Forum Fridays: A Wagon Lover’s Dream

When the history of cars is written, it will remember the golden age as a time before practical, engaging wagons were replaced by the Milli Vanilli of cars: the crossover. Today’s pick revisits that time in the early 2000s when modern technology graced these elongated estates with all the amenities you really need and finding one to buy didn’t require a blood sacrifice.

User D Nasty discovered not just any Jetta wagon, but a cherished diesel-powered TDI in a lovely shade of blue outside of Knoxville, Georgia. It wasn’t long before D had the car in the shop, en route to becoming the successor to — what else? — another blue Jetta Wagon, Nasty’s previous car.

Can You Say TLI?

Mention the name Volkswagen to any gearhead on the planet and the first three letters that come to mind will be GTI. It’s easy to forget that Volkswagen also offers the Jetta in a more sporting trim level. GLI versions of the car have been around for years now, delivering upgraded performance and aggressive styling, but never for wagon body style.

Nasty felt the newly acquired TDI was the perfect prospect for a GLI wagon conversion. It only takes a quick look at the pictures from the multipage build thread to see this is an enthusiast with some serious bodywork skills. If the ones of the new car in the shop don’t convince you, there are some of his first custom wagon, which isn’t half-bad itself.

Prime Time

At what appears to be his personal, private garage — and a very well-appointed one at that — Nasty set to work stripping everything out of the blue Jetta. The car is also slated to receive an upgraded interior pilfered from the GLI to give it a little more sporting feel on the inside, but pictures of it stripped down to bare metal are enough to make you bite your nails.

An electric sanding wheel can be spotted in multiple shots, and the transformation from painted to bare metal comes together in photographs as this owner puts on a clinic about how to sand down the paint on your car. Finally, with bare metal showing, it’s time for a coat of gray primer.

The matte-finish primer makes the chunky early ‘naughts wagon look angry in the best way. However, the car was finished in true-to-VW candy blue that displays incredible depth even in the photos. We imagine that seen in person, the car would be eye-popping.

The Finishing Touches

Nasty fitted a set of chrome split-spokes to the car, which does a convincing factory GLI wagon impression wearing its painted ground effects. The shiny wheels continue the theme set by the paint, catching the light from all points on the car.

We’re impressed by the amount of labor the owner put into returning this car to a color very close to the one it was wearing when purchased. One look at the photos, however, is all it takes to understand how far it has come. Nice job, D Nasty. Now, about that other wagon — is it still for sale?

Check out the entire build thread here.