Here’s the latest from our NOTlabs Director and car lover, Shawn Sims. This post is brought to you by Volkswagen. It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them. Read our stories or share your own at whyvw.com.
Early morning. Malibu canyon. Incredible S curves. Stunning views of the ocean and mountains. And over 2 dozen GTIs. I kid you not. So when Volkswagen reached out to NOTCOT to share our VW story, Jean pulled up my instagram pictures and insisted i share this Malibu adventure with you. First things first, let’s backtrack a few steps…
I love my 2012 GTI. It’s like a fast little go cart - handles great, has great balance, and from an engineering/design perspective, the build quality of the car is top notch. (And after endless test driving, Jean gave this one her approval as she fell for all the design details too.) As a car lover since before I even started driving at 15, you’d never believe that life lead me to do a few years in London and New York — carless! And it wouldn’t be until i moved to LA that i’d buy my first new car.
Moving to LA a car is a must-have. I was told make sure you get something you will enjoy, can be comfortable in, and be fun to drive because you will be in it more than you think. So when heading to LA after grad school in Pittsburgh, before even looking for an apartment, the perfect car had to be found… white 2 door with a manual transmission and sunroof. Not as easy as expected! But along the way, many dealers were called, arrangements were made, and paperwork was signed before I even landed in LA. My GTI agonizingly waited across the country in a lot for me until I got there. The day before new years eve, I hopped on an evening flight to LAX, and the next morning I had the keys to my new VW GTI!
Adjusting to life in LA, Jean and I frequently took our cars out to Malibu to play in the canyons. Having the VW GTI as my newest gadget, naturally internet research took me all over, learning about possible tunes, tweaks, upgrades and more… even stumbling upon various GTI communities (Apparently a lot of the vocal owners online are architects, engineers, designers, etc. Who knew?) So when a GTI meetup through the Malibu Canyons popped up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet some new LA folks and find out more about what others were doing to the cars in person, and regardless of how it was, it was guaranteed to be a fun drive!
I have gone to plenty of car meets and seen car clubs caravanning around LA, but I was not expecting to find more than 2 dozen GTIs in a parking lot at 8:30AM. First, the casual meet and greet over coffee as we huddled up to go over the proposed route. We were set to cruise Stunt Rd, Mulholland Hwy, Malibu Canyon Rd, Piuma Rd, PCH, and whatever fun roads we could find in between. The plan was one canyon run, usually 20-40 min and then find a spot to regroup and snap a few photos. There were 3 generations of GTIs there, some untouched and others heavily modified. While at one of the lookouts along the way an automotive journalist even pulled up reviewing the new Golf R. The huge group of GTIs made him do a double take, much like the new Golf R turned the heads of the GTI drivers. As quickly as people came together, the group drifted back to their respective parts of socal… but for those few hours of blissful canyon driving as a pack of GTIs, i certainly learned a ton about what my GTI could do (and become).
The pack of GTIs (and the view!) was quite the sight, as you can see in the pictures on the next page… If I was driving by the group, I know my curiosity would have the best of me and it would have been hard not to stop too!