October 6, 2022

When a water-cooled VW goes down a storm on the scorching rod college of excellence that’s the SEMA present, you recognize it’s going to be a winner. Aaron Stehly has hit the jackpot with this modified VW Rabbit Mk1.

Characteristic from Efficiency VW journal. Phrases: Graham Leigh. Photographs: Sam Dobbins.

As our scene matures we’re seeing increasingly more critical builds and Efficiency VW all the time strives to get the scoops on the most recent and best however this modified VW Rabbit Mk1 takes issues to a different degree, even by our requirements. For a lot of, Aaron Stehly received’t want an introduction. The 38-year-old Minnesota based mostly serial dubber has labored his method up by the cycle trade and is now Director of Training for High quality Bicycle Merchandise.

In Volkswagen circles he has made a reputation for himself each within the modified scene and in skilled racing since getting his street license in 2000 after which shortly after, with the encouragement of his uncle, attaining race licenses by Skip Barber Race College. Eagle-eyed readers will bear in mind Aaron’s TFSI Rallye from our June 2015 challenge which was a leading edge conversion again then.

With deep non-compulsory Recaros and staggered 16” BBS RS wheels, it regarded the half too. Again then the Mk1 Rabbit was already in construct and the spectacular Rallye was merely a facet undertaking to get pleasure from driving within the meantime. We’re happy to listen to he nonetheless owns it. Aaron defined again then: “I’ve set my coronary heart on conducting the extent of construct that the MIVW crew in Holland is understood for thus it may be a couple of years earlier than it’s executed”.

Checking in with Aaron on the time of writing (late March 2022) revealed that the automobile had been a labor of affection for 11 years and that the PVW unique was the icing on the cake. There’s no speeding perfection.

On the tender age of 16, Aaron’s first automobile was of a home taste and while the 1975 four-door Chevrolet Impala was able to muscle-bound burnouts, he favored one thing extra agile and fashionable. He duly seized the chance to purchase a 1989 Mk2 Golf GTI 16V simply earlier than his seventeenth birthday. That is the place the VW bug hit exhausting and the automobile was handled to a roll cage, Ronal R10s, and as per the style on the time, large bumpers, shaved hatch, Bonrath single headlight badgeless grille and an enormous dash-mounted tacho and alter mild.

Modified VW Rabbit Mk1 - interior shot

As soon as Aaron’s race licenses have been obtained, he purchased an ’83 Mk1 Rabbit GTI that was his first race automobile and was an assault on all of the senses with its welded differential, open headers and straight-through exhaust. Scene veterans might bear in mind Aaron’s black ’83 GTI street automobile that bought the Euro remedy with spherical lights and non-Federal bumpers, Corbeau buckets, half cage and (for the time) a courageous 1.8T conversion that was put in with the assistance of his buddy, Jack. This automobile was featured on the VW Vortex discussion board dwelling web page again in 2003 and represents the “first critical construct”.

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A sea of different street automobiles have been and gone together with an Audi 5000 and varied Mk1 Rabbits together with a few convertibles, Mk2 Golfs and Sciroccos. Aaron managed to mix modified VWs and his day job with a formidable run in Sports activities Automobile Membership of America (SCCA) tin-top racing. His trophy cupboard bulges from time on the grid in such automobiles as his aforementioned Mk1, a Mk3 Golf Sport and a Mk5 Golf GTI (which he nonetheless owns). Aaron was an alternate driver within the VW TDI Cup collection and raced for tuning big, APR. Spectacular stuff.

Transferring onto the star automobile, this modified VW Rabbit Mk1 was initially bought again in 2008. “This automobile began off as a clear shell from Oregon. I paid $600 for it and it price extra to ship it throughout the US as a curler than I bought it for. That’s simply how issues go whenever you stay in the midst of the snow-ridden rust belt”. Aaron was interested in the 1978 GTI as he’d by no means owned an early Mk1 at this stage. A stable beginning place however in a fetching shade of beige with brown wings and bonnet, the wheels have been now in movement.

