Thursday, October 23, 2014

Project: Resurrection. Introduction

The VW GTI 337. Borrowed from the

I have a way with cars. I really do. I always get my way even if it means compromising a perfect result for something that may not be the ideal choice for somebody looking for a specific model.

Historically I've bought cars cheap that I wanted and then cleaned them up enough to be respectable and enjoyed them for what they were. As long as it runs and drives when I get it (I've broken that rule too many times haha) I do what I want with it to make myself happy with it and drive them. When something else catches my eye, I sell it and move on.
Factory Recaro Seats. (Photo:

Take for instance the 2002 VW GTI 337.
In January of 2001 my wife and I bought a 2002 GTI in the color of silver. Nice car. Brand new. Being a solid VW enthusiast that's a pretty exciting thing to get. But I think I remember there being some buzz about a special edition coming soon.

That special edition was the 2002 GTI 337. The 337 was a designation created in the early 70s as the model code at VW. So fitting that they use it.
Created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the GTI as well as an outcry from enthusiasts in the US, the 337 was built to fill a niche that VW had needed to fill stateside for some time.

Equipped with many nice touches to trigger the buy button in guys like me, the 337 had just about all of it. When I first saw the pictures and info released in the VW marketing, I was enamoured. I had to have it. 18" BBS wheels in a classic design, Big bolstered Recaro seats, Front and rear spoilers that really worked well with the car, Brushed aluminum trim in the Interior, real metal pedals, it was to die for (a little insight into me, I'm like a 10 year old who wants and is soon expecting whatever is really awesome, Obsessed, and driven to the point of crazy)
BBS RCs, pretty cool wheels for a factory car. (photo:

That was sometime in early 2002. When I approached my wife and calmly suggested trading in "her" brand new GTI, It received a prompt "no".  I said "But babe! Look at it! Just look at it!"

Now my wife, who has good taste in cars and certainly thought it was cool stated very clearly, that in no way shape or form were we trading in the brand new car for another very similar model just because it was "cooler"

I get logic, but logic was out the window. I was a drooling, wild eyed, raving lunatic about this car. I have always sought out the "special editions" They were the reasons I drove VWs. I hate to use generic terms, but I love OEM+ styling. I like these cars because of their character, the aesthetics. So when I modify them, I only want to accentuate the engineers original version. This car was almost done from the factory in my eyes, a little adjustment of the altitude and it's just about perfect. Even when I was a kid I was head over heels for the little hatchbacks and tossed right over the edge the first time I saw a Rabbit GTI. This car gleamed to me like a chest full of gold and gems does to a pirate.

Ever since then I have wanted one of these. The 2002 GTI came and went like cars do. It was nice. But I was never in love with the fourth generation of VWs. I didn't love that car and was not sad to see it go. I went on my way from car to car but have not over the years really ever put much thought into a mk4 (fourth gen Golf or Jetta) but every now and then I would see one of these and feel that little tingle in my gut.

I'll leave this here for right now. I now have one in my possession but well, remember in the beginning here I said I will sometimes sacrifice perfection for one less desirable with a price tag that reflects that? More soon as I am about to set off resurrecting my very own 337......
Until next time...... (photo from

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Madfurther 2, MF2, #madfurther2014, Whatever, it was awesome. St Paul MN 8/23/14

“We're all mad here.” ― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Gas+Air+Spark= BOOM, also known in the new school as "internal Combustion" Something we can all relate to. The equation that powers our dreams, and makes us tingle when an impressive demonstration of such presents itself.
Madfurther definitely had us tingling this year. After pulling off a super show last year in what could be a record short planning period, this year held a little more time to be creative with the set up and execution of this years show.
Following the theme created  last year, there was absolutely no shortage of rad stuff to drool over this year either.
Where else can you get this mix, at a working airport, with this kind of crowd? Madfurther is where......
I'll spare you the slobbery wet kisses of description about how great this show is, I did that last year and all I could do is repeat the same words if I tried again as it felt just as good this year. If you want a piece of that see here. myoshkosh to Madfurther 2013 coverage. This year had just as good a feel if not a little better.
of course with most of the organizers having deep roots in the VW scene there would be a strong contingent here, no disappointments....
 Pulling cars from all walks of enthusiasm is not an easy thing to do, there is uncertainty, and sometimes animosity between the different brand loyalists at times. Thankfully there is a trend coming about in our world of automotive enthusiasm, one of tolerance and a respect for cool stuff regardless of what the tag on the grill says.
This is called "doing it right"

"that moment when" the jawdropper rolls in....

All things cool represented.....

Not to mention the layout this year made for some decent photo ops.....

As was last year, Richard Grieco Suave was hitting it at the tables with another fixture from my neck of the woods- JB Ill. These guys should be called murders as they are always killing it. RGS almost being a fixture at Midwest VW Enthusiast events is probably one of the coolest crosses in industries I have ever seen and we are lucky it's happening! As he brings in more artists and talent to our world, It only benefits us as the biggest thing lacking at most car events is aural stimulation. Thanks for being there for us guys!

