AUTObiography: GarrisonHamilton’s 2000 Jetta

Welcome to AUTObiography, our weekly segment where we turn the proverbial microphone over to you, our readers.

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Next up is VWvortex reader: GarrisonHamilton

How long have you owned this car? About 6 years

Is there anything unique about the history of this car? hmm… he’s seen a lot but hasn’t gained infamy quite yet. Most people outside VW ‘lore’ do find it unique that these models were built in Mexico lol… so maybe that counts?

What drew you to this specific car? Considering it was a gift in high school, I didn’t specifically choose “VW VR6,” but I DID know I already preferred a VW because of their clean yet pleasing aesthetics… and I loved the way the cabin lit up blue and red at night.

What other cars did you consider? I was crazy for hatches and wagons in high school, so Mazda’s Protege5 was towards the top of the list.

What was your objective with this car? Personalize and modify its appearance so that it was fairly unique to me, while maintaining an overall “factory” appeal.

What tuning style would you describe this car as? My car will be at its peak when I feel it can tackle cross country ventures in a confident, mechanically sound manner… So ultimately I’d consider it a tourer… of sorts.

Who helped you build this car? Haha “Who helped you *Save* this car” would be the better question, seeing as I almost buried the poor guy in my high school/early college days. My boys Sean, Sam, and Bob frequently helped me research and regain much of the car’s current stability.

What makes your car special? Lol as a joke, there’s a dying breed of German automobiles with custom legs and factory ride heights. I’d love to be slammed as much as the next guy, but it just doesn’t fit my current priority or style.

What is your favorite part/feature/function? Straight pipe side exhaust for the win… love that VR6 gurgle thwap-POP when downshifting before a tight corner

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car? Money makes the world go ’round. If I had more funds to play with my ride would be cleaner, have fresh paint, new factory bumpers/moulding, possibly larger wheels, and an updated interior.

What don’t you like about this car? I don’t terribly mind the auto tranny, but it’s slipping into its wonder years now and needs to be replaced… so I’m in the market for a manny tranny, i suppose…

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car? Helloooo VW and its wonderful wide world of plastic and crappy rubber hosings! Near-total cooling system failure.

How did you overcome the issue? I “paid to play,” and got most of the hosing etc. replaced with new and more innovative/durable parts. Florida’s summer months (ie 60% of the year) take no prisoners.

What would you change if you could? I’d go back in time and help VW design a more effective rain water duct system 😉

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project? I’ll give it a 5… After a fresh transmission, I’ll be re-painting and doing a lot of subtle interior mods to make the car more modern.

What would you do to the car if money were no object? Ha call me crazy, but I love the cozy, quiet interiors of today’s “progressive” sedans and luxury sedans… so I’d update with sound dampening, new leather, and custom stereo (but no massive sub(s) hogging all my trunk space and sagging out my rear shocks).

Who has been your biggest critic of this project? Anyone afraid of heights… and, um… thats it. Again, consider this car was crapping out before I took an interest in maintenance and modifications… so most people are impressed and pleased to see the car looking better than its past; no conflicts of interest there. Everyone enjoys a good clean and running car!

What do your family and friends say about this car? The family is glad to see my first car has sustained a good life; my friends are mostly cool with it because they all have vw’s too haha. I’m also lucky to have a gf who’s into cars (muscle cars, largely), and openly enjoys the raw feel and audio of the car’s current condition: no headliner/panelling/sound absorption, straight pipe, and stiff suspension. You’re very much a part of the road when driving this car.

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car? Gosh how do I decide? It’s seen me through high school and soon to be college as well. I can say I’ve had many great late night rides with good friends, lots of warped tour trips, Daytona, etc… It’s my car and it comes with me wherever I go, so it’s most often a good experience 😉


What is your favorite story about this car? Can’t narrow it down to one particular moment, but it served as a getaway vehicle during more than a few late night juvenile acts of immaturity.

Has this car competed in any events? haha Oh no .

What is your favorite place to drive this car? Never as frequently as I wish, but I love to ride north just north of Tampa to run Ehrin Cutoff. It has great flat and banked corners ranging roughly from 40-75mph, and grade changes just steep enough to notice that slight amount of squat as the suspension tenses in attempt to scarf up any sudden changes in the road.

What is your ideal day with this car? Packing up and rolling with my euro auto enthusiast friends down to Bradenton for the Fixx Fest events!

Who gets to drive this car? …Me. Others rarely get the chance.

If your car had a motto, what would it be? It turned out to be true: “The greatest lovers were murderers first.” That kinda describes our relationship in a nutshell.

If you had to name your car, what would you name it? I actually refer to it as The Bomber. It’s a great car, but it’s really rough around the edges in not-so traditional dub fashion. Don’t get me wrong though, because thats how my Jetta taps into most of its individuality.

What was your previous project? This is my first car… before it I only fantasized while reading copious amounts of Car and Driver.

What is your next project? Porsche Boxster

What one word best describes your car? Fun

Any regrets? Tell us about it. That I first took this car for granted.

Anything else you’d like to share? Nope, what you see here is what you’ll get in the drive: simplicity with an emphasis on feel and audio.


Owner Information:

Name- Garrison Hamilton

Address- Tampa, Fl

VWvortex Username- GarrisonHamilton

Occupation- Photographer

Club Affiliations- Rum Runners

Vehicle Information:

Year- 2000

Make- VW

Model- Jetta

Mileage- 150,190

Color (Include original if applicable)- Forest Green

Engine- VR6 (12v)

Engine Modifications- none

Exhaust Modifications- Straight Pipe

Transmission Modifications- none

Suspension Modifications- Vogtland Cup

Brake Modifications- None

Wheels and Tires- Nexen Summer Sport

Exterior/Body Modifications- Mesh Grille, 17″Aluminum Alloy, Yakima, etc.

Interior Modifications- none

Audio/Video/I.C.E.- none

Thanks/Props- Bob, Tommy, Sean, Sam, Matt, and my brother.