Listening to your parents is the responsible thing to do. But getting in trouble with your friends is a lot more fun. James Sokol’s parents haven’t been keen on his fun and games, thinking he should settle down, save his money and start a family with his wife.
Yet owning several modified cars including an ’89 Monte Carlo on Daytons and a Lexus IS300 simply prepared him for when his friend and co-worker Eric Lichtenberger got him into VWs. From this point on, his parent’s advice would fall on deaf ears!
Every evening the pair would tear into the Mk6 engine bay on Eric’s driveway, sometimes going to 12am before waking up the next morning for work. During this period they installed a Forge Motorsport Twintake and Twintercooler with S3 piping. They also fitted a BSH catch can before adding a Billy Boat 3" downpipe and APR 3" cat-back exhaust system.
Taking his mildly-modified GTI out to The Closers Auto Club, a friend suggested James should check out Phantom Autowerks in Linden Hurst, NY to take it to the next level. Stopping by the shop, he noticed a Mk2 Golf VR6 show car with all the fixings.
Inspired, the Phantom crew replaced the turbo with a larger K04 and added RS4 coil packs plus GIAC Race software. They painted the piping Monster Energy green and accented the valve cover with a VW roundel from the Mk2 hatch – surprisingly it was still the same size as the Mk6 insert.
Phantom then took it a step further by adding a Nitrous Express N-Tercooler Halo kit that has a side valve so that with a tap of a button, James can inject up to 50 additional horses.
The car came out of the shop with a mean tune and a static stance on FK Streetline coilovers. “One of my friends started busting my balls about the stance.” James laughed. “Luckily, I ran into a kid at one of the club meets who had an air-ride suspension at a good price…”
Taking the Air Ride XL Slam kit plus gauges and manual paddle system, he added a five-gallon tank and water taps. The kit was then sent to Phantom Autowerks for the team’s first install with hard lines.
They hid two Viair 380c compressors, relays and wiring below a rear seat delete that was wrapped in Dynamat. The tank was airbrushed like a Monster Energy can and fitted with custom hard lines, incorporating two Numatics water traps.
Everything was going smoothly until a few days before H2Oi when one of the rear bags rolled over itself and sprung a leak. It took James six hours to find a replacement and worked 72 hours to get the car ready for the road trip to Ocean City. “After listening to my friends, the car drives better than stock!” James stated.
At this point, he estimated the car has seen up to 14 sets of wheels. “I like to switch it up.” James said. “I haven’t run a wheel for more than a month.” However, one of the things that drew him to the 18" fifteen52 Tarmac wheel was the flat-face that could fit flush to the fender. They only have credit-card clearance with 5mm front and 8mm rear spacers when he’s aired out. At this stage, the subframe is on the ground and going nowhere fast!
With the wheels tucking the fenders, the Mk6 returned to the shop to have the interior reworked . They removed the front seats to install a color-matched Autopower roll-bar. Sparco Chrono seats with four-point harnesses were then fitted up front.
The door panels were taken apart and component speakers brought to the outside. While a monoblock Pioneer amp and sub were built into custom fiberglass enclosures.
The amp was placed over the rear seat delete, while the sub was installed in the spare wheel well – James used BBS RS hardware from Black Forest Industries to deter people from placing their hands on the goods when they lean in to see the work.
Phantom Autowerks then removed the front VW badge and added a new grille with white GTI strips. They also shaved the side markers, washer cut-outs and gave the front spoiler a fresh coat of paint. The grilles were painted in contrasting gloss black, with an ECS towing eye airbrushed in Monster green. Gloss black can also be found on the side skirts, roof and rear roundel.
With the rear valance smoothed, there were times when the car was with Phantom for a month at a time and James would only drive his GTI in two-week intervals.
Now that it’s finish, though, the Mk6 looks amazing. The set-up puts down 405hp with 395 lb-ft on 100 octane with nitrous. However, the party might be coming to an end. Although James claimed his ideas for the car were limitless, the possibility of starting a family might get in the way!
et Tech Spec
2010 VW Golf GTI
Owner: James Soko
Location: Long Island, NY
Occupation: cable lineman
Engine: 2.0TSI four-cylinder with AWE Tuning K04 stage three turbo kit, S3 intercooler, Turbo Outlet pipe, noise pipe removed, GIAC software, Forge Motorsport Twintake and Twintercooler with S3 piping, Billy Boat 3" downpipe, APR 3" cat-back exhaust, BSH catch can, boost tap, RS4 coil packs, Nitrous Express 5 lb intercooler Halo kit with 75-shot side valve, smoothed intake piping painted Monster green, Spirit Booster race system, painted washer and coolant caps, white valve cover with Mk2 VW emblem
Drivetrain: DSG transmission
Brakes: Monster green painted calipers
Suspension: Air Lift XL Slam front and rear bags, Bilstein rear shocks, two Viair 380c compressors, five-gallon airbrushed aluminum tank, two Numatics water traps, stainless hard lines, notched front and rear subframes
Wheels & Tires: 18x8.5" fifteen52 Tarmac wheels with 5mm front, 8mm rear spacers, 215/40 R18 Nankang NS2 tires
Exterior: shaved wipers, washer cut-outs and markers, badgeless grille with color matched strips, color-matched lower front bumper, gloss-black roof, side skirts, lower grilles, rear VW logo and smoothed rear valance, ECS Tuning race hook airbrushed Monster green
Interior: Sparco Chrono Road seats, Schroth four-point harnesses, painted Autopower roll-bar, rear seat delete, AWE Tuning boost gauge and pedals, Dynamat, USP LED interior lights, OEM carpet, GoPro camera mount
Audio/Visual: Pioneer 6.75" front and rear components, monoblock amp and shallow-mount 12" sub in painted fiberglass housings with BBS RS bolts
Thanks: Anthony Foster, Lucio D’Avella at Phantom Autowerke, Eric Lichtenberger, AWE Tuning, fifteen52, Bag Riders, The Closer Auto Club and wife Dena