AUTObiography: kidshorty’s 2000 and 2001 VW Jettas

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Next up is VWvortex reader: kidshorty

How long have you owned these cars?

Black: 8 years, Imola: 3 years.

What is unique about their history?

The black VR6 started it all: it was my last “new car” purchase and was the first of four VWs. The Imola 1.8T was originally purchased to be the new daily driver/beater but took on a life of its own. The most noteworthy aspect might be that I work for a record company and consequently have had to haul around our artists from time to time for gigs, interviews, and appearances. “People Who Have Sat In My Dub” is a coffee table book of mine. Look for it in bookstores next Christmas via BDS Publishing.

Why did you choose these cars to purchase?

In purchasing the VR6, I wanted something more mature. I was fresh out of college and needed a FWD replacement for my Mustang GT due to increased traveling for work. Plus, I grew out of “power” phase and needed something classy for work while still being fun to drive. As for the Imola Jetta, my dream is to own a fleet of MKIVs. Give me a million dollars and I’ll own one of every color MKIV GLI, 20th Anniversary Edition, R32, and a 337. Plus, I wanted to have both the VR6 and 1.8T.

What is your objective with these cars?

Other than picking up chicks? Originally, they were supposed to be the yin and the yang: black VR6 versus the white 1.8T. I toyed with doing them exactly the same… same kits, wheels, aftermarket accessories, just one is a black VR6 and the other is a white 1.8T. However, I’ve always been a fan of Imola, specifically a fan of the Imola S4 and 20th AE, and coupled with the success of the Steelers, I chose a new route. Both still feature many of the same modifications (BBS LMs, H&R coils, Neuspeed sways, OEM HIDs, OEM stubbies, Techtonics stainless exhausts, GIAC programming, VAG parts, etc.).

With both cars (and I hope all cars from here on out), I want to always enhance the natural lines and great looks of the Jetta. I still appreciate a stock Jetta on the street. By utilizing parts VAG and OEM suppliers, I wanted to create cars that the factory “should have” produced, ones that look special though not necessarily looking aftermarket. Also, the Imola was a 30th birthday present to myself.

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

I owe a great deal to the MKIV forum. My influences are too numerous to name, but I have no doubts that MKIV owners have the best taste in modding. They’ve really pushed the MKIV platform in all different directions, mostly for the better.

Who helped you build these cars?

I owe a great deal to Armand Englebrecht. He makes Gandhi look like a child pornographer.

What is your favorite element of these cars?

I went all out and rock two OEM sunglass holders. Why? Because I care about my passengers. If you’re riding shotgun and don’t feel like holding onto your shades, I got you covered, that’s just the kind of guy I am. Think of how many people went Stage 3 but don’t have even one sunglass holder, let alone two… think about it. Also, the OEM HIDs rock my nuts.

What was your biggest obstacle in building these cars?

Building two cars at once is a nightmare. I sourced a lot of the parts for each at the same time, leaving me with a dining room full of parts all winter. Having one car in a build-up, unfinished state is bad enough, while two was extremely tough to deal with. The VR6 was driven all winter after never being a daily driver. The Imola respray took a lot longer than promised.

How did you overcome the issues?

I kept my eye on the prize, set deadlines, and luckily my wife lent me her Jeep on several occasions.

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

The VR6 would have a VF charger and both sets of LMs would have real Raderwerks center caps.

Have these cars competed in any events? Results?

VR6 and Imola: both tied for first, best MKIV, Crooked Euros Oktoberfest 2006

Imola: second place, Dealer’s Choice, Billco VW Show 2006

VR6: second place at Crooked Euros first annual Oktoberfest

Who gets to drive these cars?

Usually just me. My wife refuses to drive the VR6 due to the 19” wheels and coilovers, but she loves the boost of the Imola Jetta.

How often are these cars driven?

The VR6 comes out about once a week, usually on a Saturday night to go cruising through the main streets and back alleys of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The Imola is my daily driver, though I work from home and it probably gets driven only about two or three times a week.

What was your previous project?

Besides these cars, I’ve had a MKIII Golf, a MKIII Cabrio, a 1996 Mustang GT, and a 94 Probe GT.

What is your next project?

I’m hoping to do a true daily driver and get a 2.0 MKIV Jetta in the spring. I’ve already got a nice stash of parts in the basement for it (OEM HIDs, BBS LMs, tons of other OEM accessories). Can you tell I have OCD? Also, my wife wants to trade in her Jeep on a Tiguan this summer so I’m sure we’ll end up doing a few mods to that as well.

