AUTObiography- Chitownsfinest’s 20AE GTI

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Next up is VWvortex reader: Chitownsfinest

How long have you owned this car? I purchased this car in January of 2003.

Is there anything unique about the history of this car? It’s pretty well known as the Rubber Duckie 🙂

Why did you choose this car to purchase? I had a 2001 GTI VR6 that I had planned on putting R32 bumpers on, as well as coilovers and OEM navigation. I had everything sitting there waiting. Then I found this car for sale in Boston. I immediately secured the funds and got a one-way ticket to Boston.

What other cars did you consider? As I said I had an ’01 GTI VR6. I use it as my daily driver, so the 20th can sit and get her beauty sleep.

What was your objective with this car? It may sound cocky, but I want this car to be one of the hottest 20th’s out there. I don’t care if I get magazine coverage, etc. I build this car for me, and if people like it awesome.. If not, well, to each his own. I’ve been lucky. My car is ALLL over Vortex. I am amazed every day at the number of IM’s I get about it.

What tuning style would you describe this car as? My car is OEMplus, with a mix of Euro influence.

Who helped you build this car? I gotta give props where they are due. Dubwerks of Libertyville, IL, has been there when I needed them. I, however, have done most of the work myself with the help of my friends.

What makes your car special? Well, it is a 20th Anniversary Edition. Only 1000 of them out there.

What is your favorite part/feature/function? My favorite things are the wheels ( RH ZW2 TOPLINES ). They catch eyes everywhere I go, and it really makes the car what it is.

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car? I have a few friends to thank for helping me spend my salary… Drew ( The Prime Minister ), Rob ( SilverSpooler ) and Greg ( Tivs31 )

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car? Would it be cliché to say money ? :-)… Actually, it’s finding things unique to do.. I want to get a new set of wheels, but I don’t want rims that are played out. So you really have to search for new innovated things.

How did you overcome the issue? For the money thing, I moved cross country and got a better job. Yes, I pretty much only took the job, so I can dump more money into my car. As for the innovative mods? Well I just search the web endlessly looking for ideas and ways to do things different.

What would you change if you could? I wish VW could match the paint better. I always say I drive the “Classy Harlequin”

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project? 7, I still have a lot I want to accomplish.

What would you do to the car if money were no object? Oh boy… Well, first I would keep the car. I wouldn’t trade it for a BMW or anything. The 20th has been the most fun car I have ever owned. If money were no object, I would have the best of everything. There wouldn’t be a stock part left on the car, with the exception of the body.

Who has been your biggest critic of this project? My friends… they keep me wanting to go to the next step.

What do your family and friends say about this car? My parents think I am nuts, but are very supportive. My friends love the car. As a matter of fact the car is still in Chicago, and I am in Portland, OR. I give the keys to my close friends on a regular basis to take her out and stretch her legs.

What is your most embarrassing moment with this car? How about an embarrassing and stupid moment? My car almost killed me. I was adjusting the rear springs and I had the car up on jack stands in the rear only. Well, I forgot to put the car in gear. You guessed it. The car rolled off the jack stands and fell on me. Luckily my neighbors heard me scream, and were able to jack the car off me. It was a stupid and very scary mistake!

Has this car competed in any events? I really just started showing my car is 2006. As I said above, I build the car for me. I have been to Hot Import Nights ( nightshift ), Midwest Treffen, Volksport and H2O. I have yet to place. Some of the cars I have been up against are GRADE A.. and deserved to win.

What is your favorite place to drive this car? Anywhere. I love this car so much. I will take it anywhere and everywhere. I don’t mind putting the miles on her. She was built to drive, and that is exactly what I do. I keep her clean and mean and drive the hell out of her.

What is your ideal day with this car? A sunny, warm 70-degree day, with the windows down and stereo blasting.

Who gets to drive this car? Well, up until I moved west, ONLY ME. Now that I am out west and the car is 2200 mile away in Chicago, I let a select few close friends drive her on the weekends.

If your car had a motto, what would it be? It’s takes a real man to drive a car named the Rubber Duckie 🙂

If you had to name your car, what would you name it? Rubber Duckie (Duh!)

What was your previous project? There have been so many. As I mentioned prior the 01 VR6 GTI. Prior to that I had a 1998 Ford Explorer lifted 6 inches on 35” tires. The lift one was of very few. It was all custom.

What is your next project? TBD.

What one word best describes your car? HOTTNESS

Anything else you’d like to share? I am fairly new to the world of VW. In the short time I’ve been around, I’ve met life-long friends and seen some of the hottest cars. The VW scene is unlike any other. I am proud to say I am part of it.

Owner Information :

Name- Austin e. Staunton JR

VWvortex Username – Chitownsfinest

Occupation- Sales

Club Affiliations- Bar Society

Vehicle Information:

Year- 2003

Make- VW

Model- GTI


Color- Imola Yellow


Engine Modifications- EuroJet FMIC, Evo DV, GIAC Xplus software, and a EVO CAI

Exhaust Modifications- TT Turbo back

Transmission Modifications- Stock

Suspension Modifications- Patac Holeshot Coilovers

Brake Modifications- Stock

Wheels and Tires- RH ZW2 Toplines ( staggered )

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For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.