As with most actually profitable builds, Aaron had a theme and caught to it: “What would Singer do? turned my North Star. I additionally wished the Mk1 Rabbit to function a degree of bespoke metalwork extra related to American scorching rods however executed in a factory-esque fashion so that folks wouldn’t choose up on it until they have been Volkswagen nerds”. In an analogous approach to how Singer backdate 964 Porches to ape their seventies brethren for a retro aesthetic, Aaron is a fan of the enduring 1975 swallowtail fashions and thus utilized the bonnet, hatch, rear panels, swallowtail particular grille and light-weight encompass and glass to acquire the specified look.

Modified VW Rabbit Mk1 - gear linkage

Regardless of the clear total design transient and inspiration, there was a good quantity of deliberation and thoughts altering regarding energy vegetation. A 1.8T was the unique alternative after which a ‘20/20’ package deal was critically thought of (2.0 litre 20V on throttle our bodies). An Oettinger 16V was then supplied by a buddy and the exclusivity and high quality of the uncommon tuning home merchandise sealed the deal. The extent of consideration to element is superb and the underside of the automobile appears to be like simply nearly as good as the highest.

Regardless of the present automobile degree of end with all the things both being chromed, powder coated or expertly coated in that beautiful crimson leather-based or hounds tooth, this isn’t only a trailer queen. Aaron’s motorsport background is clear in such racecar oriented touches as spherical bearings in all the pivot areas, tubular management arms, Wilwood brakes, drop spindles, dry sump, boot-mounted six-core oil tank and that beautiful CAE shifter mated to the 02S six-speed transmission with 02A bell housing.

Modified VW Rabbit Mk1 - driving shot

“It’s a racecar for the street and a present automobile. That is my dream construct so I had no qualms with among the spec that might be thought of overkill”. It’s the overkill that makes this creation so breathtaking. We’ve not seen many automobiles the place a brand new outdated inventory gasoline tank has been bodyworked, painted after which secured with leather-based straps to match the inside.

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The Picture break up rims work brilliantly with their facilities matched to the Flame crimson inside. Aaron defined that he bought the proper search for the wheels after which constructed the automobile round them. Weighing at a purposeful 15×9” on the rear with a zero ET and 15×8” up entrance with an ET of two, some critical re-engineering was required to get the automobile sitting proper. The rear beam is narrowed 25mm on all sides while the tubular entrance management arms are 13mm shorter than commonplace. An airlift 3P equipment permits the rolling inventory to tuck below the {custom} arches which have been pulled 13mm however retain the manufacturing unit fashion bend. The Flame crimson works a deal with in distinction to the purity of the flawless Porsche Biarritz White paint.

Modified VW Rabbit Mk1 - throttle bodiess

The inside is dominated by these gorgeous GTS Classics Vallelunga seats by classiccarseats.com. Aaron is thrilled by the standard and they’re similar to the seventies fashion winged bucket with headrest as favored by Singer. At least 6 hides of Moore and Giles Flame crimson leather-based have been used on the automobile. High Sew Auto lived as much as its title masking the sprint, bolsters, door playing cards and rear deck in high quality cow. The houndstooth is brilliantly seventies and the {custom} white Velocity Hut gauges complement that incredible body-colored exhaust tunnel.

While the combo of {custom} touches and efficiency elements is spectacular, it’s how they work alongside a devoted haul of uncommon OEM elements that make this such a properly thought out package deal. New Previous Inventory (NOS) chrome trim has been used all through and NOS clear Happich pop-out rear quarters have been put in in addition to super-rare polished swallowtail aluminum door sills. Dapper Lighting LED headlamps in chrome swallowtail housings and rings and postal Golf rear mild lenses with LED bulbs combine old fashioned appears to be like with fashionable effectivity.

2021 noticed this modified VW Rabbit Mk1 break the web when it took pleasure of place on the Wavetrac sales space at SEMA and 2022 sees it get this scoop in Aaron’s favourite journal. “To say this PVW function has been a purpose of mine is a little bit of an understatement. All these years of dedication and it’s now coming true”. We’re happy to be of help and stay up for you getting out and about and having fun with the fruits of your labor. This modified VW Rabbit Mk1 is the new ticket.

