Fun Little Show

Short pitstop among the corn

Short pitstop among the corn

Last Saturday I tagged along with the crew from Further Performance to Fargo ND. It was our first trip to Volkswagens In the Valley put on by the Red River VW Club. It was a fun little show with around 100 plus cars, mostly air-cooled. There is something about low keyed gatherings that I really enjoy. While we all like to show off our builds there is something to be said about hanging with people who share your passion without being overly competitive.

The plan for the day was to start early from Further Performance and make the four hour drive from Minneapolis to Fargo ND. Five cars in total: My two cars the Golf R and the MK3 GTI along with three cars representing the shop. Tristan was in the Scirocco, Alex in the Karmann Ghia and Mike in his MK5 R32. It would not be a proper road trip if something does not go according to plan. True to form my friend Matt came down sick and was not able to drive the GTI so we left the GTI behind. Surprisingly that was the extent of the days drama.

The phrase a road less traveled describes Tristan and his approach to road trips. Avoid the interstate taking instead the forgotten highways and back roads of central Minnesota. No record speeds between points instead opting for slightly less than the published limits. Endless fields of corn, freight trains hauling their black gold to refineries far to the east and small town America never made a boring moment. It was a refreshing way to travel considering for the past 25 years I have flown back and forth over the exact parts without ever seeing the country on a personal level.

Much of the VW scene I have been exposed to is the hyper competitive build it bigger and better than the other guy. The scene at the Volkswagens in the Valley was laid back. People like me who enjoy their VW’s for the smell, sounds and feel of the vehicle. Sure there were some amazing builds but they did not scream out I’m better than you. Instead we all enjoyed the time and passion it takes to build a car, any car, and keep them running just because it makes you smile.

VWs In the Valley will definitely be on my 2016 calendar.

Awesome Type 3

Awesome Type 3

Porsche Powered Bus

Porsche Powered Bus

Bus

Bus

Bus Bugs Blue Bug BlueWhiteBug BlueWhiteBugToys Bridge Final BugENG Blue Bug FRNT Blue Bug Black Bug

MADFURTHER Not just a Car Show

It has been a few weeks since I returned home from Southern Worthersee – SOWO14 .  I was going through the video I shot while in Georgia and I quickly realized that I do not possess the skills to be both a chronicler  and a participant at the same time. Most of the video I shot was very ordinary and nothing like what I had hoped it would be. I was far more interested in being part of the moment than capturing the moment. Plus I like to drive my cars. Driving and shooting video of the events as they happen is impossible. I think I will let SOWO14 . sink in just a little more before I begin my edit.

I might be putting off the SOWO14  edit for  bit, but I am still excited for the car show scene for this summer. I was looking through some old unfinished projects, and I stumbled across an edit of last years MadFurther show. This is the show where I unveiled my rebuilt 1997 Golf GTI VR6. (Thank You Aaron Witchger ) Since the edit was almost complete when I lost interest, I thought I would put the finishing touches on the project and post it to my Vimeo page (MadFurther 2014 on Vimeo). I also called my friend Tristan Henderson who is putting on the MadFurther show and asked him if I could do a quick interview with him about the upcoming show.  Now this is my first time interviewing someone and despite a bad tendency on my part to talk over the interviewee I did manage to pull out some OK footage. I hope you enjoy the video.

Witch One Day Six SOWO 2014

Day six of Southern Worthersee  is coming to an end, however if the show before the show is anything like the past few years shenanigans will soon ensue. No better place to show off ones hard work than cursing up and down the main roads of Helen GA. The streets are lined with thousands of car enthusiast cheering on each passer by to chanting ” burn out” A good many try and a few are handed tickets from the local police. In all it is a spectacle to be seen. I would encourage everyone to make this show tops on their must see shows.

I myself took both cars on a few laps through town. It is sad to say the Golf R has become common place and in this crowed she no longer turns heads. However Witch One is altogether a different story. While she is not the best MK3 GTI down here, she certainly is in the top five; and the car does pull more than a passing glance as she rolls by on her shinny BBS’s

Tomorrow Witch One will represent all the hard work Tristan and everyone one at Further Performance. had put into her. Ever time I drive the GTI my love affair with the car deepens. I smile ear to ear listing to the VR6 engine rumble I run through the gears. The car is solid in every way and an absolute joy to drive.

Below are a few to the pictures I took as I walked through Helen.

