You wouldn't know it from talking to Jay Danaher, but his road to rolling perfection was littered with wheel-bending potholes and valance-ripping bumps. "Even though I've always owned European cars, this was my first VW," Danaher said. "Back when I was married I had six BMWs (two E46, E39 sedan and wagon, E36 M3), but that came to an end when I was court-ordered to sell them during my divorce - in the end I was left with a Prius!"
It's a sad day for any automotive enthusiast when they're stripped of their four-wheeled possessions, and stuck behind the wheel of the antichrist of performance car, the Toyota Prius, rubs salt in the wound.
"There's no way to explain it other than, it sucked," Danaher laughingly admitted. But he didn't let the hard times deter him. Instead, when life gave him lemons, he decided to toss them in the round file and trade in the damn Prius.
"When I traded it I was originally looking for a Subaru WRX or Legacy 2.5 GT, but it was right around the Japanese tsunami, so Subaru had temporarily stopped importing models," Danaher explained. "I decided to give VW a try and the CC was the first and last one I drove. I took it home that day," he added.
Danaher chose the Passat CC for many reasons, but it's unique styling and relative scarcity topped the list. "I love the lines and shape of the CC. I saw one at Waterfest some years back that was bagged on Audi Q7 wheels and instantly fell in love," he explained.
It might have been love at first sight, but it wasn't rolling perfection at first swing. He admitted to trying no less than six sets of wheels and two suspension setups before achieving the staggered and slammed stance before you. "The day I got the car I'd already bought a set of used 19" MSW wheels that admittedly looked horrible, but I didn't care - anything was better than stock," he explained.
Much like an artist has an idea before putting pen to paper, Danaher knew what he liked but quickly realized the project was developing a personality of its own. "After several ill fitting wheels I finally bought a set of staggered wheels that looked great with the coilovers," he said. "I stumbled on 19" Lorinsor LM6 rims from a Merc SLR and knew there were gaudy at best, but still looked good on the CC."
Not long after the coilovers and Merc wheels, Danaher again got the itch to go "too low for a fat doe," and as luck would have it, he ran into Bag Riders Air Ride systems about the same time. "I've since become great friends with the guys at Bag Riders after visiting their shop to pick their brains about the different systems," he said. "After seeing the quality of their products it didn't take long before I had a system of my own," he said.
Danaher decided to use a top-of-the-line e-Level controller with touchpad and Zaetech Touchbox because good bag aren't much use without control. And since it's always harder to upgrade the electronics than hardware, it's easy to see why he bucked up for the high-buck gizmos.
When it came to the hardware, Danaher spent enough to do his air ride right without breaking the bank. "I spent the majority of the suspension money on the controllers but stuck to mid-grade hardware since I wanted it to be good enough to get really low, but not kill my funds," he explained. "I used Air Lift front Slam Struts and rear Slam Taper Bags along with dual 440c Viair compressors, a five-gallon skinny aluminum tank and 3/8" lines. It all works really well," he confirmed.
But any Dubhead knows simply bolting on air-ride and getting it low isn't going to happen. While Danaher wasn't willing to chop his Dub to relocate the shock towers and cut the frame, he was willing to remove the fender liners and have Bag Riders notch the front of the frame to achieve the slammed stance.
The slammed stance was further accentuated when Jay saw inspiration in his current BMW X5 4.4L wheels on an Audi A4 at H2Oi 2011. Again, he instantly fell in love. "The wheels and stance looked perfect> it's a unique wheel that tucked nicely," he explained.
And so a set of staggered OEM BMW X5 wheels found their way onto the CC, but not before an exhaustive test was conducted to see what adapters worked best. In the end, the 19x8" fronts needed 50mm adapters, while the 19x10" rears only required 15mm units to put them flush. Love them or leave them, you can't fault Danaher for not being original.
Speaking of which, what if we told you the camouflage scheme before you is the tenth color change the CC has seen! Before calling our bluff, lets explain. "I own www.rubber-wrap.com, which sells Plasti Dip. I've taken the product and pushed it to another level where I can now apply it to high-end cars and even do custom stuff like metalflake and pearl finishes. It's amazing stuff," he told us.
That's right, the camo isn't paint at all, but a rubberized substance that adheres to nearly any surface but can be removed without harming the paint underneath. Simply spray it on and, when you're bored with it, scrape it off. "We started with matte black (except for the OEM gloss black roof) and have done everything from different variations of camo with black, red and white, along with the current crop of more popular camo colors," he continued.
Never heard of Plasti Dip? Check it out; it's amazing stuff and can do wonders for a weathered ride or for someone looking to change it up while having the ability to change it back. Again, love it or hate it, you gotta admire his originality. "Every time I change the scheme (which is quite often) I fall in love with the car again. I have fun every time I drive it and the ability to change the color at a whim is something nobody was previously able to do," he said.
Of course, the judgmental Euro crowd both love and loathe this CC, but Danaher explained he's only concerned with getting people talking. And to keep 'em talking he has bigger plans for next year, like 19x10" X5 wheels at all four corners, a different color scheme and maybe further suspension upgrades.
Call it what you want, but we call it unique. After all, it's a six-speed manual VW CC on BMW wheels with a camouflage paint scheme that really isn't paint at all. If that's not a one-of-a kind combo, we don't know what is.
2010 VW Passat CC
Owner: Jay Danaher
Location: Burlington, VT
Occupation: Owner of www.rubber-wrap.com
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder 16v turbo with APR stage 2 software, downpipe and Carbonio CAI, K&N filter
Drivetrain: Stock six-speed manual
Suspension: Bag Riders kit with Air Lift front Slam Struts, Slam Taper rear bags, five-gallon skinny aluminum air tank, dual 440c Viaur compressors, Accuair e-Level touchpad controller, Zaetech Touchbox, 3/8" line
Wheels & Tires: 19x9" ET-7 front, 19x10" ET30 rear BMW X5 4.4L Sport wheels, Adaptec adapters and hardware, 215/35 R19 front, 225/35 R19 Toyo Proxes tires
Exterior: Rubber-Wrap camouflage wrap, custom fiberglass splitter
Interior: Rennline pedal kit
Thanks: Bag Riders, Adaptec, APR Tuning, Vermont Veterans Militia Museum, Joel Boucher, Prime Cuts Vinyl, www.rubber-wrap.com