- Post is under moderationPUTTING THE BOOT IN #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk4-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI-Mk4 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora / #VAG / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora-TDI / #VW / #Volkswagen-Bora-IV / #Volkswagen-Bora-1.9TDI / #OZ
We don’t tend to get too excited over modified Boras these days because we very rarely get the chance, but Anthony Warrior’s example literally stopped us in our tracks. Just look at it! Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: Si Gray.
It’s funny, but looking back over the years, we’ve only ever featured a small number of Boras on these hallowed pages – the majority of which have been created across the pond. I’d go so far as to say you could probably count the amount of full-fat, UK-built Boras on one hand. The booted version of the Golf just never really took off here in the UK, largely because people didn’t deem it as sporty as the hatchback or as practical as the estate. Understandably we’re more than a little bit excited to bring you coverage of what Anthony Warrior’s vision of a sporty Bora should look like. It’s more than simply a breath of fresh air… it’s awe-inspiring!
Despite being very fond of cars from an early age, the engineer from Darlington didn’t pass his driving test until he was 21! “I was certainly a late starter, that’s for sure. I remember as a kid that my dad was always a Ford man, but for me it was hearing my friend’s Mk3 Golf VR6 for the first time. That triggered my passion and love for all things VW almost instantly,” he confessed. Despite initially being into the idea of getting a Golf, due to owning quite a large dog Anthony’s other half, Claire, insisted that it had to be a five-door: “I’m not keen on five-door Golfs to be honest,” said the 35-year-old, “so I started looking at Boras and ended up buying this one.”
The car might have only had one previous owner and been low mileage with just 50k miles on the clock, but it was totally bone stock and that just wouldn’t do. “Okay, I can honestly say that all I ever really planned originally was a set of wheels and perhaps a remap. Now, some 12-years, five sets of wheels, three sets of coilovers, air ride and £1000s spent on bodywork and interior, I can safely say I didn’t intend to go this far.”
Anthony’s modified journey didn’t begin all that positively though, with a set of 18” Audi A8 replica wheels shod in equally awful balloon tyres being his first step on the ladder. It was actually PVW’s very own Dave Kennedy, or rather his Bora project, that helped Anthony see the light: “I have to say that I’ll always remember watching the progress of Dave’s black car… And those huge wheels he attempted to fit to it.” Needless to say after the rep’s came a set of BBS RCs, followed by a couple of sets of BMW wheels before Anthony finally wound up with his current set-up: “The wheels were something that took ages to get right, especially as they’re 20s, which nobody had really done at the time or certainly hadn’t pulled off,” he said. Anthony claims it was a bit of a gamble buying the genuine Ferrari wheels as it was a big financial outlay, but when they came up for grabs he accepted the challenge. Talk about trial and error, too: “I knew I’d need to run adaptors and the fronts were pretty straight forward being a pair of 25mm items. Out back the adaptors were quite large at 38mm, but that wasn’t a problem until I offered the wheels up before ordering tyres. For some reason one of the wheels poked out a bit more than the other, so I had to take the adaptors to work and have 2mm machined off one of them.” It’s quite a common problem on the Mk4 platform where the axle never sits perfectly in the arch. You don’t actually notice when running standard ride height as there’s lots of clearance in the wheel arches. It’s only when you’re go low and are dealing with millimeter clearance that it becomes apparent.
Talking of air-ride, after running numerous sets of coilovers over the years Anthony finally decided to bite the bullet and opt for air: “I decided I was sick of bouncing the 130-mile round trip to and from work, so invested in and Air Lift Slam set-up.” Obviously the install has progressed over time, from the original set-up he fitted in his in-law’s freezing garage, to the carbon-clad, hard-lined work of art you see today. “The air tank is still the original item, but now wears a carbon-fibre skin with copper strands running through it, which Paul from C6 Carbon said was a must-have to tie-in with my copper hard lines.” Since the initial air install, Anthony has also fitted poly bushes throughout and also added IDf drop plates to allow the amount of camber needed to run 11s out back.
It’s obvious that Anthony, who is an engineer by trade, is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work – other than the paint and carbon – himself! Believe it or not the all-metal, wide-body makeover was carried out around six years ago (before the air ride and Ferrari wheels, in fact) when Anthony was still on coils and looking to fit some wide 6-series BMW wheels. “The bodywork had to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole project but then it was done twice. I wanted the arch lines to be as close to factory as possible, to keep it subtle.” As if widening the car by around 4” front and rear wasn’t going to be pretty damn obvious. The thing is, despite the added girth and crazy-wide wheels filling each corner, Anthony almost pulled off the whole subtle thing. For some reason though, he wasn’t really happy: “I seemed to fall out of love with the car for a while at this stage and it just got used and abused really.” It was only after talking to his friend, Dentman that Anthony got the bug again: “He suggested I should take the car to Autospray in Darlington, which I did. We discussed my plans and I quickly decided they were the right guys!”
Apparently the car was only booked in to have the wide-body conversion reworked, which should have taken a week, but that soon changed to include smoothing the doors and rear bumper, repainting the front bumper and bonnet, then doing the B-pillars and rear door quarterlight bars gloss black, plus adding new window rubbers, clips and screws: “Four weeks later it was ready for show season. That was four years ago, and since then it’s been back ever year to have little bits added or improving,” he said. The car has got continuously smoother as time has gone on. However, we love how the gloss black external parts break up the Satin silver colourcoding so it’s not too over powering.
On the engine front Anthony hasn’t gone too overboard, but he did admit to getting a little fed up being left behind by his mates whenever they went out in their cars together: “I needed to do something, so I took the car to Revo for a remap, but that turned out to more than a simple flash. We actually had to remove the ECU and install a new chip. What a difference it made out on the open road, though.” After a quick rolling road session it showed 152bhp and 270lb/ft of torque: “I was pleased but figured we could do a little better, so went for a full Milltek system from the turbo back, with de-cat pipe, too." With the addition of an ITG panel filter and Allard EGR delete, the final outcome was 165bhp and 297lb/ft and Anthony was finally happy! Having driven the car for best part of a year with the tiny stock brakes hidden behind those monster 20” hoops, Anthony was ready to up his game again, especially now he had a bit of extra power, too: “Even though I’d fitted a 312mm TT set-up up front they still looked small and the standard rears we just embarrassing, so a set of fourpiston Ferrari Brembos were sourced to replace the fronts. Then all I had to find a set of suitably large discs and make them fit,” he smiled.
After quite some time spent searching, Anthony eventually found a set of 400mm Alcon discs originally intended for a Jaguar XKR: “First these needed redrilling to fit my 5x100 hubs, then the bell housing needed machining down so the wheels would clear them.” And this was before he’d fathomed out how to make the calipers fit: “I started with cardboard templates and using wooden blocks to get the measurements for the adapters right. Then I bought two pretty large bits of steel, which were drilled and milled for around ten hours apiece. I went a bit over the top getting them as smooth and shiny as possible,” he said. Anthony claimed by the time it came to the back he’d run out of ideas, not to mentioned money: “I figured I’d got a perfectly good 312mm set-up going spare now, so why not just convert that to fit the back?” How hard could it be? “Well, after a bit of drilling, cutting, grinding and lots of swearing they went on.”
