About a year and a half ago we ran into Rob, aka vwamigo, and his VW (Mk3) GTI VR6T and promised to eventually wrap up a feature here on Spina². Life just seemed to constantly get in the way of bringing us all back together to accomplish that but when the stars were perfectly aligned we sprinted to action and were finally reunited once again! The GTI wears a different set of rollers since we saw it last and that just confirms it is in a constant state of evolution, much like many of our automotive projects.
We asked Rob to tell us how it all started. “I bought the car brand new from Larson VW in Tacoma in April of 1998,” he began. “I traded in my lightly modded 1993 Ford Probe GT. I didn’t start modding the GTI until I had it for about three years, except wheels and tires.” Two months into ownership Rob picked up his first set of aftermarket wheels, a set of 17-inch TSW VX1 wheels wrapped with Yokohama rubber. A moderate modding budget on top of a new car payment kept progress at a light pace. “About three years later, I discovered a tuner shop on Lake City Way called A-Tech. They mostly catered to the JDM crowd but the owner, Tommy Hwang, wanted to bring in more customers with Euros. He started me off with a giant stainless steel, dual-dtm tipped ‘universal fit’ muffler. Then I got talked into a set of springs that sat on adjustable collars over the stock shocks.” These would later be replaced with a set of Autotech Sport Tuning sourced H&R Race Springs over Bilstein Sport struts when the stock shocks inevitably failed. “Eventually I found Momentum Motor Parts in British Columbia while paging through an old VW tuner magazine,” Rob continues. “I ordered a set of non-smoked Hella dual round headlights and M3 tail lights.”
“At this time I worked nights delivering newspapers to UW. I met, somewhat accidentally, a young VW guy named Jason Wine. He told me about VWVortex.com and my life as I once knew it changed forever.” Like many, the forum had introduced Rob to other like-minded individuals who helped motivate him to get the GTI where it is today. “I discovered Evolution Sports in Everett and it’s eccentric owner, Matt Johnson. I purchased several items there, the first was a full stainless Techtonics Tuning exhaust with Borla muffler. Matt wasn’t doing installs at the time so he directed me, through vortex, to a couple of uber scruffy roughnecks – Chris DeLong and a very young and somewhat innocent Rob Eiffert. These two malcontents were working at Specialty Motors in North Seattle at the time and they got my TT exhaust put on just in time for my first show, Waterwagens 2004.”
“Chris soon went on to open his own shop, Fine Tuning, and Eiffert soon followed.” Rob’s friendship with the duo grew from there. “Chris’ policy of ‘not bringing ground beef to McDonald’s and asking them to cook it’ was engraved in my skull so everything from then on, for the most part, was subsequently ordered and installed by Chris and his staff.” Otherwise he’d get Eiffert’s help with weekend garage projects. The on-going list of parts now include Bilstein PSS9 coil-overs, OZ Superleggera wheels, a Peloquin limited-slip differential installed in a rebuilt transmission with cryo-treated gears, Audi TT 12.3″ brakes, and a Kinetic Stage 1 turbo kit. The interior is adorned with MOMO accessories and he has kept himself and his passengers comfortable and in style with Corbeau CR-1 seats.
That catches us up with Rob’s on-going journey with his VW (Mk3) GTI VR6T. It’s not his first German car but it certainly got him hooked as he and his family now own 4 Volkswagens! We’ll be sure to catch up with Rob some time again and see how things are progressing.