Shaun Tai



Social Entrepreneur

Shaun Tai



Social Entrepreneur

VW Tai Brothers

  • Writer: Richard S. Chang
  • Photographer: Wes Allison
  • Magazines: Super Street & Motortrend
  • Owners: Shaun Tai, Wilson Tai
See Demo


Z.Team Yossi's Vee-Dub Brothers

Honda-wankers. Stupid Street. Super Sweet. Right now, I’m trying to imagine the sorts of things Volkswagen-owners must have called Super Street over the years. Autoboobs, there’s another one. Yes!

And the cause for the brainstorm? Well, there is that annoyingly constant requisite for the clever introduction. And then there was the sudden realization, upon tackling reason Number One, that the Volkswagens you see on the following few pages are the first in Super Street in more than a year. That’s a long time—so long, that we ran two.

Shaun and Wilson Tai of Z.Team YOSSi from San Francisco tag team the California show scene with both sides of the Mk3 blade. Wilson owns the Golf; Shaun’s is the Jetta. Both cars are strikingly similar: clean, stacked, and click with the chicks. Place them side-by-side, and you’d think the two cars were separated at birth. But look closer, and you’ll see just how distinct they are.

Golfing Around | Wilson Tai's 1995 VW Golf

Let’s start with Wilson’s Golf. The 2.0L SOHC has been given a good seeing-to with a HOT Technology 260 camshaft, AutoThority E-PROM ECU chip, polished ABD Q-Flow intake, and Fireball stainless exhaust, which is matched with 2.25 mandrel-bent piping. With the horsepower upped to proper levels, our photographer Wesley “I’m So Cool, I Go to Hawaii for Vacations” Allison found it easy to convince Wilson to point and shoot the Golf down the straights for action shots.

But the engine wasn’t just built for power and pissing on takers at the lights. It, like the rest of the car, was crafted for show judges. The intake manifold, aluminum radiator, and battery cover all received a thorough polishing job, and now the spanking setup under the hood simply blinds. The exterior was rearranged to reflect a British Touring Cars look and feel. That means white powder coated 17x7 Team Dynamics Motorsports wheels, 205/40ZR17 Dunlop SP8000 tires, massive Power Stop cross-drilled rotors, and a clean body kit. Wings West M3-style side skirts are matched with an Andy’s Auto Sport M3-style front bumper and a Kamei rear lower wing.

The rear emblem has been shaved, and the front grille has been replaced with a more anonymous Bonrath badgeless front grille. Metallic blue paint covers the car, free of graphics and decals, which are limited to Wilson’s sponsors and are relegated to the rear window panels.

OK, so you’re one of those who needs more than a clean paint job to stir your juices. You need stuff and lots of it. Well, let’s jump inside the Golf and see if it meets your needs. Wilson calls it a dual-tone Recaro-style interior. Among the add-ons are an IFRA 3 20m leather steering wheel and Isotta billet gear frame selector, both exclusive from MG Racing and Tuning. AutoThority provides the white gauge faces, and Auto Meter is the source for the dual pillar pod and Phantom oil- and water-temperature gauges. The rest of the looks can be attributed to MOMO’s hub adapter and Folia Tec’s four-piece pedal set, E-brake handle, aluminum door pins, and carbon-fiber trimming. What? Satisfied already? But we haven’t gotten to the ICE.

Wilson eases and pleases the ladies with Sony’s CDX-C780 head unit (stop thinking that) and CD player powered by Alpine’s V12 MRV-F353 four-channel and subwoofer drive amp. The sounds swirl through a maze of Monster Cable before escaping through a speaker system that includes MB Quart QM 1216KX 6.5-inch separates and tweeters and a JL Audio 10-inch subwoofer. It’s a tight little setup in an unmatched ride—that is, until you look at his brother’s car.

Jetta Fighter | Shaun Tai's 1996 VW Jetta

Like his brother’s Golf, Shaun’s Jetta is just as polished and pretty on the outside as it is on the inside. The thing that’s so extremely attractive about this car is the civility behind it all. It was built to be driven. If seen in a highway blur, only the anthracite powder coat of the 18x7 Team Dynamics wheels would be noticed. Despite the annoyingly awesome craftsmanship and design both inside and out, the car reveals a modest approach.

Don’t get me wrong; the thing is stacked. But if any 12-piece body kit can be considered subtle and elegant, then this has to be it. It’s a custom setup of mixed and matched parts from Andy’s Autosport (front and rear bumpers), Wings West (M3-style side skirts and Command rear wing), and flushed Euro-style fender flares, all molded together and sprayed in a smooth finish of pearl white sprinkled with red flecks.

The front and rear door handles have been shaved and discarded in favor of keyless entry. Now, opening the door for the ladies is as simple as pushing a remote.

But once you get inside, that’s where things really get complicated. First, there’s a Sparco six-point roll cage and Sprint racing seat. Then there’s a dual-tone interior and series of Auto Meter Phantom gauges in a custom pillar mount. The steering wheel comes from Isotta, and the door locks, white gauge faces, racing pedals, and shifter are Divizion Zwo’s. Folia Tec provides the E-brake, and the company’s carbon-fiber dress-up kit gives everything the perfect finishing touch.

Still not enough toys to play with? There’s more than enough knobs and buttons on Shaun’s Sony (CDX-5070) head unit and CD player. The unit is accompanied by three Rockford Fosgate Punch 75 amps and crossovers, MB Quart (2216CX) component speakers, a JL Audio (12WO-4) 12-inch woofer, and Monster Cable interconnects. The trunk, now relayered in red and black, holds the woofer in a custom plexiglass enclosure along with a revealing look at the guts of the stereo system.

The car has a screamer side to it, as well. A 100-shot Piranha Nitrous Express direct port kit gives Shaun’s Jetta some extra neck-jerk action over his brother. The bottle sits snug in the hump seat surrounded by the padded roll cage. Accompanying the nitrous system is a polished intake manifold, custom chrome intake, Weapon•R air filter, 5Zigen Border 304 exhaust with 2.25-inch custom piping, and AutoThority E-PROM chip.

And what doesn’t give the car power, gives the car looks. If it hasn’t been polished, then it’s been chromed—from the valve cover to the heat shield and bolts. We’re really talking kitchen-sink territory here, just like Wilson’s Golf.

Place the two cars side-by-side and the image is pure symbiosis. That’s where they belong. Taken separately, both the Golf and Jetta still hold their own convincingly. But why would anyone want to keep them apart when they look so perfect together?

Surely not us. We wouldn’t want VW owners to call us more names.