Although hard pushed to choose his favourite single modification, Anthony admits that he is particularly fond of the way the interior came together as a whole: “I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too. I love all the carbon work Paul’s done inside as well, then there’s the TT dash which tops it all off for me.” That said, the dash swap was probably the hardest part Anthony had to tackle himself: “I thought, how hard can it be?” Turns out, pretty damn hard! “I needed modified clocks because my car’s a diesel and they never made a Mk1 TT diesel, then the steering column had to be lowered and brought backwards,” he continued, “and because I did the full centre-console, the gear linkage had to be modified so I could select all gears. This, along with all the wiring and installation of the electric heater box – as my car didn’t have climate control – made it more than a challenge.” It was worth it in the end, especially with the diamond-stitched leather top, tying it all in nicely with the rest of the trim.
We asked Anthony what he’d change about the car if anything and he had this answer: “I wouldn’t really change a thing other than just doing it the right way the first time around, rather than rushing in and regretting it after.” As for the future, he’s going to look at cleaning the bay up, tucking some wiring and adding some more carbon: “Of course more carbon, lots and lots of it!”
ENGINE: 1.9-litre PD 115 TDI with custom chip (producing165hp and 297lb/ft), 3” down pipe and de-cat, #Milltek non-resonated system with twin-exit back box. Allard EGR delete pipe, #ITG panel filter, Touran engine cover painted crackle black, #Forge short shift kit
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” and 11x20” Ferrari 599 HGTE three-piece forged wheels by OZ with polished lips and faces mounted on G23 adapters (25mm front, 38mm and 36mm rear) with 215/30 and 245/30 Nankang tyres respectively. #Air-Lift-Slam-Series front struts, #Air-Lift tapered rear bags, #Air-Lift-V2 management, #Viair-444cc compressor and five-gallon tank, #Powerflex poly bushed all round, IDF rear correction plates. Ferrari four-pot front callipers with custom machined brackets and 400mm Jaguar XKR Alcon discs re-drilled to 5x100 with machined-down bell housings, Audi TT 312mm front brake set up adapted to fit the rear with callipers painted yellow to match fronts
EXTERIOR: Full respray in the original Volkswagen Satin silver, arches extended 40mm each side in metal, smoothed factory bumpers blended in the extended arches (front and rear), smoothed rub strips, side repeaters and roof aerial deleted, genuine Golf Anniversary front valance modified to fit and painted gloss black, genuine Golf Anniversary side skirts, Bora 4Motion rear valance (painted gloss black), genuine OEM xenon headlights with twin, centre running lights and turn signal relocation, all-red rear lights with gloss black housings, Lupo stubby mirrors (electric and heated) with clear glass and gloss black basis, new window rubbers all round, gloss black B-pillar and rear door window bar, gloss black grille, bumper grilles and scuttle tray, genuine Jetta GLI grille (carbon skinned), aero wiper arms and blades, gloss black rear towing eye cover
INTERIOR: Full Mk1 Audi TT dashboard and centre console conversion with diamond stitched leather top and custom instrument cluster, modified steering column and shortened gear linkage relocated OB2 port, Climate Control retro-fitted with heater box change, Recaro Sportster CSs in black leather with gloss black inserts, Mk3 Scirocco rear seats retro-fitted and trimmed to match fronts, six-speed Beetle Turbo gear knob, Momo 280mm wheel, carbon-skinned door card tops (with deleted door pins), steering column cowl and TT knee bars (all carbon skinned in Audi small weave by C6carbon). Black perforated leather roof lining and A, B and C pillars, Golf Anniversary black grab handles, interior light, seatbelt tops, sun visors, alarm sensors and rear view mirror, Passat mirror adjuster, leather door cards all round with custom audio builds in front doors. Brushed-aluminium door grabs, custom bootbuild with floating floor (lit by LEDs), five-gallon tank skinned in small-weave carbon with copper strands running in the weave, copper hard line installation, twin AVS polished water traps, polished compressor fittings and polished bulkhead fittings
AUDIO: JL Audio MBT-RX Bluetooth receiver, #Precision-Power-Par245 five-band EQ mounted where head-unit would have been, JL Audio XD 1000/5v2 amp with copper/carbon-skinned cover to match air tank, JL Audio TW3 12” sub in non-ported custom enclosure, 8 x 6” Jehnert woofer speakers 2 x 4” Jehnert mids, 2 x 2” Jehnert tweeters, Jehnert crossovers and lots of Dynamat throughout
SHOUT: My wife, Claire for putting up with ‘that car’, Paul at Deluxe Detailing for looking after and preparing the car, Mike and Vicks at Kleen Freaks for all their support, Paul at C6 Carbon for all the carbon goodies, Pete, Adie and the crew at Autospray Darlington, Justin at Car Spa Darlington, D&W Wheel restorers for the powder coating, Rob at JL Audio UK, plus Lee, Woody, Roger, Ricky and lastly my buddies Dentman, Shaun, Begley, Wardizzle, Cuzy and Nathen
It’s obvious that Anthony is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work himself.
I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too.
Recaro CSs are pretty special up from but Scirocco rear bench is a genius addition.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDARWIN AWARDS
Bernd Stich’s Jetta could roll its way to the top of the podium at any show-and-shine you care to mention. But this is no cynically thrown-together show pony – this is the culmination of over twenty years of evolution… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Igor Vucinic.
Evolution has a lot to answer for. Lots of your body parts serve no useful function – body hair is pointless for modern human living, for example. And wisdom teeth do little other than to misalign jaws, while the auricular muscles around your ears are unnecessary as we don’t swivel our ears to hear sound like some creatures do, and your coccyx has no purpose because you don’t have a tail. Your appendix is rubbish too – when people largely ate plants it might have had some role in digestion, but nowadays the only thing it can do is get inflamed and explode, which doesn’t help at all.
Nevertheless, evolution is super-clever. Just look at the quirky national characteristics of speech patterns – the Spanish are loud and boisterous, the Italians lyrical, the French romantic, and acoustic adaptation theory suggests that such traits develop so that the sounds we make work best with our natural surroundings: harsh consonants get lost or distorted in rainforests, but have room to breathe among European hills and valleys. Open syllables like ‘aloha’ work better in tropical climes. And so it goes. It’s not just humans, this is true of birds and cats and all sorts.
