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Dec 9, 2012

Photography By: Jesse Godin

Words By: Danny Rice

Movin’ On Up: Evan Hartwig’s Golf R Beauty

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In economics, there is something called Opportunity Cost which is defined as “the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.” Put in simpler terms, it is what you missed out on by making a certain choice instead of the other. We experience this in our daily lives from small decisions like where to eat, to larger decisions like…. cars. Evan Harwig is no different, but this feature isn’t about what he missed out on so much as it’s about what he did to realize his dream and get that sweet, sweet taste of what he always wanted deep down. It’s a story about true love and how other options may have been good enough, but not what one REALLY wanted.

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Evan started his journey into the Volkswagen scene in 2004 when he bought a 2004.5 Jetta GLI. Back then, he didn’t know much about VW’s, but when he drove back to the dealership a mere WEEK after buying his GLI, he saw his first R32 and immediately became jealous and has been every time he’s seen one since. THAT is the Opportunity Cost he felt in his gut as he looked at Volkswagen’s AWD performance machine that he hadn’t known about just a week ago when he bought his GLI. He stuck with his Jetta, however, and over the course of owning it for 7 ½ years, it saw extensive modifications but started giving him issues. As he was sorting out the issues and troubleshooting the car , Volkswagen announced in the Spring of 2011 that they were releasing a 2012 Golf R and he decided to hop on it quicker than you can say “redemption”.

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Although he loved his GLI, Evan was tired of owning a FWD car in New England and decided he no longer wanted torque steer and understeer. His love for turbo cars and how easy it is to get power from them fit very well with this new model of the R family, which sports a larger turbo 2.0T motor instead of its formerly naturally aspirated 3.2L predecessors from 2004 and 2008. The more pictures and details were released, the more Evan’s appetite grew for the new Golf R and as soon as his local dealership started taking down payments on them, he was banging down the door begging them to take his money.

“Thus began the long and tiresome wait of stockpiling parts until the car arrived,” Evan affectionately recalled.

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Evan wanted to make sure he did this car right from the beginning so he wouldn’t have to redo any modifications later down the road like he did with his GLI. His original goal for the car (prior to delivery) was to simply bag it on some nice wheels and add some simple OEM+ options, both European and North American. Over the months of waiting, his stockpile of parts for the car he hadn’t even seen in person was pretty significant. Among this pile was OEM Euro LED tail lights and full air Bagyard Air suspension with AutoPilot V2 management from Air Lift Performance.

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Once the car was delivered in January of 2012, he worked out some details with the fellas at 42 Draft Design and sent the car to them for some developmental work since he had been a long term customer of theirs. The car spent some time down at their facility outside of Baltimore where it was fitted for 42DD’s first Golf R downpipe as well as some other goodies later down the road. While the car was in MD, he had it taken over to New German Performance where he had them flash his car with APR Stage 2+ software and high pressure fuel pump to get more power potential from the factory upgraded K04 turbo on this more powerful version of the popular 2.0T from the Mk5 and Mk6 GTI’s.

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Once the motor was done with its upgrades, it was time for the car to get some love aesthetically. The modifications started with the installation of his full Bagyard Bag setup which was controlled by AutoPilot V2, as mentioned before. The next logical step was the crucial decision on wheels.

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When you think wheels, there are a few companies that come to mind almost instantly. Like many of us, Evan had fallen in love with many of Rotiform’s wheel designs and decided to go for a set of TMB’s. After talking with a fellow Golf R owner who also had it on the mind to order a set of TMB’s, he went a little deeper into the Rotiform line up and chose a set of DUS’s, a much rarer model as popularity goes. The DUS’s completed the car in subtle fashion that gives you a “this is how it should be” feeling as you look at Evan’s unbelievable clean yet simple beauty.

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While the story of this Golf R may seem well under way, it is only the beginning. Evan recently picked up a set of Euro Golf R Recaros from a friend for a helluva deal (you don’t want to know how much these seats are worth… it’s borderline disgusting), a goal he had previously set for later this winter due to the sheer cost, but should have them installed shortly. Keep an eye out for Evan and his Golf R at shows this year as he plans on going full Stage 3+ with APR and adding a few more Euro OEM goodies!

“You don’t always get what you want but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones


Editor: Danny Rice

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