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Behind-the-scenes: VW Jetta Widebody Build for SEMA 2013

Flaring fenders and adding power to prove four doors can be cool, too

Justin Fivella
Nov 1, 2013

Photos by FMS Automotive

In a time-honored tradition, cool VWs are built each year for the SEMA automotive trade show, and this year is no different. Southern California accessory specialists, FMS Automotive from Cerritos CA, decided to build a pair of badass street sedans to wow showgoers. The two VW Jetta builds would feature one car that's easily replicated, while the other would be an over-the-top project for inspiration and admiration. This is the story how of the latter came into existence; the build of the Jetta widebody.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta
$26,995 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

"This year we wanted to highlight the Jetta instead of the Golf/GTI platform. Not because hatchbacks aren't fun, but because we wanted enthusiasts to know the Jettas can be just as capable," said Gil Plasencia from FMS.

If this is the crazy build, what about the realistic one? Good question - it's the Helios tribute car and you can read about its build HERE and the completed car HERE

We also have a feature on this Jetta widebody once it was completed, which you'll find HERE

As for the widebody, "We wanted it to be clean, but also as fast as it is cool. We were looking for 500hp from an APR stage 3++ built motor and big-turbo, and it definitely succeeds in being all those things," Plasencia said.

Enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos from the "making of" the Jetta widebody because you're only going to find it here at european car magazine.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build 01 Photo 2/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build 01

There's nearly 2" of glory added to the stock rear fenders, allowing wider rims and plenty of rubber to be fitted, able to handle the boosted 500hp 2.0T under the hood.

The APR stage 3++ built motor and big-turbo turn the sedan into a rocket. The kit was constructed around APR forged internals, with a ported head, GT3071R turbo and plenty of APR go-fast parts, including its 93-octane software, High Pressure Injectors, front-mount intercooler and carbon fiber cold-air intake.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build APR stage 3 built motor 02 Photo 3/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build APR Stage 3 Built Motor 02

Here's some trivia for you. Did you know the drivetrain in this Jetta originally came from another car that was wrecked in a hailstorm en route to FMS for the build?

Hard to imagine, but this car was slated for the crusher, but after the original car was destroyed (read the feature for the full story HERE for more details), EuroCode Tuning in Torrance, CA was commissioned to swap the built engine and drivetrain into the white car: And a star was born.

With its high power output, it made sense to increase the traction, but there's only so much you can do within the confines of the stock fenders. The solution - stretch 'em almost 2" on each corner.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build fender stretching 03 Photo 4/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Fender Stretching 03
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build fender stretching 04 Photo 5/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Fender Stretching 04

With all the work done in metal, the widebody fenders were finished by a bodyshop and returned to FMS. It was then time to see how much modification was needed to mate the bumpers and side skirts to the new fenders. As you can see, there was quite a gap that needed to be covered, and only one way to get there!

Take a look at the bodywork required to finish the surfaces to OEM quality. This was no easy task but you can see the intersections between the wider fenders, bumpers and skirts, as the panels have been brought out to meet them.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build body panel intersections 08 Photo 9/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Body Panel Intersections 08
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build body panel intersections 12 Photo 13/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Body Panel Intersections 12

Also note that while most builders shave the markers, FMS went to great lengths to ensure a factory finish, leaving the markers were left in place.

An bodyshop expert was needed to blend such bold body lines. With enough experience, FMS was able to bring everything together with great results.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build body blending 13 Photo 14/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Body Blending 13
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build body blending 14 Photo 15/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Body Blending 14

Up front, an original VW Golf R front bumper was also painstakingly modified to fit the wider Jetta. Again, the team was making the task harder for itself, but all in search of the best possible finish. The extra cooling from the larger ducts would also help the car when it eventually sees some track use.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build VW golf R front bumper 15 Photo 16/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build VW Golf R Front Bumper 15

Here's the custom FMS splitter. It was made in-house and brings even more focus to the Golf R front-end. Several versions of this splitter were created, with fine-tuning continuing right up to the car's completion

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build FMS splitter 16 Photo 17/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build FMS Splitter 16

Looking like a modified Golf R, the Jetta will have a surprise for drivers as it passes, not expecting to see four doors and a trunk. You might also notie the first appearance of the Jetta Hybrid grille at this point...

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build golf r front bumper 17 Photo 18/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Golf R Front Bumper 17

Checkout the GLI rear bumper before thealterations. It looks clean enough, but required lots of massaging to get it right.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build GLI rear bumper 18 Photo 19/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build GLI Rear Bumper 18

(Picture 19) Just like the front, the wider rear fenders needed to be mated to the rear bumper, and with 2" of flare, there was plenty of worked to be done...