In modern Germany, evolution is evidently working overtime. This beige Jetta proves it. In the time that Bernd Stich has owned his trusty coupe it’s passed through more radical evolutionary changes than a millennium of walking sea creatures, each phase markedly different to that that preceded it. It’s as if Bernd and his VW are syncing DNA code to determine the ultimate fate of this well-beloved car. Well, either that or he just really likes it and happens to change his mind a lot. “I can tell you the exact date I bought the car – 22nd November 1996,” he tells us. “And how it looks now - this is what I call my Level 5 modifying…”
The love affair, which has clearly endured, began early; Bernd was desperate to get his hands on the Polar silver car in time for his 18th birthday, and it’s been through a multitude of looks and setups since then, with each year bringing fresh enthusiasms. The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v, and it was the act of gradually but irreversibly becoming a regular show-goer that cemented his keenness for modifying in general and the #VW scene in particular. At the time people weren’t really modding Jettas, it was all about the Golf, so that immediately gave Bernd the edge, and with the ‘valver’ in place he opted to augment it with a set of G60 front brakes and GTI 16v rears – and it was at this point that the aesthetic evolution went into overdrive. Before it knew what had hit it, the ’89 Jetta was wearing big bumpers and slathered all over in pearlescent orange Volvo paint, the smoothed bonnet and boot lid complemented by an absence of arch trims between those fat bumpers. And then the interior was trimmed in cream leather, some Porsche 944 wheels appeared, there was talk of air-ride… the car made it into these very pages, in fact, such was the radical nature of it all.
Bernd wasn’t done yet, though because not long after the 2.8-litre VR6 motor appeared. It’s just a natural function of the survival-of-the-fittest ethos, is it not? Bigger is often better.
Forget ‘less is more’, increasing your piston count by 50% is where it’s at. So in 2003, Bernd got hold of an Mk3 Golf VR6 and basically tore it to pieces, harvesting everything he might need to pump up his Jetta’s creds. The engine is naturally the first thing you’d spot from this major round of surgery, artfully tarted-up as it is by oodles of chrome work and a smoothed bay for it to snuggle down in, but the eagle-eyed will also have spotted the Mk3’s dash, which has been fettled and honed to fit perfectly inside the cabin. Some oh-so-early-’00s König seats found their way in, too, along with a polished Wiechers roll cage and a beefy audio install. Oh yes, the exterior wasn’t a lurid orange any more either – it was something far more OEM-subtle from somewhere within the silver/blue/grey Venn diagram. Air-ride was taken care of by a simple #BSS single-pump system with a five-gallon tank and much of the wiring hidden away.
“Lots of the ancillaries were chrome-plated before refitting,” Bernd explains. “The slam panel, driveshafts, wishbones, gearbox end casing, front sub frame, brake servo…” It starts to turn into a very long list. Even the Typhoon induction kit is shiny enough to hold a mirror up to the fact that you don’t own a Jetta this cool. It was once all of this work was done that Bernd decided to strip the thing down to a bare shell again and paint it all in VW Passat Grey Pearl. That was back in 2006. And if we fast-forward to 2013, we find it all being stripped down once more. That’s the crux of natural selection, it favours adaptability.
There are two key elements that immediately grab the eye as a result of this latest, fastidiously executed evolution. The first is the colour: now swathed in Nevada beige, the Jetta flies deliciously under the radar to all but those in the know, having the air of an OAP-spec budget runabout that’s secretly pumped full of steroids. The second is what Bernd’s been up to underneath the car. This is the kind of detail that’d only become apparent to you if you were on your hands and knees, greeting the car in the manner in which a dog might romance another (unless, obviously, you’re looking at photos of it in a magazine – which, mercifully, you are), but the level of work that’s gone into it is really quite phenomenal. The entire underside has been stripped, perfected, and polished to an improbable shine, a festival of beige that culminates in a mouth-watering fuel tank (there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often) that’s wrapped in sumptuous leather and held in place with polished straps – a gift from buddy Ralf K, who used to own the very tank fitted to his Golf.
This is very much the pinnacle of the modifiers’ art. None of this stuff needs to be done. The fact that it has been done, and done so well, demonstrates Bernd’s commitment to doing things properly. Those shows he used to go to in the nineties clearly left quite an impression.
Beyond the paint, much has been done to ‘retro up’ the look: those big bumpers are long gone, replaced by the period skinny items that work so well to amp up the element of stealth, and the nerds among you may have spotted the 1986-spec doors, chosen for their old-school quarter-light windows. And the interior is now a fabulous showcase of what might have happened back in the late-1980s if a tuner like Radford or Tickford had offered a coach-built version of the Jetta – it all oozes with custom vintage flair, and yet the materials are distinctly premium and high-end. Porsche 924 seats wear bespoke faux-leather and corduroy, the rear seats trimmed to match and with a colour-keyed carpet to suit, and the pillars are trimmed in a tasteful brown to dovetail with the dash. There’s no stereo any more as today Bernd simply prefers the aggressive bark of that VR6 through its shiny Supersport system.
“It was my first car,” he grins. “All the others are just dailies… it started off all original and cost me DM7500 back in ’96. And now – plans for the future? No, I have none for this car. The baby is coming in May, the next Jetta driver, that’s my future.” Sure, he says that, but it’s not really his decision to make is it? This Jetta has held Bernd in its thrall for over two decades, its very physical construct controlled by the whims of nature and evolution, and we can’t see this pattern breaking any time soon. For now, this car exists as a perfect showcase of age-old passion and flawless craftsmanship. What happens next is in the hands of anagenesis and biodiversity.
Dub Details #Air-ride / #1989 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #VW-Jetta / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride-II / #VW /
ENGINE: Chromed and detailed 2.8-litre VR6 ( #AAA ), with #SuperSport stainless steel exhaust system, Typhoon induction, Mk3 Golf VR6 manual gearbox – lacquered gloss black
CHASSIS: 7.5x17” BMW #BBS split-rims with 195/35 Nankang tyres. #GAS ( #German-Air-ride-Systems ) air-ride setup, Mk2 VW-Golf G60 front brakes with 280mm discs, Mk2 Golf GTI rear axle with disc brakes, braided lines
EXTERIOR: 1989 shell painted Nevada beige, 1986-spec doors, small bumpers, shaved bay, detailed underside, leather-trimmed fuel tank with polished straps
INTERIOR: Mk3 Golf dash, Porsche 924 front seats – custom-trimmed in faux-leather and corduroy with rears to match, Raid wooden steering wheel, Beetle shifter, beige and brown #Vorwerk carpet, chrome air tank in boot
SHOUT: My best friends Björn, Timo, Maik, plus Ernst-Equipment (tuning parts), Febi (aftermarket parts) and Carlack-Schwung (painter)
The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v.
Polished #VR6 lump lives in engine bay so clean you could, well, lick it!
Single air tank fixed to back of rear bench means boot is left clear.
Since we last saw the car Bernd has gone balls-out with the underside. Note the leather-clad fuel tank.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCLASSIC CUTS Classic #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk4 1.8T / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.8T / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.8T-Mk4 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora / #VAG
American Jetta 1.8T gets a timeless makeover to die for. Jealous? Us…?
Keep it simple, stupid. We’ve all heard it a million times but when it comes down to it, it’s a hard rule to follow. Not for Alex Bednarik, though, he’s pretty much got it nailed. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Sam Dobbins.
