Remember waiting for your mommy to pick you up from the playground? You clutched the monkey bars, glancing into the parking lot for the ol' Caravan, but only found every other mom and their minivan, SUV or family sedan waiting to collect your classmates. For Tina Elledge's two kids, they look forward to the arrival of their diehard VW enthusiast mother driving either a 316whp two-tone Mk3 Golf VR6 turbo or a candy-painted Mk1 Cabrio VR6 on airbags.
Is it too late to be adopted?
Tina's passion for modifying started at an early age. "At 13, my dad had a Chevy Corsica and one day I took our home stereo apart and wired the speakers into his car. I just love doing things that aren't supposed to be done. I love seeing the expression on people's faces when they go 'wow, is that the same car?' The idea of turning something worn out into something different makes me happy."
Although ripping apart the home theater may have not been the best idea, it did spark a creativity that would lead to her obsession for VWs. "I started getting into VWs when I met my husband in '91. He had a Bug and the first VW we built together was a '87 GTI. Other than that, I've had three Mk1 Cabriolets, a Mk2 Jetta and we're rebuilding a '69 Bug."
Tina's success was heavily supported and influenced by her husband, David. "He was always into cars," she explained. "When I was in high school, he was working as a painter's assistant and we'd often eat lunch together. I'd then help him clean up the cars so I could spend time with him. Once I left high school, his boss knew I was always there so offered me a job as a detailer. I did other jobs in the office as well as paintwork. I then went to work at a Lexus dealership in their parts department. Eventually, my husband became the chief painter and I'm back to working with him as a certified painter. Amazingly, I'm only the second female to be certified in California."
With two professional painters in the family, coupled with VW enthusiasm, it was inevitable the Elledges would produce fantastic work. "We did 99% of the work on the cars from the body to paint, motor and chassis. The only thing we didn't do was the interior. I can sew, but I'm not that good!"
Two-Tone Golf Turbo
Tina's first project is this wondrous four-door '93 Golf VR6. "I painted a BMW bumper and the owner gave me the Golf in return. It was a great trade but the car was just a shell with no interior or motor. So I gutted it, took off the four doors, hatch and hood. I painted it one color, masked it, then painted the other color."
The two-tone still wasn't enough for Tina. "I didn't want regular paint; I wanted something eye-catching, which was why I decided on the gold stripe. I've worked with gold before on custom Harleys but it's a tedious job because you use gold leaf, which comes in notebook-size sheets; a box costs $100. I have $700 worth of gold around the car. I used cotton balls to twist the stripe to give it a circular finish. From there I clearcoated the gold but there's no clearcoat on the rest of the car because it mutes the mirror-like shine, so we taped off the stripe."
Once the paint was prepared, Tina pulled the Euro front fenders and rear quarters to accommodate 16x9" Borbet Type T wheels. She added front and rear textured Euro bumpers and a VR6 chin spoiler. A JOM badgeless grille and metal boser hood continue the clean look in the front, while Ingo Noak side skirts provide fierceness on the flanks. The rear received a new bumper thanks to Dubtechnik, along with Abt mid and upper hatch spoilers.
With the engine bay and interior empty, Tina got parts from a Mk3 Jetta VR6. "I bought the car from an auction," she noted. "I swapped in the motor, transmission and interior. I also used the Jetta doors because they had power windows. One of the trickier parts was the wiring for the VR6 because the Golf was a two liter."
Before finishing the motor transplant, Tina succumbed to more power. "A friend wrecked his VR6 turbo, so I copied the setup. My husband and I tuned it just by driving and listening to it. It's never been hooked up to a computer but I took it to a dyno and it put down 316whp and 323 lb/ft of torque at 12psi. For everyday driving, I run the car at 9psi, which equates to 263whp and 291 lb/ft."
The turbo components included a Garrett T04B with 3" downpipe, custom manifold, FMIC and Tial wastegate.
The next project Tina undertook was this '88 Cabriolet. Interestingly enough, it was Ride of the Month in et several years ago but has evolved since then.
The Cabrio was also obtained in a trade. "A friend blew a head gasket in his Cabriolet so I traded it for my Rabbit," she explained. "When I went to replace the head gasket I found the head was fine - just the coil wire had come off.
"This was the first car my husband and I built that we could take to shows. The first year it had a stock motor and two-tone paint, yet it took third in its class at Dubwars '02."
Replacing the two-tone paint was a Cobalt Candy blue mid-coat over the original purple. A Corrado VR6 front bumper with head- and foglights were retrofitted. A custom Rallye grille, ABD front spoiler and Kamei hood scoop completed the front transformation. The sides remained factory except for Audi door handles and shaved markers. On the rear, tinted tail lights and a custom valance enhanced the show appeal.
When deciding on suspension, Tina opted for Tokico shocks with custom airbags, while the rear uses Parker air cylinders. Two Vlair compressors and a chrome four-port five-gallon air tank adjust ride height, controlled via a three-switch box in the cockpit.
The interior has a color-matched dash, roll bar, inner doors and quarter panels. A pair of Recaro Trophy seats are also a nice touch, with upholstery in white vinyl and blue suede.To broaden the wheel options, Tina converted the four-lug hubs to five-lug and mounted 17x7.5" Audi TT wheels. Supplying grip are 205/40-17 Kumho Ecsta tires.
"Two weeks before the '05 New Dimensions show I swapped in a 2.8 VR6 from a Passat," she smiled. "I did it because people said it couldn't be done. As far as I know, my car is the first Cabrio in California with the VR6." The new motor sported custom mounts, a Mk3 radiator and an OBD1 harness. Alos, a custom downpipe was combined with a Euro Sport 2.5" race exhaust.
