This isn’t Tony Mairena’s first eurotuner feature, but it’s a story that covers several years and a major overhaul. We originally showed this same car back in et 6/07, shortly before the owner was invited to participate in H2Oi’s Top Dawg competition the following year in 2008.
When we saw it again in the Top Dawg ’10 line-up, the Jetta had a host of changes. And after bombarding him with questions, we discovered that its transformation had come about after disappointment the previous year.
It turns out that Tony had taken his girlfriend to Ocean City, MD to hang out and have a good time on the H2O weekend. They drove the Jetta for a chance to qualify in Top Dawg ’09, but were surprised when a judge mentioned the Jetta needed a little more attention after it had qualified in ’08...
Shocked, Tony turned to his girlfriend and asked if he could take the car to the next level. She was less impressed and initially discouraged the idea. However, the wedding of her dreams was apparently enough to convince her otherwise!
So Tony squirreled away parts in the basement, setting his heart on a widebody kit from Königseder. However, with his GTI front-end, it was one of the toughest parts to find. “Nobody had the Jetta/GTI combination,” Tony stated. “I had to piece it together by calling everybody I knew.”
When the kit arrived it was taken to Keith Magann’s garage to be mounted and painted. The front flares were carefully grafted to the GTI fenders with epoxy. However, the R bumper was swapped for a Euro GTI part to improve the fitment, as well as showcasing the Mk5 GTI headlights. The kit doesn’t come with side skirts, so Tony improvised with a pair from Votex.
During the installation, they realized a GTI rear apron had been shipped by mistake. Without panicking, Keith used his skills to mold it to the Jetta apron instead. The paint was matched and a carbon trunk added, showing a hint of the weave around the license plate to distract people from noticing the potential problem.
The following weekend, Tony began to rip out the interior. His wife noticed him working on the transformation and called him crazy for switching out a perfectly fine interior. But the color change was in order, along with a re-design of the stereo and back seat.
While the interior was out, he ran lines for the single-bottle NOS system and programmed the TVs. However, Tony soon became busy with school and enlisted the help of Matt Schaeffer at Safe & Sound in Manassas, VA to finish the stereo.
Matt drew inspiration from a scrap of paper Tony had used to illustrate his idea. He tucked three 10" Type-R subs in the spare wheel well, then laced the trunk wall with three MRP-M500 amps and one MRP-F300. These pound out the tunes and amplify movie soundtracks to the pair of TVs in the front cabin and two on the trunk lid.
After the stereo was installed, the Jetta went to Chong’s Upholstery in Woodbridge, VA where Mr. Chong wrapped a pair of Sparcos Chromos and the new rear seat in black vinyl and perforated orange leather. The shift boot was leather, while a false floor was created in the trunk, (trimmed in the same black vinyl with orange suede) to incorporate the nitrous bottle mount.
The color scheme flowed into the engine bay, with a bright rattle-can painted strut bar and engine cover.
The boosted VR6 took on a few more mods: with several things deleted around the VF Engineering stage two supercharger, Tony was able to take care of some electrical troubles that followed the first overhaul.
The Jetta was then given a new growl with a Neuspeed exhaust, Techtonics high-flow cat and deleted resonator. “You definitely know I’m coming!” Tony laughed. But with the re-tipped exhaust hiding behind the apron, he keeps it visually stealthy.
The GLX isn’t a slouch either: with GIAC software and the NOS-switch flipped, the VR6 boosts up to 400hp at wide-open throttle.
Putting the power to the pavement is a staggered set of 18x8.5" and 18x10.5" RH ZW3 wheels. Leaving nothing untouched, the valve stems were sealed with iron crosses.
“You can still make a car look hot and static,” Tony said, and with its H&R coilovers keeping the lips flush to the neatly molded widebody, he’s certainly achieved that!
Tony also updated the bushings to increase the racecar feel, with the previously installed TT calipers now painted orange to match the theme.
Tony worked hard to get his GLX show-ready, with an interesting effect on his wife; who’s now considering modifications on her own Beetle! Which is exactly why Tony modifies cars; to inspire others.
et Tech Spec
2001 VW Jetta GLX
Owner: Tony Mairena
Location: Garrisonville, VA
Occupation: systems engineer
Engine: 2.8-liter VR6 12v with a VF Engineering stage two supercharger, GIAC software, Nitrous Express 50-shot system, Techtonics downpipe and high-flow cat, Neuspeed cat-back exhaust, billet caps, orange engine cover and ABD strut bar
Drivetrain: five-speed manual transmission with Quaife limited-slip differential, Raxles, stage three ClutchNet clutch, Audi TT short shifter
Brakes: Zimmermann drilled rotors, painted Audi TT calipers, Mintex Red Box pads
Suspension: H&R coilovers and sway bars
Wheels & Tires: 18x8.5" front, 18x10.5" rear RH ZW3 wheels with 205/40 R18 front, 215/40 R18 Nankang NS-2 tires
Exterior: Königseder widebody kit, Euro GTI bumper, Kamei bumper, air vents and grille, EuroGear böser carbon hood, VIS carbon trunk, stubby Euro mirrors, Caractere roof spoiler and rear lip, Votex side skirts, Mk5 GTI HID headlights, Suntek HP50 blue Mercedes tint, Honda S2000 antenna
Interior: Sparco Chromo seats, steering wheel, shift knob and pedals, seats, door panels and shift boot wrapped in perforated orange leather and black vinyl, Euro center console, GLI headliner, mirrors, grab handles, sunroof switch with light swap, trunk-mounted NOS bottle, ABD silver speedo and tach, passenger airbag delete with volt, boost, oil pressure and air/fuel gauges
Audio/Visual: Alpine double-DIN head unit with Pulse touchscreen, 6.5/4" Alpine Type-S component speakers, three MRP-M500 amps, one MRP-F300 amp, two trunk-mounted 10" monitors, three Type-R 10" subs, Optiplex 6" rearview monitor
Thanks: Tammy and the kids, Homegrown Motorsport, Jason Duerr, Marcus Washington, Mr. Chong at Chong’s Upholstery, Keith Magann, Matt Schaeffer at Safe & Sound