Sometimes we wonder if the guys at Matchbox and Hot Wheels have any idea of what their little toys are responsible for. You don’t need us to tell you that since their launch in 1953 and 1968 respectively they’ve given millions of children countless hours of entertainment and drained the bank accounts of many adult collectors. How many of us spent our childhood flinging them off kitchen table ramps or round the lounge set circuit? We would bet that virtually all of us at one point or another have had these toys, and that a lot of us still have some in a box in the loft somewhere. So how many of us can trace our current interest in cars back to playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars when we were kids, then? Maryland resident, Alex Bednarik – owner of this rather fine Mk4 Jetta you see here – certainly can. Well, that and a little family influence, too. “I have been into cars for as long as I can remember,” he started. “Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my dad around classic American cars and at the drag strip. And I had buckets of Hot Wheels cars and tons of other model cars, too. However, I had always been more into Japanese cars, and imports in general. This interest really kicked off when my brother got a Mk4 Jetta Wagon as his first car and I’d tag along with him to some of the big East Coast shows.”
Here in the UK the good ol’ Bora has always been something of an underdog. You hardly ever see them on the road these days. Heck, you rarely saw them when they were fresh off dealer forecourts, thinking about it. And at shows, other than a few memorable creations built over the years, you could probably reel off on two hands the number of modified examples that have been built. Strange, then, that in the US the Bora, or Mk4 Jetta as we should really call it, has always outsold the Golf in massive numbers. Alex explained it this way: “I loved seeing what people were doing to them when I started going to VW shows. The Jetta has a very simple design but it’s a good looking car from the factory. And it can be made to look even better when the modifications start piling on, too.”
Alex tells us that he was fortunate enough to have his parents buy him his first car – this very car, in fact. With just 50k on the clock and a clean bill of health, it seemed like a smart choice for the youngster to cut his driving teeth on. We’re sure that neither his parents or even Alex himself knew where it would end up, however! “The week I got the car, I booked it in with the garage to remove the pinstriping and badges. Shortly afterwards I put coilovers on the car,” he remembered. “At that point I still didn’t have my licence, so I couldn’t even drive it without one of my parents in the car with me.”
Alex’s parents helping out with getting the car in the first place was a pretty sweet deal but it did have one drawback: they had something of a vested interest in the car and, in particular, what Alex wanted to do to it. “My brother’s wagon was pretty low, and he broke his oil pan one night,” Alex remembered. “My parents were pretty annoyed by that so they made it a rule that I wasn’t allowed to do anything to my Jetta that they didn’t approve of until I turned 18. Since they bought me the car I couldn’t really argue the rule, unfortunately. However, on my 18th birthday I jacked the car up, spun the coils down and cut the sway bar out. Well, I had to, didn’t I?”
Unfortunately, this was a case of parents knowing best because just a few months later Alex followed in his brother’s footsteps and, well, broke it. “The Tiptronic gearbox is the lowest point underneath the car and hangs down,” he explained. “I was on my way to a meet a few hours away and I hit a large hump in the road and the car got air. I’d cracked the transmission casing, which made for an interesting journey back after my dad had to come out to tow me home.”
Killing one transmission prompted our man Alex to look in to air-ride. “I knew I wasn’t going to raise the car and have it sitting really high so it seemed to me that air-ride was the only viable option really,” he figured. Air Lift XL front struts and Firestone rear sleeves were drafted in along with the ever-popular AccuAir E-level management system to keep everything in check. A couple of different valances were bolted up and a set of cloth Sport seats were acquired from his brother. And for a while, Alex was pretty happy with how his Jetta was working out for him.
“As it is a Triptronic I’ve never been too concerned with trying to get any performance out of it. Everything I’ve done has been with the aim of building a car that looks good and is fun to cruise around in,” Alex explained. “The engine bay was never a huge focus point for me until I started running out of things to do to the rest of the car really,” he smiled. It’s funny to think that this might be the first US car for a long time with a 1.8T engine that doesn’t have a Dub Details box packed full of big turbo specs, larger injectors and the like. Big turbo kits and performance modifications are so affordable in the US, not to mention the vastly cheaper fuel and insurance costs compared to Europe, that sometimes you think #VW should have just thrown a GT28RS on the 20v in the dealers to save everyone time! “I only really got the 20v engine by default really,” Alex explained. “I knew I didn’t want the 8v as they’re just so slow, and I might be the only person in the world who doesn’t like the VR noise. The only other option is a TDI but the US didn’t buy many diesel Mk4s in the first place, so finding one is really tricky.” The engine bay hasn’t been untouched, though. Far from it, in fact. A session clicking around on eBay.de brought a SEAT Ibiza Cupra engine cover to Alex’s attention which, while not that big of a deal over here in Europe where SEATs are commonplace, in the US, where they aren’t, well you don’t need us to explain why it was cool, do you? “I realised I would need a new intake manifold to put the throttle body on the other side of the car in order to run the engine cover,” he explained. “I started sourcing a TT 225bhp intake manifold but was not pleased with the prices people were asking so in the end I imported a SEAT intake manifold along with the engine cover that I wanted.”
Next up came the issue of what to do with the intercooler. “I didn’t want to run a big front mount as I don’t like when you see them through the bumper, and I didn’t want to have to cut the bumper up either,” Alex said. “Then I remembered a VRT Jetta from Texas that had dual side-mount intercoolers so I started looking and then found a TT 225 dual setup which worked perfectly.”
The Audi S3 engine plastics are another part of the car that but actually took a lot of thought to get right. This was because the S3 covers have rounded corners and the Mk4 core support doesn’t. “A friend pointed out a small trim piece from the European market that goes in that corner to round off the core support so I had a buddy of mine in England source me one and send it over,” Alex explained. “I like to pay attention to the details, you see. I like looking over a car, noticing all of the little things, and thinking ‘wow, that is awesome!’ and so I put that mentality into the build of my car. I want people to stop, look and see all of the little things that differ from the stock car while keeping it looking factory.
It’s an ethos that’s been carried on inside, too. The retrimmed R32 seats and complimentary trimmed headliner, parcel shelf and door inserts are the first things you notice, and they look great, but look a little closer and you will spot all the little things that really set it apart, like the 2013 Beetle steering wheel, the SEAT headlight switch, the stubby rear headrests and, possibly the most subtle bit of all, the right-hand drive door insert with the smoothed door pull.
“There are always times when I wish I had gone a little bit more ‘out there’ with the build and done a motor/transmission swap and a full shaved bay or gone with a different colour for the interior,” Alex explained. “In the end, though, I am satisfied with the path I choose. It serves the purpose I built it for: to look nice and cruise around in.”
We’re pretty massive fans of the Alex’s choice of rolling stock, too. Part of that has to be down to the fact they’re so understated. Don’t get us wrong, we love seeing a trick, intricate wheel design or a finish combo that leaves us staring but sometimes it’s just nice to see a simple elegant wheel design. “I contacted CCW about making me a set of totally custom wheels similar to OZ Breytons,” Alex explained. “In the end the guys there said they would make a set of Classic 5s – which hadn’t been made in a good while and they would be the first set in 18” which sounded good to me. One of the main things that attracted me so much is that I like having rarer items.”
Since our shoot Alex has been pretty busy with his car although, unusually, not actually through choice! “About a month after the shoot I was visiting a friend when a storm hit. The wind ended up picking up a canoe and dropping it on my car. Yes, a canoe, you can’t make it up!”
