I’d like to travel back in time with this introduction. Not too far back mind you, but back to when internet forums were in full swing.
Yes, that wasn’t all that long ago, but thanks to the rise of Instagram, Facebook groups, and a certain photo storage company’s questionable upsell tactics, it seems like much further back than it actually is.
Anyway, imagine it’s an evening, on any day of your choosing, and it’s not too late. Being a few years ago, your responsibilities are slightly fewer and hours less taxed. This means you’ve got a few hours at the ready for procrastination.
Sat in front of your desktop you launch Firefox hoping to find the night’s automotive inspiration. If you’re anything like myself you’ve got a steady virtual Rolodex of sites to rifle through, searching for an active ‘new posts’ button.
Shortly one tab becomes two, and two become seven. Scroll, click, scroll click, what’s new? And more importantly what’s interesting? Tonight, a thread titled “Wide body, 3 piece rpf1’s Mk4 Golf build” appears at the top of the new posts list.
If any title deserves a click, it’s this one.A Creator Among Creators
Jason Bos, or filtersweeper as his forum handle reads, is a creator who comes from a family of creators. His late father was a machinist and a tool maker, and his mother is a talented seamstress. However, each also found creative outlets outside of what paid the Bos family bills. Their passion for creating instilled a similar fire in Jason to build things himself.
Today, like so many of us, Jason has a nine-to-five outside the automotive sector, but his spare time is when he tinkers with anything that he finds interesting.
Neither his mother or father were into cars, so inspiration came externally by way of a local ’64 Impala lowrider. Studying the car from its wire wheels to its pleated interior, Jason was enamoured with both how the car looked and moved.
His interest in lowrider culture grew quickly, and before he was legally able to drive he built a lowrider bicycle of his own. That bike helped Jason realize that vehicles – cars specifically – are a perfect canvas for someone creative.
Metalwork, paintwork, upholstery, mechanical – there’s so much to do, and so much to learn if you want to build a custom vehicle from the ground up yourself.
Yes, a Volkswagen Golf is a fair way removed from a standard lowrider build, but inspiration doesn’t always manifest itself in a straightforward manner.
Jason’s Golf is unique in several ways, but for many (myself included), its wheels are the defining feature. They’re what drew me into the build thread initially, and while I did stay for the rest, the wheels are what I focused on when I saw the car for the first time a few months after Keiron shot the photos for this feature.
For those of you not overly familiar with the iconic RPF1, it’s an Enkei wheel that is a lot of things: It’s light, good looking, and fairly strong. But one thing that it most certainly is not is a modular wheel.
Jason loved the look of the RPF1, but also wanted to build a car with “the widest and shiniest” wheels possible. With his two desires at odds for each other, Jason started to explore the possibility of a 1-piece to 3-piece wheel conversion. Noticing a few people spread across the globe had completed such conversions, Jason reasoned that if they could do it, so could he.
To create the 18×11-inch and 18×13-inch RPF1s, Jason split the wheels on his lathe using a custom hub post he manufactured specifically for this purpose. Once the faces were removed from the barrels, Jason calculated the number of holes the new face could support from a structural standpoint.
From that point it was a matter of choosing the right lips and barrels to match his determined specs, and then fine tuning the faces to bring everything together.
The RPF1s are the first wheels Jason split, but he’s since gone on to make a few others, most notably a 3-piece set of E30 ‘Bottlecaps’ and another set of Mercedes-Benz Barock wheels. Each have balanced and performed flawlessly for general street use.But, Will They Fit?
Wheels built, it was clear before they were mounted over Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution front brakes, that no amount of rolling or pulling would allow the custom Enkeis to tuck.
Being such a significant width increase from factory, there were no off-the-shelf widening options truly suitable. Additionally, using an off-the-shelf option wouldn’t have provided Jason the personal challenge he was looking for with this car.
Not a fan of the mess involved with creating fiberglass flares, Jason jumped straight to metal – an ambitious task, especially for someone who had yet to shape any metal. However, one thing he had shaped was fabric.
Jason states that while the toolsets are different, the principals of shaping fabric transfer almost directly to shaping metal. Mistakes with the latter are a little harder to reverse, but patience and planning make both achievable.
