AUTObiography IJSTROK’s 2007 Rabbit

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Next up is VWvortex reader: IJSTROK

How long have you owned this car?

I bought it brand new in January of 07.

Is there anything unique about the history of this car?

Maybe not the car specifically, but it’s a Rabbit!

What drew you to this specific car?

I was 20 and finally had a decent paying job so I decided to ditch the old Dodge truck and get a VW. After visiting the 2006 S.F. International Auto Show, I fell in love with the car.

What other cars did you consider?

I was looking at the Mazda3, but the VW was a much more solid car. 

What was your objective with this car? 

At first, like many, I had no plans on doing anything to this car. But once a co-worker of mine with a mk3 vr6 showed me Vortex, the mod bug bit.

What tuning style would you describe this car as? 

I really like the look of the textured mk1 and mk2 so I guess old school OEM meets new school motorsport.

Who helped you build this car?

Since I’ve never worked on a car prior to this, I’ve had quite a bit of friends help me out. I’ve also been able to learn a lot of things from the forums.  

What makes your car special?

The beautiful sound of the inline-5. It has such a unique tone to it that I absolutely love! I also love confusing people when I tell them it’s a 5-cylinder. “5-cylinder?! I thought there were only 4 and 6?!” 

What is your favorite part/feature/function?

It’s really hard to pinpoint one thing. I’ve spent nearly the last 4 years getting the car where it is today. With it being a new model, and limited aftermarket support, it’s definitely been fun trying new things that not many others have done. But, if I had to say one thing, it would have to be the GTI interlagos plaid seats.  

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?

I’ve been really lucky and had some friends hook me up with some of their parts. My car is sort of like a Frankenstein that slowly transformed over the years. I’ve liked the look of “dumped” cars, but I also like to drive my car a lot so I was looking for a nice set of wheels that look good with a moderate sporty drop.  

What don’t you like about this car?

The auto-tranny. I grew up driving manuals, but when I bought the car I wanted a good solid commuter and something that my girlfriend could drive. I also wish it had more oomph. There is a lot of potential, but it’s expensive due to the limited aftermarket.

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car?


How did you overcome the issue?

I spaced the project out over 4 years. I think this makes me love the car even more though. If I just put it all together in a year or so, I wouldn’t appreciate all the hard work that went into making this possible. I’ve always had a vision and I’m happy it finally came together.

What would you change if you could?

I got in a minor fender bender a couple years ago and got a cheap paint job on the hood. It’s chipped like crazy now.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

9. There are still a couple small things that I want done, but for the most part, I’m satisfied.

What would you do to the car if money were no object?

I’ve thought about this a lot. If I came into a ton of money, I would probably swap a manual transmission in, and add boost, boost and more boost. 

Who has been your biggest critic of this project?

Definitely my girlfriend. I’ve spent a lot of money on this car, but she wants a VW now. 

What do your family and friends say about this car? 

I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family. They like the car, at least that’s what they tell me.

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car?

Definitely the accident. It wasn’t funny at all, but it was embarrassing driving around with a busted front end. I’ll definitely remember that for awhile, but I also learned from it. 

What is your favorite story about this car?

I love driving around and getting thumbs up from other drivers. I remember cruising around Monterey one time, and an older guy in a Ferrari gave me a thumbs up. That was pretty cool.

Has this car competed in any events?

None yet. 

What is your favorite place to drive this car?

I love driving to Pebble Beach. Most amazing views and the car just seems at home there. 

What is your ideal day with this car?

My ideal day is a cruise through the mountains and hanging out on the beach. 

Who gets to drive this car?

Just me since I installed the coilovers. 

If your car had a motto, what would it be?

“Half a lambo!” haha

If you had to name your car, what would you name it?

I haven’t named it, I just call it the Rabbit.

What was your previous project?

First one!

What is your next project?

I’ve tossed the idea around of picking up a mk2 to work on, but I need a better job first.

What one word best describes your car?


Any regrets? Tell us about it.

Buying an automatic. Never again.

Anything else you’d like to share?

After owning my first VW, I will never buy anything else again. Hi Mom!

Owner Information

Name- Erik Trujillo

Address- Rohnert Park, CA

VWvortex Username- IJSTROK

Occupation- Student

Club Affiliations- Marin Euro

Vehicle Information:

Year- 2007

Make- VW

Model- Rabbit

Mileage- 40k

Color (Include original if applicable)- United Gray

Engine- 2.5l i-5 20v

Engine Modifications-

C2 Race tune, LNT CAI

Exhaust Modifications-

TT Exhaust w/ single Borla muffler, USP testpipe

Transmission Modifications-


Suspension Modifications-

ST coilovers

Brake Modifications-


Wheels and Tires-

18×8 et50 Black BBS CH with 225/40 Goodyear Eagle GT

Exterior/Body Modifications-

GTI painted rear bumper, Euro r-line textured mirror caps, smoked side markers, Votex front lip, Votex rep side skirts, plasti-dipped front and rear emblem, rear wiper delete, LED city lights, license plate lights, and side marker lights, PIAA x-treme white plus low beam bulbs

Interior Modifications-

GTI Interlagos plaid seats, custom trunk design




Thanks to my girlfriend for putting up with my expensive hobby, to my parents for hooking it up for Christmas/Birthday gifts, and to my friends for inspiring me and helping me out when I had questions.