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 |   |  1999 VW GTI GLX
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Yvonne Liu
Aug 1, 2000
Photographer: Darren Proctor

The glitz, glamour, and lights of Hollywood may seem light-years away for many of us, but not too long ago, Bill Mortorff of York, Pennsylvania, tasted the limelight. No, he wasn’t cast as the lead in the next Jerry Bruckheimer flick. Nope, he wasn’t seen sashaying on Sunset Strip with Jennifer Love Hewitt around one arm and Shannon Elizabeth around the other, either (Although rumors are flying about a certain supermodel and Bill.—MAX). But in the world of Volkswagens and aftermarket accessories, Bill’s ’99 GTI was the first to have a turbocharged VR6 engine on the Golf IV chassis.

Innovation, originality, and Benjamins are usually the cornerstones for any project car. Think a film can be produced using recycled actors, the same location, and a $20 budget? Think again. Thankfully, Bill was on the same wavelength with his daily driver. As the executive roducer/director/set designer, it was his duty to make sure every detail was picture perfect. With the help of fellow co-workers at AutoSporTTuning in York, and others willing to lend a hand, Bill’s production was ready to roll.

Alfie Vickers of Homestead, New York, was responsible for the engine build-up, which consisted of swapping out the stock 2.8L VR6 exhaust manifold for one that housed a Garrett T3 turbocharger. To complement the swap, a Spearco water-to-air-intercooler, Blitz blow-off valve, Bell Engineering fuel regulator, and Techtonics exhaust were also added.

Bill, who is described as a pretty calm and mild-mannered but hardcore Euro guy, decided to leave the five-speed manual tranny and the rest of the driveline alone. Instead of opting for aftermarket springs, he splurged and went with KW coilovers, lowering both the front and rear of his GTI three inches. A front antiroll bar was also installed to keep his Golf IV chassis firmly planted.

As in Hollywood, in the world of aftermarket parts you may be able to survive on talent alone, but looks also go a long way. Axxis wheels in a 19x8 fitment with Pirelli P-7000 215/35-19 tires shoulder the responsibility of getting Bill from place to place in rain, snow, or shine. Autotech cross-drilled and slotted front brakes, combined with Mintex brake pads, allow the turbocharged engine to bring the GTI to supersonic speeds and stop in mere nanoseconds (Don’t ask us to time it.—MAX).

To transform the GTI from its small-town origins to leading man good looks, a Caractere body kit, a Caractere and Freedom Design rear wing, and Hella taillights and headlights were outfitted at Buck’s Custom Auto Center. The body kit was also painted locally in Futura Yellow by LeRoy Mortorff, Bill’s father.

But unlike what they say, beauty isn’t only skin deep. Open a door or peek into a window, and you will notice Caractere mats gracing the floors. Further inspection reveals a custom dash by Quality Lasercraft sporting Autometer boost, water, and oil gauges, while an Oettinger shift knob and pedal set complete the interior alterations.

From the get-go, this GTI was destined for stardom, but Bill knew it would take a lot of time and patience on his part to make it shine. With one year’s worth of modifications under his belt, what emerged from his editing room floor is an Oscar-worthy show car capable of leaving many in the dust. Now that’s a wrap.

By Yvonne Liu
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