Project GTI: It’s Still A Thing
Time’s A Chainin’

Project GTI is, indeed, still a thing.

It’s probably testament to the car that I’ve not had much to write about over the past few months. The last real update of substance was in May, when we fitted the reverse staggered RAYS Volk Racing TE37 Sagas, along with a more recent quasi-update in the shape of a track day experience, where I apparently brought a spoon to a gun fight.

The summer of 2018 was a fun one from a wrong-wheel drive perspective; there were lots of incremental changes and lots of driving, but rarely enough at one time to constitute a dedicated update. The car does sit largely the same as it did in May; it’s still a 308hp (at 1.4bar boost pressure) GTI on air suspension which serves as my daily driver, weekend toy, track day and show car all at the same time.

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At some point during the Irish summer, I passed the three years of ownership mark, which makes this the car I’ve owned longer than any other.

The thought of selling the car and picking up something else has crossed my mind, but there’s nothing which really does everything quite as well as this does, save for a new GTI or Golf R. At that point, I’d just be starting the journey all over again with a similar base vehicle, so I figure it’s best to extract as much enjoyment from this as I possibly can.

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I do love the thing, but it’s not without its faults.

Mechanically, the car has been pretty much perfect throughout my ownership, save for a faulty ignition switch that massacred a battery or two before it was diagnosed. Luckily, it was covered under warranty, despite the car being modified. “If the issue is due to a modification, you’ll have to cover the cost. If it’s an issue elsewhere, we’ll take care of it,” I believe were the dealer’s words, which they honoured.

The other issue was more of a potential one, than an actual one. Some early MK6 GTIs have suffered from abrupt timing chain tensioner failures, which often results in catastrophic engine failure. It doesn’t happen to every car, but it has happened to enough of them to raise an eyebrow in suspicion.

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There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to the failures (asides from being fitted with the same tensioner), which makes it all the more worrisome. High mileage, low mileage, under-used daily drivers and track cars have all suffered from it at one stage or another. I had the (dis)pleasure of seeing the results of a failure not so long ago; the car in question was parked overnight with everything in perfect working order and no issues when it was switched off, only for it to have zero compression the next morning as the valves met the piston tops when the owner attempted to start it. That was lucky example, too.

Volkswagen themselves were obviously aware of the issue, as they introduced a revised part during the following year’s production.

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Having put some money aside for a few months, I booked the car in with a VW specialist around 90 minutes outside of Dublin (Daltons of Portlaoise, if you’re interested) who have updated many of these tensioners to the revised item. They also recommended a new chain and guides be fitted at the same time (the parts are quite cheap, and you know, while they’re already in there, they might as well) so I let them at it.

It’s a job that can be done DIY, but it’s not something I would even dream to attempt, and I was happy to hand it over to the professionals. The task was completed in around three or four hours; there’s zero difference in how the car drives, but the relief and peace of mind that have come with it, make it worth every cent.

Sit Down

With the car venturing out on track more often, I had known for a while that I would like more support from the driver’s seat. The standard MK6 GTI seats are quite lovely, but they don’t offer enough support in the shoulder area for any significant amount of lateral forces.

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The original driver’s seat was also getting a little bit grubby, so this was the perfect excuse (as if one was needed) to make a change.

This was a decision I spent far more time agonising over than I would like to admit, as there were a couple of options on the table. The most obvious one was to source a pair of reclining Recaro ‘Wingbacks’, but they’re quite expensive, even used. I don’t know if it’s an urban myth, but there used to be a story going around of a UK insurance company writing off a B7 Audi Rs4 which had its seats stolen. As the seats were out of production, they could only be ordered by their individual parts and self-assembled, resulting in an outrageous total cost.

I do not need that kind of stress in my life.

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I then made the decision to go with a fixed back, but for the driver’s seat only. My rationale was that by keeping the stock passenger seat, I could retain access to the rear seats, have somewhere to nap on long solo journeys and not piss off my girlfriend.

