Saturday, September 21, 2019

Red Hot Chili Hatch - Project Sleeper

I know it's probably weird but I've been wanting to build a sleeper hot hatch for some time now and the MK7 Golf GTi checked all my criteria. I've been going back between a GTi and a Golf R but eventually felt the GTi was probably the more appropriate choice. It's less "special" and I therefore don't have to feel so precious about it. I've been on the hunt for some time now and I was really hoping to find one that was a 1-owner private sale where I could really talk to the current owner so I could get a real feel for how the car was used, and more importantly, taken care of.

2016 Tornado Red VW Golf GTi - "Chili" - 9-21-2019
After several months of randomly seeing what was out there, I found this one perusing the forums. It's a 2016 Tornado Red Golf GTi 6MT with Performance Pack (LSD + Golf R brakes), Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC - Electronic shocks) and Lighting Package with just over 50K miles. It isn't stock but the modifications were ones I'd likely have done myself. Curious, I contacted the seller, Mike, and we had a really good chat on the phone where it was very clear to me he was a real car enthusiast. Not only was he able to tell me the entire history of the car since buying it new but when we talked about each mod there was a clear rhyme and reason to everything. I may have gone a slightly different way in some areas but for the most part I understood his choices. This was his daily driver and his modification were in the direction of a reliable, performance daily. It was also very obvious to me that we had similar car maintenance philosophies. He had done lots of preventative maintenance, replacing weak parts with better ones when the opportunity presented itself.

PPI - 9-18-2019
Since he lives in PA, I scheduled a time for a test drive for this weekend and during the week we continued to chat about the car and I had him get a PPI done out of due diligence. As expected, the car passed with flying colors. The only item of note was that the rear brakes would need replacing in the next 4-5K miles which Mike already disclosed to me before the PPI. Otherwise, for a daily driven car, it was in really great condition. It has some very minor cosmetic flaws like a few rock chips on the bumper but nothing of major concern. After driving it today, I was sold. Everything felt tight, the upgraded clutch felt perfect and the power delivery smooth. I don't think the car "needs" anything right now but as you might expect from me, I've already got a build sheet going though I may execute it more slowly. The list of current installed mods are:


  • APR Stage 1 - 93 octane low torque profile 
  • CTS downpipe with high flow catalytic converter 
  • CTS turbo inlet 
  • CTS turbo muffler delete 
  • Forge turbo blanket 
  • 034 Motorsports Dog bone insert 
  • APR spherical pendulum mount 
  • ECS silicone air intake duct 
  • Dv+ diverter valve 
  • Audi RS 3 ignition coils 
  • Billet rear main seal
  • ECS adjustable short shift kit 
  • ECS Bleeder Block 
  • Eibach 25 mm rear sway bar 
  • Super pro polyurethane rear endlinks 
  • Sachs ZF performance clutch kit (stiffer pedal feel over stock,​ pressure plate from an Audi TT-RS)  
  • Mud flaps 
  • Whispbar roof rack 
  • Alzor 349 wheels with BBS center caps - Firestone Indy Firehawk 500 tires 
  • Stock rims with​ Falken snow tires
  • 15% full wrap window tint Gloss black mirror
This car will eventually replace my Touareg TDI as my primary vehicle. I'm going to have to make some adjustments to the window tint due to NY's stricter tint laws and have a few minor cosmetic / usability / reliability tweaks of my own to add as my first step but for the most part the exterior will remain mostly stock looking. Since I'm going for the full "sleeper" vibe, major changes will remain largely under the hood or very subtle. Ideally I just want someone walking by to just say "oh that's a cute Golf" and continue walking not knowing what lurks underneath. I only drive my primary vehicle 5-6k miles a year so while I am still going to make sure things are reliable, I can do a few things to spice things up for some spirited drives but this car will not be set up for any form of racing. It may or may not end up being the fastest straight line car I own haha. 

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