While most hardcore VW enthusiasts explain their affinity for the scene stems from the cars, in reality it's more than that. It's more than a quest for the best stance, the wildest build or fastest ET; instead it's about the people. In fact, it's been said you meet the coolest people while driving a VW and, as many Dubheads can attest, that's very true.
It only takes one mechanical failure en route to a VAG show to prove that VW aficionados have lots of time for their fellow travelers. Got a flat, smashed your oilpan or snapped a suspension piece? No worries, you can bet a line of VWs will be parked alongside your wounded warrior to lend a helping hand or putting their tow hooks to good use if necessary.
"I always wanted a VW, and after a few friends got into the scene we started hanging out at the local meets. I realized just how many great people drove modified VWs and I've met a ton of awesome people with them," Jacqueline Vas told us.
While her love for VWs was deepened by her time immersed in the scene, it would take several years of saving before she could finally afford her own. "It took me a while to save for my car, so I had plenty of time to figure out exactly what I wanted. Eventually I settled on a Mk4 Golf because it I like the hatchback," Vas explained. "I decided to buy one with a 2.0L instead of a 1.8T or VR6 because I wanted something that was affordable, economical and different," she added.
Fortunately, a friend in the local VW club happened to be selling a clean, low-mileage 2001 Golf, so you might call it fate when their paths crossed. "I bought the car and was absolutely in love with it. I drove it everywhere, even though it was essentially stock," she said. "After a few years I decided I wanted more power, but didn't want to swap in a VR6 or 1.8T like everybody else. I wanted more power from the two-liter," she told us.
Some might balk at the lowly ABA 2.0L 8v motor, but Vas wasn't deterred. She used the naysayers as motivation for more power and the solution was a Neuspeed supercharger kit, followed by a host of supporting mods.
Although Vas was knowledgeable about her VW, the motor mods were ambitious so naturally she turned to her VW friends for help. This move turned out to be life-changing. "I met David Arendt from Stance Dubs at one of the local meets and we clicked so well we started dating and eventually got married," Jacqueline smiled. If that's not proof the VW scene is about the people, we don't know what is!
Somewhere between first impressions and tying the knot, the Dub couple decided the Neuspeed blower kit just wasn't enough. "I had a custom 2.4" pulley machined to raise boost to 11psi, and I also installed a custom Snow Performance water/methanol injection kit to enrichen the mixture and keep the intake air temperature down," Arendt said.
But that's not all. A 274° Techtonics cam bolstered top-end performance and added a lumpy idle. A custom cold-air intake and 2.5" cat-back exhaust were tasked with the respiratory duties, while a lightweight flywheel, VR6 clutch kit and Neuspeed short shifter handled the drivetrain requirements. The result was a pancake-flat torque curve with a claimed peak output of 205hp.
"When the engine was out we decided to shave the bay and paint it beige - it looked right against the blue," Vas said. With leftover beige in the spray gun, the two decided the BBS RC wheels also needed a dash of color. So they, too, were dusted with in the same paint.
"I was happy with the car for a while, especially with the new power and beige wheels, but I knew it wasn't close to being completed," Vas said.
As with most builds, she went into the next stage of the project with one idea, but ultimately walked away with another as it quickly snowballed. What was supposed to be simple upgrades and some refurbishing ignited an inferno. "We intended to simply refresh the wheels, but that went out the window when we cut the rears and widened them to 10.5"," Arendt said.
Of course, the new poke and shaved bay raised the bar high enough that the spots of surface rust were now under the spotlight. After all, the car had seen 250,000 miles and many harsh Canadian winters. "We swapped the doors and hood for newer ones and decided to paint the entire car," Vas said.
And so the little two-point-oh was transferred to the capable hands of Strasse Autowerks for a complete respray and serious body mods. "Before it was painted in R32 Deep Blue Pearl, Strasse shaved the handles, wheel arches, bumpers, moldings, rear hatch, antenna, markers and hood - and it came out amazing!" Vas confirmed.
Lets not forget the Euro R32 front bumper and tail lights as well as the NA R32 skirts, E-code headlights, Euro R-Line rear bumper, badgeless grille and stubby passenger mirror for an OEM+ look that's by the numbers.
"I tackled the interior with Stance Dubs since we wanted something bold but tasteful," Vas told us. "I bought fabric from a local sewing store and redid the headliner and trunk enclosure," she added.
Other interior touches included a two-tone interior with upholstered door cards, GTI steering wheel, Audi S4 Recaro seats and ancillaries like gauges, brushed aluminum trim and the ever-popular Euro headlight switch.
No proper build is complete without a sound system, so a custom trunk enclosure was built to house the relocated dry-cell battery that powers the Sony head unit, Pioneer 12" subwoofer and matching amp.
"The car had H&R coilovers that worked well, but I wanted to put it on air before the car was back on the road, so we added an Air Lift kit," Vas explained.
Having a hubby who owns Stance Dubs certainly came in handy when the Air Lift kit needed to be massaged for the custom installation. The standard kit fitted like easily but when Vas wanted it low, so Stance Dubs notched the frame and trimmed the front suspension knuckles, ditching the sway bars to bring the Golf down to earth. The result? Pure perfection."The car really came together nicely and fits me perfectly: unique, small and stylish!" Vas said.
We couldn't agree more, and admit that while the car is cool, the story behind it is just as entertaining: Girl seeks car, makes friends, finds love, builds car of her dreams. If that's not a VAG fairytale, we don't know what is.
2001 VW Golf
Owner: Jacqueline Vas
Location: Montreal, Canada
2.0L ABA four-cylinder 8v with Neuspeed supercharger and custom 2.4" pulley, Snow Performance water/meth injection, Techtonics Tuning 276° camshaft, custom 2.5'' cat-back exhaust, engine trim panel, cold-air intake and coolant filler neck with polished radiator cap, BFI mounts, Neuspeed dipstick and PAS cap, brushed aluminum hood strut, relocated dry-cell battery
Five-speed manual transmission with Neuspeed short shifter, VR6 clutch kit, lightweight flywheel
Air Lift air suspension kit with compressor, trunk-mounted air tank, gauges and control valves, Bilstein rear shocks, Audi TT strut bushings
Wheels & Tires:
17x8" f, 17x10.5" r BBS RC 090 wheels color-matched to engine bay, 35 mm spacers, 205/40 R17 f, 215/40 R17 r Falken Ziex 912 tires
Euro R32 front bumper, tail lights and R-line rear bumper, E-code headlights, NA R32 side skirts, badgeless grille, stubby passenger mirror, shaved handles, wheels arches, bumper, moldings, hatch, antenna, hood and markers, car painted R32 Deep Blue Pearl
Stock tan leather upholstery with black leather inserts, re-covered headliner, door panels and trunk enclosure, GTI steering wheel, Audi S4 Recaro seats, column-mounted boost gauge pod, double gauge pod in center console, brushed aluminum door pins and handles, Euro headlight switch, GTI Monster mats
Sony head unit, Pioneer 12" subwoofer and amplifier in custom enclosure
Stance Dubs (stancedubs.com), Strasse Autowerks (strasseautowerks.ca)