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Don Santora: 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Don Santora picked up his 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI as his second vehicle after his first GTI was totalled after a tragic accident. For this GTI build, Santora decided he would modify the car extensively, with modifications including the first top mount big turbo of this platform.

Owner: Don Santora
Location: Copiaige, NY
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI
Horsepower: 450 whp
Club: Tuning Works


Photography by @baiwithcam, Don Santora.

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE3


  • Wire tuck
  • Swoops Built engine cover
  • Swoops Built Brake res
  • Swoops Built Catch can
  • IE intake manifold
  • Custom intake
  • CTS turbo 750 HP true FMIC
  • Garrett GTX3071r Turbo First ever top mount TSI turbo setup
  • Custom stainless boost pipes
  • Forge 44mm external wastegate
  • Forge Short shift kit
  • IE shift bracket
  • SPM mounts polished and gold powder coat
  • Forge oil/water caps
  • SAI hose delete
  • Tial Q50R valve
  • Nostrum injectors
  • Nostrum HPFP
  • Custom LPFP
  • Torqbyte pm4 control module
  • Built IE sport short block and cylinder head

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE6


  • Custom R32-style car-back exhaust
  • Swoops Built downpipe and titanium wastegate dump tube


  • GIAC custom ECU Software


  • Beetle Turbo transmission swap
  • Peloquin LSD


  • Rotiform DSC 3-piece wheels - 18x11.5 -7 (f),18x13 -9 (r)
  • Nitto Invo tires - 255/40/18 (f), 295/35/18 (r)


  • Porsche Cayenne 18z calipers
  • Dual rear caliper w/ Golf R caliper

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE4


  • Air Lift Performance Air struts
  • Powerfelx Race series front and rear full bushing replacement
  • Bilstein Sport rear shocks
  • H&R 28mm Rear Swaybar
  • Whiteline 25mm front adjustable swaybar

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE1EXTERIOR

  • ECS Tuning Carbon Fiber Fender Flares
  • Seibon Carbon fiber DV hood
  • Avery Satin black vinyl wrap
  • R32 rear conversion
  • Molded front bumper/OSIR lip
  • APR Performance GT STI wing with custom mounts
  • Euro mirror caps
  • Euro door handles
  • Badgeless grille
  • Rear washer delete
  • Gold painted rear emblem


  • R32 Euro tail lights

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE5


  • Euro Right Hand Drive Conversion
  • Alcantara Wrapped Lambo-inspired Dashboard
  • Alcantara headliner and pillars with seat belt deletes
  • Porsche RS style door pull handles
  • Custom vinyl dash/door/wheel trim
  • Rear seat delete wrapped in black leather with gold diamond stitching
  • Forge Big Knob gold anodized shift knob
  • Cut shifter
  • Gold-stitched Alcantara shift boot
  • Hardwired V1 w/ Podi gauge display
  • ECS Boost and AFR gauges
  • Cobra Misano Anniversary Seats
  • Cobra 4-point Harnesses
  • Dash cubby with mold for Airlift 3P
  • Double Apex Air Horn button into spare switch spots
  • Double Apex water/meth button
  • NRG Steering wheel restitch/reupholstered swap
  • NRG short hub and quick release
  • Custom built trunk floor
  • Hardline air line setup
  • Tuning works custom rear stress bar
  • Tuning Works custom rear harness bar
  • Viair dual stealth black 444c


  • Kenwood 1000 W amplifier
  • Rockford Fosgate slim-mount subwoofer
  • Optima Battery relocated to trunk


"Euro right-hand-drive conversion would be my favorite conversion! It gives me a whole new driving experience and tons more fun to drive!"


"Possibly an AWD conversion if I want to pull the car apart again."


  • Tuning Works
  • Forge Motorsport
  • Cobra Seats
  • Pipercross filters
  • ECS Tuning
  • Powerflex Bushings


  • Tuning Works
  • Swoops Built

Don Santora 2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI TBGLIVE2