About the Driver
Heather Valentine, Fort Lauderdale
I’ve always been into cars since I was a little kid. My first semi-fast car was a Steeda Mustang and since they were easy/cheaper to work on yourself I tried to get as educated on them as possible. I got my first VW in 2006, a shiny new MKV GTI, and had absolutely no clue there was a cult following for them that I would be sucked into. I lowered my car myself in my friend’s driveway and instantly started getting various S. FL VW club flyers on it at least weekly. One day I finally said fuck it and went to a meet. That same car saved my life in 2008 in a bad wreck, so VWs are a part of me forever. I’ve had about 7 German cars since then, with VW and Porsche being my favorites. I basically met my husband through a car club and he helped also marry me to my current VW, Reptar, which was previously owned by a good friend of his. It’s a never-ending project and we love that thing. He has a super minty ‘88 Honda CR-X so we both have our own late-80s/early 90s hot hatches and a love for cars/motorsports.
About the Car
It's a 1992 VW GTI in Montana Green. It was originally an 8v car with no sunroof in Montana Green, which was basically only available special order; I’ve been told there’s only a handful of them that were made. I got the car in late 2015 right after my mom unexpectedly passed away and it was a really good project to keep me distracted. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to sell it because of that emotional attachment. Overall, I’ve always been a fan of the whole OEM+ look, so it’s pretty true to that aesthetically.
Lowered on coilovers and 15” BBS RS 101s which were recently fully ceramic-polished by Shorepolish Frank. Some smoked Hella euro tail lights. The car’s been fully resprayed the original Montana Green color and it’s otherwise pretty stock-looking outside, the front-mount is even sprayed black to stay subtle.
The interior is basically period-correct OEM 16v GTI (for now) aside from a Momo Monte Carlo steering wheel and BFI shift knob. It’s pretty fun trying to find MK2 parts but having good parts hoarder friends helps!
Anything special under the hood?
I bought the car in major project mode with a swapped AWP 1.8T, APR Stage 3+ kit, and its fair share of issues, basically zero interior, and needing lots of love. Now we’ve redone the entire swap (my husband did most of the work with some help by key electrical gurus Aron Cherep and Matt Morrison), still retaining the GT28RS turbo from the APR Stage 3+ kit, but running United Motorsport software, 550cc injectors, MKIV R32 MAF, Integrated Engineering rifle-drilled rods, and a 02J trans with a Peloquin diff.
What are some things you've done to your car that others might not notice?
I think a lot of people still don’t know I have the aftermarket bigger turbo on there. Every once in a while people will crouch around the engine bay and yell obscenities when they realize it and act like I was hiding something, which I totally find amusing.
Anything else you'd like to add? (could be about anything)
This car helped convert my husband from a super clean JDM guy to a lowkey VW guy and that’s pretty amazing. Jokes aside, the friends we’ve made from the MK2 crowd are some of the most awesome friends we could ask for—and we can’t put a price on that.