Treating himself to car goodies every time it’s his birthday, Daniel Coates has gradually managed to build himself the best present anyone could ask for: a super-clean modified Mk6 Golf GTI show-stopper…
It only takes one look back at your seven-year-old self on Christmas Eve to realise just how much we all love a good pressie. Because let’s face it – it wasn’t the special edition of Songs of Praise the next day that was stopping you from sleeping back then, was it?!
And when it comes to treating yourself on your birthday, Newcastle lad Daniel here has taken it to a whole new level; firstly buying himself a spanking new motor and then following it up with some seriously impressive parts to attach to it in the subsequent years to create this stunning, modified VW Golf you see here before you. Beats a fresh pair of socks, that’s for sure…
Daniel’s generosity towards himself began on his 21st a couple of years back. While most would choose to celebrate this milestone keeled over in a ditch on some high street pavement at 2am, our man here found himself in much more civilised surroundings: Edinburgh’s sophisticated VW showroom, to be specific.
“I travelled up to view a slightly older GTI with a leather interior,” the Sky engineer recalls. “However, they’d sold it that morning. But they also had this newer, lower mileage example there…” Taking the plunge and going for this super-clean sporty version of the Mk6, complete with the all-important tartan interior, this was certainly a step-up from Daniel’s previous Citroen C2, and a suitably awesome way to celebrate 21 years on this crazy planet.
Even in standard trim, this pokey hatchback acts as a superb daily driver for any car fan, but like with the Citroen that came before it, Daniel had no plans of keeping it standard for long. “It was on Spax coilovers within the first few months,” he reveals; a mod which was swiftly followed-up with a nice set of alloys and some breathing mods under the bonnet. Daniel’s keen to explain that most of the work was completed on his driveway, too, with the help of YouTube tutorial videos and his dad Scott’s extra pair of hands helping him overcome any hurdles he faced.
“The only thing I couldn’t do myself was tie all the mods together with a re-map,” our plucky owner picks up the story. “So the car eventually went down to The Performance Centre in Sunderland, where it managed 300.1bhp.” A nice figure from that boosted two-litre motor, which left the factory over 80bhp less than the power it’s now kicking out.
Not a bad transformation in under 12 months, we think you’ll agree. But with the turn of the year fast approaching, and Daniel’s birthday swiftly following that, he had his work cut out if he was going to match last year’s gift to himself! Thankfully, he’d been thinking about how he could step the build up a notch for quite some time, so it didn’t take too long to work out what he was going to treat himself to. “I purchased Air Lift Performance Slam Series bags for my 22nd!” he grins, explaining how treating himself on his birthday had become a bit of a running theme by this stage.
Two days later and with the help of his dad and brother Lee, the full adjustable suspension kit was installed. Not bad for three blokes who’d had the grand total of zero hours’ experience with air systems before this time! Running Air Lift’s V2 management, the system was finished off with a nice subtle boot install by Daniel, before it was finally time to show it off at some local car events.
“In its first year it did win a few trophies, but I felt the need to continue and to make it better,” Daniel explains. Rather convenient then that it was leading up to, you guessed it – another birthday! “This time, it was some custom, three-piece Rotiforms, which got shipped over from California just in time for that year’s Ultimate Dubs show…” What a generous guy Daniel is to himself, eh? The rims in question are beautiful BLQ-T splits: sporting those iconic, intricate spokes finished up in Candy Red, surrounded by polished dishes – looking the total nuts in their staggered nine- and ten-inches of girth in his custom setup here.
Following a full re-spray in the standard VW Candy White hue from friend Simon to ensure things were nothing but perfect on the outside, and with more shows and trophies under his belt over the summer period, there was one part of the car that Daniel felt was really falling behind the rest now things had gotten really serious: the interior. “I couldn’t just put a set of Audi seats in here; it had to be something special,” he explains how the bar had been raised now, meaning something a bit more unique was on the cards.
The solution came quick enough in the form of a set of Recaro’s premium Sportster CS recliners (bought for himself on his 24th birthday – we kid you not), which Daniel got his friend Monty from Bass Mechanix to re-trim the centres of in that all-important GTI tartan – a clever touch which only adds to the class!
With Monty also applying the infamous chequered fabric onto touches of the boot install, and another friend Fraser whipping up a gorgeous stainless steel show cage to top the whole thing off, we think you’ll agree the interior now successfully matches the rest of the car with its classy club-racer vibes, creating a stunning, less-is-more package that’s difficult not to love.
Having created a thoroughbred show car practically entirely on his driveway and with a tonne of patience, Daniel understandably admits he still loves to drive this fully capable car hard when he gets the chance. “I’ve got a set of OZ Ultraleggeras as my winter/daily wheels… When they’re on it, I love driving it! People say air suspension is terrible for handling, but my kit performs just as well as coilovers while being ten times comfier…” In fact, there’s plans to ramp up the driveability even more in the future for increased driving thrills from this 300bhp monster. But we imagine we’ll have to wait until next year’s birthday to see the full results…
TECH SPEC: GOLF GTI
Full re-spray in VW Candy White; smoothed bumpers; widened arches; carbon fibre spoiler extension, side skirts and rear diffuser.
2.0-litre turbo TSI engine; stage 2 re-map; Airtec front-mount intercooler; de-cat, turbo-back stainless steel exhaust system; performance induction kit, six-speed manual gearbox.
9x18in (front) and 10x18in (rear) Rotiform BLQ-T three-piece split rims with polished dishes and Candy Red faces; 205/35/18 (front) and 225/35/18 (rear) tyres; Air Lift Performance air suspension with V2 management; EBC brake discs and pads.
Recaro Sportster CS reclining front bucket seats trimmed in GTI tartan and carbon fibre backs; custom stainless steel show cage; 3 x 1.5-gallon stubby air tanks; 15″ Rockford Fosgate P2 sub-woofer.
Special thanks to Bass Mechanix for getting the interior to a stage I simply couldn’t!
Words Sam Preston Photos Ade Brannan