Starting with the passenger rear, Jason first made a buck based on the factory fender arch. Understandably, this first fender was the hardest, and Jason actually wound up making three separate right rears before he felt satisfied enough to continue with the other three.
During the processes he not only became more proficient with shaping metal, he also dialed in a removable buck design that allowed each fender to be formed in a symmetrical manner.
After shaping the flares themselves, Jason then transitioned them back into the factory body, taking care to work around the factory turn signals and modified rub strips.
Yes, the fuel door opens fine.
The choice to not to permanently affix the fenders to the body was a deliberate one.
First, Jason wanted the race-inspired look that bolt-on fenders provide, and second, he wanted to retain the ability to replace or rework a fender should he ever need to.
Much like his desire for wide and shiny wheels, from the outset Jason envisioned a visually aggressive overall aero package for the car. Big aero demands a big wing and for that Jason has mounted an APR GT250 deck to uprights of his own design that were waterjet-cut.
To balance out the rear of the car, Jason designed and cut an equally aggressive front aero package, culminating in a very aggressive splitter that’s able to manicure lawns with the utmost precision.
Finally, all his work has been wrapped dark grey, a colour that isn’t too far from the factory silver, but distinctive all the same.The Full Package
Under the hood, Jason has outfitted the Golf’s engine with Integrated Engineering connecting rods and added a Precision 5858 turbo, blow-off valve and 38mm wastegate. Supporting mods include Grams Performance 1,000cc injectors and a Hemi throttle body. Vibrant Performance provided the intercooler, and Vibrant HD clamps connect all the piping Jason built himself.
The car is currently running a Doman8 base tune, and the goal is to transfer 400whp through the Southbend Clutch stage 3 clutch and Peloquin limited slip differential.
On the other side of the firewall, the Golf’s interior is a unique mix of performance and luxury. From hatch to front seats much of the factory interior has been removed. The driver is supported by a Sparco Ergo bucket, but passengers have to hitch another ride because it’s the only seat in the car.
AEM Electronics and Podi provide auxiliary monitoring, and a double-DIN head unit provides source to an intricate stereo set up I’ll touch on very shortly.
To the right of the steering wheel is a large handle that actuates a Wilwood master cylinder for the hydraulic handbrake.
Still a front-wheel drive car, the brake isn’t explicitly needed, but making it all work was something Jason simply wanted to figure out.My System Bumpin’ Down The Street
With the ability to run a straight stitch in his personal tool box, surely you didn’t expect factory upholstery throughout. Jason spent hours behind his Pfaff 1245 sewing machine bringing his interior vision to life.
Diamond pleating is prevalent throughout the entire interior as Jason used a combination of vinyl and fabric to elevate the cabin’s level of refinement.
Jason also moonlights as a DJ, so just behind the seat is a robust audio system built around two 8-inch JL Audio W7 subwoofers. The serious JLs are given 1000 watts of honest power via a retro Zapco amplifier that spans nearly the entire width of the rear floor.
The amplifier is visible through a backlit, etched, acrylic window that resides under a pleated false floor. Tucked where the jack used to reside is Air Lift Performance management, while the bright white tank is a visual focal point.
Tidy hard line work veers to one side before disappearing under the same false floor the amp hides beneath. For servicing, the entire floor is mounted to a linear actuator.
The stands holding the tank, and support holding the lines were all of course fabricated and polished by Jason himself.
I’m positive there are a few of you wondering why? Why the big wing, why the big wheels, big audio, and flares. To Jason, this car is a showcase of both what he’s learned and what he is capable of.
Though it might look it, he didn’t build it to win awards or fit in. It’s been a continuous proving ground that’s pushed Jason to constantly learn new things. It’s the vehicular personification of one thing leading to another.
For example, even with the Air Lift Performance suspension installed, transporting the car on a standard trailer required completely dismantling the front end. So, being a builder, Jason built an air ride-equipped trailer entirely of his own design. That trailer in itself provided Jason with even more learning opportunities.
Aside from troubleshooting boost spikes, the car is as finished as it’s going to get while Jason focuses on both his business and his future projects. One of which is a BMW café racer, and the other is his own interpretation of the lowrider that set him down this path in the first place.
The golden era of forums may have passed, but here’s hoping Jason starts a build thread, for old times’ sake at least.
Photography by Keiron Berndt