Amongst German car enthusiasts, it isn’t the done thing to have mis-matched front seats, but then I’ve always thought of my GTI as having a JDM twist, so I ploughed ahead regardless. I did toy with the idea of a proper Japanese seat, alá Bride or Thrash Racing, but I am not a small human, so that idea didn’t last too long.

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Eventually, I settled on maybe the greatest fixed back seat there is (fight me), the Recaro Pole Position. What nobody told me in advance is that changing seats might be the single largest pain in the arse there is.

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Which is odd, considering how surprisingly easy the factory seat comes out (four bolts, and a single connector). Actually, putting the new seat into the car was also pretty straightforward – the frustration came from…

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…this. While it might look simple enough when it’s assembled correctly, it essentially arrives as a box with too many bars and bolts inside and instructions that are at best, counter productive. Especially when you realise that they are for a left-hand drive car halfway through the process…

Eventually, it was figured out, the seat mounted to the base and installed into the car.

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I could trim the seat to match the interior, but as I’m keeping the original seat, I can always swap that back in if I sell the car and keep the Recaro for a future project. I went with the ‘Artista’ cushions (a sort of dark camouflage) just to make it a little bit different from an all-black seat.

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I wanted to have the seat on sliding rails, which meant adding a tiny bit of height to the seat when compared to mounting it directly to the floor. It just means that the seat sits a fraction higher than the stock seat did at its lowest position, but nothing major.

2018 PGTI Players Classic-1 2

Of course, the only way to break a new seat in was to immediately road trip across three countries and back again, for Players Classic. If there was ever a journey that was going to highlight the any issues, it was going to be this.

Thankfully, my reservations were unfounded.

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A common theme this summer gone was one of driving. Lots of driving was done. Any shortcomings in the car’s usability would have been revealed countless times in recent months, but it’s just a pleasure in practically every circumstance. It was always going to be a fine line to try to balance performance and comfort, but I now have it at a point where I’m more than happy with.

It never feels out of place. Well, except in one area…


If you might remember, the last ‘sort-of-update’ involved a pretty comprehensive track day around the full Mondello Park international layout, in the name of charity. I knew beforehand that the OE specification pads in the new Brembo calipers wouldn’t take a whole heap of torture on a circuit renowned for being tough on brakes, but I wasn’t prepared for just how quickly they would give up the ghost on track. One particular brown trouser moment was all the warning I needed to take it down a notch or seven.

It wasn’t too much of an issue as I was able to manage the brakes enough to get me through the day, but it meant there were no real maximum attack laps. A shame, really.

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I knew I had the right fluid, and sufficient cooling, so a decent pad upgrade was the simple solution to the problem. Again, much painstaking research was done online, while also consulting friends with more track experience than I. Eventually, I went with Pagid’s RSL29 (sometimes called Pagid ‘Yellows’) and from the moment the bedding-in procedure was complete (an intense experience in itself) I knew the decision was the right one.

Initial bite was hugely improved and they proved to be completely fade resistant on the street. In saying that, everyone knows that the track is the real test…

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So, another track day was arranged. This time, instead of finding out on lap two of a full day that I didn’t have the brakes required, I just booked in for a single session. If they could last 20 minutes around Mondello Park, they’d be fine pretty much anywhere else in the world.

It was also a more German-centric track day this time around, which was nice. Provided you like German cars, of course.

As it turns out they lasted a lot longer than 20 minutes, but this was probably the cleanest piece of track I saw during this time. It was a particularly busy day, with lots of cars faster than me and, also, lots of cars slower than me. I live by the motto on track days of overtake how you would like to be overtaken, which basically means don’t dive down someone’s inside and give room when overtaking.

The summarised version of the above is don’t be a dickhead.

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This approach means a compromise on lap times during busy sessions, but it’s a track day, not a competition. With traffic, I was somewhere in the 2m15s (AKA slow AF) region, but I think sub-2m10s with a clear track should be achievable comfortably enough, with an ultimate target of sub-2m5s.

While the brakes held up perfectly, and the car is driving almost as I would like, the increased time on track introduced new problems, which weren’t obvious before: engine and gearbox oil temperatures. Consider them added to the list of things to address over the winter…

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Despite being a short session, it always feels like a victory when you get to drive your car home from a track day. Mixing it up with ordinary commuters, in a car with brake dust and bits of rubber strewn down the side, just makes you feel good.

