Damian Sorensen - 2008 Volkswagen GTI
I've wanted a GTI since playing Gran Turismo 4. I saved up the in-game money to buy the HPA Motorsports Golf R32 and used that for most of the game. It became one of my favourite cars in the game and one that I would want to own in the future.
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2008 Volkswagen GTI
I'm from Buffalo, NY but I've lived in North Carolina since 2014. I currently work in retail but I am studying to be a mechanical engineer hopefully in the automotive industry. As far as hobbies go, building my car has been a big part of my life since I bought it. Writing, gaming a building my car takes up most of my time.
What got you into Cars?
I don't think anyone, in particular, got me into cars. I've always had a strong interest in them and I've always wanted to design them. No one in my family would really be considered a car enthusiast, so I would be the first. It probably started with seeing cool cars on the road and collecting Hot Wheels. From there, it became playing racing games like Need For Speed and Gran Turismo. I feel like my love for cars really took off with NFS Underground 2 and Gran Turismo 4. That is also where my love for Volkswagen started.
Why this Car?
I've wanted a GTI since playing Gran Turismo 4. I saved up the in-game money to buy the HPA Motorsports Golf R32 and used that for most of the game. It became one of my favourite cars in the game and one that I would want to own in the future. I also remember going to the school by my house to practice lacrosse. There were a few guys that would play hockey on the basketball court and one of them owned a stanced mk5 GTI, similar to mine. It was white with purple wheels and had a lot of mods. It was my dream car for the longest time. After my first car, a Mazda RX8, I finally decided it was time to buy one.
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Why did you build this Car?
I built this car for several reasons, one of them being the hockey player with the white GTI. I also wanted my car to be unique. I wanted to modify it to bring to shows, but I didn't want it to be like everyone else. Not that I see many cars like mine at shows, but still. I wanted to build my car as an extension of my personality.
What does it feel like owning this Car?
It feels sort of surreal to look at my car and see how far it’s come from when I first got it. I have a lot of great memories that this car was a part of. I wouldn't have had most of them without it.
I'm sure this goes for any car but do your research. The MK5 platform has its fair share of problems. Check to see when the cam follower was changed last, various things like that. Also, know that these cars may have been abused because of what they are but they're still great cars. I highly recommend giving one a try.
My best advice is to have friends that can help you along the way. My car probably wouldn't look or drive the way it does without the help of my friends. Also, air suspension and wheels are a great way to start any build. GTIs have a stereotype of bags, Rotiform/BBS wheels and roof racks. It's a great setup and it works, so it's very common.
What do you think makes it Unique?
I have tried my best to collect rare parts for this car, the main one being my front bumper. I would say it's one of the rarest Volkswagen bumpers made, especially since it's technically OEM. My wheels and interior also help me stand out as I went for an Arizona green tea theme with them. I haven't really seen anyone do it the way I have.
- Neuspeed P-Flo cold air intake
- Urotuning Stealth oil catch can
- Milltek Sport R32 style non-resonated exhaust
- Integrated Engineering 3” downpipe
- APR stage 1 ECU tune
- CTS Turbo noise pipe delete
- Urotuning carbon fibre mirror covers
- Body Customs R32 style rear bumper
- Valeo Euro led taillights
- Thunder Bunny front bumper
- R32 side skirts
- Seibon carbon fibre hood
- Thule aeroblade roof racks
- Volkswagen roof box
- Black Forest Industries Heavy Weight shift knob
- Graveyard Shift Boots “Arizona” shift boot
- Floral print door cards
- R-Line pedal set
- Corbeau RRX seats
- Heritage Wheel Avus 3pc (18x9.5 et 38 squared)
- Achilles ATR Sport tires (215/40R18 squared)
- Velt Sports 3mm spacers
Suspension and Brakes,
- Airlift Performance performance bags
- Airlift Performance 3P management
- R Concepts slotted rotors
Have you done the work?
I would say that my friends and I have done about 90% of the work on my car. A lot of it has been a learning experience for me. I specialize in aesthetics while my friends have been slowly showing and helping me with everything else.
I plan on having my car wrapped and my wheels re-powder coated. That's in the near future. Later, I would like to go for a bigger turbo and all the mods that come along with that. Other than some various upgrades like a carbon steering wheel, maybe new wheels and exhaust. I feel like I'm slowly reaching the end of my build.
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I definitely have to give a shoutout to the NC Volkswagen and Audi Group @ncvag They have helped me meet a lot of really great people and I've met some of my closest friends because of it. I'm also part of Clean Culture. I feel like almost everyone in the scene has heard of them but I am grateful that I get to count myself among their members.
What has the car scene brought you?
I strongly feel that being part of the car scene, especially the Euro scene has saved my life. I was going through a really hard time before I really got into building my car. I feel like I'm in a much better place than I was back then. I have the car scene and all the friends I've made along the way to thank for that.
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Honestly, my GTI is my dream car because it's something that I've always wanted and I've been able to build mine exactly how I want it. Also, honourable mentions to the Mazda FD RX7 and the Ferrari Testarossa.
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