Frank is no stranger to hot looking cars, as his past projects have proven. In this installment, he addresses the visual details of the GTI. Wheels, body kit, lighting and some Euro accessories round out the project.- Joslin
My favorite part of any project is the exterior styling, and I knew I wanted to keep the car clean and simple. From the beginning I wanted a set of 19” wheels that would tuck into the fender. I also figured I could tighten up the looks a bit with a body kit. Plus, there were a few trim pieces from Europe omitted from the American market, and I wanted to set that problem straight as well.
I’m of the opinion that wheels are the most important component of exterior styling. I had seen a few GTIs from Europe wearing 19” multi-piece mesh Audi wheels and I fell in love. After some searching, I found out they were actually 19 x 8.5, 2-piece BBS wheels, model RS861, available as an option on the German-market Audi A6 S-line. I turned to Rich at OEMpl.us, who he said he could get me a set of the wheels, no problem. Needless to say, I was very excited as I’ve always been a BBS fan and this wheel design was perfect for the look I was going for.
When the wheels finally arrived, a friend and I drove immediately to So Cal to pick them up. They are truly beautiful wheels; the contours of the spokes match the lines of the Mk V body exceptionally well, and with an offset of 48mm they tuck nicely inside the fender wells, just like I wanted. For tires, Mike at Emotion Autowerks ordered me a set of Dunlop FM 901’s in 225/35-19. I’ve had a couple sets of these in the past and I really like them. They have a cool tread pattern, offer decent rim protection, and for the price, they’re tough to beat.
A number of body kits are available for the Mk V GTI, but after looking over the many options, I decided to stick with OEM and went with VW’s own Votex kit. I like its subtlety and I knew fitment wouldn’t be an issue. VW of America sent a factory-painted body kit consisting of the front lower spoiler, the rear lower bumper diffuser and side skirts. This same kit can be ordered as a dealer option for 2007.
Because it’s made from polyurethane, the quality of the kit was top notch, and the paint finish was a perfect match. Installation was fairly easy, and the instructions were straightforward, it just took a bit of time to remove and reinstall everything. Emotion Autowerks in Vegas once again helped out, and installing the kit on their lift made it much easier. So far I’m really happy with my decision; I got everything I expected visually from the Votex kit and I think it looks fantastic.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve more or less chosen to take the OEM+ path with regards to styling. And what better way to get there with the help of Rich at OEMpl.us? He hooked me up with the right wheels with no problem, so I decided to call on him with a few more pieces that I felt would be nice additions to the ride.
First off, I decided to replace the chrome Jetta shield I had originally installed with a paintable Golf GT shield from Europe. I’m really happy with the outcome, the new piece really gives the front end the look I wanted. Best of all, it’s all OEM, so fitment and fluidity are exceptional. I also added some yellow Lamin-X film to the foglights.
Turning to the rear of the car, I opted to run a set of Hella LED taillights. OEMpl.us had them in stock, so they were in my hands in no time. While they certainly are not to everyone’s taste, I like them for their unique look, and I know I can count on Hella quality; you can’t ask for much more than that in a taillight.
OEMpl.us stocks a whole load of cool European factory accessories. I started with the European cup holder, which is really cool. It has a sliding cover and a removable bottle opener with the VW logo on it, and I think it could quite possibly be my favorite mod! Ahh, the simple things. In addition to the cup holder, I got the dash cubby, which is a small glove box that installs to the left of the steering wheel. It has become the storage space for my GIAC Flashloader.
In addition, I got the blue aspherical mirror lenses, and I must say I find these a necessity. They help blindspot visibility so much; I can’t understand why American-market cars don’t have these. It sure would be nice if we had all the options that our fellow VW enthusiasts in Europe have, but at least we have OEMpl.us.
I have one more exterior mod in the pipeline, once again with Rich’s help. In the near future I will be switching the front bumper cover to the European Jetta unit. This will delete the sidemarker lights, and the lower front side grills will also be slightly different. Look for pics in the next update; it should be a nice finishing touch to the exterior.
VW Factory Body Kit Program
So you’ve decided you’re going to buy a new VW, but you’d like to dress it up a bit with a body kit like the one on Frank’s GTI? But as much as you hate to admit it, you just won’t have the cash to swing a “personalization” budget on top of new car payments. Volkswagen of America feels your pain and has come up with a very palatable solution. Simply order your new GTI with the body kit already installed, and roll the cost into your lease or finance payments.
The kit on Frank’s GTI is available as a VW-installed option for $1675 (option code IAK), and can therefore be financed or residualized in a lease. It also carries the same full vehicle warranty as the rest of the car.
The same kit can be ordered over the counter at your VW dealer, though the price is a bit higher (just like any over-the-counter accessory versus new option price). The parts counter price for the full kit runs $2375, but does not include installation. VW’s recommended installation time for the full GTI kit is about 4.5 hours. If it is installed by the dealer at the time of purchase, it will also be covered under the full vehicle warranty; otherwise it carries the traditional 12 month/12,000 mile parts warranty.
Complete body kits arrive at the dealer pre-painted by Volkswagen, using a DuPont color-matching process. All colors are available for any given model. Individual components can be ordered as well, but they won’t arrive pre-painted. Instead they’ll show up pre-primed and ready for paint. This program is not limited to just GTIs either; you can order your new Rabbit, Jetta, or Passat with similar upgrades, though components and pricing vary by model.
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