To have that one car that’s happy to do both? Absolute bliss.

New, New
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The most recent update comes courtesy of the people at Kenwood Electronics UK, who sent me the latest version of their Volkswagen-specific head units, the DNX518VDABS, to try out. It looks identical to the previous DNX516, but does pack a considerable amount of improvements and features.

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Probably the most notable addition is the ability to utilise Kenwood’s DRV-N520 dash cam directly through the head unit. It has lots of safe driving features including lane assist, collision warning and delayed departure warning, but I mostly appreciate the security and discreetness it offers.

I live in a city, so the motion-activated recording (if the car is bumped) gives some reassurance from rogue parkers. Everything can be reviewed on the head unit itself, so no squinting at a tiny screen on the back of the camera or needing to remove the card from the car and review it on a computer. It’s also compatible with my stealthy reversing camera, although that doesn’t record (as it’s hidden behind the rear badge during normal driving).

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When I say discreet, I mean it; the dash cam is invisible from the driver’s seat. I’ll check back again in a future update to see how it holds up as a track day camera.

While not exclusive to Kenwood’s units, the latest Apple CarPlay update finally allows Waze and Google Maps to be used. These are a game-changer for me, and are so much more useful than Apple Maps.

If the head unit only had CarPlay (or Android Auto, if you’re that way inclined) I think you would be happy, as it modernises the infotainment system so, so much. My GTI is eight years old now, but with CarPlay integrated as well as it is, it doesn’t feel dated at all. The fact it has so much more, is just a bonus.

Another subtle interior improvement comes courtesy of a friend, who when selling his exquisite MK6 show car, offered me the carbon fibre trim from it, which he had made himself. Left-hand drive GTI owners have the option of genuine carbon trim from their local VW parts department, but us right-hand drive GTI owners were left out in the cold. I finally feel included, while maintaining my rule of ‘real carbon only’ anywhere on or inside the car.

Thanks, Jack.

What Does It All Mean?
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It’s taken a long time to get to this point, and it’s certainly not something which happened overnight. Bit by bit, the car has all come together to being almost exactly what I wanted the day I bought it. Certain areas are, as far as I’m concerned, complete.

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The interior, for certain, is done and dusted. I don’t think there’s anything I’d change in here, whatsoever. It has the right amount of modernity and technology to keep me entertained on long journeys or during the daily commute, with just enough performance-orientated changes to make it feel special every time I get in.

From the Recaro, to the re-trimmed factory wheel with extended paddles and to the Revo SPS contained within the MFD, they all contribute something. The increased support from the seat in particular is a huge bonus on track, as I don’t find myself hanging onto the wheel around corners.

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I’m also happy with the aesthetics, which add just the right amount of aggression, without going overboard. It’s relatively stealthy to the casual bystander, while having just enough to attract the knowing nod of another enthusiast.

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Despite still being on a conservative map from January of this year, I’ve not felt the need to add more power to the equation yet, despite there being probably another 50hp or so awaiting to be unlocked with another tuning session.

A genuine, bonafide 300+hp is a lot for the kind of driving I do, and the kind of roads I prefer to unleash it on where, currently, top of second gear is eye opening, top of third is license losing, and top of fourth is an almost guaranteed visit to a morgue if it goes wrong. I’m not really one for highway pulls, and I’d rather do 60mph on a twisty road than 160mph on an empty ‘autobahn’.

Similarly, around Mondello, I would be lucky to see 120mph, but I’d rather learn to drive fast around there than just adding power to the car to reduce my times.

There is, however, still some work to be done over the winter.

Despite Irish winters being relatively mild, they’re still harsh enough on a car, with the first signs already showing on my unfortunate eBay lug nuts. Thankfully, my RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s are just out of the paint booth in a new colour, which will be wrapped in something best suited to our winter weather, without going to a full winter or snow tyre.