Well, that’s definitely a first for Drive-MY! It sounds funny now but at the time not so much, as Alex confirms: “It messed up the passenger rear door pretty bad, ripped the door handle off, and cracked some filler on the quarter panel. Fortunately, my insurance covered canoe damage (that must have been an interesting call to the insurance company ~ All). It ended up needing a full respray and while it was in the bodyshop I decided to have the antenna and fender markers shaved.”
Since then Alex has actually parted with his beloved CCWs for a new set of rollers and is planning to change a few things up inside and maybe tuck a few wires in the engine bay, as he explained: “The wheels have since been sold and changed up. As far as future plans are concerned, the only things I want to do at the moment are some small changes to the interior and possibly a wire tuck in the engine bay. “For the most part, I’ve received a positive reaction to it at shows and meets. I’ve even had people tell me that it is their favourite Mk4 – which is pretty crazy. Add to that, the fact that I now have a feature in #Drive-My is just surreal. I never expected the recognition the car gets. I am just a kid throwing money at a car, having fun.” And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Keep on having fun Alex…
ENGINE: 1.8T with TT 225 intake manifold, 5.5L wiper fluid reservoir, SEAT Ibiza Cupra engine cover, SAI delete, N249 delete, EVAP delete, 42DD cat-back exhaust, 2.0T coil pack upgrade, dual side-mount intercoolers, S3 engine plastics, R8 oil and coolant cap, smoothed and painted core support, misc Euro trim pieces, billet dipstick tube.
CHASSIS: 9.5x18” and 10x18” #CCW-Classic 5 wheels, #Air-Lift-XL front struts, Firestone rear sleeves, #AccuAir-E-Level management, R32 control arms and spindles, 330mm front discs with Tarox ten-pot calipers, 308mm ECS Tuning rear disc upgrade.
EXTERIOR: Custom Japanese-spec front moulding, smoothed and painted 4motion front valence, Emphase Clean side skirts, GLI rear valence, custom OEM HID reps, #PZWO grille, #Hella Magic white tail lights, Passat Lingyu door handles, stubby mirrors, OEM Lexan headlight covers, custom billet antenna.
INTERIOR: Retrimmed R32 seats, retrimmed headliner, parcel shelf, trunk liner and door inserts, black headliner trim, 2013 Beetle steering wheel, right hand-drive door insert with custom smoothed door pull, SEAT headlight switch and climate control knobs, stubby rear headrests, polished Euro Image billet door lock slides, armrest removed, GLI pedals, JCaps billet seat adjustment knobs, shortened and trimmed two-gallon air tank, custom hardlined tank setup.
SHOUT: My family, especially my father and brother, KDI Customs, Bagriders, Joe, Travy, Swoops, Doey, Sam, Dehate, Ramon, Adam, Sammy, Jonny, Piney, Garrett, Muffin, RollHard and anyone who has helped me with the car in any way over the past years.
Engine bay is a masterclass of OEM+ modifying with plastics and parts brought in from across the VAG range and modified to fit.
Smoothed right-hand drive door plastic is a neat touch that you don’t spot at first, as is the relocated switch gear in the door pocket.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDEF ROWE / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #VW / #VAG
If ever we needed proof that America leads the way in the booted Dub department, Harry Rowe’s turbo Coupé is all the evidence you’ll need. Words: Elliott Roberts / Photos: Sam Dobbins
It’s safe to say the Volkswagen Jetta Mk2 never quite took off in Europe like it did Stateside. Granted, as with any minority motor car you will always have your fan bois that obsess over them, but for the most part modified Mk2 Jettas in the UK were extremely thin on the ground and if you did find one, well, it would most likely be average at best. Okay, they were until we started to see a bunch of killer examples emerging across the Pond but if we’re honest the Yanks have always led the way with the booted Golf. I guess Harry Rowe’s VR6T Coupé is a great lesson in just why.
“As a kid I was always into cars and bikes. I had dirt bikes and go-karts before eventually winding up in an 1983 Rabbit GTI,” claims Harry. Despite the natural draw to American muscle cars Harry was soon turned on to the VW way of life after a bunch of mates dragged him to a couple of European car shows. “Also, my father’s good friend worked for VW and they built quick quarter-mile cars in their spare time. It was good fun back then,” Harry adds.
He actually ended up taking the ’90 Jetta Coupé as a trade with a friend, as he explains: “My friend Paul Harley had bought the car but quickly discovered it had a lot of bugs and it was soon just parked up. It had lots of potential but was poorly put together I guess.” After getting the car running Harry drove the thing daily for a couple of years so he could iron out all the little niggles and get it mechanically flawless. Then trouble struck. “One day a tractor slowly reversed into the front, Tunacanning the fender off,” Harry says. He was originally planning just to fix the cosmetic damage but, inevitably, got carried away. It was at this stage the engine came out and Harry started to plan which angle of attack to take. He was set back a little due to the purchase of his first house… and mortgage! “The good thing was it had a garage, though,”
Harry says, “so at least there would be somewhere to store the car and work on it.” On paper the car as Harry purchased it was quite sorted. “It had widened rear fenders, a semishaved bay, shaved body mouldings and marker lights,” Harry tells us, “but I just perfected it by doing a full-on smoothed bay, fitting the pop-out rear windows and adding a number of other little touches.” Harry claims he just loves changing things up and being creative. Although he was aware of some of the US scene’s Mk2 Jetta Coupé ‘greats’ Harry claims he wasn’t inspired by any specific one: “I just wanted to make the car nice and put my own spin on it.” Stuff like the key-hole-mounted rear-view camera and Mk3- style boot popper are things that most people wouldn’t even notice but Harry knows are there and will appeal to the real anoraks.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. After Harry exchanged on the house he began stripping the car right down for a full repaint: “I did a lot of the engine bay prep in my garage while Haggard Fab took on some of the other fab work before the rolling shell went off for paint.” According to Harry it’s Mars red but with a Mercedes Benz paint code.
Those with a keen eye may also have noticed the rear window seal isn’t as it left the factory. “There I used a number of parts from various brands of car,” Harry reports. “This changes the look of the rear window seal and, in my opinion, makes the car look more modern and, most importantly, different to all the rest.” You won’t see many Jettas running round headlights either. The purists may frown on this but we think they look at right home there and Harry is happy with the end result: “I’ve always loved round headlights. I’ve tried Westy aeros but I keep coming back to these. Of course, I’d happily fit a Rallye front-end if somebody was to donate one though!”
Despite carrying out a lot of work himself, Harry claims he couldn’t have done it without the help of his friends – especially Matt at Eurokraft: “His knowledge of these cars is amazing and helped me tons.” Apparently Harry was most motivated when the car came back from paint: “After that, it was all hands on deck from my friends.”
There’s obviously more to this car than a new coat of paint and a few rare modifications, though. Yup, it’s time to talk about the big turbo VR6 running all the right bits: “The car had a VR6 swap when I got it, although it looked nothing like it does now, even though it is the same motor,” Harry tells us. “It’s a nonintercooled VR6 turbo with titanium valve springs retainers and HD valve springs and head gasket spacer with ARP hardware. For what it is – a lowboost setup with about 13lbs – it really moves.
