Mk3 Golf GTI VR6All good things come to an end and this marks the passing of Project Porcelain, the shortest running project in et history.
The GTI was the apple of my eye, and I decided I had to get one when I first heard the resonant bellow of the VR6 12v with open exhaust. From that moment, I saved and finally bought my friend's flawless GTI with 39k miles.
Despite the student blues, I set out to build the dream car I always wanted. Shortly after graduation I built the GTI for Project Car magazine, where it received H&R RSS coilovers, Euro Sport tie bars, poly mounts, EBC brakes, TT downpipes and exhaust, a GIAC chip, plus Neuspeed intake and pulleys among others.
I was fanatical about the car (ask Sam or Greg!) and it saw rain less than 10 times in its life. Yet it was strong, showing a hair over 180whp on the dyno.
Shortly after the Project Car build, reality caught up. The debt amassed through college overpowered my income. So after four years and only 6000 miles of ownership, I was forced to sell the GTI, which is now en route to Canada.
Before selling Project Porcelain, I decided some budget Euro wheels were needed. Checking the local classifieds, I scored some Porsche 928S wheels for a mere $65! However, they were rougher than a Dirty Harry movie. But Albert Halim and the crew at The Wheel Supply (www.thewheelsupply.com) refinished them and added a gunmetal powdercoat.
We then contacted the guys at Discount Tire Direct (www.discounttiredirect.com) and grabbed a set of 205/40-16 Falken ZE-512s tires for their stretch-friendly sidewalls.
To mount the 5x130 wheels to the 5x100 hubs, we used H&R adapters and were finally able to bring some low-buck Euro flavor to the GTI.
As always, it's sad to see a project go, but stay tuned because I've got big plans for another Euro in the coming months. Justin
BMW 135i ProjectIt's been a slow month for our BMW 135i. So far we've added the H&R Street coilovers and sway bars from www.turnermotorsport.com to good effect. We've also fitted 19" DCR Wheels thanks to www.thewheelsupply.com plus Continental's finest ContiSportContact 3 tires.
The next phase - and the big question everybody's asking us about - is engine power. We really need to tune the 3.0 twin-turbo but have been hesitant for several reasons. 1) The BMW engineer responsible for the engine told us chipping it would ruin its character, and we do love how it drives. 2) There have been a few engine blow-ups as tuners get familiar with the software. 3) There's rumored to be code in the ECU that looks for a torque spike. If you exceed a factory limit, it alerts the dealer when the car is serviced and your warranty is invalidated. And we don't want to do that since the car is on loan from BMWNA.
So we face an uncomfortable dilemma. Leave it stock and be called pussies or get with the program but risk the wrath of BMW - not an easy decision but we'll probably have a chip and exhaust by next month!
As for the 135i itself, it's run flawlessly. We had to top up the oil recently but not unexpectedly for a low mileage motor that's been driven hard all its life. The tire deflation warning light has also come on with the stock wheels, but we suspect it's our fault from swapping the wheels around.
Otherwise, the car is the perfect companion. Its factory Bluetooth can show you your entire phonebook on the central display and its audio is crystal clear. The HD/sat radio gives us plenty of listening options and the Comfort Access feature is great for lazy people since you don't even have to take the key out of your pocket to use the locks or ignition.
Fuel consumption averages around 21mpg on mainly city driving, but we've seen it get 28mpg on longer freeway runs. Yet the 135i is at its best in the canyons, and the H&R suspension upgrades plus sticky tires have increased the fun factor. The stock six-piston brakes continue to perform impeccably, although the pads deposit a surprising amount of dust on the wheels - a small price to pay for such stopping power. Greg