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As mentioned earlier, heat management will need to be addressed. I’ve already picked up a larger OEM DSG heat exchanger but feel I’ll see more improvement with an external oil cooler. There are options available for the MK6, but I think I’m going to try and piece my own one together.

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Save for some uprated ARB bushings, the rear of the car has been considerably underdeveloped when compared to the front. It’s also developed a slight (front) subframe ‘clunk’ (another MK6 trait) so I’ll look to tighten everything up at the same time while I investigate what I can do with the rear.

I guess that wraps things up for now, although I don’t think there will be as long to wait for the next update. I do have one major concern, though…

What will I do when it’s actually finished?

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



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Ehr, 2:15? Thats slower then a bog standard Fiat Uno with 2:11? Although I must say with a competent driver at the wheel. Even the Fiat Punto Abarth manages a lap time of 2:01, and that has half the horsepower and totally stock? Almost stock Ford Fiesta ST: 2:03 (with a rollcage). Thats some seriously slow lap time....


Track days are about personal development. Sure time references are great to track progress, but it’s about learning and having fun. I think you have missed this point


Some mothers do have them


I know, that's why I said 'slow AF' immediately afterwards.

I can Google times as well (I've even linked to the one you're quoting from, but neglected to mention, below), but you're comparing class records of dedicated race cars (and not completely 'stock' cars you suggest) on slicks or semi-slicks against a fully loaded street car on road tires. I'd also imagine they weren't stuck behind an EP3 for half a lap, either...

I've set a personal target of 2m00s to 2m05s which is considered respectable. If I can consistently get into that time zone, I'll be pretty happy.


That should be easily obtainable. On a track like Zandvoort, on a clean lap, a standard Toyota Yaris on bog standard tyres (without checking tyre pressure I might add, and of some chinese origin), is capable of 2:18 (with me behind the wheel). Zandvoort is 4.3km. So I actually think that the above where fairly stock times. A decently modified Austin mini is capable of 2:03 on the same circuit on road tires and about 90 HP (again with me behind the wheel). Thats the same as a stock BMW 130i cupcar (which is fairly standard). A dedicated racecar is something like a formula 3: 1.32 . Or something like a BTCC car : 1:46. And mind you: Those BTCC cars still have less HP then you have at the moment, although they are slightly lighter and run slicks.

I have never raced there myself at mondello, but I have been there during the 2005 and 2006 season as crew member during the BTCC. As long as the suspension is in order, a Golf GTI should have no problem achieving a goal of 2.03 on a 3.5km course on road tyres.


Comparing touring cars to anything else is a bit weak, even if you did a motorsport engineering course and worked with a BTCC team. Haven't they been 350bhp plus for years, NGTC onwards? And minimum racing weight set at what, just under 1300? Throwing into the mix, no factory suspension pick up points, massively increased chassis stiffness, mega money AP's slowing them down, sequential boxes, plate diffs, oh and don't forget the slicks... and the cars being cut off at the A Pillars and having spec subframes front and rear, a team behind it and driver who's been racing since they could walk :/ And not sure where open wheelers fit into this. Or comparing a time from another track based on length of it. Or comparing race / test day times to a public track day. Fella said it was slow and IT WAS A TRACK DAY, like for fun, give him a break man :)


Oeps cant edit: Formula cars was only mentioned because of the fact thats a proper racecar. A BTCC back in those days was an intermediate: A modified roadcar. Just like Paddy's. It's about 15 seconds quicker on track then the BTCC car although much less HP.


Yes, but not in the day the record was set. That was an NA car, producing about 260-280 Hp because of restrictor rules. It being NA and based a regular car does also mean its fairly similar, and has a lot less torque. S2000 regulations came after that, and the rules you refer to started in 2011. I'm talking about BTC-T rules that where in effect back then as well as the S2000 rules. Thats why "only" 260-280HP.It was the cost cutting era after all.

Car weight: your right about that. About that same as a Golf GTI from that era (1303KG to be exact).

