After reading this article, the chance meeting of Arizona resident Greg Longie and GReddy may seem unlikely at best. Nonetheless, its a true story. It all started on the information super highway back in September of 2000 with a posting by GReddy on www.vwvortex.com. The Japanese turbocharging tuner wanted a Golf-based test mule for its 1.8T performance program. With a test vehicle already under development in Japan, U.S. representatives needed a working prototype to display at the upcoming SEMA show. Greg Longie responded back first and offered up his 1.8T powered VW. Only one problem, Longies turbocharged Volkswagen was a Jetta, not a GTI. After a quick call to his local Arizona VW dealership, a new 1.8T-powered GTI was purchased and delivered to GReddy at its U.S. headquarters in Irvine, California. Two months later, Greg arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, to view his Japanese-tuned German hatchback.
GReddy began work on the project just days after taking possession of the GTI. While GReddy R&D engineers were busy under the hood, high-performance suspension modifications were made beneath the car. APEX adjustable coilovers were used in both the front and rear. Aiding in the suspension setup are ABD Racing 25mm front and 28mm rear sway bars along with an upper strut tower stress bar. Completing the high- performance suspension setup are 19x7-inch OZ Racing Superleggera wheels supported by Toyo Tires latest Proxes FZ4 rubber measuring 225/35-19.
With the GReddy R&D engineers still huddled beneath the hood doing surgery, interior upgrades were performed inside the GTI. Coming from Volkswagen with a black leather interior package and power appointments, simple additions were all that were needed. Performance seating was addressed with the addition of Sparco Torino sport seats and matching four-point racing harnesses. For added performance monitoring, 60mm GReddy boost and EGT gauges were installed in view of the driver within the existing factory dash gauge cluster.
Still awaiting GReddy R&D engineers to finish prototype work under the hood, attention was turned to the exterior. Keeping with the high-performance flavor of the project, ABD Racing imported a Reiger RS4-look body kit featuring replacement front bumper, side skirts, and rear valance. The experts at Body Pros in Garden Grove, California, performed color match paintwork on the parts prior to installation, while Vinyl Mayhem of Hesperia, California, was called upon for graphics featuring high-performance company logos and GReddys signature stripe work.
With war-like strategic planning, GReddy unveiled its prototype 1.8T turbo package in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past October in front of industry professionals that gathered for the SEMA show. The heart and soul of this performance project centers around GReddys Mitsubishi-based TD05-18G turbocharger, which features an internal wastegate. Flow characteristics allow for improved performance over the factory K03 setup thanks to an increase in turbine size and design. The prototype turbo package sports a handbuilt stainless steel manifold built in-house by GReddy. The 20v VW powerplant uses oversized RC Engineering injectors for improved fuel delivery. A GReddy Type-S blow off valve, Type 31 front-mount intercooler, Airinx intake, and G2 exhaust system round out the Japanese performance improvements. The 6.3 psi of new turbocharged boost is controlled via GReddys own PRofec electronic boost controller combined with ECU tuning from Garret Lim at GIAC. All said, this award winning VW is now capable of producing 269 horsepower at the wheels all day long on pump gas.
Completed in record breaking time with impeccable craftsmanship, this GReddy-powered Volkswagen represents the first of many Asian-based tuners entering the European tuning scene. For some, the idea of a German car being performance tuned by a Japanese-based company seems taboo, but for true performance enthusiasts, such as Greg Longie and this magazine editor, its a welcome form of high-performance appreciation from the land of the rising sun.