WitchOne Day Four SoWo 2014

Day Four of our 2014 Southern Worthersee  adventure continues. Except for a few minor mechanical problems with one of the  crew’s GTI’s the trip has been both trouble and drama free. Tire Change WitchOne Deals Gap2

I finally had the chance to take Witch One the 1997 Golf GTI VR6 turbo out for a drive. Nothing but props and a huge thanks for the guys at Further Performance. for this build. The car both handles and performs way above anyones expectations. Both Tristan, Matt and my self have pushed the GTI and the limits have yet to be found.

Of course like any build there is always things to be improved on; like upgraded brakes and a good set of sway bars will be a must. The Golf R has been rock solid other than a weak clutch, (planed winter project) she has answered every question asked and performed above all expectations.

Before the Dragon

Tomorrow the little town of Helen, Georgia will fill up with thousands of VW’s, Audi’s and veracious other Euro cars and the real shenanigans will begin. My hope is everyone has loads of fun but keeps things respectful and safe because I have this show on my must attend list for the foreseeable future.

I can’t close out this blog post without once again thanking the guys at Further Performance. Tristan Henderson, Matthew Henderson, Frank Buntz, Mike Olson and Aaron Witchger for their inspiration and hard work in making a dream come true.

 

Witch One The Rebirth of a Golf GTI

VR6

WitchOne

Today we set off on the long trek to SOWO Southern Worthersee A Volkswagen Audi show in northern Georgia . While this will not be my first time attending SOWO it will be the first time my 1997 Golf GTI will make an appearance. My GTI and I go back to the beginning; 17 years ago is when I bought this little 150HP pocket rocket. Today, after a total rebuild we are hoping, reborn, the little monster can pull 400HP and maybe more. Every day I drive Witch One I smile knowing in my hands I have a special machine that has not only kept me dreaming but also launched the dreams of at least 7 other people, maybe more, who were lucky enough to race her through the streets of Minneapolis.

Shows like Overhauling, Gas Monkey, Wheeler Dealers or Top Gear at their core depicts the emotional connection we humans have with our cars. I too have this emotional connection with my GTI and Golf R for that matter, and like the people from the aforementioned shows I can tell you exactly who inspired this connection and when the connection with my GTI occurred.

WitchOne and 2Dubs

WitchOne and 2Dubs

I bought the GTI new and after several years the fun had left the car. I was a home owner with yard work and remodeling projects on the to do list. The little hot hatch became a defacto SUV, hauling everything from lawn mowers and yard mulch to soccer goals and snowblowers. Time was taking its toll on the little GTI. It was time to sell the her and buy something more practical, a real SUV.

At the time my friend Aaron Witchger would badger me to let him drive the GTI and since I had already bought the Tahoe I freely tossed him the keys. Every time he would bring the car back he would say “dude you can’t sell this car.” He would present me with ideas he had found on the internet on how to modify the GTI to improve her performance or alter her stance. Wheels, exhaust and a chip to give the VR6 engine a little more growl.  The times I would ride along as a passenger with Aaron as he was driving I would marvel at his driving skills. The guy was so tuned into that car man and machine truly became one. Aaron not only was one of the best athletes I had ever met but he was also one of the best drivers I had ever met. Riding along with Aaron as he dipped through Minneapolis traffic was the point in time where the fun of driving the GTI was replaced by the magic of driving the GTI and the future build took root my soul. It was here I decided I would never sell this little car.

WitchOne

WitchOne

Aaron and I have long gone our separate ways, however when I look back at the story of the GTI I can point to Aaron Witchger as the person who influenced me the most in not only keeping the GTI but someday building her into something special.

Fast forward now 7 plus years. The GTI build remained a dream but I was not really committed to making that dream come true. The GTI was little more than a third vehicle taking up space in my garage. About four yeas ago now is when the GTI threw a rod bearing and life for the hot hatch changed. I had her towed to Further Performance. and while she sat pathetically up on the hoist it was clear; we could rebuild her bring her back to life bigger, stronger and more powerful  than the day she left the plant in Wolfsburg Germany.

