A 20th in the Valley – Mitch’s GTI

Mitchs Cover

Recently I attended a great Midwest euro show called Dubs in the Valley. While doing the rounds at the show, I came across this ridiculously clean 20th AE GTI. I couldn’t help but take a long and envious look. Everything was perfect: the shaved rub strips, the de-badged grille, and the cool simplicity of the glassy black magic pearl color that looked so clean, I thought it may have been recently repainted. After I finally took a chance to wipe off the drool, I noticed Mitch, the owner, carefully putting on some finishing touches. I introduced myself and expressed my admiration of his 20th. As it turns out, compliments turned into conversation and, eventually, an afternoon photo shoot in the heart of Oshkosh’s industrial district.

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After scouring side-streets and alleyways for over an hour, I fell in love with the grittiness of a factory back lot and gave Mitch a call. We parked the car next to a stack of abused pallets and waited for the warm afternoon sun to duck just below the brick building. The mixture of textures and colors worked so well and really complimented the deep black of the GTI. The white washed cinder block, mixed with red brick walls, and the orange-yellow stack of wood pallets… it all just worked. Being behind the building and cast in a shadow meant that his car was draped in a soft light, making shooting his car an absolute pleasure. With every click of the shutter, the viewfinder blinked one dramatic image after another. I knew this was going to be a good shoot.

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Once you get over how perfect the body of the car is, the very next thing you will notice is the wheel fitment (or lack thereof in some aspects). In my opinion it is the most striking aspects of Mitch’s car. The amount of poke he runs in the back may be controversial to some, but is one of my secret obsessions because MkIV’s are the best body style to have poke on. It gives the rear of the car such a boxed and wide look, which works so well on this generation of Golf. Another detail about this car I want to touch on is the color-way of his BBS RS’s: black faces, brushed lips, and black hardware give it a raw and aggressive look that compliments the whole car well.

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Moving to the interior, one can see a plethora of OEM parts blended to not only create an awesome interior, but to ultimately improve the whole driving experience. Two key features that make this car not only sleek but also comfortable, include the MkV GTI flat bottom style wheel, as well as the set of custom R32 seats, with perforated suede to help keep him centered at the track (yes, he takes it to the track).

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With the evening darkness finally setting in, I packed up my camera and shook his hand. Out of sheer curiosity I asked him, “What is your favorite part about your GTI?” Mitch paused, and with a smirk answered, “I cannot pin point a single thing. Not to boast or anything, but I literally love my car and what it has become since I have owned it. I have a huge grin on my face every time I drive it and enjoy how connected to the road I feel. So I guess I would say it would be a combination of the short throw, exhaust, intake, seats and steering wheel. It all just feels so right to me.” And with that, keys turned in the ignition and we said goodnight. As I settled into my own R32 for my drive back to Illinois, a feeling of satisfaction crept over me. After all, there is nothing better than capturing passion through the lens of a camera.


Owner: Mitch Braun (@midwestlowballer)
Photos and Words: Joshua Walling (@therealswiper)

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