I'm really starting to be intrigued by the JDM scene. Many would be critical of a car arriving in this state, Me, I want to hear the story.......
For once (and I'm sure you are thankful for this) I'm pretty sure I have more pictures than words to tell The Madfurther 14 story. Enjoy....
being a serious picture taker and all I thought I'd play around with watermarks.....
I'd spoil this car if I said anything beyond It took home best muscle car last year as well as some awards this year.

Scott Evans is certainly making his rounds with his badass Allroad this year. And that's a good thing....
What would a carshow be without some CCWs?
Oh yeah, this thing. A bagged , ratrod radio flyer complete with skull shifter that operates the bags. Dang....
Is that guy taking a leak? Just kidding....
I wasn't kidding when I said there was some of everything there....

Really, I mean it.
What a cool mix of stuff.
Sorry bout that mess I left on the tarmac after I saw this....
I just happened to be into reflections in wheels and yellow cars that day haha....

Without fear of overstepping my bounds, I can say the organizers of this show say thank you for another great year. Your attendance and support either as a spectator or a sponsor/vendor are some of the major things that keep an event alive and a big thanks is in order for this.

In the spirit of Gas+Air+Spark=Boom, Thank you for a kickass show. I look forward to another celebration of internal combustion with my friends, many of whom feel like family, next year. 

Get more info on the show and it's happenings at Madfurther

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Drive to the Bridge 2014 ( a forgotten bit)

So the other day in some play on Facebook my friend Logan asked whatever happened to the thing I was writing in the hotel room in Kentucky, I had read bits and pieces as I worked on it to my fellow imbibers and he happened to remember. I did some searching on the laptop and after realizing that after many cans of PBR, a few Yuenglings, a couple bottles of Latangos homebrew, and maybe a shot or 2, I managed to save it in a random place  on my laptop where it would have collected e-dust until times untold. So, a bit late but better than never......

I am a VW enthusiast. I have been enamored by them since my earliest memories. Growing up very close to Road America, I had a lot of exposure to all types of exotic automobiles. Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfas, Maseratis and the likes.   Much to chagrin of the people I was with at these events (I think I was there with the wrong folks?), I would beeline to the motorsport prepped VWs and want to hang out by them the entire time I was there. This has stayed with me throughout the years  and made itself a large part of my adult life. Through the years I have owned, disassembled, modified, and driven these cars religiously. What the hell is wrong with me?

Today was the official kickoff of the season for guys like me. We live for days like today. We wait all winter for that day that we can pile tools into our cars, clothes, spare parts,  toiletries if we remember them as well as anything else we think of in the middle of the night before the trip after we put the car back together after whatever last minute project we had to perform  and hit the road with people we generally only see for events like this.
We all meet up, and drive our piles, some very well built articulated piles, and some held together only by sheer willpower and zipties.
Milwaukee kick off. Thanks Lower Standards for hooking it up

Today we met up in Milwaukee and embarked on a journey to Louisville KY for a show called Water By The Bridge. That whole event will be a different post as it deserves it. The time and energy it takes to pull off an event like that is staggering. More on that in another post though. I have lots to say about that.
So after leaving the first stop of course in traffic the group always gets split. You find your cruising buddies and point your cars in the right direction and just roll. I’m not sure how to describe it beyond chaos with spots to stop and take a breather.

We had skipped the first stop in hopes of making some time up and getting to Louisville ahead of schedule to hopefully make it to a friends shop to roll some fenders to avoid eating up new tires.
Not wanting to tangle with law enforcement we opted to take the safe method and not push our luck and stay within realm of the posted speed limits. Unbeknownst to us, we arrived at the northern Indiana stop shortly after the rest of the cruisers. So much for that.
After fueling and a little banter and ribbing from the rest of the cruise about being old and driving slow we hit the road again.
Hebron IN. The entire front of the gas station is our crowd. Good times. Travel in packs and be awesome.

