AUTObiography: Jman5000’s 1992 VW GTI 16v

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Next up is VWvortex reader: Jman5000

Is there anything unique about the history of this car?

As far as MKIIs, it’s not really unique, but increasingly rare. Last model year, low miles, Florida car, no major damage or rust, two grown-up owners, smart mods…

Why did you choose this car to purchase?

I had been seeking a MKII for over a year and half. It was either timing, money (or both) or cars that required too much more work to make them what I wanted. I wanted the right platform and not a ground-up 2-year project.

What other cars did you consider?

None. I’ve wanted a MKII 16v GTI since 1988. If I had to wait a little longer for the car and/or my situation to be right, so be it.

What was your objective with this car?

Make it mechanically sound, bring back its looks, and apply period-correct under-the-radar improvements.

What tuning style best describes this car (ex. Euro, Bling, OEMplus, street racer, auto crosser)?

OEM+, resto-mod.

Who helped you build this car?

Brad Beardow and Doug Pauly of BPDesign, now 1552v2. Chris, Andy, Jason, Scott, from the Columbus VW scene. ECS, PAP, Potterman, and more.

What makes your car special?

It was BPD’s first project.

What is your favorite part/feature/function?

Hard to say. It’s the collective nature of the build that brings enjoyment. I really like the wheels and stance, as they transform the car.

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?

I wanted to build it as I would have done it back in 1992, albeit with smarter technology underneath, maintaining the appearance of a nicely-done car of the day.

What don’t you like about this car?

After so many years and so many newer cars in my life, the level of noise that comes from a car like this was something I forgot. Like all cars like this, I just added sound deadening to the squawk list. And it’s geared for the era of 55 mph speed limits so “today’s” freeway speeds wind up the RPM/noise. It’ll never be a Lexus, but I’ve made it more civilized.

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car?

Impatience. Once the right car was found and the project plan entered its final stage, I wanted things done. I quickly found that every budget and timeline should be stretched. You name the system, replacing one part always uncovers something else that’s failed or should be fixed “since we’re in there.” Also, when tapping a shop for the big stuff, you have to figure out where you want them to stop and where you want to continue/finish the build.

How did you overcome the issue?

I’m in Ohio. Brad’s shop is in Florida. As the body and major mechanicals were being done, I could only help run down the odd part here and there and get it sent. As the time went by, the list of items I decided to take on grew.

What would you change if you could?

It would’ve been nice to pull the motor and paint the bay. Which I’m going to do.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

8.5… these cars are never done.

What would you do to the car if money were no object?

Strip to bare metal. Strategic seam/stitch welds. New undercoat. Spray-in deadener inside. Respray in Alpine White. Mild shave/clean on the body and bay. Built VR6 with lightened internals. Top shelf suspension. Rare 16” BBS. Recaro Trophy-style interior, but retrimmed with better material.

Who has been your biggest critic of this project?

Probably my girlfriend. Once the car made it to Ohio, it was far from its current state. Every spare moment was consumed last summer with additional work. Once it was show-worthy and I was getting wins, she saw how much it meant to me.

What do your family and friends say about this car?

They know my affliction. They think it’s well done, but for the most part they don’t get it.

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car?

As far as memorable, I guess it would be Doug from BPD driving it from Tampa to Columbus with one 3-hour nap break and the only issue with the car was a bad spark plug wire. On the same note, I think every car in our H20i caravan had something go wrong… MKIII/IV/TT/R32, but mine just ran, hot, but c’mon, it was summer.

Has this car competed in any events? Results?

First place MKII Wild, H20i 2007.

First place MKII, Oktoberfest (PA).

What is your favorite place to drive this car?

Open roads with turns and hills. The car is most settled fairly deep into fifth gear.

What is your ideal day with this car?

Having to drive two or three hours to a destination, enjoying my time there, with the Sirius tuned to the ‘90s alt rock station… and driving back.

Who gets to drive this car?

Me. And some select enthusiasts.

If your car had a motto, what would it be?

Let’s drive… anywhere.

If you had to name your car, what would you name it?

I call it my “time machine.”

What was your previous project?

OEM+ and AutoX/road course buildup of my ’04 R32.

What is your next project?

Just keep digging into the MKII. No new cars on the horizon.

What one word best describes your car?


Owner Information:

Name: Jason Zatrock

City and State: Lewis Center, OH

VWvortex Username: Jman5000

Occupation: Sales

Club Affiliations:

Vehicle Information:

Year: 1992

Make: VW

Model: GTI

Mileage: 109,000

Original Color: Tornado Pink

Current Color: Tornado Red

Engine: 2.0 16V

Engine Modifications: Ported and polished head with Autotech springs and TT Sport cams with new lifters, chain, head bolts, metal OEM ABF headgasket. VW Motorsport windage tray. K&N Panel filter. Manifold and head blasted and painted bright silver.

Exhaust Modifications: Jetex cat-back, high-flow cat.

Transmission Modifications: Sachs HD clutch, USRT shift linkage.

Suspension Modifications: R32 control arm bushings, VMaxx coilovers, VR6 strut mounts and bearings. Eibach front upper strut bar. Eurosport rear upper strut bar.

Brake Modifications: New rotors, Zimmerman pads, Goodridge steel lines fore/aft.

Wheels and Tires: Original BBS RMs refinished. JustMatz polished 2” lips (total 15x8”). Toyo FZR 195/45.

Exterior/Body Modifications: Shaved rear hatch seams. Shaved sidemarkers. Body stripped/prepped, reshot in Tornado Red and tons of clear. New hood, bumpers, G60 arches. Scirocco tilt and slide sunroof. Lay-flat rear wiper. Futrell lighting relay kit. E-code lamps with city lights. Functional rear fog. Smoked front signals and Hella rear lamps.

Interior Modifications: 320mm Momo Monte Carlo steering wheel. Audi TT pedal covers. Sony headunit relocated to console. VDO Vision gauge package (oil temp, pressure, and volts) in original radio location. VW Motorsports knob/boot combo. New OEM GTI 16v floormats. 50 sq. ft+ of B-Quiet sound deadener. New headliner.

Audio/Video/I.C.E.: Basic Sony headunit. Sirius satellite radio and iPod-equipped. Inifnity front speakers with Boston Acoustics crossover. Alpine amp and Rockford rear speakers.

Thanks/Props: Brad and Doug @ BPD, ChrisG for the never-ending tutorials and for showing me the joy of junkyard diving. Andy Nixon for tech support and the kick in ass to get to H20i. Scott Mason for the parts and advice. Fatman for bringing me into the family. The MKII forum for generally been there/done that with everything.

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