As you'll see from this issue, the JTI conversion - where somebody swaps a Jetta front-end onto a Golf - has really taken root in the scene. Dare we say it's almost commonplace to find Golf and Jetta owners coming together to swap noses to create two great looking cars for little expense.
One of the cars that helped to define the JTI was James Park's VR6. The same car now belongs to 18 year-old Garrett Parker from Bellingham, WA, who's worked tirelessly to restore and preserve this VW time capsule.
When he bought the car two year's ago, the '99.5 GTI VR6 was apparently showing signs of age and spirited use. Since it was his daily driver, Garrett began with the interior because a few things were really bugging him.
For starters, the subwoofers weren't working and the remaining speakers crackled, which was annoying the hell out of him. So with a friend and help from JB Andriff at 20-20 Motorsports in his home town, Garrett installed two new amps and rewired the entire system. They also created a false floor out of strips of hardwood flooring, exposing the crossovers, capacitor and amps in the process.
With the Kicker subs pounding out the beat, Garrett and his father worked tirelessly on the interior, getting the Corbeau seats back to as-new condition. They also repaired the sunroof, armrest and glovebox that were suffering from fatigue.
A family vacation presented an opportune time to drop the car to 20-20 Motorsports, where Ben La Veille got to grips with the bodywork. The molded Ingo Noak side skirts had apparently cracked down their length, so were removed, repaired and refitted. The same was done to the Rieger chin spoiler and rear valance.
Back from vacation, Garrett worked alongside the crew at 20-20 to repair the front bumper mounts and realign the front end so it again looked the way VW never intended.
The de-badged hatch also lost its wiper in the process and eventually the car was repainted almost in its entirety. The molded Cup mirrors also got a fresh lick of black paint and the black euro-spec rubbing strips were buffed back to beauty.
With a set of R32 tail lights installed, the exterior restoration was complete and it was time to overhaul the chassis. "The coilovers were in a bad way but they cleaned up eventually." Garrett told us. "Although I did raise the front end about 0.25" to make it more practical for daily use."
Similarly, the distinctive 18" iForged wheels needed attention. "I was undecided about what to do with the wheels," he admitted. "I wasn't sure I liked them at first and they were badly corroded. But they soon grew on me and I decided to work on them."
Using a fine-grade sandpaper to polish out all the imperfections, Garrett soon had them looking like new. The only drawback to his technique is they require constant polishing to retain their shine, so Garrett recently parted company with them and now rocks a set of 19" Audi RS6 replica wheels.
The car originally lived in California and its cold-air intake was able to inhale from down low in the engine bay. However, this position didn't suit the wetter climate of Washington State. So Garrett visited SK Motorsport in Bellingham, where owner Steve Knowlton owned a similar VR6 turbo and supplied a shorter AEM intake pipe to lift it out of harm's way. The engine also benefits from GIAC software and a GHL exhaust for good measure.
Currently a student, Garrett works in a soccer store and is saving for a turbo conversion from Kinetic Motorsport. "I'm hoping to get it by the summer," he told us, later admitting, "although I'm really after an R32, but will have to save much longer to get one of those!"
1999 VW Golf GTI VR6
Owner: Garrett Parker
Location: Bellingham, WA
Occupation: student, works in soccer store
Engine: 2.8 liter VR6 12v with polished AEM cold-air intake, GIAC software, GHL 2.5" exhaust with custom tips
Drivetrain: stock five-speed manual with quick-shift
Suspension: FK Coilovers, Black Forest Industries rear stress bar, CPP end links
Wheels & Tires: 18x8.5" front, 18x9.5" rear iForged Marquis wheels with 215/40 and 225/40-18 Toyo Proxes 4 tires respectively
Exterior: custom Rieger Golf front spoiler molded to Jetta bumper, Ingo Noak side skirts molded to car, Rieger rear valance on Euro bumper, molded DTM Cup mirrors, Euro black moldings, filled hood notch, Bonrath badgeless grille, shaved hatch, deleted rear wiper, Hummer antenna, Hella E-code headlights and R32 tail lights, Comet smoked side indicators
Interior: Corbeau CR1 seats and Competition harnesses, Momo Millennium steering wheel on quick-release hub, Momo shift knob and suede shift boot, R32 trim and dead pedal, stock leather rear seats
Audio/Visual: Kenwood KDC-MP922 head unit, Kicker amp for db6750 front component speakers, JBL amp for two 10" Kicker Comp VR subwoofers, capacitor, custom false floor
Thanks: 20-20 Customs (www.2020customs.com), SK Motorsport, parents