Everybody has their "thing." It could be something they're known for, some belief they stick to, or a certain panache they possess. For example, I'm known for being overly sarcastic, Greg's known for never featuring Sciroccos (What? - Ed), and Ross Morehead is apparently known for stunning white Volkswagens. Known well enough, in fact, that a white VW with black accents is known as the "KoolWhip" look in his hometown of Sherman, TX. "Ever since I named my white Jetta KoolWhip, it kinda spread throughout the local boards," Ross explained.
As he mentioned, the Mk5 GTI pictured here is the KoolWhip, but it's not the original. Ross' reputation started with a '00 Jetta 1.8T and he simply stuck to his winning combination, or his "thing," if you will.
Ross didn't originally plan to tackle a Mk5, but a well-timed online message and a substantial offer on his Mk4 meant it was time to find a new ride. "A guy from Canada saw photos of my Jetta and and offered to buy it," Ross said. "I made enough profit on the scale that I could make a good-sized down payment on the Mk5 GTI."
Ross knew off the bat it would have to be another white Volkswagen, and found the perfect Candy white GTI. He also wasted no time giving the GTI his personal touch.
"As soon as I found the car and knew I was going to get it, I started planning the mods," Ross laughed. "After a week of having the car I'd painted the roof black - which everybody told me was crazy on a new car. I tinted the tail lights, then painted the smiley face and side markers white."
A Votex front spoiler was installed soon after, color-matched with a black accent, naturally. A set of R32 side skirts was also picked from VW's catalog.
Friend Shiloh Bradford, owner of Bradford's Custom Paint, handled all the bodywork, painting the mirrors black and color-matching the rear valance in a coat of Candy white.
To get any car to look just right, the perfect stance is a huge step in the right direction. So Ross picked up a set of 18-way adjustable B&G RS-Line coilovers and had them installed by dubsquared in Arlington, TX.
"I heard you could go low on B&G without sacrificing ride quality, and they did exactly that," Ross said. "I just told dubsquared to make it as low as possible and still able to make turns. I love 'em."
This does appear to be one of the lower Mk5 GTIs we've seen that hasn't resorted to air-ride. What's even more amazing is there's reportedly no rubbing - something Ross attributes to the Luff M1 wheels and the right size tires. "There's the old saying, 'you ain't Dubbin' if you ain't rubbin', but then again, I don't rub!" he joked.
An initial search finally yielded fruit when a set of the Luff wheels was found online. "I searched forever for those exact wheels but they stopped making them and just when I was about to give up I found a guy with a set for sale. I wanted them without even looking at the price because I knew that was the wheel for me," continued Ross.
The 19x8.5" rollers came in a Mk5-friendly ET45 offset, and Ross had them powdercoated with Black Magic Pearl centers and Candy white lips before they were fitted.
A set of 225/35 Kumho Ecsta SPT tires were used rather than the more conventional 235 width. This slight stretch affords a crucial amount of additional clearance, and have exceeded expectations, despite the modest price: "Being on more of a budget tire means everybody dogs me on them, but it's actually a pretty good tire,'" Ross said. "And I'm not paying $250 for a 19" tire!"
From a purely visual standpoint, the car's fantastic, and although it may seem like going overboard from the start, the car proves it's not the number of parts that make a car, but having the right parts and how they're put together.
Since the 2.0T was his first new car warranty, he wasn't about to do anything mechanically drastic: "I was worried about modding it," he said. "So I wasn't going to do any major mods that would void the warranty."
That didn't mean the engine would remain as VW intended, and APR stage 1 software was installed to increase power and torque. A local shop built a 2.5" cat-back exhaust system, which ends with a Magnaflow muffler, while a Neuspeed intake eliminates the factory airbox. After checking under the hood though, you might have expected more: "I modified my engine cover so it would fit over the Neuspeed intake. That way I wouldn't have an ugly engine bay at shows," Ross said.
Since it was being cut up, the engine cover along with the battery and fusebox covers received coats of white and black paint to continue the "KoolWhip" theme.
Things remained simple inside as well, with a few color-matched panels, a white pinstripe and modest stereo upgrades. A VDO boost gauge shows the increased pressure in the engine, and resides in a Stewart Warner pod.
The main addition is a custom subwoofer enclosure Ross made himself: "It was the first speaker box I ever built. I went to a local shop and they said it was going to be about $500 for labor alone! So I just built my own," he said. "I researched fiberglass construction and went from there. Luckily, I have a friend who owns a bodyshop so he was able to guide me when I got to the Bondo, sanding and painting stages, and he sprayed it for me."
A 10" JL subwoofer resides in the black lacquered enclosure, powered by a JL amp, while an iPod adaptor keeps the tunes close.
After creating KoolWhip v2.0, Ross isn't sure what to do next. "I was thinking that way down the road, I may do APR's stage 3 big turbo set up, but I haven't reached that point."
However, he did mention one tidbit about KoolWhip v3.0 in the future: "I just bought an '04 R32 last night," he confided. When pressed, he wasn't too sure about giving the R32 a full re-spray to continue the white 'n black theme, but once you've got a "thing" going, it can be hard to change!
2006 VW GTI
Owner: Ross Morehead
Location: Sherman, TX
Occupation: banker, part-time student
Engine: two liter 16v four cylinder with APR 93-octane software, Neuspeed cold-air intake with modified engine cover, custom 2.5" cat-back exhaust with Magnaflow muffler, color-matched engine, battery and fusebox covers
Drivetrain: stock six-speed manual transmission
Suspension: B&G RS-Line 18-way adjustable coilovers
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5" ET45 Luff M1 wheels with white lips and Black Magic Pearl centers, 225/35-19 Kumho Ecsta SPT tires
Exterior: Votex front spoiler, R32 skirts, color-matched rear valance, black mirrors and roof, tinted tail lights, white pinstripe in grille and side markers
Interior: color-matched trim and console pieces, VDO boost gauge in Stewart Warner pod, Monster mats, 25% tint
Audio/Visual: custom fiberglass amp rack and speaker box, 10" JL Audio w6v2 subwoofer, JL Audio 500/1v2 amplifier, iPod interface, Escort Passport 8500
Thanks: Shiloh Bradford at Bradford's Custom Paint, Billy T at dubsquared, best friend Matt Woods, Jakeb Miller