Members > Member of the Month

August 2003 - Chas



Our first Car/Member of the Month is Chas!  Congratulations Chas!  Here's is some information on all of the work Chas has put into his car over the years that we have always wanted to know!

The red Jetta III was just getting too small for my growing family. My son was about to turn two and his little sister was on the way in a couple of months. Ian could already kick the back of my seat with his little foot while he giggled about making daddy turn around and say, “No, No Ian!” So a bigger car was what was needed. The 2.slow Jetta was a fun little car and I had done quite a few mods to it already, but its time was up.

So I started to look at bigger 4 door cars. And I had heard great things about this little 1.8T Audi engine. So off I went looking at Audi A4’s. I found a used ’97 1.8T A4 at a dealership that let me have the car for a night to see if I liked it. The first thing I did when I got the car home was to insert my son’s child seat in the rear seat of the A4. Man, was I surprised to find there was no more room in the back seat of an A4 than in a Jetta III. So ended my dream of owning a Quattro 1.8T A4.

The next thing I heard was really neat, VW had just introduced the new Passat in very late ’97 as a ’98 MY car. And they had the Audi 1.8T engine in them, but no Quattro. So I went to look at the new B5. Right out of the gate I was impressed with the Passat. Brand new it was cheaper than a used A4. The back seat had much more legroom than an A4. And I could get one equipped the way I wanted, with a 1.8T engine and a 5 speed manual transmission! And the Passat had a graceful, elegant look to it. It was a big departure from all the smaller cars I had had in the past. The Passat is a real family car. Bigger than what I was used to. The only thing left to choose was the color.

For the last 3 cars I have owned, my wife has pointed out that particular car to me. At the VW lot that Saturday morning my wife had me coming back to this funky Green Passat. It was equipped the way I wanted. But it was Green! I kept looking at the Candy White, Colorado Red and the Black Magic cars also on the lot. But the Elegant Green car kept calling me back. 7 times! My wife was getting tired of me vacillating over a silly color choice. So was the salesman… In the end, the Elegant Green B5 went home with me!

I knew right away how tunable the 1.8T engine was from all my research into the A4. But I didn’t do anything to my new car for months. I couldn’t. It was so new and perfect and I was having so much fun with the car just the way it was. But it had to start somewhere… My first mod was in the form of some extra driving/fog lamps to install onto the car, but where? I had seen an ad that showed a silver Passat with similar style driving lamps in the lower grille. But the car in the ad had them in front of the Intercooler opening. I didn’t want to block any air from going to the IC.

The lamps sat in their box for almost a month before I finally decided on a spot to cut into the lower grille. Man, was that agonizing. Here was a perfectly good, new car and I was about to cut it with a razor knife. After a couple of minutes just staring at the car, I finally just did it. After an hour and a half I was done installing the lamps. I just stood back and said out loud, “That wasn’t so hard.” I didn’t realize my wife had been watching me for a while. “Well that took you long enough!” she said to me and then went back into the house. That was the start of my mods to my 1999 Elegant Green Passat 1.8T GLS. And it hasn’t stopped.

Over the past 4 years that I have owned this car, I have slowly started to get it to represent more of my personal taste in cars. The factory body styling is great from the get go. But I felt that I was seeing too many other Passats on the road. While my choice of color is a rare one indeed, I was starting to see more and more Passats. I needed to do something to make mine stand out more. So I started with some Body mods. Clear corner markers, smoked side markers, Kamie grille followed by Kamei wing spoilers. Other mods included a 1.8T badge, 20V badge, 6-disc CD changer, NB sunglasses holder and a MOMO shift knob. Next came the suspension with the install of some Eibach Pro-Kit springs. With the help of fellow ClubB5er Dave Liddle (Spec) I had a better handling car in no time. Actually Dave did all the hard work, I helped him out. “Hey Chas, hand me that wrench.”

And so it went, every couple of months or so I would get something new for my baby. Until I finally did the big upgrade for the 1.8T engine, APR software! I went with a used ECU with APR v3 software already installed from New Dimensions. The whole thing cost me $709 with shipping and a VW Motorsports badge! What a cool upgrade. I was in total amazement of the new power. Honestly, I think it has something to do with the badge…

The summer after I installed the new APR software I noticed how doggy the car acted in hot weather. I knew it had to do with the increased boost and heat soak of the Intercooler. First off I have to say, Man! What crappy placement of that small IC! I’m sure it’s buried in there for some reason.  What that is I don’t know. I’m sure it works fine under stock conditions, but now that the boost has been turned up, the stock IC has a hard time removing the heat from the charge air. First came the water misting system for the stock IC. That worked really well. It should have, I spent enough time on it. But I wanted even more cooling. And the only way to do that was with a bigger, front mounted IC. So I built my own!

I have done many things to make my Passat into the car I wanted it to be. Am I done, no way! I’m only one man… But for now, here’s a list of what I have done to my car so far.

- APR V3.0 with spare ECU
- Middle resonator replaced w/ 20" glass pack
- K&N drop-in filter
- Forge DV
- N75 “H” valve
- 2nd air intake for factory air box and shortened MAF snorkel
- S4 wheel well liner vent
- Custom IC Water Misting system
- Custom built FMIC
- Sachs clutch package replacement
- Eibach Pro-Kit springs
- Bilstein Struts and Shocks
- O-Bar rear sway bar
- Lower Tie Bar (a.k.a. The ChasBar)
- Kamei wing spoilers
- Kamei Sport grille w/ 20V emblem
- Kamei Headlight Lids
- 1.8T badge on trunk w/ Red T
- Passat badge removed
- in-pro clear corners
- OE Smoked side markers
- aux. driving lights in lower grille
- Custom Lower grille
- Factory 6 disc changer
- NB sunglass holder
- Momo RaceAir shift knob
- Grey Leather steering wheel cover
- painted air box & power steering cover (Elegant Green)
- a cool VW Motorsports emblem on the engine cover
- VDO Vision Boost gauge
- S2000 antenna mast
- Mintex Red box pads (front & rear)
- Zimmerman front X-drilled rotors
- Blue painted brake rotors
- Custom Pedal covers with Dead pedal

I am nowhere near done with this car. Many people will point out to me the glaringly obvious mod I may be missing: Wheels and tires! Yes, I know, for some this is the first thing they do to their car. I know new wheels would make a big visual impact on the total look of my car. But I haven’t found a style that I really like or can afford right now.

As far as future mods go, I have to be real. I still need to make payments on the house and feed the kids. I am a real dad, a real husband and a real car enthusiast. Some priorities come first. I wish I had the extra money spend on my car. But I don’t, so I have to be patient. Eventually my B5 will get there. But for now I will be content with what I have: a very nice family sedan with a lot of potential.

But I can dream…
-   M5 type rear spoiler
-   Complete exhaust upgrade
-   Brake upgrades beyond what I have now
-   And of course a bigger turbo!
-   Oh, and wheels and tires.

Many thanks go out to those folks who have helped me over the past 4 years with my car. Some of it was easy and some of it was not so easy. None of this would have been possible if not for the many friends I have made because of and more recently because of the great local group here known as, way to go guys! And also to those newer folks that have continued to inspire and rekindle my love for these cars. Thanks to all of you!


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