If your car is around ten years old, chances are it’s beginning to show some signs of age. Annoying squeaks, loud clunks, hiccups at idle; it’s all part of a car’s lifespan.
Mk4 VW owners, in particular, are beginning to feel these woes. It’s rare to find an example with less than 100k miles on it, or one that hasn’t broken down at the side of the road.
With their age, it’s also hard to find a Mk4 that’s unique from other modified examples built over the last 12 years. Nearly every wheel, body kit, color and theme has been tried, which is why we were caught off guard by Rich Bosetti’s ’02 GTI 1.8T.
The 23 year-old created a purple monster – not for the track, but for show and the streets. His hatchback screams for attention, thanks to its candy purple paint. The body is shaved and smooth without being over-the-top. The wheels are classic and the Paisley interior will pique anybody’s interest. Best of all, the GTI still looks like it rolled off the showroom floor.
Surprisingly, cars didn’t fascinate Rich at first. He was a two-wheeled freak, but his parents urged him to stay away from street bikes until he was older. So the 18 year-old picked up a Mk4 GTI. “I wanted a turbo, but once I got into the Euro scene I forgot the speed, especially after going to some shows,” he explained.
After attending big events like H2O and Waterfest, Rich knew the direction he wanted: slammed, shaved and sexy. So after picking up his first VW, he decided to flip it and buy the GTI you see here.
A good friend had been building the car and Rich bought it outfitted with its paint and shaved bodywork.
It might have looked like a show car to some, but the evolution had just begun. Over the next few years, Rich fine-tuned everything from the interior to wheels, suspension and engine bay. Paycheck to paycheck, he poured more parts into the GTI while doing all the labor at his own Long Island home.
The exterior was already halfway to stardom with a Euro front bumper, molded valances, shaved rub strips, smooth hatch and an angry böser hood, finished in House of Kolors blurple paint.
Rich took it a step further, adding side skirts, deleting the wipers and painting the tail lights candy apple red. He returned to the original body shop, All County Collision in Belmont, NY, to have the front-end resprayed.
New suspension followed. Rich ditched the coilover setup for an ultra-low air-ride conversion. “I wanted something that would go really low but also be the most reliable with the best ride. I only wanted to spend the money once,” he told us.
Bagyard was recommended, so Rich locked himself in his garage for a few days, installing Bomber front struts and Firestone bags. The management was hidden under a false trunk floor, along with a five-gallon tank and dual Viair compressors.
This was his second trunk setup. The first featured wood flooring but was changed to the black leather to follow the theme of the car. And in tribute to his infatuation for bikes, used a Suzuki GSX-R600 windscreen as the window to the air-ride setup.
Moving into the cockpit, the owner changed the seats three times until he found the Recaro Sportlines. “I didn’t want a full race bucket. I wanted to enjoy the car and be able to make short cruises. These seats recline, so are comfortable for passengers,” he told us.
Much of the upholstery was originally blue suede, but Rich swapped it for a Paisley pattern because it reminded him of the edges of a dollar bill. The headliner and pillars were dressed in Paisley, while the sunroof and armrest were black suede.
Rich continued addng his own flavor with new rollers. After testing two sets of wheels, including hot-rod style Boyd Coddingtons, he settled on OZ Futuras. “It’s a classic wheel with a deep dish in the back. People don’t normally see them with that size in the rear,” he smiled.
Finishing the madness were details most people overlook. The subrame and control arms, for example, were painted black and clearcoated, while the engine bay wore an assortment of polished goodies such as the valve cover, intake manifold, strut- and oil caps plus fuel rail.
Power upgrades were kept simple with a Unitronic chip, Samco inlet pipe and Bosal exhaust. “My main thing was to make it as reliable as possible. If I wanted to take a trip across America, I could do it, whereas a big turbo might be a problem down the line,” he reasoned.
Finally complete, Rich plans to bring the car to more shows throughout this year. He loves the color so much, he even painted his new streetbike the same hue. But one thing’s for sure, he’s taken his time and made all the right moves to build a car that’s both unique and now famous.
et Tech Spec
2002 VW GTI
Owner: Rich Bosett
Location: Long Island, NY
Occupation: housing authority
Engine: 1.8-liter 20v four-cylinder turbo with Unitronic stage 2+ chip, Neuspeed front-mount intercooler and intake, Bailey diverter valve, N75J valve, Samco turbo inlet pipe, 4-bar fuel pressure regulator, Autotech polished fuel rail, Bosal cat-back exhaust, AGN polished valve cover, polished intake manifold, oil and strut caps, washer fluid bottle deleted, Optima Red Top battery
Drivetrain: five-speed manual transmission with Clutchnet stage 3 clutch, Autotech 10 lb flywheel and short shifter, Peloquin limited-slip differential, polished dogbone mount with Black Forest Industries stage 2 inserts
Brakes: Brembo cross-drilled rotors, painted calipers
Suspension: Bagyard Bomber front struts, Firestone rear bags, five-gallon slim tank, Accuair management, dual Viair 400c compressors, Norgren water trap, notched subframe, R32 control arm bushings, control arms and subframe painted black
Wheels & Tires: 17x8.5" front, 17x10" rear OZ Futura wheels with polished lips and bolts, brushed centers, 205/45 R17 front, 225/45 R17 rear Falken Ziex ZE-912 tires
Exterior: OE Euro front bumper with molded 4Motion valance, molded rear valance, shaved rub strips, rolled fenders, Bonrath badgeless grille, böser hood, shaved hatch, deleted wipers, 20AE side skirts, Hella E-code headlights with HID bulbs, OE Euro stubby mirrors, tail lights painted candy red, House of Kolors Blurple paint
Interior: Recaro Sportline leather seats, Sparco sliders and brackets, Paisley headliner and pillars, suede armrest and sunroof, black rearview mirror, sunvisors and handles, OE Audi TT shift ring, boot and pedals, Euro headlight switch, VDO boost gauge, rear-seat deleted, leather false floor
Thanks: Friends and family, All County Collision, Chase Performance, Euromedian