From JDM to Euro

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I’ve spent most of my life on an island in one way or another. Born in the Philippines, raised in Guam, and then living in Japan for a few years. Throughout this entire time, I’ve been into Japanese imports. The last car I owned before leaving the island was a 93 Honda Civic SiR (EG6). It wasn’t the fastest car but it was a blast to drive. After living in Japan for a bit I figured I needed to do something with my life. My dad served in the U.S. Navy and I knew nothing but the life of a military brat. Following his foot steps I decided to unite with Uncle Sam and join the U.S. Air Force.

I was 20 years old when I got on the plane for an awesome 16 hour flight to Texas. I had never been to the mainland US of A before. It was definitely a huge culture shock for me, and it didn’t help that I was greeted by my instructor as soon as I arrived on base. I hadn’t even said a word and I was already being yelled at. I survived Basic Military Training and tech school, and as a reward, I was sent to Hurlburt Field, Florida. On my way down to the sunny state of Florida, I couldn’t help but to think what kind of car I was going to purchase. I was uninformed as to what make and models were sold in the US but I knew I wanted another hatch back. I really wanted a Renault Clio V6. Not too sure why, but the mid-range setup, I thought, was attractive. My roommate in in tech school told me those aren’t sold here, so he suggested that I look into a Volkswagen Golf GTI. He had one, a black MKIV. I considered it but never really found any interest in it.

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As I arrived at Hurlburt Field, I needed a car ASAP– I had a friend that helped me drive around and look at local dealers. When I was at home, I was all over autotrader looking for my unicorn. A part of me wanted to continue my civic build and get an EP3, so I went to the nearest Honda dealership thinking that they would have a used one; I was wrong. This was back in 2008, they didn’t sell them new nor did they have the older models. However, while I was there, I stumbled upon a black hatch-back. It didn’t have a familiar “H”, on the outside– it had a badge of a Rabbit and the letters GTI on it. It was equipped with 18inch wheels and big front brakes and I asked myself, “Damn… Is this what I am looking for?” I peeked through the dark tint and I saw it had front Recaro seats and a 6-speed manual transmission. I was sold.

It was a 20th Anniversary Edition GTI.

That night as I was heading to my dorm parking lot, I was followed by a couple of guys in a red MKIV. They asked me about the car and my plans as far as modifying it. I told them and myself that it will just have the basic modifications, nothing too crazy. They invited me to one of the VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) car meets in the area. I again, lied to myself.

It’s about to get expensive.

 

Stay tuned for more.

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