And no spec subframes, factory suspension pickup points only. But I must say you are correct about the rest: Brakes, transmission, slicks, and a team. And the absolute latter is what its all about: Not the number of guys working on it, but the setup. Individual parts are only as good as the worst part on the car performs. And suspension being the perfect example. Most of the aftermarket stuff will work, if done correctly. Correctly being the main word. Because when set up on road cars its usually way of. Ride height on a racecar is not changed in the springs, but in the knuckles and hubs. That sorta thing.

And your right: It was a busy trackday apparently? And It might be that I'm a person who was always active in sports (in and beyond motorsports) that I'm always trying to push the bounderies. Thats my Idea of fun. Not running in a train on track.


Your insistence on comparing my street car to a British Touring Car is amusing. You're obviously a knowledgable person, but the assumptions you're making to try and make your argument are only serving to weaken your point.

Yes, the GTI can and will go faster. How about we wait for a day where I'm trying for lap times, where I'm not stuck behind a novice for half a lap or other traffic, or dealing with two red flags in a single session, or trying to manage oil temperatures and a gearbox in limp mode? That way we can have a proper conversation with no if, buts or excuses :)

Out of curiosity, how much time do you think I lost behind that red Civic & 996 before I could safely get past them?


But thats the thing: In a way it actually is. The definition of a racecar is actually just a car with all the kinks worked out of it. People tend to see them as way different then a normal car. And that could be the case with cars like Formula 5 to Formula 1. or DTM cars of nowadays. They aren't based on road cars. Thats where the main difference lies. Not so much in it's a race car so its better. For instance: Gaffer tape or silicon kit are used a lot on F1 cars. Cars like the BTCC cars are actually in the realm of roadcars. Only modified ones. And I'm not compairing it to a BTCC car, But in all, you could get, if set up right of course, under 2 minutes flat if you look at the speclist of your car.

You should have decent brakes looking at the pictures. Equal to the BTCC back then: 4 pot calipers up front, 2 pots in de back? Disc size is probably bigger on your car then on the BTCC cars. They ran 15" wheels back then. Thats also whats hurting your laptimes the most: Rims and tires. That alone should make a difference of about 8 seconds with a BTCC car running on slicks and smaller wheels. A DSG is actually faster when shifting then the sequential, so thats a plus. Put temps are critical: Just get a cooler for the temps, and if out of space to place it. set it up using copper or aluminum lines all the way to back of the car close to the rear bumper. There is lots of traveling air op there thats not being used, and since your running longer lines that should also mean more oil in the system, which is an extra bonus. And if really on a budget, which I cant imagine : A heater core and some bigger size brakelines should do the trick. You need to look at traffic differently: Driving chicane's. Without being a ass of course.

But please tell me: How in the world is a 996 holding you up?

As for your question: I can't say by how much they slowed you down. I can say that the ballpark figure you should get is 1:55 - 2:00 out of the car.

And of course your right about the math. It is a ballpark figure. It was only ment to tell you what a good setup can do, with an expirienced driver. And leaving the driver out of the equation, since I can't judge that. It all comes down to a proper setup. VW Golfs are setup reasonably well from the factory. Not the absolute best in there class, but certainly not the worst. My best guess is you actually gained in the engine department and braking as well (except for the heat management issues of course), but lost in the suspension. Because a lowered suspension might actually feel faster (faster turn-in, harsher ride, closer to the ground), You will lose suspension articulation and all the inherent problems that come with it.

Best advice I can give you is first get a flying lap in. Go to the pits, make a tiny change, go back out again. Begin with tyre pressure. Rear needs to be harder then the front About 2 bar up front to 2,4 bar in the rear. And if track time is to precious: Find a roundabout thats fairly remote. Keep driving on the roundabout and mark the speed where the front drifts off. Go park the the car. Of the front drift of, lower front pressure to about the 2 bar mark. You can go as low as 1,8 op front in road tires but I would recommend it (tire wear and fuel consumption). If at the lowest up front raise the rear pressure. Should make a world of difference by the time your done. And just back it up a bit if going to far. Now do the same on corner exit. That alone could gain you as much as 2-3 seconds on track. The rest is suspension other then heat management, which requires a lot more work to set up properly.


