Is there anything sweeter than this? Anthony Burgos is only 21 years old but he's built a VW Jetta that represents the essence of the North American VW tuning scene. With color-coded BBS RS, air-ride, OEM+ styling and re-trimmed interior, the '01 Jetta is a 'Cookies 'n Cream' stunner.
To our astonishment, the Mk4 is Anthony's first Euro, and his first car. He's toyed with the sedan for nearly four years and has never looked back. Now serving the state of New Jersey as a firefighter, 911 officer and EMT, he's accomplished incredible feats yet has barely reached the legal drinking age!
"My dad was always into VWs. He had a Mk3 and a Beetle back in the day," Anthony began. "I remember the first time I saw a Mk4 Jetta. I was about ten and the girl across the street got a black one. I ran over to look at it and was always stuck on getting a Jetta. So when I was old enough, I looked for a five-speed manual in Galactic blue, but then my dad surprised me one day with a Cool white automatic!"
Although it wasn't the preferred spec, Anthony was grateful for the new ride. At the time, he was a teenager working at Starbucks and barely earning any disposable income. But once he graduated high school, he was hired as a 911 officer and part-time firefighter, so the funds for his Jetta slowly trickled in.
"I started going to meets and talking to my good friend Josh DaCosta. He told me about Waterfest and Show & Go, so I went with him and his older brother Joey 'Flip-Flop'. They showed me what the scene was allabout," he revealed.
During this time, the friends decided to reinstate the AuthenticDUBBS car club from the '90s. Joey was the organizer but Anthony and friends became strong contributors as time went on: now the club has more than 30 members.
Anthony's masterplan was to build a car to foster support for AuthenticDUBBS.
The project began by ditching the amber lenses for clear. The headlights were upgraded to E-codes and an HID drop-in kit.
After lowering the car on Eibach springs, Anthony picked up his first set of wheels, which were 18" split-spoke Monarchs. "Then the entire 'slam your car' trend came around," he noted.
On a mission for the ultimate low stance, Anthony graduated from springs to coilovers. Three months later, he went air-ride. "My first class in school was computers and I looked at bagged cars on a daily basis. I was obsessed with air-ride before I could even afford it. But once I got my new job, I made the jump," he smiled.
The owner started with a bag-over-coil system. This setup was widely adopted in the early days of the air-ride movement, but it caused problems for many including Anthony. "I was running into issues where the air bag was spinning on the spindle," he told us. "There was an incident when the fitting on the bags rubbed against the tire, causing it to explode. I almost lost control! After that, I was nervous about air-ride but I ditched the old setup when the new BagYard front struts came out."
With new air struts in the front, Anthony kept the rear Firestone bags but upgraded to Bilstein Sport shocks. A five-gallon tank in the trunk stored the necessary air to fill the bags, while the subframe was modified and front sway bar deleted to get the front-end sprawled out on the floor.
"As soon as I knew I was getting air, I needed a nice set of wheels, too. And I've always been a big fan of body-matched lips," he remembered.
After a lengthy search, Anthony ditched the Monarchs for 17x8" BBS RS thanks to EastCoast AutoSport. The shop discovered an inexpensive set in California, which were re-finished, re-drilled and mounted with Falken all-season tires.
With the stance perfected, Anthony balanced the exterior with some subtle changes. The front clip was updated after a run-in with highway debris. The bumper was salvageable but Anthony needed a new valance so ordered a 4Motion piece from TM Tuning. Shortly after, the Jetta received GLI side skirts and rear valance.
The prominent böser hood was worked a couple of times. The first time, it featured a slanted look, giving the car an angry stare; however, the final version was modified to a sleepy look. The trunk was shaved of its emblem and badges for good measure.
With the bodywork complete, Eastside Collision resprayed the Jetta white while black accents were applied to the roof, side mirrors and grilles.
"I just wanted my car to look nice but still be a daily driver. Being slammed on coils wasn't practical and I couldn't afford another car, so I needed to make sure the car was reliable," he reiterated.
As a result, the 1.8T was barely touched. A Neuspeed intake and Magnaflow exhaust were installed for more pep. And to increase show appeal, the valve cover and manifold were painted black while the engine covers were wrapped in plaid. Finally, the headliner, pillars and trunk were treated to tan plaid to follow the same theme.
Since our photo shoot, Anthony has built the Jetta further. The wheels were rebuilt wider, ditching the half-inch lips for 2" front and 2.5" rear lips. The motor also received some lovin' when the stock K03 turbo ceased; a K04 upgrade with larger 2.5" downpipe was installed.
Anthony continues to drive his VW on a daily basis but plans to make some serious changes this winter, including a manual tranny swap and cleaning the engine bay. He's even thinking about ditching the black 'n white theme!
Whether or not Anthony will go ahead with everything remains a mystery, but the image of his Cookies 'n Cream Jetta on air will always be remembered.
2001 VW Jetta
Owner: Anthony Burgos
Location: Secaucus, NJ
Occupation: firefighter, EMT officer
Engine: 1.8-liter 20v four-cylinder turbo with Neuspeed intake, Magnaflow cat-back exhaust, Forge Motorsport diverter valve, valve cover and intake manifold painted black, wrapped and shaved engine and battery covers
Drivetrain: five-speed automatic
Suspension: BagYard Supreme front air struts painted Porsche metallic brown, Firestone rear air bags with Bilstein Sport shocks, five-gallon tank with eight valves, subframe notch, deleted front sway bar, R32 control arm bushings
Wheels & Tires: 17x8" BBS RS wheelswith color-matched lips and bolts, black centers, 205/45 R17 front, 215/45 R17 Falken ZE-912 tires
Exterior: OE 4Motion front valance and rub strips, E-code headlights, böser hood extension, badgeless grille, black roof, mirrors and grilles, GLI side skirts, rear valance and tail lights, shaved trunk, OE Cool white paint
Interior: plaid headliner, pillars and trunk, color-matched trim, Baak2Basics LED lighting, Brass Knuckles air-ride controller, OE New Beetle headrests
Audio/Visual: Alpine iDA-X305 head unit, Polk speakers, Whelen siren
Thanks: Joey 'Flip-Flip' DaCosta, Josh DaCosta, Anthony Purcell, Billy & Danny from EastCoast AutoSport, Kenny from EastSide Collision, my friends and family, God, AuthenticDUBBS, Misha Katashev