What better way to break in a brand new car than with a bang, right? Wrong. When I bought the 2015 VW Golf GTI that you see here back in March of this year, the last thing I anticipated was spending the majority of the summer battling it out with insurance companies. You see, on one fateful day in the middle of May, the day before I planned to make the trek up to Helen, Georgia for Southern Worthersee, my plans of debuting my VW Golf GTI Mk7 on Vossen VLE-1 wheels came to a crashing halt—literally.
While stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green, a Toyota Tacoma attempted to change the fate of my GTI by rear-ending me. Freshly wrapped in metallic brown by our friends at RODWRAPS and straight off the dyno just minutes earlier at USP Motorsports where we were checking APR Tuning’s Stage 1 tune numbers, and with a trunk full of intake and exhaust goodies from AWE Tuning, it all fell apart.
A quick fix en route, consisting of some plexi, rivets, silicon, and Vossen packing tape (and a bit of blood and sweat), kept us on-track and we made it all the way up to Helen for the event, despite the Tacoma’s best efforts! Little did I know, however, that I’d spend the next several months battling it out with insurance companies to get everything resolved, putting more miles on the car whilst wrecked than I did pre-wreck.
My good friend, Clay (DeCaudella’s Custom Paint and Body), worked his magic on the repair and with the addition of some Golf R LED tails from USP and a bit of metal work removing the rear badge, everything was back on the road—only 3 months later, ha!
For nearly a decade I’ve found myself immersed in the VW/Audi community, beginning with a handful of older watercooled VWs. From a Mk2 Jetta Coupe that I built a 16v for to my beloved Passat wagon, a car that I’ve driven through over 40 of the 50 states, I’ve always had a love for VW’s style and, more importantly, enthusiast community. So when the opportunity presented itself to purchase a new car for the first time in my life, it was a no brainer—then I drove the new Mk7 GTI, and it was really a no brainer.
Within days of taking delivery of the car, my H&R Coilovers (@hrspringslp) arrived, and with the help of Danny at Slammered, the GTI was dropped closer to the ground, over Vossen’s limited-edition VLE-1 wheels.
After being neighbors with AWE Tuning at Cult Classic (a VW show organized by Nothing Leaves Stock in Pennsylvania) for a couple years with my other company, More Than More, I knew AWE was the place to go for top-quality intake and exhaust components. I’ve never been a fan of loud exhaust systems, but I wanted to eventually take the car up to APR’s Stage 2 software, the kind gents at AWE Tuning suggested their S-FLO Carbon Intake along with their Performance downpipe and Touring Edition Exhaust. Keep an eye out in the coming months for a more comprehensive review of APR’s Stage 1 and Stage 2 software, along with AWE Tuning’s intake and exhaust systems.
It’s easy to get carried away with the performance of the new Mk7 GTI, especially because the exterior of the car isn’t in your face whilst driving. But outside the car lies my favorite part of this little build so far: the wrap. Since the moment I saw Toffee Brown on a Mk6 Jetta, I was in love. In fact, years ago, before I moved from Washington to the east coast, I hoped to wrap my Passat in this color, but the samples never arrived in time. And because Toffee Brown has never been offered on the Golf/GTI line, I figured there was no better thing to do than finally make my dream come true. Enrique and his team at RODWRAPS made it happen, doing such an exceptional job that nearly as many people asked about the “paint” on my car at SOWO as asked about the wreck!
I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my GTI, despite the headache that the process has been. And while this summer has been tied up with the cosmetics of the car (thanks again, Clay and Decaudella’s!), I can’t wait to dig deeper and get the car on the track. But above all, I can’t thank the people that have helped along the way enough for the support, so please take a look at what they offer and stay tuned for a more comprehensive look into the various changes I’ve made to this Mk7 Golf GTI!
VINYL WRAP ///// RODWRAPS (@rodwraps)
SUSPENSION ///// H&R Coilovers (@hrspringslp)
SUSPENSION INSTALL ///// Slammered (@slammered)
SOFTWARE ///// APR (@aprllc)
INTAKE/DOWNPIPE/EXHAUST ///// AWE Tuning (@awetuningofficial)
DYNO ///// USP Motorsports (@uspmotorsports)
BODY & PAINT ///// DeCaudella’s (@decaudellas)