I can eat an apple quicker than I can eat an orange, despite them being roughly the same size. Weird.


And as for the data of the laps on the national circuit:

Don't know if this get through though, as links are troublesome on this site.


Hmmm, comment I made didn't get posted because of a link I suppose, so will make the same one without the links.

Paddy's link has a car: Punto Evo. The 131 HP 1.8 16V running the course in 2:01.836. So lets say 2:02? Thats 122 seconds for a lap.

I have found lap times of the same car on the national track in the Irish Times: Same spec Mondello National Circuit: 1:13.97, so lets say 1:14 which equals 74 seconds.

So all in all, we now now that the shorter track is a lot faster:
122 / 74 = 1,64864 so roughly 1.65 .

There also is a laptime of the VW GOLF R on the national track: 1:09.69 so roughly 1:10 or 70 seconds
70 x 1,65 = 115,5 seconds so rougly 116 seconds. That equals to a lap time 1:56 for a standard Golf R. Paddy's car is modified beyond that. So it's safe to say he should equal that lap time?

@ Jordan Butters: How do you like them apples? Number don't lie....


Your maths are over-simplified and flawed, there are far too many variables to into account and you can't assume because one car does X time around one layout, that it's going to do Y time around another based on the time of another car.

In this case, the numbers do lie :)


I dealt with this guy in another thread. He can give an aspirin a headache mate. ^^


Trust me, i own a rear wheel drive for near 2 years and thought about selling it for something more 'drastic'....still loving the 250HP/300nM...and i daily drive it :)


If I could afford to buy and maintain a second car, I'd love something simple and RWD. In saying that, I'm still enjoying the challenge of learning FWD on track and the patience that it teaches you.


Hi Paddy!
Nice writeup and photography as usual! Any chance you guys could make the images wallpaper-friendly? Maybe its just my phone, but they seem to be pretty low-res when you save them. Thanks!


Thanks, Dmitriy.

The mobile version of the site serves slightly lower resolution images, so if you want hi-res, you'll just need to visit the desktop version :)


I love this car, hope it's around a long time. As a car guy though, it's hard to fight the 'on to the next thing' mentality for one's own cars.


For sure, I think the only real restraint on us is space and money for more cars. Maybe it's a good thing?


Love the blend of JDM style on your GTI and the continuous progression! Also, are we ever really finished modifying a car?


It's only done when we say it's done!


Actually, forgot to mention one thing for the photography enthusiasts out there. Every photo, except one, was taken on a point & shoot in this story. Can you tell which is the odd one out? (Without checking the EXIF!)


*eats popcorn*

Reads sentence about track days and air suspension.

*eats more popcorn*


*steals popcorn*

reads about your comment.

thinks about it

*eats more popcorn*


I want popcorn.


*slaps popcorn out of both your hands* this book donuts.


This is possibly the most comprehensive project car update known to man. They'll bury you in this car, Paddy!


I think herself will bury me in the car before long.


An ongoing project?
It's a lifestyle


On-and-on-and-on going.


I'm still waiting to see white ZE40's on this thing. lol.

Also, you need to get behind the wheel of my r32 next time you're in California. I think you just might appreciate it enough to make the switch for a dedicated track car being a skyline of some sort =)


I think I'm purposely avoiding anything I know will result in a massive financial mistake.


it's definitely been a while since I've seen this car back on SH, I totally forgot you owned a DSG (or was it DCT? i mix them up often lol) GTI and not a stickshift one. Mah heart hurts bro. But is it weird if I liked the sound system upgrades more than anything in this project car update?


The Kenwood stuff is cool, as it's an aftermarket / OEM hybrid, It doesn't look out of place. I think I've mentioned it before, but I didn't set out to buy a DSG car, but I'm glad I ended up with one.


rad. just ordered the black out panels for my dash so i can swap from grey to black and update the vents to the corolla ones.

so i totally get the feeling of projects that drag on.

like the GTI been following it from the beginning on IG and its pretty cool.


If you don't get excited about these little things, you're in the wrong car.


What is under the car cover in the garage in the background of the seat pic?


