RETIRED Super Stealth Moderator
Moving back up the east coast of the US, this month's entry into the Passatworld Hall of Fame represents approximately 1% of the total number of W8 varients here in the US with a manual transmission. I've seen this car in person, and was wondering when it was going to get some nods towards a POTM nomination. Low and behold, like a fine wine that's time has come, I present you with the POTM for December, 2010, a W8 manual waggie owned by JimmyPringles! James, the floor is all yours...
First, a thank you to all for getting the W8 up here on this special list! I also feel very privledged, that I was picked to close out 2010! Thanks guys!
The day before Jay contacted me about being nominated for POTM, I had just started taking the W8 a part a bit, as I was going to finally give a bit of the attention it deserved, after neglecting it for a bit. I made it a point of mine over this winter, to get all the little things I still wanted to do with it ironed out, and get it where I wanted. By next spring I will be focusing on another automotive project for quite sometime, and the W8 will once again take a back seat.
Two of the most recent pics:
For me I have been around cars my whole life, my Dad as well as his twin brother were mechanics their whole lives, and very much into their Chevy's & racing (in their teens/early 20's). My dad had a slew of different cars when I was young (57 Chevy, 67 Impala, 69 Nova, 64 C10, 72 Vega). My uncle too, (besides all the cars he had) has/had a 1957 Chevy Nomad (wagon) that was bought 3 months before I was born, and has been sitting since till present day. I have always had a thing for Wagons (especially cool/fast ones), maybe because my Uncles Nomad has been around since I can remember. I just always like the idea of the station wagon being better and faster than most of its sedan brethren.
My two automotive loves since I was a kid were VW Beetles & Station wagons (generally both being modified and or "hot rodded", especially wagons. In a way my W8 wagon is a combination of both (not the Beetle part, but the VW part). As much as I wanted an air-cooled Beetle most of my life, it wasn’t until the age of 28 that I purchased one (or any VW for that matter). I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and they were a dime a dozen/relatively rust & rot free. I promised myself that if I was to ever move back to NYC, I would buy one out there, and haul it back with me. Finding a rust/rot free old air-cooled in the North East is not only difficult, but still a lot of $$ even with rust. So, when it was time to move back that’s exactly what I did, and bought a 1963 Beetle & carted cross country back to Queens, NYC.
...had to sneak 1 pic in of the Beetle for the story:
When I got back to NY I drove around in it for about a half year, but I really didn’t want it to be my daily (was in took good of shape). I decided to take if the road, to start really cleaning it up & making it look nice (how it currently looks above). At this point, I picked up a 77 Beetle from some local who I knew, that had it tucked away in their garage. It was a typical NE air-cooled (beat up & rusty), but mechanically straight & ran like a top. This became my daily for 2 years, and I also did give this one a quick, “cheap”, clean up into a Rat Rod look. As much as I loved cruising around in this rat-look Beetle, and the stares it got, I just couldn't bear any AC and especially NO HEAT for another season. I then decided I needed a somewhat more modern daily, soI sold the 77 and found my self in a 97 GTI 2.Slo. After toying around with the GTI for almost 3 years, I got the itch for something else, and got the itch for another wagon (driving around in a hatch helped the wagon itch).
I really liked B5 Passats and Passat wagons, admittedly more so than B5.5's[/b] I’m always one for reading & learning first before I jump into something, so I began to lurk here at PassatWorld for almost a year, and read tons of threads before even registering. I soon began to look into either a 1.8T or V6 wagon, and was trying to make a FWD or 4Motion decision (leaning towards 4Motion), when I stumbled upon the fact that there was an 8cyl. Passat…the W8. I wondered is there a wagon version...check! Is there a manual version (6MT)...check!! 4Motion standard...check!! Price range...check!! As I dove into as much info as I could about this particular model and anything entailed, there were 2 names that always popped up, them being VWGUY4EVER, and TheSwami. Their posts and long lists of information, were tremendous in my making a decision and learning all I needed to know about this unique limited, & possibly quirky model. Once I filled my brain up with everything I needed to know, I began to search for one to buy, still not knowing how limited they were in number. I initially told myself if I was spending the money I wanted Black on Black, or Silver on Black only, when I soon realized how limited the number was I realized that was going to be a rather difficult task, finding one in general was going to be difficult enough.
First day home:
My search began in the last half of 2005 (the last of the 04 W8's now being 1.5 years old), and most W8 wagons were somewhere between $25-29k with 30-40k miles on them. While searching for this "unicorn", I began to notice that for some reason, all the W8's especially 6MT wagons were always in the middle of the country, a good 12-16 hours away. If that’s what i wanted though I was willing to travel, and by chance one night came across a 2003 Black on Black 6MT Wagon in Michigan. Spoke to the guy several times, and he sent me dozens of pics. I was in love and had to have it and was ready to take a trip. First though, I had a travel vacation planned already, to go down to Tampa, FL., with some friends for the annual Tampa PRO/AM (a huge professional & amateur skateboarding contest). Two of my friends owned their own NYC based board company, and were going down with some team members, and I was tagging along for the ride & to hang out & skate (been skating from the age of 17 to the ripe old age of 34...I’m 38 now). Long story short, after a whole week down there, and 6 hours before our flight back, I decided to skate a bit more even though in my head I was saying, "let it go you had a good week". Well, should have listened to myself. I fell, bent my knee sideways, and tore my ACL, MCL and both meniscus, consequentially throwing the whole W8 search/purchase out the window. Don't know if the guy in Michigan believed me when I phoned him, but that ended that, and he eventually sold it to someone else. So I put the hunt off for the moment for obvious reasons.
