Inspiration is everywhere, and the motivation for modifying a European car can stem from many sources; be it the sound of a certain motor, the lines of a certain model or that the marque runs deep in your blood. Whatever the reason, there's no conviction stronger than personal desire and the only thing that matters is you built the vehicle of your dreams.
"I've always been a VW/Audi guy, owning a Mk3 Golf TDI, Mk5 Jetta and two Audi A6s but I always wanted a GTI, and when I saw this Mk6 I knew it was time," said Belgian enthusiast Huygen Stefan.
As many Dubheads have discovered, you can't just own one VW. It's a sickness that's bound to get worse. "There's something unique about VWs: that's why I like them. And while I really liked the Golf and Jetta, I wanted the GTI more," Stefan continue. "Virtually all my cars have been black, so it made sense that it would be the same color," he chuckled.
Unlike many enthusiasts who enjoy their new car for several months, Stefan made a beeline for the mod squad as soon as possible. "It took me a month to decide what I wanted to add. No matter now nice a new car is, I hate them stock," Stefan said.
Paying a visit to Abi Babic at Flachwerk, and Alois Hankofer at AH-Exclusiveparts, he bought a set of H&R springs but had AH modify them from the supplied 80mm drop to a more extreme 140mm for the right stance. "While they were at it AH modified the front fender, rolling and pulling them for the mods that would follow," Stefan added.
He'd been planning a set of 19" Lamborghini Callisto wheels taken directly from the vaunted '05 Gallardo SE. As if genuine Lambo wheels weren't special enough, he decided to hunt down one of just a few sets produced for the special SE model. However, it was a pricey endeavor that cost him more than many used VWs fetch. "The wheels were in need of a rebuild so I refurbished them back to the factory Titanium finish," he said.
For those who don't know, genuine Callistos are nearly impossible to find and if you do, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. But Stefan wasn't new to the wheel game. He'd previously installed six sets on the GTI before deciding on the Lambo rollers thanks to his own wheel repair company where he salvages old wheels and brings them back to life.
Of course, in true Dubhead fashion Stefan couldn't stop with the wheels because if Lambo wheels are good, then Lambo brakes are even better. "I added the Gallardo's huge eight-piston Brembo calipers with the help of AH-Exclusiveparts who mounted them as if they were factory equipment," Stefan said. "The brakes not only look great, but are impressively strong. Someday I'll upgrade the rears to match, but for now yellow-painted stock rear calipers will do," he said.
Believe it or not, the OEM Lambo wheels and brakes cost Stefan back nearly $6000 and although his checkbook was wiped out, he didn't flinch at adding a carbon front lip and some in-car entertainment.
"I added the VW RNS510 nave system along with Bluetooth, a back-up camera and Dynaudio speakers since a proper stereo is crucial to any car," Stefan said.
With a nice stereo, tasteful exterior mods, a proper drop and serious wheels, Stefan found himself between a show stopper and a tuner car, but as he sees it, his GTI is neither. "I didn't want an all-out tuner car or a show car. I like the OEM+ look and always wanted a Lamborghini but could never afford one, so I guess I've started with the wheels and brakes," he laughed.
For the future, Huygen plans to add Recaro seats, a software upgrade and exhaust. And while we'd all love a Lamborghini in the garage, sadly most of us will never own such a machine. Yet Stefan has shown that buying the wheels and brakes might be costly but is a great starting point.
2010 VW GTI
Location: Lanaken, Belgium
Occupation: Wheel Doctor
2.0L fur-cylinder TSI 16v turbo
six-speed manual transmission
Lamborghini Gallardo Brembo eight-piston front calipers with 365mm rotors, painted rear calipers
modified H&R springs
carbon fiber front lip, yellow fogs, rolled and pulled front fenders
VW RNS510 head unit with navigation, Bluetooth, back-up camera, Dynaudio speakers