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AUTObiography- Shifty’s 84 Jetta GLI

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Next up, and winner of this week’s NGP Racing $50.00 gift certificate is VWvortex reader: Shifty

How long have you owned this car? Just a few months.

Is there anything unique about the history of this car? This car has been in the OKC WetDub family for quite a while. The last owner did much of the work you see here while stationed with the Air Force in Europe.

Why did you choose this car to purchase? I was driving a MkIV 1.8T Jetta and my wife, Tosha (MrsShifty) was driving a Grand Am. We knew the Grand Am had to go in favor of another VAG product, so we sold it and bought this MkI. I really enjoy an “involved” driver, and this car definetly fits the bill. When I’d get back into the MkIV after driving the MkI for a while I’d always comment “This thing feels like a Bentley – and it drives itself”! That’s fine for the wife, boring for me.

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What other cars did you consider? I looked at a ’79 Rabbit with a built 8v here in town. The wife looked into VR6 MkIII Jettas. Other than that we pretty much had our mind set on this car. We called dibs on it over a year ago when we first saw it in the previous owner’s driveway!

What was your objective with this car? I’m shooting for an old-skool track car look. Also, the badgeless round grille, small euro bumpers and duckbill make the car look older than it is. I’m big on that. Sorta like what VW might have made the Jetta look like in the ‘70’s.

I have a lot in the works for her in the next year…

What tuning style would you describe this car as? Old-skool euro racer wannabe! Er something.

Who helped you build this car? Well, Jim Buys (the previous owner- vdubjim) did much of the work seen here. I have only lowered the car more, painted and installed the Phonedials, and tinted the glass since taking over ownership.

What makes your car special? The dual-carbed KR is one of my favorite things about the car simply because it’s such an odd, rare combo. Everyone tells me to ditch the Webers… but I think the car would lose a lot of charm once they went away. I always get compliments on how unique the car is and how clean it is. That’s exactly what I want to hear.

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What is your favorite part/feature/function? I have three. My favorite parts on this car have to be the front end treatment (Jim did it exactly how I would have), the carbed KR, and of course the wheels (cuz I added them. Hehe).

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car? Well I can’t speak for Jim and the mods he made, but I can say that the future direction of this car is inspired by all the racers out there. X K R O M X’s silver bunny jumps to mind right away, though that’s a bit extreme for street driving.

What don’t you like about this car? Fuel mileage. Or lack thereof.

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car? Affording it.

How did you overcome the issue? Sold the wife’s car and stuck her in the MkIV.

What would you change if you could? I will be repainting the car in acrylic within the next year since it’s currently done in enamel. More suspension upgrades in the works, along with a complete rehash of the interior, possibly including a cage.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project? I think 7 when I first got it. Today I’d say 8. Jim has done a good job up to this point, now I need to make the touches (and repairs) that personalize it to my tastes.

What would you do to the car if money were no object? Add as many TV’s as I could… maybe delete the backseat in favor of a few 15’s…

Or just throw a cage in it and track it as it sits now.

Who has been your biggest critic of this project? All the old hot-rod guys I work with. They just don’t get it. We have a lot of fun with it around the rod shop.

What do your family and friends say about this car? Family loves it, friends love it. Well, father-in-law is still a little bitter about us selling his daughter’s shiny-new Grand Am for an old ’84 VW, but he’s calmed down a little.

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car? We had just traded in our beloved MkIV Jetta on a MkV GTI and decided to go take some pics with the two redheads together. I came up with the bright idea to park them nose-to-nose for a picture.

A friend guided me in as close as possible, and when he gave me the thumbs-up I released the clutch thinking I was in neutral. Well, the car was in 1st and she bucked hard right into the nose of the brand-new GTI.

We pulled them apart and were relieved to see there wasn’t even a scuff on the MkV – then I saw that the euro bumper on the MkI was bent in almost to the point of touching the body. That made me mad. Then I spilled my Sonic cherry-limeade I had just bought and that made me more mad. Thankfully I was able to pull the bumper back out at the shop.

Hopefully the memories to come are better than that.

Has this car competed in any events? Not yet!

What is your favorite place to drive this car? Anywhere, but I’d love to get her on a road course.

What is your ideal day with this car? A day trip to Hallett Motor Raceway here in Oklahoma with all my friends from Team Foolie and OKC WetDub.

Who gets to drive this car? Used to be me only, but the Mrs. drove it the other day and actually liked it!

If your car had a motto, what would it be? I’m thirsty. Can we stop for a drink?

If you had to name your car, what would you name it? Its name is Red Bull. I decided that when I added a Red Bull can over the ignition coil one day. Dawned on me – it’s red… and all mean and loud like a bull. Cheezy, sure, but it gets the job done.

What was your previous project? Our MkIV Jetta.

What is your next project? I’d like to get started on my ’67 Westy bus resto, but this MkI will probably take priority for the next year. To a lesser extent, our MkV GTI is another project in the works.

What one word best describes your car? Unique.

Anything else you’d like to share? Haven’t I babbled enough?!

Owner Information

Name- Robert Lackey

Address- Yukon, OK

VWvortex Username – Shifty

Occupation- Auto Painter (Parrott’s Hot Rods and Customs, Shifty’s Spraywerkz)

Club Affiliations- Team Foolie European Car Club, Wichita, KS and OKC WetDub, Oklahoma City, OK

Vehicle Information

Year- 1984

Make- VW

Model- Jetta GLI

Mileage- 165xxx

Original Color- Mars Red

Current Color- Mars Red (LA3A)

Engine- Euro-spec KR 16v

Engine Modifications- Dual Weber 45’s

Exhaust Modifications- TT catback & downpipe w/ Schrick hi-flow cat.

Transmission Modifications- Quaife LSD, lightened flywheel and upgraded clutch.

Suspension Modifications- ABD front upper stress bar, Euro Sport front lower stress bar, Bilstein adjustable struts w/ Neuspeed springs and rear sway.

Brake Modifications- None as of yet, but it needs ‘em! Stainless steel lines in the mail.

Wheels and Tires- 15” Porsche Phonedials painted VW Uni-black w/ VW Mars Red outer lip. 26mm H&R adapters. 205/50/15 Federal tires.

Exterior/Body Modifications- Small euro bumpers, badgeless grille w/ single crystal rounds, large duckbill, Kamei rear wing painted gunmetal, shaved moldings, mkIII door pulls, 35% tint w/ 5% eyebrow.

Interior Modifications- VDO white-faced gauges, deep-dish Corrado wheel, chrome necked chick stuck on dash next to glovebox.

Audio/Video/I.C.E.- A CD player and a couple tinny-sounding speakers. Who needs ICE in a MkI anyway?!

Thanks/Props- All the awesome guys and girls from Team Foolie and OKCWetDub, Javier at Superior Concepts, Sam (for the radio), Lars (for the lights), Jon (for the wheels), and anyone I may have forgot. Most of all thanks to my wife Tosha who turned me back onto VW’s after a couple years of being away from things.



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For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.


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