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2006 Volkswagen GTI - Hot Wheels

Little Kids Around The World Will Soon Be Playing With A Hot Wheels Scale Model Of This '06 GTI Widebody From Extreme Dimensions.

Feb 28, 2007

Now that you've examined Tein's creation, here's another flavor of Mk5 styling to sweeten your palette. This '06 GTI 2.0T, conceived by Extreme Dimensions and Hot Wheels, was first introduced In The Garage in the 11/06 issue. We've included the original rendering from that issue to show how closely it resembles the real thing.

The GTI actually belongs to enthusiast Fausto Merida. Born in Guatemala, he's a programs analyst raised in San Dimas, CA, and the proud owner of this superstar car.

He used to run an automotive e-zine for several years, covering the entire import community, but he's still fairly new to the Euro community: "I got into the Euro scene when I bought my '02 Audi A4," he explained. "I met Brian Joe of TWC (et 7/06) and he helped me start modding the A4. I had some Oettinger RZ wheels, an Abt body kit, GIAC chip, exhaust and intake. I did everything when I first got it but then stopped. Most of my friends kept going but the A4 remained my daily driver.

"After some time, I sold the Audi and got a Honda S2000, but it was too small so I bought the GTI. At first, I didn't want to modify anything except maybe wheels and suspension, and that was supposed to be it! Then I started talking to Leigh Guarnieri at Extreme Dimensions and discovered he needed a GTI for Hot Wheels and SEMA."

Leigh is the marketing director, sponsorship coordinator and special projects manager for Extreme Dimensions (ED) - a manufacturer and distributor of aerodynamics for all types of vehicles including Japanese imports, trucks and now Euros. Because Leigh's responsible for project cars and prototype products, the outcome for Fausto's GTI was inevitable: "We've worked with Hot Wheels before, building a Mustang, Civic and other cars that eventually become Hot Wheels toys," Leigh stated. "What usually happens is Hot Wheels approaches us with a drawing, I make the final decision on the design, we build the car and it becomes a toy six to eight months later. In this case, I came up with a rendering for the GTI because the Mk5 was a new, upcoming car. Hot Wheels gave the okay and came back with sketches from its design studio."

With the design finalized, Leigh had to decide whether the kit would be fabricated from carbon or fiberglass. "The widebody was originally going to be carbon to promote our other company, Carbon Creations," he explained. "However, we were already showcasing a Honda Fit with a full carbon body at SEMA. We realized we didn't have anything to represent our fiberglass product lines, so at the last minute we built the GTI in fiberglass."

When it was time to build the prototype on Fausto's car, Leigh handed the designs to the ED bodyshop and the crew began work. Unexpectedly, it looked nothing like the renderings. "It was a disaster!" Leigh remembered. "I saw the progress on the car the next day. There were only three weeks before SEMA and we had to finish it. I started removing all the bondo and laid cardboard over the entire car, then poured foam over it. I then used sandpaper to shape it like a sculpture. It took me 18 hours of sanding to get the shape right. We then laid fiberglass over it to make molds."

The molds were used to construct the eight-piece fiberglass kit, including the front and rear bumpers, side skirts, front fenders and rear quarter panels. The fenders were an impressive 5" wider on all four corners.

The final production pieces arrived only ten days before SEMA, at which time the GTI went to Sleeprz Custom Car for the molding work and paint. Sleeprz took the opportunity to shave the door handles. BASF white paint was then applied, with the roof and mirrors finished in black.

Eurp_0703_11z+2006_volkswagen_gti+concept Photo 11/14   |   2006 Volkswagen GTI - Hot Wheels

With time crunching down, the exterior still needed goodies from Carbon Creations. There was a carbon tailgate, rear wing and hood to come. "We had to make the hood fit both our widebody as well as stock cars," Leigh said. "We added 1.5" more length over the headlights to create a bser look and make the car more aggressive."

Sleeprz received the parts a few days before the deadline. The trunk wasn't an easy fit because the factory glass needed to be retained in order to keep the defrost functional.

Next on the list were the wheels and tires, and these were also a rush to finish. "It's always hard making custom wheels for a widebody," admitted Leigh. "We were lucky because the plan was to mock up a wheel and check the offsets but the car was delayed. So David Mapp at VIP Modular mocked up a wheel based on our rough measurements. The finished wheels showed up two days before SEMA and fit perfectly. It was dumb luck."