What about these cars best represents you?

They are both simple and classy. There are much better looking cars out there with more time and money put into them, faster cars, cars with more body work, more original mods, etc. At the end of the day, I’m fine with a simple OEM+ styling.

What about these cars do you think is most characteristic of the Volkswagen brand?

The VAG parts bin may not offer a ton of options compared to other manufacturers, but I don’t think there are many ugly or inferior accessories. From their OEM wheels to body pieces, pretty much anything OEM is going to work well on your car. Volkswagen don’t make ugly.

Describe the ultimate Volkswagen enthusiast. How do you and your cars represent that ideal?

The ultimate VW enthusiast gives back to the community. He or she answers questions, shares their knowledge, and is visible in the local scene and at regional shows. Instead of posting pictures all the time, I find that I’d rather lurk, answer questions, help out the newbs, and participate in organizing events.

Owner Information:

Name: James Short

City and State: Pittsburgh, PA

VWvortex Username: kidshorty

Occupation: Record Mogul for EMI Music/Capitol Records

Club Affiliations: Balls Deep Squad, Crooked Euros

Vehicle Information:

Year: 2000

Make: VW

Model: Jetta GLS

Mileage: 45,000

Original Color: Uni-Black

Current Color: Uni-Black

Engine: VR6

Engine Modifications: GIAC chip, GHL cold air intake

Exhaust Modifications: Techtonics stainless catback with hidden exhaust, Borla muffler

Transmission Modifications: Dieselgeek short shift kit

Suspension Modifications: H&R coilovers, H&R front sway bar, Neuspeed rear sway bar

Brake Modifications: GLI brake upgrade

Wheels and Tires: 19×8.5 BBS LMs, Toyo Proxes, 3mm front, 8mm rear spacers

Exterior/Body Modifications: OEM GLI front lip, OEM GLI rear lip with custom shaved exhaust hole, Votex side skirts, Oettinger grille, joey’d OEM HIDs, OEM stubby mirrors, LED city lights, Hella Micro DEs, 35% tint, OEM Sharan antenna, Hella smoked tails, OEM Euro rub strip, J-Short license plate

Interior Modifications: OEM in-dash 6-CD changer, Bora sport boot, dual OEM sunglass holders, TT pedals with New Beetle dead pedal, W8 overhead console

Audio/Video/I.C.E.: Three 10” subs, amp

Year: 2001

Make: VW

Model: Jetta

Mileage: 50,000

Original Color: White

Current Color: Imola Yellow

Engine: 1.8T

Engine Modifications: GIACX+ chip, Forge DV, N75J

Exhaust Modifications: Techtonics stainless turboback with hidden tip, Borla muffler

Transmission Modifications: none

Suspension Modifications: H&R coilovers, H&R front sway bar, Neuspeed rear sway bar

Brake Modifications: none

Wheels and Tires: 18×8/18×9.5 BBS LMs, black powdercoated centers, Falken Ziex tires

Exterior/Body Modifications: OEM Imola Yellow respray, Votex front and rear bumpers, Votex sides, joey’d OEM HIDs, OEM stubby mirrors, LED city lights, smoked markers, Hella smoked tails, 35% tint, OEM Sharan antenna, J-5hort license plate

Interior Modifications: GLI Recaro seats front and rear, TT pedals with New Beetle dead pedal, OEM sunglass holder

Thanks/Props: Next Level has done some work for both cars (and my old MKIII), and more importantly is a great local sponsor of all our events as well as regional stuff like H2O and Dubs on the Lake. They really do a great job. Keith Boswell, aka vw.insect, did an amazing job on that custom GLI rear as well a lot of paintwork for the black car. I felt bad that I left both out of the article. Also, Armand and Pat, Konky Photography, Walt, Val, lolcats, Taylor, Jamie,, Black Sheep detailing, Bob’s Service, Crooked Euros, Balls Deep Squad, Harv, Rob Banks and Turbo Priest, BD Auto Felgen, Patrick Bateman, Frankie at Auto Tech Pittsburgh, Adam and crew at ECS Tuning, Kristen at Parts 4 VWs, East End Brewing, and most of all my family: my mom, my wife Andrea, and my biggest supporter of all time, in cars and in life, my dad James Short Sr. Rest in peace, old buddy.

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