Let's talk about kids. For most of us, a new baby usually means the end of our tuning days. Mod money turns into mommy money for the baby's crib, food and toys. This can force us to trade in our precious project car for a more spacious vehicle, like the dreaded minivan. Oh, the horror!
However, this enthusiast turned the tables and used the birth of his son as a catalyst to hasten his project car. Jeff Donnelly is a young HVAC technician from Rightville, PA and had never modified a car before. But his generous parents surprised him at 17 with a brand new '00 VW Beetle as a Christmas gift.
Over the next several years, Jeff tried to find his own style and desired performance. "I built my car piece by piece," he explained. "I went through all the cheesy stuff and redid the car three times."
The direction of the project corrected itself when Jeff encountered Cory Sterling from Euro Auto Source in York, PA and his soon-to-be son. "Every inch of that car has been molested," Cory told us. "I helped Jeff build everything except the stereo and bodywork."
Cory's first order of business was to ensure Jeff's Beetle would scare the living daylights out of the little boy. The puny K03 turbo from the stock 1.8T was ditched for an E05 turbo, slightly larger than a K04. To address fuelling, Cory fitted 42 lb injectors and swapped in a four-bar fuel pressure regulator.
To improve gas flow, a custom air intake was fabricated. It was fitted along with an ABD Racing Big Bore intake manifold, Techtonics Tuning 3" downpipe with 2.5" exhaust and APR turbo inlet pipe. The air reaches the turbo after passing through a GReddy front-mount intercooler, which sports a Nitrous Express intercooler sprayer. GIAC software was then used to tune the custom setup.
The stock five-speed manual transfers power to the wheels with the help of a Spec stage 3 clutch and lightened flywheel. For better traction, a Peloquin limited-slip differential ensures the Beetle stays glued to the ground.
Cory estimates the motor is just shy of 300whp on pump gas. Not bad for a cute Beetle, but more work was in order, especially with a kid on the way!
Like the arrival of all new babies, help from the family came when Uncle Tim (a professional body and paint man) molded the Projektzwo wide fenders to the car and installed the mirrors. A Beetle RSI rear wing from one of the VW Motorsport racecars was discovered and installed to give the Beetle a more aggressive look. A carbon hood was then added before the roof and trunk were painted black to follow the color scheme.
Cory helped Jeff find a set of Tracer Tech wheels to fill the wider fenders. The fronts are 18x9.5" while the rears are 18x10". They are matched with super-stretched Toyo T1R tires.
Safety is important with a baby, so behind the Euro-style wheels are two-piece 14" AP Racing rotors with four-piston calipers for impeccable stopping power. Cory decided to install larger R32 brakes in the rear, which needed altering to clear the wheel spokes.
Although Jeff set the tone with the mods to this point, we weren't prepared for the moment he opened the doors and trunk. The first thing we noticed was the Momo racing seats. They were reupholstered in suede and color-matched to the car. The door panels were also extensively modified to house two component speaker sets.
In the rear, a central baby seat has been molded into the body of the car. "I drew pictures to show WeeBee Audio Video how I wanted the subs and baby seat," Jeff explained. "It was difficult but I'm definitely one of the first to do the back seat this way - molded and custom upholstered like that."
To the left and right of his son's throne are three large amplifiers that power the Sesame Street CDs.
Ensuring Big Bird gets heard, the trunk features three subs and a silver bridge housing two sets of components and an LCD monitor, with all the high-end audio supplied by Rockford Fosgate.
We shouldn't forget about the hidden details, like the lightweight Braille battery in the glovebox, or the rainbow-colored Louis Vuitton headliner.
Jeff's virtually finished the car and with his baby born, both love to get out and drive. "I'm keeping this car so I can pass it down to my son and his sons," he told us.
Tech Spec2000 VWNew BeetleOwner: Jeff DonnellyLocation: Rightsville, PAOccupation: HVAC tech
Engine: 1.8 liter four cylinder 20v with E05 turbo, 42 lb injectors, four-bar fuel pressure regulator, GReddy FMIC and BOV, ABD Racing Big Bore intake manifold, custom CAI, APR silicone turbo inlet pipe, Techtonics 3" downpipe with 2.5" exhaust, high-flow cat and Borla muffler, GIAC software, Nitrous Express intercooler sprayer, two Nitrous bottles, custom rain tray delete panel
Drivetrain:five-speed manual with Spec stage 3 clutch and lightened flywheel, Peloquin limited-slip differential
Suspension:KW Variant 2 coilovers, H&R front and rear sway bars
Brakes: 14" AP Racing two-piece rotors with four-piston calipers front, R32 rear brakes with vented rotors and modified calipers, braided lines
Wheels & Tires: 18x9.5" front, 18x10" rear Tracer Tech wheels with 215/40-18 front, 225/40-18 rear Toyo T1R tires
Exterior:Projektzwo flared wheel arches molded to fenders, Projektzwo door mirrors, OE Beetle RSI rear wing, carbon fiber hood, roof and trunk painted black, 8000K HIDs, OE Euro rear foglight
Interior:Louis Vuitton headliner, Momo race seats with suede inserts, pedals, shift knob, mats and integrated rear baby seat, Schroth harnesses, custom door panels, Auto Meter Cobalt gauges, A'PEXi turbo timer, color-matched interior trim, Braille battery in glovebox with kill switch
Audio/Visual: Rockford Fosgate 7" in-dash DVD head unit, three 12" Punch Series subs, Power Series T20001bd, T8004 and T32002 amps, 40 farad capacitor, four sets of T162S 6.5" two-way component speakers, T1T tweeters, rear LCD monitor, 5.1 digital surround sound, Dynamat sound deadening
Thanks: my wife, son and parents, Cory Sterling at Euro Auto Source, Kenny and Jay, all my friends, Uncle Tim, Kerry at WeeBee Audio Video, Rockford Fosgate, Toyo Tire, Brian Fox, Europrojektz