Eurp_0703_12z+2006_volkswagen_gti+interior Photo 12/14   |   2006 Volkswagen GTI - Hot Wheels

The gold VIP Modular wheels measured 19" in diameter and are 10.5" wide in the front, 13" in the rear. All have massive lips - 5" front and 7" rear - to highlight the widebody. After mounting the wheels, Leigh noticed there was room for another inch in the rear but time didn't permit any changes.

A sticky set of Yokohama tires ensure traction wouldn't be an issue with 255/30 front and 315/25 on the rear.

It was time for Leigh and Fausto to finish the remainder of the project. The 2.0T received GIAC software flashed by Torque Factory to increase boost and overall power. Because the car is driven in the California heat, a larger front-mount intercooler was fabricated and fitted by Evolution Racewerks (ER) to cool intake temperatures.

To make the flow of air and gas more efficient, an Injen intake and GHL Motorsport quad exhaust were also fitted by ER. Finally, an HKS Super-Sequential blow-off valve releases excess boost pressure.

There are plans for a big turbo and BDL fuel rail in the future, so stay tuned.

Eurp_0703_13z+2006_volkswagen_gti+front_cabin Photo 13/14   |   2006 Volkswagen GTI - Hot Wheels

Suspension was next and it was another last minute rush. "Megan Racing was suppose to do prototyping on our car, but the car was delayed in the bodyshop when they were suppose to have it," Leigh explained. "Fortunately, they found another GTI to work on, but our shipment of new coilovers from the manufacturing plant didn't arrive in time. Fausto's car was on the lift being worked on, so we took off the stock suspension and delivered it to Megan Racing for a swap."

With hours left before the car was to be transported to Vegas, Evolution Racewerks graciously agreed to install the Megan prototype suspension along with a set of 14" Wilwood big brakes.

We can't forget about the interior. To add contrast, the GTI received lightweight Status Racing Ring seats, manufactured in carbon and upholstered in red suede. ER fabricated custom seat brackets to ensure safe anchorage. Red suede accents can be found on the door panels, rear seats, armrest and trunk floor thanks to fast upholstery work by VIP Modular.

Eurp_0703_14z+2006_volkswagen_gti+side_view Photo 14/14   |   2006 Volkswagen GTI - Hot Wheels

Unfortunately, something has to be sacrificed if everything is last minute, and the stereo components were the victim. But by the time you read this, the stereo will have been completed and the car displayed by Dension USA at the '07 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "It was a last minute deal but Dension is featuring my car in its CES booth to showcase its iPod integration adapter," Fausto explained.

"The iPod display is pretty cool because you can control it on the steering wheel and the song information comes up on the factory radio display. The product will be vehicle specific for this reason."

Alphasonik products will improve the audio quality, including speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers. Audio Innovations in Glendora, CA will complete the fitting. Of course, none of this comes in the Hot Wheels version.

Tech Spec
Fausto MeridaLocation: San Dimas, CA

Occupation: Programs Analyst

'06 Vw Gti
Engine: 2.0 liter four cylinder 16v FSI turbo with GIAC software, Injen air intake, GHL Motorsports turbo-back exhaust, Evolution Racewerks front-mount intercooler, HKS Super-Sequential blow-off valve

Driveline: six-speed manual transmission

Suspension: Megan Racing coilovers and sway bars

Wheels & Tires: 19x10.5" front and 19x13" rear VIP Modular wheels, 255/30-19 front and 315/25-19 rear Yokohama Advan Sport tires

Brakes: RPI/Wilwood 14" big brake upgrade

Exterior: Extreme Dimensions/Hot Wheels front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, front fenders and rear quarters molded to the body, Carbon Creations rear wing, hood and tailgate, shaved door handles, black roof and mirrors, tinted headlamps, indicator lenses and tail lights, Ignited 8000k HIDs

Interior: Status Racing Ring carbon seats upholstered in suede, NRG four-point harnesses, suede interior accents

Thanks: Leigh Guarnieri at Extreme Dimensions, David Mapp at VIP Modular Wheels, Fred Su at Evolution Racewerks, Jim Desmond at Sleeprz Custom Car, Joe Provenzano at Audio Innovations, Nat Tonprasert at Vision Autosport, Jeff Gerber at GHL Motorsports, Jeff Moss at Torque Factory, Brad Best, Brian Joe

Sam Du
By
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