Forum Friday: 1990 Jetta

Forum user 2010golfmk6 picked up this 1990 Jetta a couple of years ago to modify it into something amazing. Let’s take a closer look at this mod, where it started and how far it’s come.

The Start

In the Beginning

This little gray Jetta didn’t look like much when 2010golfmk6 brought it home. It was in surprisingly good shape though for being nearly 30 years old — very little rust on the body, and the engine was in pretty good shape too. The first step was to pull the front end off and remove the engine — it came with a 1.8L engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission, and he didn’t really want either of those to end up in the finished product.

He stripped the whole car — interior and exterior — to make it easier to build up from scratch. He even pulled the windshield so that he could replace the window and door rubber seals which, truth be told, probably needed it after 25 years on the road.

The Build

While there was only a little rust on the body, there were a few things that did need to be replaced — such as the fender arch that was rusting away. He found a donor car to scavenge parts from as well — a 1995 Passat GLX with about 150,000 miles under its belt. Other areas that had minor rust, like the trunk lid, were easier to repair with a bit of sanding and some Bondo.

Some problems showed up as he disassembled the frame, and he ended up collecting parts from his donor car as well as junkyards and parts sellers around the world. There was also some damage repair that happened after a crash into a bollard, which happens more times than you might expect. After a lot of bodywork, it was time to start working on the engine — the ‘boat anchor,’ as he called it. The block got stripped, cleaned and painted before being reassembled. After the engine bay was cleaned and painted, it was time to install the engine, swapping out the stock 1.8L 4-cylinder for a V6.

Brake lines, fuel lines and the interior were all swapped out and installed as well. With some custom mounts and a V6 swap kit, the new engine fits like a glove in the engine compartment designed for a 4-cylinder engine.

Next, it’s time for paint — a stunning gloss black from one end to the other. Then the windows and windshields. A few final touches, and the car is ready to drive!

What a difference!

We can’t wait to see what 2010golfmk6 does with this awesome build next, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty impressive. He rebuilt this Jetta from the ground up, and while it might not look like the original anymore, that’s what makes it better. If you’re in the Ontario area, be on the lookout for this beautiful black Jetta at some local car shows in the not-too-distant future now that it’s finally ready to hit the beautiful Canadian highways!

Update: On a local car show, this little Jetta was awarded second place. Not bad considering what it looked like at the start!