“Hate is strong word.” Mother’s words rang in our ears as the owner of this ’07 VW Rabbit turbo told us how he hated the car shortly after purchasing it. The engine was insufficient, the ride squishy, and the car lacked a soul.
For Ryan Constantinescu it “Felt like an appliance after I began driving it daily. So I started researching modification immediately,” he explained. “I looked at everything from body kits to power mods because I had to make the car better at any cost.”
The Spare Room
Shortly after Ryan took ownership of his wascally Wabbit, he was deployed to Iraq. While valiantly serving our country, his parents allowed Ryan to turn the spare room into Rabbit parts storage. He’d been collecting parts before his deployment and still found time to make purchases while overseas. Yes, you read that right. Ryan was buying parts while fighting 7593 miles from home. He was so determined to transform his VW that while the enemy was firing at Ryan’s base, he somehow managed to find power add-ons for the 2.5L motor.
During his shopping spree, brother-in-law Blade insisted Ryan look at a Stage 2 turbo kit from C2 Motorsports. Ryan agreed, clicked his mouse and Blade was soon at work installing the kit – he wanted to surprise Ryan by having it installed for his return. He was successful, and Ryan gained a new respect for his car.
The hatred slowly melted away when Ryan drove his Rabbit turbo daily. He was now blasting through gears and listening to the five-cylinder engine sing a new song. This washing machine was now a precision assault vehicle. The Garrett T3/T4 turbo in the C2 kit provided almost 100hp more than the stock 150hp, a rude wake up call from Ryan’s former experience with the car.
Adding a turbo brings a great sense of accomplishment. But unless your goal is a sleeper, you’ll want to continue with the modification. Ryan clearly wasn’t done; he had a spare room to fill, after all. So he began to source parts that would exude attitude and make the car unique. Inspired by a canteen he’d taken to Iraq, the exterior would be simplified to promote the car’s functionality.
Suspension can give any car a distinctive personality, opting for a comfy daily driver with springs and shocks, or pursuing a more aggressive stance with air suspension perhaps. In the end, Ryan chose a track-focused set up, with a set of BC coilovers to compliment the new performance.
The exterior o needed a facelift so a smoothed Caractere front bumper, R32 rear valance, E-code headlights and smoked Hella tail lamps gave the Rabbit enough attitude to get pedestrians to snap their necks.
If the body mods weren’t enough, Josh Byland of Phoenix Collision & Custom Paint shot the car in matte canteen green – the same shade as Ryan’s bottle, cementing the relationship between Ryan and his Rabbit to a deeper level.
The wheels are unconventional but rewarding to see at speed. The 18x8” front and 18”x9” rear Raderwerks M-TEN90 were stripped and painted in Audi Ipanema Brown then wrapped in 225/40 BFGoodrich G-Force T/A rubber.
Inside, the makeover is modest with trim pieces matching the wheel color. There’s also a boost gauge and upgraded Pioneer AVIC-D3 double-DIN head unit.
There are tuners who take years to build their vision, then there’s Ryan. Think about it, a war couldn’t prevent him giving this car his full attention. When Ryan began to tell us how the car came to be, we looked at our own projects and hung our heads. Yet without the support of his family, friends and the Dub community, this Rabbit wouldn’t have been so well executed.