Modifying cars is always 1 of 2 things. Either very fun or very frustrating. It doesn’t matter what platform you are modifying. Granted, some platforms are easy to squeeze power out of using just a few simple mods or bolt-ons while others you need to be spending around 10 grand just to reach 400 WHP.
One such car happens to be the Hyundai Veloster. Hyundai released the Veloster as a Tiburon replacement back in 2011 with the Veloster making its debut as a 2012 model. It came a asymmetrical 3 door layout with a 1.6L inline-4 cylinder gas direct injected or GDI engine making 128 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque. This was good for a 0-60 time of leisurely snail run of 10.7 seconds. Hardly face ripping acceleration. The slow acceleration was such a big problem with the Veloster that Hyundai followed up with a turbo model just a year after the cars initial debut. It sported a 1.6L turbocharged inline-4 engine making 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A jump of 73 horsepower! And people took notice too.
Over the course of the FS generations (1st Gen) lifespan it received mild updates such as new front and rear facias for 2016 and the introduction of Hyundai’s 7 speed dual clutch transmission but still retained its original factory output. It was also well equipped with features such a push button start, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof, leather wrapped steering wheel, navigation, etc. all for around $23K brand new. And you could also get them with a 6-speed manual. #savethemanuals.
The Veloster catered to a specific audience who wanted to be different and not look like every Honda Civic or VW GTI rolling down the road. Hell, a lot of people never even knew it came with 3 doors. One such person was Nick Vinot.
The 27 year old Internet Processing Agent from Colonial Beach, Virginia originally had a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe that had more mileage on it than most Volvos but had no business being driven around on the local streets. I recently sat down with Nick to get a little insight into what drove him to purchase and modify his Veloster.
Drew: “Tell us a little about your car.”
Nick: “My car is a 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo with the 7 speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission for those who aren’t keeping up with the acronyms).”
Drew: “What made you decide to buy this particular car?”
Nick: “This was my first “grown up” purchase after I graduated college. I was looking for a better car to get around. My previous car at the time was a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe that had more lights on the dash than a Christmas tree and wouldn’t pass any state inspection. I originally found a used 2016 Veloster that was the NA version but when I went to the dealership, I drove the Turbo and immediately fell in love with it. I wound up walking out with the car that same day.”
Drew: “Were you looking at other specific vehicles at the time?”
Nick: “Nothing specific. Anything that was half decently reliable since my car wouldn’t pass inspections.”
Drew: “What was your goal when you started building your car?”
Nick: “I didn’t initially have a set goal. I just wanted to be my own and stick out in the community. I’ve always used other Velosters as inspiration to help me build the car. Seeing what I liked and how it looked on the car. I guess you can say I’m always looking at the next mod instead of an end goal.”
Drew: “What do you think your next car will be?”
Nick: “One goal I do have is for my 30th birthday I want to buy either an R32 Nissan GTS-T or an imported JDM S13 or S14. I’m open to both.”
Drew: “Plan on learning drifting?”
Nick: “Hahaha, I think that would be fun, but I will probably keep it very simple and clean for those builds. Maybe do some nice wheels, new seats and a steering wheel, bags and some basic performance mods.”
Drew: “What is the greatest regret you have of owning your car?”
Nick: “My biggest regret is probably not being patient enough. There have been so many projects or mods on the car that I have had to go back and redo or undo or have done by another person because I wasn’t patient enough. I would go in overconfident and rush a lot and a majority of the time it didn’t go very well.”
Drew: “What is your favorite thing about your car?”
Nick: “I don’t know if there is any one mod that s my favorite. I love the fact that my car in general doesn’t look like any others out there. Even as I’ve built and modified the car I’ve never been accused of copying a design from another car. It has always been my car and what I wanted.”
Drew: “If you could go back and change 3 things about your car, what would they be and why?”
Nick: “The first thing I would probably change is the custom headlights. It’s so much simpler to make stock headlights look clean and simple. The process of getting custom headlights is a real nightmare. Secondly, it’s not strictly related to my car exactly, but I would have bought a second car before I started modifying this one due to my lack of patience. I rushed through a lot of projects like I mentioned before and I would get super stressed out trying to get the car back on the road. Lastly, I would have down wheels and lowering springs a lot sooner. It probably would have been the first thing out of the gate.”
Drew: “What do you like most about the Veloster community?”
Nick: “I love that it is so small and niche. If you compare even the entire KDM community to say, the Z community, it’s so easy to stand out, make a name for yourself and build relationships with sponsors and vendors. It’s very simple just to get your name out there.”
Drew: “What advice would you give someone that’s starting out either modifying a Veloster or a different platform?”
Nick: “Have patience! It’s so tempting to pick up and do a small project or buy a cheap part on amazon because you think it looks “cool.” In any car community, it easier and better to wait and do things right. Don’t set any unrealistic goals. Keep I simple.”