Ready for SOWO14 WitchOne

Ready for SOWO14 WitchOne

While building the car my friends would always ask me: “So you have three cars, Which one do you drive?” It was through countless conversations like this that the tag “Which One” took hold. It was also during the build that countless numbers of people, people I had never met started to tell me the stories of Aaron Witchger giving them their first ride in my GTI. They would tell me stories how they had so much fun riding or driving in my car with Aaron that they knew right there they had to buy a GTI of their own. One mutual friend told me a story of how Aaron scared the crap our of him as he dipped through Hennepin Ave traffic. The car and the drive was such a rush that with in a month he bought his very own 337 GTI.  Another person whom I had never met saw the GTI up on the hoist at Further Performance. and said “I own my GTI today because of the ride Aaron Witchger gave me in this car.”

People, it seemed, had not just one story but may stories about the time Aaron gave them a ride in my GTI. Each story was told with a sparkle in the eye and a smile on their face. The craziest thing to me was I had no idea any of these people had ever ridden in my car. I had no idea when I tossed Aaron the keys to the GTI he was making his friends smile and dream. There were so many stories that it was obvious that “Which One” had to be changed to “Witch One” a tribute to a guy who had such a positive yet unknown influence on so many.

WitchOne

WitchOne

It is funny how life can bring people together and create friendships, even if they are for a short amount of time; friendships that become frozen in one moment in time before they go their separate ways. I have not spoken to Aaron in over ten years but his influence on me and my GTI will live on until the day I die. When that day comes and I head off to the big Volkswagen club in the sky and some lawyer hands Aaron the keys to my GTI I hope rather than sending her to the crusher he brings new smiles and creates new dreams for the next generation of Volkswagen enthusiasts.

Matthew Henderson’s Honda CB350

When my GTI threw a rod bearing I had to make a decision; do I keep the car or do I scrap it. I chose to keep the GTI and thankful for that decision. Granted the GTI is just a car but it is a car that has been the key to a whole new world of amazing people. All the mods and builds for my cars are done at Further Performance. in Minneapolis. It is here where I met Mat Henderson. Like everyone at Further I am honored to call Matt my friend.

While most of Matts time is spent working on high performance VW’s and Audi’s in his free time Matt can be found working on his own projects. I had the chance to spend an afternoon with Matthew as he worked on his winter build, a Honda CB350 that can’t wait to see the Minnesota cold give way to the warmth of summer.

Matthew Henderson CB350 on Vimeo

2014 Bring It On

WitchOne

WitchOne

Whether it is a new day, new week, new month or a new year I start out each with an idea that things will be different. I dream, I plot and I plan but all too often the lofty idea I cook up in my head gives way to the grind of daily life. Despite the failures, the procrastination and the Oh so close, I dust myself off and try again.

Ok 2013 was not all that bad. In 2013 I survived the bankruptcy of peaknuckle airlines, now Endeavor Air battered, bruised but unbeaten. With a smile I completed my will. I so wish I could see the look on beneficiary’s face when the lawyer reads the will, but it is a surprise and of course I will be dead, like in twenty years from now. I also had a chance to reconnect, without interference from evil joe, to the Edina Varsity boys soccer program by providing them with their end of the year team video. I can honestly say I had a blast not only making the video but also getting to know the may quality parents and players who made up the team.

Speaking of amazing people. The crew from Further Peformance kept me smiling all year long. Tristan, Mike, Frank and Matt not only kept all my cars running in top order but they also inspired me and made me feel like family. 2013 saw the rebirth of WitchOne, my 1997 Golf GTI. I will be forever grateful for all the extra time and energy Further Peformance. put into the GTI not only to bring it back to life but to making it a truly special ride.

So 2014 has arrived. While I have long ago given up on new years resolutions I still have lofty ideas and goals. I still dream, plot and plan. In 2014 I will focus on the house remodeling. I have a few rooms that have already been dismantled. The plan, before the years end, is to combine and put back together all the things I tore a part.  The GTI and Golf R will see a few tweaks this year. Mostly I look forward to driving the cars to Southern Worthersee  and all the other shows the Clean Schnitt crew plans on attending.

WitchOne and 2Dubs

WitchOne and 2Dubs

When it comes to my videos I have big plans for 2014. In the works is the story behind Witchone, why chose to rebuild a broken down MKIII GTI and what the car means to me. I am in the begining stages of putting together a retrospect video of the last group of guys from Edina to win the State High School Championship. I would like to release the video in conjunction with the 2014 Edina Varsity Soccer highlight video. I have other project ideas bouncing around in my head and I hope 2014 will be a banner year in video production.

All in all life goes on and if I experience failures along the way all I have to do is wait for monday to roll around.

Happy New Year!