I’ve embarrassed a number of cars on the highway.” He’s also done alright at the quartermile, with a best ET of 12.7 at 115mph. That’s certainly not to be sniffed at. We like the fact that despite the fresh paint and show car wheels, Harry is still all about driving this thing: “Yeah, I’m not afraid to whoop on it from time to time. That’s why I put it together really.”
So the car can clearly hold its own on the showfield and quarter-mile, but what about in the twisties? “I almost went for air-ride but decided against it. The car is running CX Racing coilovers, which I know are not exactly expensive but they adjust pretty well and the car corners great and rides low, too,” Harry says. When it came to the interior Harry really didn’t want to go overboard: “I love the sight of a Mk2 dash and interior so long as it’s in good shape, so I didn’t see the point in wrapping it up. After all, it’s a car I built on a budget, so just adding simple OEM+ touches and a few creature comforts like the double DIN touchscreen, Hella wheel and SWG gauge pod, plus custom centre vent gauge mounts and suede headline with matching pillars and red stripe seat belts worked for me.”
So now it’s all finished we ask Harry if he enjoyed the build and what was the hardest part of it? “I think staying motivated was the hardest part, especially while moving into my new house,” he replies. “As for the positives, well, despite just being a VW Jetta it gets plenty of attention even from non-car people and I guess it’s pretty fast, too.”
What does the future hold for Harry? “Well, I don’t really have any new projects lined-up just yet. I don’t think I’ll do another serious build any time soon. I did buy a Kamei hood scoop that I painted body colour recently, though. I’m really liking that on the car.” So why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through all of this? “I enjoy making things better whether it’s fixing or modifying things,” Harry surmises. “If somebody doesn’t get it then usually a turbocharged thirdgear pull normally explains it all perfectly!”
ENGINE: 2.8-litre 12v #VR6 with #Kinetics Stage 1 kit comprising Precision turbo, #ARP hardware, upgraded injectors and software, titanium valve spring retainers, uprated valve springs, 8.5:1 head gasket spacer, stock cam, hidden coil pack and tucked wires, #Dahlback-Racing diverter valve, Tial wastegate, shortened oil pan and R32 oil pump, custom Eurokraft wire harness for shaved bay, Forge boost controller, Haggard Fab coolant reservoir, #Haggard Fab 3” exhaust with custom mounted #Borla-Pro XS muffler and short tailpipe, #Quaife differential, ARP hardware, #Southbend clutch, Polo shift box and 02j shifter swap.
CHASSIS: 8x16” and 9x16” #BBS-RS , half caps with red centres, five-stud conversion, Mk3 VR6 brakes, #CX-Racing coilovers, upgrade polybushings, #VF-Engineering motor mounts.
EXTERIOR: Custom-made rear pop-out windows, Porsche script handles, Mercedes Benz Mars red paint, badgeless single round grille, widened rear arches, shaved body mouldings, shaved marker lights and antenna, custom-mounted rear-view camera in trunk key hole and Mk3-style rear trunk popper.
INTERIOR: #SWG gauge pod holding Innovate wide-band, custom centre vent gauge panel housing #Cyberdyne digital boost/vac, oil pressure and oil temp gauges, #Recaro Trophy seats, #Hella Royal Exclusive Line steering wheel, Mk3 silver-faced cluster, suede headliner and pillars, leather-wrapped parcel shelf, custom-made Porsche script ‘Turbo’ floormats and a personalised pillow, #Pioneer double DIN touchscreen display, 10” Pioneer sub mounted in rear armrest, #Kenwood amp, Infinity door speakers.
SHOUT: Big thanks to all my friends that came and helped when I needed it, Paul, Jay, Joel, Dan, Matt from Eurokraft, Matt from Haggard Fab, Sam Dobbins, oh, and I can’t forget my lovely fiancé for putting up with me, and anyone I forgot. This was most definitely an honor, thank you.
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- Post is under moderationFRONTIN’ #Volkswagen-Jetta #Volkswagen #VW-Jetta #Volkswagen-Jetta-II #2015
There are some that say any more than 300bhp through the front wheels is just plain silly. Imagine what they’ll make of the 1200bhp Mk2 #VW-Jetta-II Coupé Lee Ross recently finished building then… Words: Mick Clements. Photos: John Colley.
It’s a sign of the sheer scale and good health of the #VW fraternity that there are so many diverse ways of doing the things you love in a VW. Out there, away from the mainstream VW shows, there is a band of brothers (and sisters) who have worked their way through the quarter-mile sprints at #Volkswagen shows, which has given them an appetite for the adrenaline of track days and drag racing. So, for those frustrated with the coverage given to extreme stanced and cambered show cars that seem incapable of spinning a wheel in anger, meet the antidote in the form of Lee Ross’ pro drag spec 1200bhp Mk2 Jetta Coupé.
Lee has been at all the same shows as us for the best part of two decades and built several cars that have balanced show and go. His Jetta, however, is built purely for go. It’s also probably the most evil-looking car we’ve ever featured on a VW cover: “I’ve been told it looks like Darth Vader’s daily driver,” says Lee with a smile on his face. But the smile sums Lee up – he has a bad intentions car, built for one job in life, to crush you on the strip, so the ‘G4Y VW’ plate is his own twist to mess with your head.
After being a regular at most domestic and European shows, including Wörthersee, Lee realised he preferred meets with the opportunity to race, rather than a beauty pageant in a field. So, to take part in those races, he had a Mk2 Golf with a turbocharged G60 setup followed by a legendary lightweight Vento, packing a supercharged and nitrous-equipped VR6 that pushed 500bhp and ran low 11-second quarter-miles in VWDRC sprint classes. So, we can begin to understand why he’s done it, but why do it to a Jetta? “I’ve always liked booted VWs, like the Vento and Bora,” he tells us. “Plus the weight distribution is more favourable than a hatchback.”
Rewind to March 2012, when Lee bought the shell of a two-door LHD Jetta ‘coupé’ in Staines. It was a significant find because it came with an Andy Robinson Race Cars roll-cage: “The cage was worth more than the car, so it was a cheaper option than starting from scratch!” As with many monster projects, Lee’s initial plans for the car were relatively simple: “It was just going to be a Cup Racer-style weekend playabout. I was going to keep the supercharged VR6 from my Vento and use it for a bit of dragging, to get into the tens and still keep it road legal whilst also being good for track days.” With the Vento’s powerplant, Gemini gearbox and Peloquin diff ready to be swapped in and wrapped in bulging Berg kit, breaking cover in summer 2012 was entirely do-able.
But a rocket was lit when Lee was in conversation with an experienced drag racer from the Japanese fraternity, who reckoned there were no fast VWs around, and that Lee would “need to spend to contend”. Lee wouldn’t give the guy the satisfaction of that being his sole motivation, but it did move his thinking on from keeping the supercharged VR6.
