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2004 Volkswagen R32 - Loui Fattorusso Hurricane Sandy victim

A fellow gearhead loses his ride to the storm.

By Ezekiel Wheeler, Photography by Loui Fattorusso

The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was felt around the country. Nobody would ever imagine New York, New Jersey, and the majority of the eastern seaboard would suffer this badly from a hurricane.

Among the tragedies that unfolded in its aftermath, eurotuner reader, tuner, and 2VW fan Loui Fattorusso contacted us once his power was restored to tell us how he lost his beloved Mk4 VW R32 to Sandy.

Loui's car wasn't just a dealer-fresh low-mile daily, he tuned it to the hilt. He started with, as he put it, an "honest sports car" and added a VF-Engineering stage 2 supercharger, improving the power delivery. He also installed an APR cat-back exhaust system to help the engine sing a new song when he blasted down the boulevard.

Outside, Loui fitted subtle features that provided more attitude, such as an Oettinger grille, RS4-style mirrors, Seat Cupra R front splitter, LED daytime running lights and front signals.

Loui's R32 was turning heads everywhere he went, including Waterfest 17 where he took home first in class. All in all, the car collected 14 trophies since 2004 up and down the Northeast.

Inside, upgraded the panels and trim pieces in leather, adding an RS4 leather 'n suede steering wheel. The R32 seats also received attention, having a local interior shop fashion bespoke covers inspired by the Dino Ferrari.

As most of us have learned, parking anywhere along the east coast comes at a price. You either pay the city or someone smart enough to construct a garage. Loui's closest garage was two blocks away from his apartment, but at least his pride and joy was protected there from the harsh winter elements. But nothing could have prepared him for what Sandy had in store.

The entrance to his garage has a steep incline that required skillful navigation whenever taking the car for a spin. The day Sandy hit, Loui saw the street slowly fill with water, which soon overflowed from the sewers. Instinctively, Loui told his neighbors to get to higher ground. Loui then got to his car knowing the water might claim it.

When he arrived, water in the garage was already at his ankles, rising to his knees before he could reach it. Things didn't look good.

He was able to push the car toward the exit but a ramp was too steep so he decided to start the car and pray. Unfortuantely, fate had something else in mind: as he started the car and began to climb the ramp, water entered the intake and his R32 was another statistics to be tallied in the wake of Sandy.

This wasn't Loui's first encounter with an east coast tragedy. On September 11, 2001 he was near the towers in his previous Mk4; blacked-out with a Porsche parts upgrade. Sadly, this vehicle was lost to the falling towers. Loui even sustained permanent injuries to his back as he was trying to run from the falling debris.

His insurance agent was asked whether he owned a black cat!

Loui's perseverance is in his blood. His outlook on life, in spite of everything, remains humble yet upbeat.

We asked Loui if he was looking for another project. The answer was negative because of an ongoing battle with the insurance company that wouldn't allow him to remove some the parts from the car that was totaled by the storm.

"I don't know if I have another build in me. With my injuries and growing mobility issues it's getting harder to build cars like I used to do only 10-15 years ago. But I loved that car, it was everything I wanted and more. There was nothing like it. I wanted to share my story to let the gearheads know how the storm affected us. Diehards like myself will be able to understand exactly what I lost and I'm happy to bit it a final farewell on eurotuner."

On behalf of all of us, we'd like to thank Loui for sharing his story. We know exactly how he feels because our cars are more than transportation. They bring us friends, a community and lifestyle. To anybody else who suffered any kind of loss in the storm, we're thinking of you and hope for a speedy return to normality.

Spec

Loui Fattorusso
2004 VW R32

Engine:
3.2L VR6, HPA carbon fiber engine cover, Neuspeed upper chrome stress bar, JB parts billet dip stick, Audi S6 supercharged badge, Haldex performance unit for the AWD and badge, ECS Tuning R36 blue spark coils covers, Stage 2 VF Engineering supercharger, vfk11-06 stage 1&2 (8 psi) s/c combo, vfa02-01 rear pendulum mount, vfa02-04 transmission mount, vfa02-02 6cyl engine mount, vfa01-01 aluminum race bypass valve, vfa11-01auxiliary radiator fan, APR cat-back exhaust.

Transmission:
six-speed manual, AWD

Suspension
Neuspeed front sport struts, rear sport shocks, sport springs, front lower control arm brace, front sway bar, rear sway bar, rear lower control arms

Brakes
oem calipers front, Tyrol sport brake stiffing kit, oem calipers rear, Neuspeed stainless steel brake lines, front and rear replacement slotted rotors, front and rear sport pads

Wheels & Tires:
ASA GTI 18x8" with 245/40 R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires

Exterior:
Hella euro glass headlights with HID kit, ECS tuning Ziza LED city lights clear bumper lights, fender side markers deco comet blinkers, RS4 brushed aluminum mirror covers with blue tinted and heated a-spherical mirrors, Oettinger turbo grill with R32 badge, lower Cupra r lip painted RS5 matte silver, Platinum VW 2012 GTI shark fin antenna, VW Polo rear windshield wiper, Audi S6 supercharged badge and 25 anniversary rabbit badge on hatch, Kamei rear wing, Forge billet gas tank cover, euro R32 tail lights with rear fog kit

Interior:
Platinum VW rear beetle head rest, Audi A6 rear center head rest, JB parts front seats billet knobs, front billet air vents, 42 draft designs in dash boost, oil pressure, oil temperature gauges and aluminum triple gauge panel, steering wheel rewrapped with black perforated leather and gray Alacantra with red stitching, 20th anniversary shift knob, e-brake, carbon fiber inserts for doors, dash, head liner light panel, ECS Tuning euro headlight switch

Thanks:
Meyer from Meyer's custom collision, Mike and his crew from Tyrol Sport, Dan Molloy and David Martinez from Platinum VW, Gary from Neuspeed, The crew at ECS TUNING. And a special thanks to my best friend and cousin Marco Burittica, been breaking his horns since I started with the Volkswagen scene he helped me a lot .....Thank you

By Ezekiel Wheeler
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