Fast forward to a year later, and I am healthy and my finances & bills were straight. I began to look for a W8 again, getting ready to have to possibly travel to find one. It was the Monday of Thanksgiving week (2006), and on Auto Trader I came across a 2004 W8 Wagon 6MT with only 9k Miles at a certified used VW/Audi dealer!!! And it was in Pennsylvania only 3 hours away!! I bought it on Black friday and drove home (which was an absolutely horrible drive home). However, it was one the few times in my life, that being in major holiday traffic didn’t seem to bother me.
Some winter fun...its definately not babied (too much), it gets beat on from time to time:
This past Friday was 4 years since purchasing it, and I still love driving it every time I get in. It is not the fastest car in the world, but it is quick (especially at highway speeds), and with the exception of my big red summer wheels, it looks just like any other Passat wagon to the untrained eye. That is until I put it in second, put my foot down, hear the lovely growl thru the dual Magnaflows, and look back into the rear view at those behind me.
(The mostly grey interior on a grey extetior was a bit much for me so...)
- Started a more thorough 2 tone (Grey & Anthracite) scheme using OEM pieces
- Replaced grey carpet with an Anthracite carpet
- Replaced grey door panels with full Anthracite panels (..in process of adding W8 chrome accent strips to the door panels)
- Chrome accented Chinese VW Euro switch
- Chrome accented Chinese VW window switch panel
- Monster mats all year round
- Removed sunroof inner shade (I just like the bigger opening/look)
***Currently searching for Anthracite (2004/05 Passats only) side bolsters for a wagon. If anyone has em hit me up!!!***
- Smoothed & color matched the stock lower skirts/trim
- Black badgeless grille w/W8 Emblem
- Semi debadged rear (lettering)
- Thor skid plate
- Chrome mirror caps
- Swapped front amber side markers for red (flipped rears)
- R1 concepts cross/slotted rotors
- Axiss Metal master pads
- ATE Super Blue high temp brake fluid
- ECU flash (removes 1st gear rev limiter, and top speed limiter, also makes throttle more responsive)
- Custom exhaust system "A LA VWGUY4EVER", using 2 magnaflows, 1 X pipe, with 2.5" piping, and OEM tips welded on
- K&N drop in filter
- R8 oil & coolant caps
- Original OEM battery (going on 6 years...should probably change this)
- NGK plugs
- Pentosin oil every 3k (yes 3K)
- Intake manifold...smoothed & powder coated/color matched to body (see to do list)
- Valve covers powder coated & color matched to wheels (see to do list)
- Bilstein PSS9's
- 19" x 8.5" et32 Mandrus Emils...stripped & refinished, w/center powder coated blood red & wheels "windows" polished
- Aircooled Wolfsburg seatbelt emblems which fit in the center caps perfectly.
- Falken FK452 225/35/19
- 17" x 7.5" et45 OEM BBS Madras (now winter set)
- Bridgestone Blizzaks WS-50 225/45/17
Mods. to be done/to do list:
(...have everything, just chronically lazy)
- 034 Engine mounts, snub mount, & tranny mount
- LED lighting inside & out (including city lights)
- Shifter boot (anthracite)
- Intake manifold & valve covers
(had these done well over a year ago and have yet to put em in. TOM & DMC are shaking their heads right now cuz I still haven't done it)
- As of today, awaiting a S4/A6 strut tower brace from BLAKWAG. will color match/P.coat & polish to match wheels
Possible future to do list:
(...but not neccasarily ever going to happen)
I have a strange fantasy of coverting my B5.5 front end to a B5 front end.
Yes, completely backwards than most who try & go for B5 to B5.5, but I
still think the B5 front end looks better. Plus I can always claim I swapped
a W8 engine into a B5..LOL!
Special thanks, goes to the following for all their help and info:
...these six have made life a lot easier for any W8 owner old & new, and everything they have done or provided, has been invaluable.
Also, some of the locals whose general Passat/VW knowledge has been tremendous too (thanks for answering my late night PM's/questions):
Finally to end this novel...oddly enough all of this has come full circle, and I am now the owner of my Uncle's '57 Chevy Nomad. It has been sitting in dry storage (exactly where pictured below) for over 38 years with a blown tranny. At this point it is obviously going to need lines, hoses, and slew of other small bits as well, but it is a very solid project to start with, with minimal work needed to get it going. Over this winter I am going to address some tidbits on the W8, to get it where I want it. After that, its complete dedication & focus on the 57. Sadly the 63 Beetle will have to go up for sale (will be putting up soon) for funds for the 57, and its hard to let it go, but now I can say I am the owner of 2 very rare, very cool Station Wagons (..and I will probably pick up a beater/rusty North East air-cooled, to piss around in, in the meantime).
In the Lab, two bad ass 8 cylinder wagons:
The VW stable at one point: