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1998 Volkswagen Jetta GL - Roehrich Rolled

Check Out The Astonishing Engine Bay On This Gleaming Mk3 VW Jetta VR6.

Zack Williams
Sep 7, 2010
Photographer: Sam Du

It doesn't matter what your vehicular preferences are, or what type of Euro you favor, surely nobody can deny the beauty under the hood of this clean-shaven VW Jetta VR6.

Eurp_1009_01_o+1998_vw_jetta_gl+full_view Photo 2/11   |   1998 Volkswagen Jetta GL - Roehrich Rolled

George Roehrich took a stock '98 Jetta GL and turned it into something everybody can appreciate. A body-man and detailer by trade, George cleaned and shaved every inch of his Mk3 garage project, adding more bling than Lil Wayne's mouth.

After a year of daily driving, George couldn't fight his tuning tendencies and swapped the base 2.0 ABA for a VR6 12v. While the engine swap sufficed for a few years, it was inevitable more would follow.

Three years later, the VW enthusiast started to build the masterpiece you see here. Like before, the focus was the engine and bay, with George delivering the VR6 to The Race Shop for a complete rebuild.

The bottom-end was blueprinted and fastened using ARP hardware. The Race Shop also ported and polished the head, fitting 3mm larger Schrick valves, springs and retainers. Schrick 268° cams were then added as well.

A Euro 2.9L intake manifold was sourced, shaved and chromed. While for the exhaust, an OBX header was mated to a custom 2.5'' system.

Although it's never been dynoed, George claims similar setups reach 215-220whp.

The Race Shop also rebuilt the VR6 transmission. The stock differential was swapped for a Peloquin LSD, changing the gearing to a 3.94:1 ring gear.

With the engine and trans out, George turned his attention to paint and bodywork. Desiring clean lines, he shaved and molded much of the body with help from brother Nick. This included front and rear bumpers, exhaust cutout, rear emblem, rear seams and radiator support.

The shaving continued into the engine bay: the heater core, A/C, power steering and windshield wipers were deleted. The chassis rails were then smoothed, holes filled, etc.

A Vento grille, rear plate tub and Mk3.5 Cabrio stubby mirrors were the few parts added before his friend Buddy resprayed the entire car in its original Classic green.

Inspired by the shaved and chrome bays of the German Mk1 scene, George decided to follow suit. And while the intake manifold is the most obvious recipient, the list of shiny parts includes the cam cover, water pump, alternator, tensioner pulleys, oil cooler, starter, alternator, chain cover, transmission brace, clutch slave cylinder, all caps, clamps and so on. Most of the hoses were also switched for stainless steel to continue the theme.

The great stance was achieved by Weitec XS coilovers. Other suspension upgrades include a Prothane bushing kit and Autotech rear sway bar.

Having gone through a variety of wheels, George finally found the answer in a set of 16x8.5'' BBS RS131s. When he found them, the wheels were in bad shape, so he had them refinished with color-matched centers, while the lips and nuts were polished. The bolts were gold-plated to match the gold BBS logos in the center caps. Since the BBSs were from a Porsche, 5x130 to 4x100 adapters were custom-made.

A set of 205/40 Falken 512s were then stretched onto the rims to create another classic Euro signature.

Sitting behind the front wheels are 11'' slotted G60 rotors mated to Wilwood Dynolite four-piston calipers. Stainless steel lines added a little more shine and better braking performance.

While much of the interior remained stock, a Mk3.5 Cabrio dash was installed. And although the shape is practically identical, George claims the dimpled material adds a little something extra.

Three Auto Meter gauges replaced the heater controls, while a gold-plated Nardi steering wheel added interior bling. "The first time I saw that wheel, I had to have it, no matter what it cost," George told us.

In the back, he fitted a color-matched FK roll-bar, which helped to stiffen the bodyshell and look sharp.

To finish the interior, the stereo was upgraded with a Jensen nav unit powering OEM Bose speakers, while a Kenwood amp runs the 12'' Alpine Type-R sub, which was box-mounted in the trunk.

Since it's an ongoing project, George plans to continue with more interior mods although he did tell us he enjoys having the car together for once.

Clearly other people appreciate it as well, as this Mk3 won first place in class at last year's Dubs at the Beach, as well as class and best engine at Wooderama.

For the time being, he plans to continue showing the Jetta and work on other project cars, like a '79 Rabbit and his daily driver; a big-turbo Mk4.

As for the Mk3, it's nice to see another example of "less is definitely more".

1998 VW Jetta GL
Owner: George Roehrich
Location: Toms River, NJ
Occupation: bodywork, detailing

Engine: 2.8L VR6 12v with ARP hardware, ported and polished head with 3mm oversized Schrick valves, valve springs and retainers, Schrick 268° cams, OBX header, custom 2.5'' exhaust, VF mounts, shaved and chromed Euro 2.9L intake manifold, shaved bay, chromed and polished ancillaries

Drivetrain: rebuilt five-speed transmission with Peloquin LSD, 3.94:1 ring gear, Autotech flywheel, VF mounts

Brakes: 11'' slotted G60 rotors, Wilwood Dynolite four-piston calipers, stainless lines, stock rear brakes

Suspension: Weitec XS coilovers, Prothane polyurethane bushing kit, Autotech rear sway bar

Wheels & Tires: 16x8.5'' BBS RS 131 wheels with color-matched centers, polished lips, gold-plated bolts, custom hub adapters, 205/40 R16 Falken Zeix 512 tires

Exterior: Mk3.5 Cabrio stubby mirrors, Vento grille and rear plate tub, smoked Euro E-code headlights, smoothed sills, shaved bumpers, antenna, emblems and rear seams, filled exhaust cut-out

Interior: Mk3.5 Cabrio dash with deleted heater controls, Auto Meter gauges, Euro headlight switch, 330mm gold-plated Nardi steering wheel, color-matched FK roll-bar, suede headliner and pillars

Audio/Visual: Jenson nav head unit, 12'' Alpine Type-R sub, custom box, Kenwood amp, OEM Bose speakers

Thanks: Mom and Dad, brother Nick, Patricia, Jesse "Turbo", Perfect Metal Finishing

By Zack Williams
6 Articles



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