I drive a completely stock MK7 GTI...your car is so much more rad.

Dude, keep that thing for longer and just keep swapping out the wheels if you get bored. Or paint them different colors? (Current wheels and color look sick!)


The 'old' wheels are just after being painted, should have new tyres for them this week and get them onto the car next week for the winter. Should give it two different looks, anyways.

So much potential in those MK7s, can't say I haven't been tempted by one...


but then I’ve always thought of my GTI as having a JDM twist

but you still need some Omamori stuff to complete your car's interior! :D


I do have my authentic JDM Volkswagen towel that I got at Tokyo Auto Salon, though.


those Omamori will protect your car against rogue parkers !!! and there is no need to reviewing anything. :P


Hahaha, I'll also tell you what protects the car from rogue parkers is the towing hook in the front bumper. I may or may not have extracted revenge on a carefree neighbour who (previously) insisted on touch parking against my front bumper for a while...


Hey no worries about the seat decision Paddy, my MK4 R32 sports a Sparco Corsa on the driver side and a stock seat in the passenger position to keep the wife happy. Unfortunately, no rear access with a 4 point X braced roll bar welded in for track day shenanigans, but I can still pack my tires and track gear back there!


We can definitely be friends.


Seems like the common theme for Project GTI has been boredom. You've thrown a lot of money at this, say it's very good, but then remain blase about the results. Perhaps it is very good, but to the point no character that makes it interesting to drive?


I'm not really sure how you've come to that conclusion?


Just the way these articles have always read to me. It's not a criticism to be clear. I'm not going to dive back in to three years of this project, but even in this article, near the top "I do love the thing, but it’s not without its faults." Then delves in to another long list of changes. Also, you talk about considering selling it for something else. There's a bunch of stuff about the Brembos when it used to have those Tarox (I am not clear on when/why this changed).

In the end, I like these longer Speedhunters articles backed up with loads of photos. Keep it up


Re-reading the bits you've highlighted, I can see how they can be interpreted that way, but just to be clear, I'm smitten with this thing!

If it was - perfect - then these stories would be very boring indeed. There's always things you're going to want to change or upgrade, I think that's a pretty normal attitude to have with a project car. As is the temptation to change and start into something new, but honestly, I can't find anything on the market that can do everything quite as well as this does.

The change from the Tarox kit was addressed in a previous post, but to save you searching, the review period was up and they had to go back. The Brembo kit was an affordable but effective option which uses OEM parts and still provides exceptional stopping power. I just couldn't go back to standard brakes after those monstrous Tarox calipers!


" What will I do when it’s actually finished ? "

just keep drivin´ and enjoying it :)

After 6 years of owning my mk6 ed35, i still do not want to switch to more a modern platform ( modern in comparison)
What a mk6 lacks in dynamic terms could be addressed with aftermarket parts, the interior keeps still up cause of it´s simplictiy and the used materials and for an 9 years old sytling it doesn´t look dull

What it got over a mk7(7.5) and more others , it has still a bit of that ´analog´ feel which hatchbacks hve more and more lost from update to update
and it got a real handbrake^^


There's a lot to be said for a real handbrake!

I don't think I've ever seen a genuine ED35 in person, and only the odd 6R over the years. Really rare cars (for modern production models).


6/7R's are more common than GTI's around here! I think the ED40 is the best edition available , in saying that I'm surely due a upgrade soon


We're flooded with 5 & 7 GTIs, with 7 Rs being the most common of the lot. I drove a 7 Clubsport a couple of years ago, and they're absolutely brilliant, brilliant things.


Well , should you ever be in area of Frankfurt and gote some time to spend, you´re welcome to take a closer look at one


I'll be sure to keep you in mind!


