I even went so far as to say I'd buy one if VW made the color available!" Stefano Tringali told us.
Whether VW heard the cries will forever be part of web lore, but Tringali put his money where his mouth was and bought a Shadow Blue GTI of his very own. Actually, he initially leased it, but later had no choice but to buy it...
"I was originally content to add coilovers and wheels but then I heard that a good friend was selling his air-ride and, as they say, the rest was history," Stefano continued.
Speaking of history, regular readers might remember this Mk6 from EC 12/12 but it's changed significantly since then. "I get bored easily," he laughed. "I just can't leave things alone. But after the last round of mods, I was finally happy with it."
If you recall the first feature, the VW GTI retains its Air Lift XL front and Firestone rear air components with Tokico shocks, dual compressors and V1 management. It also has the custom rear valance with VW Touareg exhaust tips and, well, that's about it.
"Before the first round of GTI mods, I was content to keep it light so I could return it to stock when the lease was up. But after the addition of air-ride, everything changed."
The VW Golf R front bumper would spawn a second round of upgrades. "I fell in love with the 'R' bumper and had to have it. But once it was shaved and installed, suddenly the side skirts looked odd," he said.
So it was out with the old and in with the new. The previous Thunder Bunny skirts were traded for Golf R parts and, at the same time, he decided to take the leap he dreamed of since day one. "I always wanted to add wide fenders, but realized the difference between too much and too little is miniscule. But after careful consideration, I decided to start with widebody front fenders from SRS-Tech," he explained.
To the untrained eye, these fenders look stock, but aficionados will note that while they preserve the factory VW GTI lines, they're 1.5" wider.
At that point, the rear flanks were now puny, so Danny Colavecchio at Slammered Inc in Davie, FL cut and pulled the rear metal by 1.5" for a more uniform look.
Another cool touch is the carbon fiber rear diffuser, sourced from a Japanese company now reportedly out of business. But it houses a pair of triangular tailpipes imaginatively taken from the VW Touareg.
With an exterior this sweet, the interior had better be as good. "Kip Love at Love's Trim Shop in Georgia did the peanut butter leather interior with custom stitching and color-matched interior trim. It also matches the air-ride display in the trunk that has peanut butter and copper accents," he explained.
You'll also notice that the infamous penny trunk lining remains - a feature that got Stefano so much attention when the car first appeared on the scene.
You might imagine that the stance and widebody would be Tringali's favorite aspects, but you'd be dead wrong. "Stepping up to the APR K04 turbo kit was a night and day difference from the previous stage 2," Stefano explained. "It was startlingly quick and easily my favorite mod because it made the car so much fun to drive."
You see, Tringali might have constructed a show-winning Volkswagen, but it was built to be driven. "I put 65000 miles on the Mk6 in three years, hitting SoWo three times, H20 twice, Euro Tripper and a ton of local shows," he explained.
If you've noticed the past tense, it's because Tringali decided to part with the GTI after three glorious years. "I sold it to another enthusiast in Oregon who loves it and although I recently bought an '05 VW Rabbit as the next project, I still miss the GTI," he said.
When asked what he missed most, Stefano admitted it was simply driving it. With its big turbo and widebody styling, there's no escaping the fact that any Volkswagen, no matter how different they might be, is still a driver's car.
2010 VW GTI
Fort Lauderdale, FL
2.0L four-cylinder 16v FSI turbo with APR K04 big turbo kit, Forge Twintercooler, BSH cold-air intake, custom 3" exhaust with Magnaflow muffler, 2012 VW Touareg tips, SPM motor mounts, painted engine cover and accents
stock six-speed manual with Spec stage 2 clutch and flywheel
Air Lift XL front bags, Firestone rear bags on custom mounts, Tokico shocks, dual Viair 444s compressors, AutoPilot V1 controller, eight-gallon air tank, quick connector for air tools, notched subframe, front anti-roll bar removed
Wheels & Tires
19x9.5" ET33 f, 19x11" ET24 r VIP Modular VX110 wheels with aluminum faces and chrome lips, 215/35 R19 f Nitto NeoGen, 235/35 R19 r Achilles tires
shaved VW Golf R front bumper and side skirts, SRS-Tech flared front fenders, cut and pulled rear fenders, hood notch filled, badgeless grille, carbon fiber rear diffuser, rear wiper delete, 6000K HID Xenon headlights and foglights, European-spec Golf R LED tail lights, blue-glass door mirrors, color-matched antenna, OEM VW Shadow Blue paint
peanut butter leather retrim with diamond stitching on front and rear seats, door cards, armrest, shift and e-brake boots, painted dash trim, custom-mounted air controller, New South Performance vent boost gauge, penny shift knob, false trunk floor for air components, covered in 2011 pennies
Kip Love at Love's Trim Shop (on Facebook), Danny Colavecchio at Slammered Inc (slammered-inc.com), Alex and Marcela at EuroSpec Motorsports (on Facebook), Steve, Justin, Arie Abrams