Lee was now thinking of switching to a turbo to charge the air through the low compression 2.8-litre VR6 and focusing more on the quartermile. A healthy 400bhp plus a 200bhp nitrous blast for 600bhp to deliver runs in the ten second bracket were realistic targets. It would mean serious power, with only just flickering on the bat sheet crazy scale…
Then along came the 3.2-litre 24v V6 powerplant from a VW Touraeg (essentially an R32 spec engine). Lee was convinced the newer engine would be stronger and flow more air with its 24 valves. With strengthened internals (rods and pistons) the new engine was almost completely built when Lee sourced the first of three turbos, a GTX35. This was then upgraded to a GTX4294R two years ago, sourced from Glenn Robinson, but before this was fired up, Lee went back to Glenn for the higher spec GTX4202R (rated as good for 1200bhp) currently in situ under the bonnet.
Lee was stockpiling parts as the spec grew with his ambition. But as he upped the ante, the next weak link in the chain needed to be engineered out. You don’t need to be Sherlock to figure out ratcheting engine power upwards by over 500bhp was going to stress-test the strength limit of any transmission, and be futile if the gear ratios were not optimised for the speeds the Jetta needed to be hitting for singledigit quarter-mile runs. And so the six-speed VW Motorsport ’box and Peloquin diff were sold on and a fit-for-purpose setup was ordered from Mario Thau at Hidden Power in Germany.
Mario is a man who knows how to get the power down; his Mk4 Polo VR6 turbo has notched an impressive 8.7-second quarter-mile. The PAR four-speed auto drag ’box is geared for a max speed of 186mph at 9000rpm and the Wavetrack differential should ensure the engine and fat slicks operate in close harmony.
Whilst Lee had started to build, and rebuild, the evolving engine and was confident in his abilities, he ultimately preferred to trust the skills of those who build high spec engines like this for a living. In 2013 he hooked up with JP at JNL Racing: “We had a long chat over numerous cups of tea, discussing options for the power I wanted, including valves and springs, to keep the engine strong,” he says. “I bought all the parts I needed and left the engine with JP for a couple of months. There was no rush as I was still sorting the body mods.” Lee also sensibly imported Carillo titanium rods directly from the USA ready for the fresh rebuild.
At the same time, Lee supplied the turbo and his specification to James at G-R Performance for fabrication of the custom exhaust manifold and 4” exhaust which runs through the car and exits through the bonnet. It looks (and sounds) incredible and Lee describes it as “a work of art”. Whilst the average boy racer can’t wait to strap on a giant tailpipe to show he’s a man to be feared, Lee can just smile and point at his stubby protrusion; the tailpipe barely poking through the bonnet in front of the windscreen. There’s nothing stealthy when the engine roars into life though.
To progress the substantial body modifications and aid fabrication of the pipework and ancillaries, Lee borrowed an R32 engine from fellow York VW nut Paul Horrocks, to use as a mock up whilst the cutting and grinding took place around it. Lee cracked on with cutting out the bulkhead and floor. The new bulkhead was all steel, with the servo sacrificed in favour of routing the chargecooler alloy pipework, some of which runs through the car. He welded in a custom floor section with floor-mounted OPM pedal box. With the seat moved further back, Lee felt like a munchkin trying to reach the pedals until fine tuning of seat frames and pedal positions were sorted. The new alloy rear floor was raised, as was the transmission tunnel and it was starting to resemble a car again.
In addition to massive bhp, Lee tackled the power-to-weight ratio from the opposite end with weight reduction, such as Lexan plastic windows and carbon fibre panels. He also decided to fit a carbon roof skin. He couldn’t find an off-the-shelf carbon skin for a Jetta, so he gel-coated the roof and fibreglassed it in order to make a mould. The steel roof weighed 9kg and the carbon replacement is only 1.5kg! Furthermore, with the roof off, it was an opportune time to transport the car back to Andy Robinson Race Cars in Basingstoke to upgrade the roll-cage to 12-points for maximum safety.
Lee fabricated a carbon tailgate using the same process, but was able to reuse a carbon bonnet he already had. The inner door skin liners were removed and final prep work was completed before Lee trailered the shell to Glenn Robinson for painting inside and out in Porsche RS grey. He was impressed with the quality of the job and set about completing the final panels, bumpers and trims.
Bear in mind this was spring 2013, and with the engine rebuild underway and the shell good to go there was still a chance of using the car in anger and racing that season…
With the Jetta semi-complete he took it to GTI International and displayed it on HR Engineering’s stand where it looked intact from the outside. Although Lee had initially smoothed some bumpers and fitted Berg Cup arches he wasn’t happy with how it looked and so he painstakingly produced his own mould for HR Engineering to make the smoothed front bumper. The arches had been reworked too, to fit over the powdercoated black 10x26” Weld Pro drag wheels.
This constant fettling and revisiting is a recurring theme of the whole project. “I’m a perfectionist,” Lee acknowledges. “I don’t like thinking something’s rubbish and I constantly change my mind. It’s my own fault that this car has been built three times.”
At Inters, the Jetta was very much a work-in progress under the bonnet. It had the mule engine, manifold and second turbo (GTX4294R) in place, but needed a radiator, charge cooler and various tanks. It was there that Pete Miles from Forge Motorsport took an interest in the car and subsequently worked closely with Lee in developing and supplying the key ancillaries.
Forge supplied the radiator and oil cooler first, before complementing things further with a chargecooler tank, oil return tanks, header tank and fuel tank. Lee is really pleased with the Forge products: “I’m most appreciative of the support from Forge, the team have been awesome and I can’t thank Pete enough.”
With the rebuilt engine back from JNL Racing, two key components were still missing – an ECU and sequential gear shifter. The shifter came from SQS, which Lee fitted with Bowden shifter cables. With a Sparco race seat and six-point harnesses, TT dashboard and trick Race Technology Dash2 instruments in place, the stripped interior was just about there.
For the standalone ECU, Lee had spoken to a few different companies before deciding that Chris at EFI Parts in Runcorn was the man to trust. Chris recommended an Adaptronic 440, which can interface with everything on the car from the instrument pod to traction control and boost control and is fully mappable. With the ECU sorted and a basic map to get the engine running, Lee decided on one final engine upgrade to match the higher output GTX4202R turbo. The engine went back once again to JP at JNL Racing for a bottom end rebuild. After speaking to more people in the know, he had a VR6 forged R30 crank fitted as these are believed to be stronger and more durable than the 3.2-litre crank.
The project stalled for a while at this point due to various issues but towards the end of 2014 the pace picked up again with the fully sorted engine installed and yet more ‘final touches’ to the bodywork from Lee. He set about fabricating the front bumper, arches and grille panel in carbon. This involved an intricate process using the tops of the original wings as a guide and then building the arches out with fibreglass to form his mould for the arches. The front bumper mould was made from an aftermarket R32 front bumper, which he cut, shaped and filled out to get the lines he wanted to flow the air around the three-box shape (and not just look bad ass).