I love reading your updates on this project Paddy! It’s a similar type of journey as I’m having with my project that I’ve had for a year now (but isn’t going anywhere). Again I’ve got a European car that I’m trying to inject a little Japanese flavour to. Mines a multi use machine too but a fairly uncommon one here in Australia (a lot more common in Europe). It’s a 2008 Volvo V50 T5 awd. So far fitted some Work Emotion T7s with nice stick Michelin ps4’s, KW V2 suspension (would have loved air for the crap Sydney roads) and a general suspension bush and control arm refresh.
I’m getting an upgraded Focus RS clutch next followed by a few cosmetic things to the exterior, new head unit and carbon fibre interior trimfrom Japan. Then I’m on for some power mods.
Plus it draws no unwanted attention from the constabulary and does dad life when I need to haul my kids around. Great fun!


You can't tell us about this and not share a photo!


Ha ha - well given most of my mods so far are chassis related there’s not a lot to see at this stage other than the wheels and the subtle drop in ride height. Suspension height is all about function. I wouldn’t get out of my steep driveway if it were any lower! Makes me wish for your air suspension Paddy


I'm all about that. Lovely.


Cheers man


I feel your pain on installing fixed back seats!! I have Sparco Fighters in a 1990 mustang gt?! Great car! We have completely different platforms but the same end game, love it.


Cheers, Craig!


that is one of the best updates from your project GTI. really cool. maybe after the gTI a project R8 on speedhunters will definitely be moving.


I think an R8 might be a bit of a leap from a GTI :)


Hey Paddy, I don't think you mentioned it in a previous article, but I was wondering what Paddle extensions you are using? I have just purchased a VW of my own (Passat CC) and the tiny standard paddles are awful to use. I always enjoy reading about 'Jessica' and looking forward to the next installment!


I just got some self adhesive ones on eBay. I got them because they were cheap and I just wanted to try them out before getting full replacement paddles, but I never bothered upgrading them as they do the job perfectly.


@paddy bossman juuust hold on abit what is tucked in the garage behind the assembled recaro seat?


'74 Escort 1300E


Excellent read as always Paddy. Still IMO the nicest MK6 in the country. I'm in a MK7 GTD and lust after your car. If you're interested in owning something refined, simple and RWD as a second car to "scratch that itch" you could do worse than have a look at an E30 325i sport. Had one of those in the past and still miss it. Great cars.

Keep the updates coming.


I was looking at E30s and E36s lately, as even something like a 318iS would suit me to the ground. I just don't have the room at the moment for a second car.


Who wakes up in the morning and decides...I am going to combine pole positions, brembos, pagid yellows...and AIR RIDE, then go off and set terrible laps times. Why in all that is holy would that seem like a good idea, at what point during your research did the mechanical and kinematic justification for this combination arise? Why is hard parking it for photos in an industrial estate and important factor? Throwing money at car and building a good car are two different things, all the gear and no idea springs to mind, please just please read a book and do something constructive with this build.


Me. I decided this, and I don't have a single regret.


nO rAgRats Braaaaah.


I've recently seen a Mark 4 Golf with a modern CarPlay-Infotainment-brick and a Mark 6's steering wheel, and that looked A LOT more modern than the 20 years old car it is.


I always liked the MK4's interior, it's very simple and has aged pretty well. CarPlay makes such a difference to any car, TBH.


I got a Mark 4 of my own (nothing fancy Infotainment-wise), but yeah, it doesn't really seem 20+ years old even in stock condition (all mine has is additional power-outlets for camera-equipment and such)


Never finish, hone the sword until its a razor and then make it sharper, the best cars ive seen are always owned for a long long time! my best car is the one i owned the longest!


The subframe clunk is a common mk5/mk6 issue, can be solved with the larger passat subframe bolts and two small washer/collars that go between the body and subframe... thats the cheap what to do it. The other option is the Tyrol Sport dead set kits.


I'm going to go down the Tyrolsport route (front & rear) along with the hatch brace.


definitely agree on your point, just a thought cause its what speedhunters do, the best out of the extra ordinary. plus it would be really cool when you drive it ^ ^ specially the way you own a car and how you own them the r8 will be very happy.


It's incredible just how fast come of our commenters are around Mondello park using just a keyboard.


so I’ll look to tighten everything up at the same time while I investigate what I can do with the rear

Hey Paddy, how about Rigid Collars? It would be interesting to see how much they affect a european hot hatch.