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build rear fender bumper mating 19 Photo 20/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Rear Fender Bumper Mating 19

(Picture 21) The process begins on the rear bumper by building it up to the width of the fenders. This is the sort of detail on seem by insider, but we were able to get exclusive access during the car's construction.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build rear fender bumper mating 20 Photo 21/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Rear Fender Bumper Mating 20

Take a look at the finished bumper. The panel lines are perfect and you'll be hard pressed to know this wasn't factory-fitted once the paint is applied

H&R Street Performance coilovers were called into action, along with H&R Sport sway bars to keep the sedan flat in the corners and low at the show.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build HR street performance coilovers 24 Photo 25/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build HR Street Performance Coilovers 24

(Picture 26, 27) FMS tried several sets of their preferred TSW wheels before opting for the final 19x8.5" and 19x9.5" TSW Jerez wheels. These were supplied with silver centers and polished lips, wrapped in 245/35 R19 and 275/30 R19 Nitto NT-05 tires.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build TSW wheels 25 Photo 26/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build TSW Wheels 25
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build TSW wheels 26 Photo 27/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build TSW Wheels 26

(Picture 28, 29) One of the main considerations when selecting wheels was that they'd have enough clearance for the massive Brembo brakes. The binders of choice were four-piston front calipers with slotted rotors, and Golf R single-piston rear calipers with matching rotors.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build brembo brake caliper 27 Photo 28/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Brembo Brake Caliper 27
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build brake caliper clearance 28 Photo 29/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Brake Caliper Clearance 28

Life on the inside is as good as it is outside, thanks to Recaro Sportster CS seats and copious amounts of black and beige leather wrapped on the seats and door panels.

The GLI steering wheel is another nice addition, trimmed to match to rest of the custom interior.

A unique trunk layout features a custom helmet rack for two Shoei helmets, designed for track day use. They're mounted either side of a full-size TSW spare wheel and everything is lit to show it off to the full extent.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build custom trunk layout 32 Photo 33/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Custom Trunk Layout 32

Out of sight is the VW Accessories custom sound box with digital sound processor hidden underneath the helmet display. And it's driven by a VW RNS315 Nav system with backup camera.

Despite the patchwork finishes, even at this stage the Jetta widebody was coming together nicely. The photo was shot a few hours before it rolled into the paint booth for the final spray. Note the matte black TSW wheels that didn't make the final cut.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build 33 Photo 34/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build 33

Here's another exclusive treat - a peek at some of the later renderings of how the widebody Jetta would eventually look. In these images it shows the car with its clean white paint and black roof that we recommended after the first rendering showed it with red and blue graphics.

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build rendering 34 Photo 35/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Rendering 34
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build rendering 35 Photo 36/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build Rendering 35

(Picture 37, 38) And now... drum roll, please... here's the finished product!

Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build 36 Photo 37/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build 36
Sema 2013 VW jetta widebody build 37 Photo 38/38   |   Sema 2013 VW Jetta Widebody Build 37

How's that for a transformation from mild to wild?

Front to back, top to bottom, she's a real looker. And it has the brawn to match the looks. Aside from some wide fenders and big rims, only the custom FMS dual exhaust hints at the powerhouse that lies beneath.

For the full story on the finished car and the drama surrounding the build of this top-notch SEMA project, visit our final feature HERE

2013 SEMA Jetta Widebody

2014 VW Jetta SE 2.0T

Engine
2.0L four-cylinder 16v turbo motor with APR stage 3++ built motor and turbo kit, APR EA888 forged pistons and connecting rods, ported head, Garrett/Honeywell GT3071R turbo, ECU software, APR High Pressure Direct Injection injectors, front-mount intercooler, boost tap, downpipe and Carbonio carbon fiber CAI, FMS custom dual-exit exhaust system

Drivetrain
six-speed DSG automatic transmission with APR clutch and flywheel

Brakes
Brembo four-piston calipers with 14" slotted rotors f, Golf R single-piston calipers and 12.2" StopTech rotors r

Suspension
H&R Street Performance coilovers and Sport sway bars

Wheels & Tires
19x8.5" f, 19x9.5" r TSW Jerez wheels, silver centers, polished lips, 245/35 R19 f, 275/30 R19 r Nitto NT-05 tires

Exterior
FMS widebody fenders, modified Golf R front bumper with splitter, GLI rear bumper, Golf R side skirts, Jetta Hybrid headlights, front grille and trunk spoiler, GLI smoked LED tail lights, satin white paint, gloss black roof and mirrors, FMS door trim and roof spoiler, window tint

Interior Recaro Sportster CS front seats in black and beige leather with matching rear seats, door cards, VW GLI steering wheel, e-brake handle, center console, door panel trim and shift knob, VW Accessories pedal covers and sill kick plates, Corinthian Textiles floor mats and trunk liner with beige stitching, FMS helmet rack, ECS Tuning digital vent gauge, Philips LED interior lighting

Audio/visual
VW Accessories RNS315 Nav system with backup camera and custom sound box with digital sound processor

By Justin Fivella
63 Articles

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