The Passat five-speed transmission was retrofitted and upgraded to a Rallye clutch cable and cable shift box. A Sachs clutch kit then ensured power is delivered to the wheels.
Tina plans to up her game. "When you eventually win first place it's not fair to keep the car the same and continue winning," she disclosed. "You need to step it up and give yourself a reason to win again." With this in mind, she's taken both cars to the quarter-mile. "The Cabrio ran low 14s and could've gone faster but officials wouldn't let it run if it did. The Golf lost traction the entire way."
Expect both of Tina's kids to pick up after their parents. "They tell us they want to build cars with us. They go to every show and help clean. They're known in school as the VW kids because I pick them up in the Golf or Cabriolet." Fortunately, et will be around for generations to come to showcase what's next from the Elledge family.
1993 VW Golf
Owner: Tina Elledge
Location: Riverside, CA
Occupation: Painter's Assistant
Engine: 2.8 liter VR6, OBD2 conversion with Garrett T04B turbo, 3" downpipe, exhaust manifold, chrome intercooler piping, software, upgraded gasket, head bolts, upper and lower timing chains, custom fuel rail and stainless fuel lines, Tial 38mm wastegate, Turbo XS boost controller, Neotek BOV, Yellow Top 440cc injectors, 4bar FPR, Neuspeed 2.5" stainless cat-back exhaust, K&N filter with carbon cover, WRD poly mounts, polished intake manifold
Drivetrain: Passat five-speed manual transmission with Sachs Sport clutch kit, APR differential bolt kit
Suspension: Weitec GT+TX coilovers, polyurethane bushings, Neuspeed stress bar, 25mm front and 28mm rear sway bars, Autotech adjustable rear stress bar
Brakes: Brembo 11.3" front Drivers Edition cross-drilled rotors, PBR pads, Neotek caliper paint, stainless braided lines, 22mm master cylinder, rear disc conversion with drilled rotors
Wheels & Tires: 16x9" Borbet Type T wheels, 215/40-16 Hankook Ventus HR II tires
Exterior: pulled Euro front fenders and rear quarters, Mk2 license plate recess, smoothed and painted Abt mid-hatch and upper spoilers, front and rear VW Euro textured bumpers and door moldings, VR6 chin spoiler, painted door handles, M3-style mirrors, Ingo Noak skirts, JOM badgeless grille, Dubtechnik rear bumper diffuser, metal boser hood, shaved windshield washer jets, Hella Mk4-look headlights and Euro smoked side markers, in.pro clear turn signals, fog- and tail lights, Glasurit 22-line paint in custom two-tone red and black with 24k white gold stripe
Interior: VW '98 Driver's Edition GTI leather seats, '99 GLX door panels and power windows, black suede upper trim and headliner, GTI 337 seatbelts, Momo Millennium Sport steering wheel and pedals, '98 Driver's Edition shift knob and e-brake boot, Neotek door lock pulls and floor mats, Driver's Edition GTI cluster, Auto Meter gauges
Audio/Visual: Pioneer DEH-6700MP head unit, Rockford 6" components, Phoenix Gold 3" Octane in-dash speakers, Almano Audio AL-C1180 amp, Lightning Audio S4.12 VC2 sub, aluminum sub box
1998 VW Cabriolet
Owner: Tina Elledge
Location: Riverside, CA
Occupation: Painter's Assistant
Engine: 2.8 liter VR6 with custom downpipe, motor mounts, radiator support, Mk3 radiator, reinforced frame, K&N filter, OBD1 harness and programming, unassisted steering and A/C pulley delete, GIAC chip, Optima Blue Top battery in billet aluminum holder, Euro Sport 2.5" race exhaust, polished intake manifold
Drivetrain: 02A five-speed manual trany, Golf Rallye clutch cable and shift box with B&M short shifter, Sachs stage 2 clutch
Suspension: Tokico shocks with custom airbag brackets (front), Parker air cylinders (rear), Bonrath front strut bearings, urethane rear strut bushings, two Vlair 380c compressors, four-port five-gallon chrome air tank, Siria solenoids, three switch box, Wiechers Sport stress bar
Brakes: custom front caliper brackets, 11" cross-drilled rotors, converted crossed-drilled rear rotors, stainless steel braided lines, painted calipers
Wheels & Tires: 17x7.5" chrome Audi TT wheels, 5x100 hubs, 205/40-17 Kumho Ecsta 711 tires
Exterior: custom Golf Rallye grille, Corrado VR6 front bumper and foglights, Euro Corrado G60 headlights, ABD front spoiler, shaved side markers, antenna, windshield washers and rear quarter panel seams, Kamei hood scoop, carbon overlay hood, Audi door handles, custom rear valance, rear foglight, tinted tails, chrome hood lifts, hinges and catch, single wiper conversion, Glasurit 55-line purple paint with Cobalt Candy blue mid-coat
Interior: color-matched dash and roll bar, smoothed and painted inner doors and quarter panels, Momo Millennium steering wheel, Combat shift knob, leather shift boot and e-brake handle, ABD aluminum pedals, AMS white face gauges, Recaro Trophy seats upholstered with white vinyl and blue suede, reupholstered door panels, salt and pepper square weaved carpet, billet rearview mirrorAudio/visual: JVC head unit, Clarion 4x6" Pro Audio speakers, Pioneer 4x6" door speakers, Rockford Fosgate tweeters, Kicker 350.4 amp, Kicker Comp 10" sub in custom enclosure, blue trunk lighting
Thanks: husband David, Brian McKeehan, Jorge Parades, Nick McKeehan, Wade Risen, Dubtechnik, Alan and Delina Turnquist from Corona Collision, Jason Elledge