With the engine reinstalled and a bigger turbo in place, Lee put some running-in miles on it (on a private road of course) and early impressions were positive: “It left black lines everywhere!” Then he returned to EFI Parts for the proper ECU mapping to commence. Running with 2bar boost, 960bhp at the flywheel was recorded. With the boost increased to 3bar, an immense 1100bhp was delivered. With a +100bhp shot of nitrous this is good for 1200bhp on the track. With these big numbers, the Jetta was lighting up the rollers. But how did it feel on the track?
Lee has a massive smile when he recalls the first time he properly launched it: “It was mental. I was scared sheetless. I can’t remember driving it, just holding on!” With 2bar boost, at the Big Bang at Santa Pod his quarter-mile terminal speeds crept up to 156mph. Thankfully the parachute and long run off area at Santa Pod helped bring the car to a halt. The traction bars aren’t there to prevent wheelies, but help to reduce front end lift and improve traction in FWD cars.
This feature could easily be three times as long to cover the epic spec in fine detail, but one that made us smile was that Lee still turns the original Jetta key in the ignition barrel. Which, along with the steering column, is about the only original part of the car left.
Despite his racing credentials, Lee still enjoys the VW scene and he trailered the Jetta to the season opener at Ultimate Dubs in March this year. “Many people didn’t realise it was the same car. It looks so mean now. You can only really tell from the rear spoiler. It’s evolved from a track to full-on drag car,” he smiles. He was stunned by the overwhelming and enthusiastic reception he received from the whole spectrum of the VW family. It also scooped a couple of trophies, including Best Engine at UD.
Lee has set the highest standards to deliver his ever-evolving goal, otherwise he could have been racing it two years now. But he wanted to be 100% happy, or as close to 100% happy that builders of monster projects ever get, as cars like this are never ‘finished’, they are always evolving. Lee is understandably proud.
Knackered and skint… but proud. “It’s been all my own work,” he says. “My blood, sweat and tears, and no money for three years! The feedback I’ve had has been nice. I’ve got a few events coming up now to hopefully get down into the eight-second bracket.”
The Jetta has been three years coming and so we bagged the photos just as Lee got it over the line running in anger and in those final stages of development that can only be achieved while being run competitively. With more time behind the wheel and final development work, particularly the launch control, Lee will be dialling in higher boost to make a serious assault on FWD quartermile records this summer. Watch out for him!
Other than the Porsche grey paint, nothing about this car is subtle. If Darth Vader drove a Dub…
ENGINE: 3.2-litre 24v V6 Touareg block and head. #JE pistons with 8.5:1 compression ratio, Eurospec R30 forged crank, #Carrilo titanium rods, #Racewear head studs, #ARP main studs with custom girdle, 034 Motorsport rod and main bearings, ARP main studs, Race Wear head studs, metal head gasket, Ferrara valves and seats, Supertec camero valve springs with titanium collets and top caps and forged roller cam lifters. Fully gas flowed head. Engine built by JNL Racing. Camshafts by Cat Cams. Inlet: 292° at 0.1mm/ 246° at 1.0mm/12.50mm/2.59mm at 110°/vc 0.250mm. Exhaust: 274° at 0.1mm/230° at 1.0mm/11.25mm/0.93mm at -120°/vc 0.300mm – duration data with indicated clearance, TDC data with zero clearance. 9000rpm. #Garrett GTX4202R dual ball bearing turbo 1.15 Ar with 76mm inducer compressor (1200bhp capability), Siemens 2400cc injectors with AEM pro fuel pressure regulator, all Teflon/PTFE fuel lines and billet fittings, uses VP C85 ethanol race fuel, 2 x Precision 46mm wastegates with floor screamers, fully custom turbo manifold with separate EGT probes by G-R Performance, including 4” out-of-bonnet exhaust with ER and AEM wideband lambda sensor, 4” throttle body and alloy boost pipes, Ross Racing log inlet manifold, charge cooler with dry ice box, all-alloy fabrication done by Forge Motorsport, nitrous kit with Max Extreme 2 race controller from Wizard of NOS, #Adaptronic 440 ECU with CD500 coil booster and Autronic coil packs (wasted spark). Incorporating traction control: launch control and NOS boost control, boost per gear and speed sensor, setup and mapped by EFI Parts, four-speed drag box with PAR Cryogenic dog gears from Hidden Power, Wavetrac diff with ARP Pro bolts, SQS sequential shifter, Clutch Masters twin-plate clutch with custom flywheel, driveshafts from the Driveshaft Shop, USA rated at 1400bhp.
CHASSIS: Weld Pro wheels (10x15” front, 4x15” rear) fitted with Mickey Thompson M/T drag slick tyres (fronts: 26.0/10.0x15”, rears: 24.0/4.5 x15”), front rose jointed bottom arms with traction bar, rear traction bars with nylon wheels and custom holders. Brakes: Simpson parachute, stock Mk3 Golf VR6 callipers with drilled and grooved discs to clear the wheels, KW Clubsport R struts with 1400lb rated front springs, 700lb rears.
OUTSIDE: Carbon fibre bonnet with exhaust cut out. Custom front bumper, custom wings, custom light delete panel, roof, boot and rear diffuser, carbon fibre front wings and bumper fabricated by the owner, custom raised transmission tunnel and rear floor, Lexan plastic windows, shell, doors and interior painted Porsche RS grey by Glenn Robinson.
INSIDE: Full 12-point Andy Robinson Racing Cars roll-cage, TRS six-point harness. Sparco Pro Race seat, race net, Audi TT flocked dash, Race Technology Dash2 instrument pod, EFI Parts custom data logger, nitrous bottle heater and nitrous electric pressure sensor, SQS four-speed electric assisted sequential shifter with custom Bowden cables, hydraulic handbrake with launch control built in, OPB floor mounted pedal box on custom floor mount, parachute handle, custom centre console in carbon fibre.
SHOUT: My sponsors Pete and the lads at Forge Motorsport for all the awesomeness and the fantastic custom parts on the car (www.forgemotorsport.co.uk), EFI-Parts – Chris aka Scoff is an awesome remapper, I would say one of the best in the UK and a true gent (www.efi-parts.co.uk), Clutchmasters for the clutch and custom flywheel (www.clutchmasters.com), G-R Performance for the awesome manifold and bonnet exhaust (www.g-rperformance.co.uk), Trackstuff for the lovely VP C85 race fuel (www.trackstuff.co.uk), Neil and the lads at Yorkshire Hydraulics for their help and for never letting me pay for the fittings and custom pipes (www.yorkshirehydraulicsltd.co.uk), Mario Thau at Hidden Power (www.hpower.de), JP at JNL Racing (www.jnlracing.com), Andy Robinson for the roll-cage (www.robinson-race.cars.co.uk), HR Engineering (www.hrengineering.net), Cat Cams (www.catcams.co.uk), Paul Horrocks for the general support, words of wisdom and the loan of the trailer! My biggest thanks has to go to my biggest sponsor, my wife, for putting up with me being in the garage every spare waking minute for the past three years.
While the roof skin was removed for carbon fibre replacement, the car went back to Andy Robinson for cage to be upgraded to a 12-point item.
Right: Remote reservoirs are tucked under scuttle Below: We’ve seen some intricate piping but this is about as extreme as it gets.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.