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1999 VW GTI VR6

Cosmic Sensation

Michael Shartsis
Aug 1, 2000
Photographer: Wes Allison

We’ve all got to grow up sometime. It’s inevitable… or so they say. And it seems EricMusgrove’s time has come with the switch from Japanese to German imports. It’s safe to say this SoCal resident has participated in a variety of automotive trends. Early on, young Musgrove wasn’t quite concerned with make or model, as long as it sported a Honda badge. And although Eric was successful in expressing his creative talents, he soon found his foreign car choice the furthest thing from innovative. Tired of pulling up at every stoplight alongside yet another cookie cutter H-car, Musgrove quickly began questioning his Japanese allegiance. His day of automotive reckoning had arrived.

It was in the fall of ’99 when Eric was first exposed to the finer points of German engineering. Volkswagen’s latest incarnation of the Golf had just been released and, as destiny would have it, Eric just happened to live down the block from one of Volkswagen’s largest dealerships, Circle Volkswagen. Having never paid the German carmaker much attention, suddenly something changed. Maybe it was the smooth new body styling, or maybe the proven power of the 2.8L VR6 powerplant had awakened Eric.

Nevertheless, days later the Honda was returned to stock and traded in for a 1999 Cosmic Green GTI. Thus the German tuning adventure began.

Already bitten by the performance bug from his involvement with Japanese sports cars, Eric quickly began modifying his Volkswagen. First stop, Neuspeed located in Camarillo, California. It was there that a full round of suspension enhancements was performed. Installed beneath the Gen IV Golf platform is a set of Bilstein struts/shocks wrapped in Neuspeed Sport series coil springs. Contributing to the improved handling characteristics of the VW are Neuspeed sway bars measuring 25 mm in the front and 28 mm in the rear. Further stiffening the redesigned chassis is an upper tie-bar, also manufactured by Neuspeed. Completing the track-worthy suspension modifications is a set of 19x8-inch Racing Hart C6 Evolution alloys surrounded by 225/35-19 Nitto NT-555 tires.

Engine performance came next. Coming from Germany with a more than adequate six-cylinder powerplant, Eric again returned to Neuspeed for exhaust and intake upgrades. Soon thereafter, Dynospot Racing of Mountain View, California, was contacted for its DSR 256 camshafts and a GIAC-mapped ECU. VW Specialties of Huntington Beach, California, performed the wrench work. All said and done, output to the wheels comes in at 183 hp with torque measuring 172 lb-ft. While still under the hood, Eric decided to enlist the paint talents of WetWorks, located in Stanton, California, for the application of Cosmic Green paint to the factory plastics. Lastly, Eric detailed the engine bay with stainless button-head fasteners.

Moving on to the exterior, Eric returned to the confines of WetWorks. There, the installation of a European front bumper, PS Prestige five-piece body kit, Hagus power side-view mirrors, and MS Design headlamp eyebrows converged. Color-match-painted and precisely installed, the second and final visit to WetWorks was complete.

For the inside of Eric’s GTI, the performance seating services of Sube Sports, located in Huntington Beach, California, were enlisted. Front passenger seating comes from Cobra in the form of reclinable Daytona buckets, while the rear remains stock. For added safety, Schroth Rallye 3 harness belts were bolted in place. Rounding out the Volkswagen’s already cozy cabin is a Legend 5 aluminum dash kit and doorsills, Auto Custom Carpets floormats, MOMO Storm shift knob, MOMO leather shift boot, and a complete Audi TT pedal set.

Last, but certainly not least, was sounds. Installed in the dash is an Alpine CDA-7949 AM/FM/CD head unit atop an Alpine ERA-G320 Digital Audio Processor. For expanded music selection an Alpine CHA-S624 six-disc CD changer was installed. Powering the system is a pair of Alpine amplifiers, an MRV-F407 4/3/2 channel and MRV-T757 2/1 channel unit. For crystal-clear sound reproduction, Boston Acoustics 6.5 two-way separates were employed front and rear, while JL Audio was called upon for ground-shaking bass from a pair of 10W3 subwoofers. Housing the subs is a JL Audio fiberglass tub mounted atop a false-floor speaker enclosure located in the spare tire well. Keeping the current draw constant and everything properly connected is a Lightning Audio 1-farad cap, and Scosche Iced-EFX Interconnect cables. Oh yeah, did we mention Eric performed the entire installation himself? Well he did. And before you ask, he’s not a professional, just an above-average enthusiast with a keen eye for detail.

So there you have it, Mr. Musgrove’s successful transition from Japanese to German import car tuning. He never missed a beat, and better yet, never looked back. Now when Eric pulls up to the stoplight, he not only makes a truly unique styling statement to the drones of H-powered kiddies but is also capable of leaving them in his wake of German performance.

By Michael Shartsis
38 Articles

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