Now in his early 30s, Cory Sterling has built two cars that have graced the pages of et. His first was a turbocharged Mk3 Golf, which propelled him into the North American VW scene and helped showcase the skills of his shop, Euro Auto Source, in York, PA. The second project is this supercharged '98 Jetta, which continues to promote his shop, but was also built for his very supportive father.
"I was building the car for my father," Cory began, "because he always admired what I did. He basically started my passion with a '79 Ford Mustang. He bought all the parts and tools I needed, but I had to do all the work. I was 15 at the time and the brakes were shot on the car. But it soon became my hobby to fix up cars.
"Sadly, my dad got sick so I had to rush the Jetta because I wanted him to see it before something happened. Then, one night I drove from York to Connecticut to show him the finished product, but he was rushed into the hospital for colon surgery. He passed the surgery just fine, but later had an aneurism. I left the hospital that night and the next morning he died from a heart attack. He never got to see the car..."
Our condolences go to Cory and his family. And although Cory wasn't able to finish the car in time, he continued the project to honor of his father's love and support.
"My dad would come down to my shop all the time," Cory continued. "He loved what I did. All my friends knew him, and he would constantly talk about the car. He even carried eurotuner with him when my Golf was featured and would show people he met. Since he passed away, I've made it a very personal goal to be my best for him everyday."
The aim of the Jetta was to build a daily driver. Cory didn't want a full show car like his previous project; instead, he needed a car he could take to work, throw parts in the trunk and still drive the family to the zoo.
"When I found this Jetta, it was smashed up and the owner had lost his license," Cory remembered. "It was 100% stock and everyone warned me not to molest it or turn it into a show car.
"I enjoyed all the creature comforts it had, like heated seats and air conditioning. But one day I wondered if we could take the lock out of the tail light. So we took the button out. Then, we wondered what the Tracer wheels would look like on it. It looked good, but the car needed to be lowered. This process continued, and I eventually molested the entire car. I wanted to keep it clean and subtle, wanted to drive it everyday and not be harassed by the police."
After the lock was deleted, the rest of the bodywork followed. The fenders needed to be wider so Cory could fit stretched European-style wheels and tires down the line. So the rear fenders were flared 2" and the fronts were extended 1" either side. The moldings were also modified to blend in.
Next came the bumpers, which were smoothed for an extremely clean look. Adding to the smoothness was a shaved exhaust cut-out, Mattig roof blend, deleted windshield washer nozzles and a unique shortened tail light mod. "Nobody catches that immediately," Cory remarked. "I had a wrecked Jetta sitting at the shop, so I cut the rear quarters and grafted them into the my Jetta."
For some contrast, the roof was painted black, while carbon mirrors and a front splitter were also added. Abt then provided more aggressive styling with its front valance and side skirts. Completing the exterior are smoked E-code headlights with HID bulbs.
After the body was done, Cory was ready to fit the wheels he had sitting in the garage from his old car - 17x8" front and 17x9" rear Tracer Techs. "It's the only thing I took from my Golf," he told us. "They're indestructible on the terrible Pennsylvania roads and have a distinct European look."
Next came the interior transformation. Again, Cory strived to keep the cockpit comfortable and practical because his family would be regular passengers. So he re-trimmed everything in black leather, maintaining the coveted heated seats. Since black leather alone might be rather uninteresting, Cory looked to the fashion industry for inspiration. "I've always been a fan of Coach laptop bags and briefcases," he revealed. "My dad always had them. It was just something I wanted for personalization. The C in Coach also represents my name. The Coach cloth has a real wow factor and whenever the wife gets in, she always comments on it."
The headliner, shift boot, door card inserts and mirror covers received the expensive Coach material. Suede was then used on the A-, B- and C-pillars, plus the dashboard, gauge holder and Euro center console.
For the final touches, Cory installed an OMP suede steering wheel, chrome heater vents and a Cabrio cluster.
The luxury wouldn't be complete without a sound system, so Cory concealed a Pioneer head unit in the glove compartment. Two 10" MTX subs were then situated in the trunk. Cory gave extra attention to the subwoofer box, constructing it from carbon fiber and covering it in black suede. A hardwood floor in the trunk completes the installation.
Let's not forget what's been done to the motor. The 2.Slow was originally kept stock for gas mileage, but he fitted a Bahn Brenner supercharger down the line. "I bought a car with a supercharger in it," he told us. "We eventually sold the car to a customer. That customer then parted out the car again, so we removed the supercharger, rebuilt it and got it on my car."
A Techtonics Tuning exhaust completed the engine upgrades. Cory admits he used to have Techtonics cams, but they didn't contribute to good gas mileage.
Last on the list of Cory's mods is a 158dB Amtrak train horn. During our photo shoot, Cory would scare the bejeezus out of pedestrians in Philadelphia. And if you ever attend his VAG-Fair or H2O International shows, we recommend you ask him for a demonstration!
This second project isn't the last you'll see of Cory Sterling. He has several more in the works that he hopes will push the envelope of the VW tuning scene. As for this Jetta, it will remain Cory's daily driver and continue to honor his supportive father.
Tech Spec1998 VW JettaOwner: Cory SterlingLocation: York, PAOccupation: Owner of Euro Auto Source
Engine: two liter ABA 8v with Bahn Brenner stage 2 supercharger kit painted black, Techtonics Tuning cat-back exhaust with Borla muffler and hidden tips
Drivetrain: 020 five-speed manual with Peloquin limited-slip differential, chrome transmission mount and shifter levers, casing painted black
Suspension: B&G coilovers
Brakes: cross-drilled Brembo rotors front and rear with OE VR6 calipers and Mintex pads
Wheels & Tires: 17x8" front, 17x9" rear Tracer Tech wheels with 8mm front, 20mm rear spacers, 205/40-17 Kumho Ecsta SPT tires
Exterior: pulled and widened fenders, Abt front valance and side skirts, smoothed bumpers, shaved exhaust cut-out and windshield washer nozzles, black painted roof, Mattig roof blend, tinted windows, Thatcher carbon mirrors and front splitter, Euro license plate tub, E-code headlights with 6000K bulbs, FK long turn signals and dummy foglights, deleted lock in tail light, running lights added to inner rear lenses
Interior: retrimmed in black leather, Coach cloth on headliner, shift boot, door card inserts and mirror covers, suede on A-, B-, C-pillars, dashboard, gauge holder and Euro center console, chrome shifter trim ring, Abt pedals, door lock pins and shift knob, Auto Meter Cobalt Series boost, oil pressure and pyrometer gauges, OMP suede steering wheel, OE Cabrio cluster, chrome heater vents and controls
Audio/Visual: Pioneer head unit with Sirius radio, Rockford Fosgate amp, two 10" MTX subs, carbon enclosure covered in suede, hardwood trunk floor, Amtrak train horn with compressor
Thanks: wife Holly, daughter Gina, mom, dad, Don Garrett, Matt, Devin, Kristen, Jeff, Chuck, Josh, Jay Shoup, Penny McLaughlin, Charlie, Ray, Jen, Amy, Kim, Joe, Eric, Eric l, Jenny from the block, Eric H, Edition 38, Westside, Busse's, Baps of York, Gibbles Upholstery, Wayne Mears, Jeff at Techtonics (www.techtonicstuning.com), Steve at Tunershop (www.tunershop.com), Mike at B-G Suspension (www.bg-suspension.com)
Contact: Euro Auto Source (www.yourautosourceinc.com, 717/846-2444)