Every roadtrip is/has a story, sometimes somebody breaks down and the community pulls together and either gets it fixed or secures transport home for said vehicle. Either way it’s inevitable with the cars we drive.
Shortly (moments) after getting on the highway Flinny my co pilot said “wow, that diesel up there is really smoking” as of course in our world, the only cars that break on the highway are our VWs. I was of the school of thought that there was a definitive problem with said car. At least a half mile ahead of us this car was smoking not only more than a diesel but was emitting smoke similar to a house fire. A bit farther down the road it pulled off the highway onto the shoulder so I hit the hazards and made the necessary moves to pull off. Several other cars followed suit and as we got closer I realized it wasn’t even one of ours. It was a Chevy Cobalt and was clearly having a major technical issue. As I rounded the front of the car, the driver had already popped the hood and as seconds passed the smoke was getting heavier.  The driver was sticking her head out of the window saying “somethings wrong with my car!” I opened the hood and was greeted with flames from the back of the engine theat were bordering on 2 feet high and rapidly growing. I immediately yelled “ get out of the car NOW!” and poked my head around the hood and started hollering to the others to get a fire extinguisher. With traffic blowing by us at 80 mph it’s hard to hear. It’s disorienting and hard to make out what someone is saying. After screaming at the top of my lungs several times  to get an extinguisher the closest person finally read my lips and got “fire”
It was this persons lucky day. Not sure how that would have went for her if people who don't drive old VWs had stopped. We know what to do if there's a fire lol.....

With some well placed VW roadside fire training we passed the crucial “Either it’s good, or get the hell away” point. With the fire out a couple of us waited with the owner for the authorities and when they arrived we hit the road. Good deed done. Hopefully that means karma will get our cars home without the assistance of a flatbed.
The rest of the trip was uneventful actually. Smooth, nice weather, by Indianapolis the sunroofs and windows were open and we were cruising with sun. Ideal. The only thing that really stands out in my head is when we got to the hotel, I stepped out of my car and smelled hot coolant. Uh oh. As I crawled around under my hood with a flashlight looking for the source I remembered I was in a parking lot with a slew of old VWs that had just driven for hours in warm weather. Totally normal to smell that then haha. Which leads me back to the first paragraph. But I think you get it now…..

Till next time.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

3 days, a bunch of friends, 18 hours of driving, alot of cars and one big ass show. Water By The Bridge 2014! (Louisville KY)

Credit- Sabryna Rohr

We wait, we wait and wait all winter long. We drink, hang out, ski, snowboard, play video games, and wrench on our cars. Maybe other stuff in there too, We all have hobbies to pass time. 

One thing we all hold common is that we are all anticipating our first escapade to a show. 

Water by the Bridge in Louisville KY is the first and earliest event since the weather there although hit or miss, turns a little sooner than ours here so the trek down has not disappointed us for the last couple years. Some near misses, like snow the day after, but so far so good.

With barges lazily rolling by on the Ohio River and a massive park area built of red bricks and huge bridges in the background that are the northern entry points to Louisville, Water by the bridge is an excellent example of the things we wait for all winter.

With an easy 600 cars there this year all inclusive and a brilliant selection of handmade craftsmanship of things that were not meant to be in the original designers eyes, but when put together are a great example of imagination and fabrication abilities, like the Team Eurotrash porsche and the old Mini with a porsche drivetrain stuffed up underneath it, Water By the Bridge did not fail to entertain again this year.

photo:billy volm

photo: Billy Volm.   This btw is a old Mini with a Porsche stuffed up in it pretty much.

Or Brad from Team Eurotrash's porsche that has the porsche drivertrain removed and a VW VR6t installed....

This car is a prime example of "garage built"

With tons of eye candy on site for folks to walk around and ogle, this show is a great example of how a small gtg at a shop can grow into a large classy event with good planning, good people and good times all around.

And of course, how about some pics from this year?

This was literally just sitting right there when I pulled up in the morning to set up the Eurotrash booth. Not a bad first shot of the day......

Then of course Richard pulled this up so I had to play a bit....

This show is well worth the drive to KY. Big props to Dinah Jean Volante for her time and energy spent making sure this was a blast, well executed, and one not to miss again if you haven't been yet!
Till next time......

Sunday, March 16, 2014

And to roll out 2014 in a grand way......

Excitement, anxiety, agitation, up all night working on a a project, making phone calls that either end in a "yes!" or result in another immediately after looking for a specific part, daydreams of lawn chairs and coolers full of beer in hotel parking lots, and friends you only see a few times a year. I could go on but these are all examples of the inner workings of a VW enthusiasts mind this week as next weekend officially starts our season. 

March 22 2014 will be the first hashmark on our calendars as Water By the Bridge will happen in a grand fashion In louisville ky (pronounced "loovul" by the locals. If you ever get a minute ask me about that one haha) 
Held in a brilliant spot surrounded by bridges that signal the entry to Loovul from the north in a picture inducing red brick park, more and more of us here in the upper midwest have been embarking on this trip each year. If you feel like an impromptu roadtrip, or will be in that area, you should make a trip over. This really is a big show and gives a great example of the spirit and attitude of our enthusiast group. 

Info on the show here:Water By the Bridge Facebook
Info on our cruise there from this part of the country here:Drive to the bridge event page.

The cruise is one of the best parts, Meet us, roll with us, enjoy life. See you there!

I'll get a full feature up after the show, but for now, how about some photos from last year?

If you do make it down, pop in and see me, I will be housed at the Team Eurotrash booth during the show and I would love to see you! Til next time....Joe D