We embarked on Project 2.slow to prove a point; that you don't need 500hp and a huge bank account to have a decent-looking, fun-to-drive VW.
So far, most of our work has been mechanical and unseen, yet 2.slow wasn't ready for primetime in the looks department. In this, our last installment, we correct that situation and show off the results - nothing over the top, just cheap and easy changes.
Firstly, we contacted Sly Machines. They specialize in items such as real carbon fiber sheets with adhesive backing, as well as tinted light film.
The carbon sheets are also available in glassfiber and a multitude of colors like blue, red and pink. Being traditionalists, we stuck with natural carbon, but the more adventurous may find the colors enticing.
We used the Performance Carbon Fiber Sheet on the Drag wheels center caps, and it looks great. It was pretty easy to apply; you just need sharp scissors!
Too bad 2.slow didn't have any flat dash sections, it could do with a dress-up... but we've got plenty leftover for a future project. The carbon sheets can also be stretched around curved surfaces too, but we didn't dive into that realm.
The Crystal Headlight Film from Sly Machine was also easy to apply. It did a bang-up job of covering the many cracked lenses. And don't worry about the sparkly bits you can see in the film because it doesn't show when the lights are on, and only under close inspection when they are off.
We decided on smoked film for the turn signals and yellow for fogs - it's a classic look.
Inside, we focused on the two key areas of driver input: the steering wheel and shift knob. We worked with Shutt Auto, which provided us with a Racing Spirit steering wheel and rally-style centering ring, plus a matching shift knob.
The Shutt steering wheel and knob provide enjoyable interaction with the car. After 240,000 miles, you can bet the stock ones were thoroughly worn, and there's nothing like new suede to fix the problem!
We were also tired of rowing the sloppy shifter, and Techtonics had delivered the goods with its engine parts, so we trusted its Mk3 short shift kit would be just as dependable.
The short shift kit was simple to install and easy to adjust between the three shift settings. There's not much else to say, although it looks pretty with the polished finish... too bad it's hidden! Additionally, it didn't add much effort to the shifter, which is a bonus.
Other final touches included a used VR6 chin spoiler from Jason Mingle at NGP Racing, once his wrecked Jetta TDI no longer needed it. Aside from that, we decided to black-out the VW badge as a final task.
Shutt Steering Wheel
Note: Working with an airbag can be very dangerous. Removing your airbag may be illegal in some states and isn't recommended. Always disconnect the battery when working on an airbag system. Professional installation is highly recommended whenever possible.
Shutt Shift Knob
With 2.slow being transformed from barn-find to occasional autocrosser, we couldn't be happier with the results: A good-looking, solid-performing Mk3 that didn't break the bank. The horsepower isn't high, but the fun-per-dollar ratio is through the roof!
The car really digs into turns, thanks to the FK coilovers, Neuspeed sway bars and Euro Sport stress bars. The Drag wheels and Falken tires from Discount Tire Direct look good, pushed out by FK spacers. And just as importantly, they've held up to the abuse, potholes, city miles and a few track laps.
Acceleration was never going to be 2.slow's strongest attribute, but the changes we've made keep things interesting and make it fun to drive.
The Euro Sport Cool Flo intake, Techtonics 266° cam, cam gear, chip and exhaust are still doing their job admirably - good power, great sound and total reliability.
The EBC Ultimax slotted rotors and Redstuff pads have likewise continued to impress. Rotor wear has been minimal and the pads keep on working. The extremely low dust is another benefit.
So where do we go from here (other than lowering the coilovers)? With the simple and relatively lightweight car, the results are far beyond the sum of the parts. In a bigger-is-better world, it's easy to forget the basics, yet we're having a blast in 2.slow.
And although we don't have any immediate plans, we may return for further installments, most likely in the engine department.
We'll try and avoid a turbo, but never say never. We'd like to see how much more power we can squeeze from the naturally-aspirated 2.0, and don't want to sink tons of money into a car we basically salvaged from being scrapped.
We'd like to thank the crew at NGP Racing for their help during the build. And a special thanks to Matt Ford at MF Automotive in Knoxville, TN. He helped us with a roadside problem on a road trip, and his crew went out of their way to ensure we were taken care.
So 2.slow is signing off, but we hope to bring you occasional updates in the future.
|Techtonics Tuning||short shift kit||$45|
|Sly Machines||carbon fiber sheet||from $39.95|
|Sly Machines||crystal headlight film||N/A|
|Shutt||Racing Spirit steering wheel||$189.99|
|Shutt||Racing shift knob||$67.99|