Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
Remember Nik? You know, he had the slammed xB we featured years ago, did some questionably legal things in Japan in his Skyline? Writes for StanceNation? If you remember him, and wondered what he’s been up to car-wise, here it is. If you don’t then let me introduce you to Nik Preusser: he writes for StanceNation, is in the Air Force, is a family man, and owns this very nice 2013 Jetta SportWagen.
Before we talk about the wheels or the suspension, let’s talk about how the JSW came to be in his possession. It was a Mother’s Day surprise for his wife, and that took some doing. After she pointed out the JSW as a viable option to their current Subaru Forester, he began researching the People’s Car and liked what he found: Mk6 body on a Mk5 chassis, plentiful aftermarket support, and one of the most reliable VW motors on the market (the 2.5L I5). He was sold. She was very eager to trade in the Fozzy, but he told her they needed to wait until it was paid off. Little did she know that he had already started the paperwork to trade the Subaru in for the Jetta. Problem is he had to wait for the car, because gray 2.5L manual wagens aren’t the most plentiful things on VW dealer’s lots. The car arrived and Nik cooked up a solid enough story to get her to the dealership. “I made up some bs story about how we were going to buy a Radio Flyer Wagon for our son from a guy who worked at the VW dealer.” It worked, because she walked into the showroom and saw the wagen with a giant bow on it and a humongous card that read “Happy Mother’s Day!”
And then he started piling on the parts. Most notably in the suspension, where bags replaced the usual coil springs and OEM struts. A healthy combination of Accuair and AirLift parts adorn the wagon now. Accuair comes in with their E-Level Air Management components, including: their ECU and updated ride height sensors. Also from Accuair is their VU4 manifold and iLevel iPhone controller setup, which he enjoys and will show to people who ask nicely. A pair of 444C compressors fill the AirLift five gallon tank. It’s AirLift on all four corners, with steel braided leader lines, Performance series struts up front and SLAM series in the back. Also in the rear is a double bellow setup and shortened sway bar end-links, both from AirLift, and Innovative Design & Fabrication rear upper control arms. All of that can be boiled down to “It’s on bags, he can control it with his phone, and it gets stupid low”, but hypothetically if you wanted to replicate similar lows you now have an idea of what to use.
Underneath the hatch sits his polished up tank, upon which he displays his love for his BFAMs in 20801. The tank was actually buried underneath all the stuff a dad with a wagon has shoved back there: stroller, bags, toys, various car care materials (he’s had a series of slammed cars, it would be weird if there wasn’t a bottle of tire shine somewhere in the car).
Providing some noise other than the compressors… compressing, and a modest power gain, is an AWE Tuning Track Edition performance exhaust. He does plan on adding some other go fast parts, but those will come at a later date and we will definitely be telling you about them. Why? Because it’s exciting!
As you can tell, this is a pretty light article, which is why I sent him a few random questions along with my request for a modification list. Here are a few of the more choice questions and answers:
How has air made a difference in your life? Have your kidneys sent you a thank you note?
Yes, and yes. I don’t miss the days of driving a static xB with a 1/4” frame clearance at all. Static fanbois–you can keep them, I’ll be a daily bag-rider for the rest of my life.
If you could, how many kei cars would you import? Be honest
All of them.
Seriously though, give me a newer turbo Suzuki WagonR on bags and a turbo Suzuki Alto Works set up for canyon runs, and I’d be happy with that pair.
Would you ever import something period?
I have run it by the wife a few times, and it’s a future plan of mine. I’d like to import something like a Suzuki Alto Works or even eventually a Toyota JZX90 or JZX100 Chaser.
Why a Jetta Sport Wagen and not something bigger, or up market (Audi, or whatever)?
I wanted something that would look good slammed and could fit the family… SUVs are nice, but tend to look awkward laid out on bags. Also, Price point was important with the wife coming home to stay home with the kids for a few years, and still having the bagged xB at the time. I would love a newer Audi wagon, but… I’m in the military, and it doesn’t pay THAT well.. they cost twice what I paid for the JSW. I wanted something with cheaper payments so I could afford to mod it properly and still have money for my other expensive hobbies (photography, snowboarding, and burning $100 bills).
How many people have seriously called your Works fake?
They have never been called the word “fake”, but I have had a good number of people call them “BBS LM replicas”. Replica wheels are all fine and dandy, I used to rock them… but when you spend the money on a set of real wheels, you don’t want to be understated like that. I’m kind of a wheel snob now, Sweet baby Jesus came down from the heavens and told me that replica wheels make him cry, so I’m not going to argue with him!
Yup, those are real Work VS-XXs. No eBay “BBS LM replicas”, the real McCoy. He’s running a staggered setup with 18×8+38 in the front and 18×9 +40 in the rear, with Achilles Radial ATR covering all four of them. The rubber measures in at 205/35 in the front and 215/35 in the rear. His winter wheels are a bit more pedestrian, if you think his current setup is too bourgeoisie: 18″ Mercedes-Benz S550 wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak tires
Usually I’d use this space to wrap up the story I have crafted for the article. But I haven’t created a story for this article… Well, I’ll let Nik thank some people and we’ll call it an article:
Anyone you’d like to thank/shout out/mention?
I’d like to thank my wife for her ever-growing patience for me and my car habit & for having impeccable taste in cars and wheels. I’d like to shout out to my BFAM (brothers from another mother) in the Lowered Elite (and 20801). I would also like to thank all of my sponsors… oh wait, I don’t have any.