Modified VW Rabbit Mk1 - rear shot

Tech Spec: Modified VW Rabbit Mk1


Oettinger 2000cc 16v engine rebuilt by Collin Geynes at Techtonics Tuning, 10.5:1 compression, 268 Oettinger particular cams, Borla Particular person throttle our bodies put in on uncommon Oettinger DCOE inlet manifold, dry sump oil system custom-built by Issam Abed (Iabed industries), MegaSquirt MS3 Standalone engine administration, RyWire PDM14 Energy Distribution Module and chassis harness with full Autosport Deutsch connectors, cylinder head, inlet, ITBs, valve cowl and all equipment polished or chrome-plated, Techtonics 4-into-1 stainless header into hand-built V-Band 2.25 stainless exhaust (constructed by Aeron himself), Contemporary Reflections {custom} radiator with hand-built coolant traces and fittings, Moroso 6 quart oil tank in rear of automobile with -12 AN oil traces, Bosch 044 gasoline pump with Aeromotive mechanical FPR, Vibrant -6 AN braided gasoline traces to engine bulkhead, {custom} exhausting gasoline traces in engine bay, gasoline tank bodyworked, color matched and tank straps upholstered in Flame Purple leather-based to match inside, transmission: VW 02S 6 Velocity transmission swap, Wavetrac restricted slip differential, Black Forest Industries clutch and light-weight flywheel, chrome plated CAE shifter, Customized shortened Dumpy Bunny Designs billet CV shafts, totally chrome-plated shafts, CV joints, and {hardware}, all {hardware}, drive cups, clutch slave and brackets chrome plated

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Tubular entrance management arms with Heim joint pivots narrowed 13mm all sides, Noath Precision roll centre extensions and bump steer changes, manufacturing unit rear suspension beam narrowed 25mm all sides, chrome-plated Autotech anti-roll bars entrance and rear, chrome-plated hand construct chassis braces (constructed by Aaron), all suspension that’s not chrome is powder-coated Speedway Gray, Air Raise efficiency MK1 air suspension, Air Raise Efficiency 3P administration, all traces are both -6AN or hardline, Flo Airtank {custom} upholstered in Flame Purple leather-based and houndstooth to match inside, narrowed rack and pinion with Quaife fast steer gearing, Picture Wheels Billet 60 15X8” ET2 Entrance 15X9” ET0 Rear on 195/45R15 Toyo tyres, {custom} painted to match Flame Purple inside, Wilwood reverse mount pedals and grasp cylinders with brake traces hidden, Wilwood 4 pot callipers entrance and rear with 10.1 entrance, scirocco 16v rear rotors, all traces are stainless and -3 AN fittings


Absolutely restored utilizing 1975 swallowtail spec elements (bonnet, hatch, rear panels, swallowtail particular Grille and light-weight encompass), arches pulled 13mm all-round, door corners rounded on prime and backside, Smoothed and painted exhaust tunnel, smoothed and shaved underside of swallowtail bonnet, bead rolled and smoothed firewall, all ancillaries and brake servos eliminated, boxed, bead rolled and smoothed body legs, delicate bead rolls or depressions in steel added to emulate OEM physique traces, shaved exhaust cutout on again panel with turndown exhaust, painted in Porsche Biarritz White, OEM Euro Bumpers re-chromed, NOS chrome trim all through your complete automobile, NOS clear Happich pop-out rear quarter home windows with {custom} chrome trim to match window seal trim, full early 1975 spec glass together with clear from pop-out quarter home windows with chrome-plated frames, Dapper Lighting OE7- 7-inch LED headlamps, chrome swallowtail housing and rings, OEM postal Golf back lights and LED bulbs


Customized Flame Purple upholstered inside with 6 hides of Moore and Giles leather-based by High Sew Auto Upholstery in Minnesota, perforated leather-based headliner, upholstered dashboard, GTS Classics Vallelunga seats in Flame Purple and houndstooth, hand-built stainless door and sprint trim, {custom} crimson double loop carpet, physique labored exhaust tunnel to emulate Singer Porsche inside, hand upholstered Momo Prototipo steering wheel by Joe at Black Forest Industries, 1 of two CAE suitable BFI shift knobs {custom} upholstered to match, polished swallowtail aluminium door sills, Velocity Hut gauges with GPS speedo and Oettinger Scripting to copy classic VDO Oettinger gauges