Motivation is something every car owner with an urge to modify needs. It's the driving force behind a project, and it's the difference between building a showstopper or a car stopped short of its potential.
That said, your motivation can also directly influence the type of car you build. Enter Kevin Janovsky and his Mk5 GTI. From day one, he approached it with a different mentality.
"I was in the market for a car and since my grandfather always loved cars he suggested the GTI. We talked for months and months about the car and what I could do to it," he said.
Kevin had a very close relationship with his grandfather, Robert Altmann - he'd owned European cars and loved VWs, especially the R32. He told Kevin to consider a GTI or an R for his first Euro.
Sadly Kevin's grandfather passed on June 10, 2006. One week later, Kevin was putting pen to paper at his local VW dealership, ordering a brand-new 2007 Black Magic pearl GTI. "Since we could never decide which one to get, I tried to incorporate everything we talked about." And just as quickly as he bought the GTI, Kevin started to modify it. "Within the first week, I had voided my warranty," Janovsky joked.
He fitted his 2.0T with a Eurojet turbo-back exhaust, and replaced the stock motor mounts with their sturdier VF-Engineering counterparts. That's when he met Joel Schurtz from Eurojet Racing. The two were first introduced after an install went wrong at one of Schurtz's previous distributors. "I explained my experience and we've been friends ever since. He knows I can be a pain in the ass when it comes to quality and what I want for my car, but he's continued helping me with all his products despite that!"
With a game plan to dedicate his car to his grandfather, and having met people through local GTGs and cruises, Kevin approached shops for help. "Lynmor Motorsports helped me with my tune, and I feel like I'm family there," he said. "They let me wrench on my own car and even have parts shipped to their facility if need be."
It's a testament to the VW/Audi scene and Kevin had to tell us how appreciative he is of the people around him. "What amazed me most about the scene is the people. They're willing to lend a hand and motivate me to mod further." Two of those people were Vinny and Paul Anatra who installed the air-ride.
Kevin's car had already gone through a lot of surgery to become something he and his grandfather would be proud of. To get the stance right, he went through several suspension setups, from struts and springs to coilovers, and finally a custom air-ride setup. "Bags were something I was always amazed by! You get the look you want, functionality and ride quality all in one," he said.
Things "fell into place" when Scott Mason at Mason-Tech put the air-ride components together, then the Anatras installed it.
Janovsky was also able to buy the interior from a former WFSU club member's car that Vinny Anatra had purchased. And now, after a year, Kevin is upgrading to new Mason-Tech struts that have been color-matched in Imola red to match the stunning leather interior.
With the stance taken car of, and a set of Schmidt Jacklines on order, Kevin turned his attention to the exterior. "I always seem to find something I'd like to change. A year ago, the car had coilovers, a matte carbon hood and trim, etc. The next year it was OEM+, then came the air bags."
With all the changes the car's gone through, Kevin continued with his tribute build. "I wanted to make sure I was happy, and wanted to realize my grandfather's ideas. So I ordered OEM R32 parts from DBC Performance," he said. The parts included an R32 rear bumper and interior trim plus an OEM Golf GT grille.
Having finally squared away the exterior, Kevin picked up some toys. "Ryan Miller got me addicted to train horns. They're the most fun part of the car, especially living in New York and dealing with bad drivers every day," he joked. He liked them so much that he actually orchestrated a little prank on his coworkers: A food services truck comes everyday at 10am. "In my second week at work, I decided to lay on my horns around the same time before the truck came. We must have over 100 employees come out to get their morning coffee to find no truck!" When the company found out, Janovsky was given a warning from human resources. "I was told it was a new rule in our handbook - no airhorns at work. I thought it was pretty funny, considering it's a $70 million company."
When he's not messing with his coworkers or building the car, Janovsky runs Evolution Euro Militia. Citing its back-to-basics attitude, Kevin said that EEMilitia survives thanks to a passion for Euros, having fun and mutual respect. With over 300 members and growing by the day, the club was started following a promise Janovsky made to somebody close to him that he lost. He wanted a club, something for the most passionate Euro owners.
Don't think because he's busy with EE Militia that Kevin's finished with his Mk5. "My first time showing the car, I placed first in the Mod 1 class. Next season, I'm working towards a bigger class," he told us. To achieve this, future plans include more from Eurojet including an anodized valve cover, catch can and boost gauge. A Brembo big-brake kit is also in the cards, as well as new struts and bags for his air suspension. If that's not enough, the powerplant will be the next. "2871R" was all he would say...
"I want balance. I want both air-ride and power gains. To me, it's a complete build once you have both. Imagine racing a bagged car with a notched frame and no sway bar kicking everybody's ass," he laughed.
As far as dedication builds go, Kevin Janovsky has built a beauty his grandfather would be proud of. And the attention to detail definitely shows. "I spent time planning how I wanted it to turn out. And I think my grandfather would have loved to drive with me dumped in the car."
2007 VW GTI
Owner: Kevin Janovsky
Location: Long Island, NY
Occupation: sales rep
Engine: 2.0 liter four-cylinder 16v turbo with Revo software, Eurojet Racing R32-style turbo-back exhaust, stage 3 front-mount intercooler, grenade diverter valve, PCV fix, amplification pipe, heatshield and carbon radiator shroud, battery and fuse cover, Neuspeed intake with filter sock and header wrap, carbon engine cover, JCaps windshield wiper, antifreeze and dipstick covers, evoms oil cap, VF-Engineering motor mounts
Drivetrain: six-speed DSG
Brakes: Hawk HPS pads, Neuspeed stainless lines
Suspension: Mason-Tech Signature Series air-ride kit with Koni Sport adjustable struts, Univeral Air Aero front sport bags and rear Airhouse bags, bearing relocation kit, two EasyStreet manifolds and Auto Pilot digital controller, two Viair 480cc compressors, five-gallon color-matched air tank, 3/8" metal water trap, notched frame
Wheels & Tires: 18x8" Schmidt Revolution Jackline wheels with satin black centers and chrome lips, grenade valve stem caps, 3mm Tunershop front and rear spacers, 215/35 R18 Falken FK-452 tires
Exterior: OE R32 rear bumper and tail lights, rear foglight, color-matched GT front grille, GT foglight covers and lower grille, Ziza projector foglights, color-matched side markers, smoked turn signals, aspherical glass mirrors, European front valance, EE Militia badge
Interior: seats and door cards upholstered in Imola red leather, 30AE shift knob and e-brake handle, AWE vent boost gauge, R32 trim kit, re-stitched armrest, GT steering wheel insert, Euro headlight switch AUDIO/VISUAL: Pioneer AVIC-D3 head unit, Hella triple-airhorns
Thanks: my grandfather and family, EE Militia crew, Joel Schurtz at Eurojet Racing, Scott at Mason-Tech, Berk at DBC Performance, Paul and Vinny Anatra, Dan