ForumFriday: “Barely a build” is a Great Story with a Tragic Ending

When someone says that their car is ‘barely a build,’ what comes to mind?  Maybe a couple of aftermarket bolt-ons or some stick-on body modifications?  Our idea of ‘barely a build’ is dramatically different from forum user raamzz’s – his Volkswagen Jetta build left barely in the dust a long time ago.  For this week’s Forum Friday, let’s take a look at this awesome Jetta build, and how a sudden turn of events has left him with a lot more to do.

A Fresh Start

When raamzz picked up this ’04 Jetta, it didn’t look like much. It had no upgrades, and the steel rims it came on were quickly replaced with Longbeach rims that the previous owner had and gave him for free.

After a good cleaning, it was time to start working on this build. He started by replacing the front fender because of rust and rebuilding the clutch because the previous owner totally destroyed it. Slightly smoked tail lights, and a cargo rack on top helped to bring the look of the car together, complete with a wooden attachment to make it look better.

Power Upgrades Galore

Once the outside of the car looked decent, it was time to make that baby purr. He installed a new inlet pipe, a new intercooler, a 3″ catless downward exhaust pipe, a Forge 007 diverter valve, and new dogbone bushings. He also installed a new AEM cold air intake, and detailed the entire engine bay, making even the OEM parts sparkle like new.

This part of the build also included installing Unitronic tuning software and hardware to get the best power out of that 1.8L engine.

Aesthetic Upgrades

This build isn’t all about power – it’s about looks too! Raamzz upgraded the stock mirrors.  “I picked up two pairs of power folding stubby mirrors for $60 USD.  I was in disbelief,” he said after returning from a family trip to Beirut. He even managed to wire the power folding feature into the car, which isn’t offered on a stock Jetta.

He retrofit the stock headlights to add a second signal light and replaced the original lenses with ones made from Helix plastic.

He’s also got a Black Forest Industries weighted shift knob, a new dash set up, and new radio installed in the dash, creating a beautiful sleek look. The trunk floorboard was replaced with some laminate flooring that he had laying around, and the stock 4-spoke steering wheel was switched out for a 3-spoke Wolfsburg wheel, which he rewrapped with a leather steering wheel cover kit.

Other Upgrades

The stock suspension just wasn’t cutting it, so raamzz replaced it with some FK coils, that he rusts protected and painted a stunning neon yellow before installing. Stock calipers were painted black and the entire undercarriage was sprayed with rust protectant.

All that work and to raamzz, that’s ‘just barely a build,’ in his words.

The bumper and mirror caps got a fresh coat of OEM silver paint from a local VW dealership, and the stock shifter got swapped out with a DieselGeek Sigma 5 short shifter. The Longbeach wheels that everyone loved got swapped out for a fantastic set of Neuspeed RSE05 lightweight wheels which look fantastic.

Disaster Strikes

However, in a heartbreaking turn of events in May of 2018, raamzz’s fantastic Mark 4 build was struck by another car while parked, doing enough damage that the car had to be totaled. This isn’t the end of raamzz’s story though – he pulled the salvageable mods from the totaled car and is planning on starting another another clean mk4in the future. Hopefully this time he’ll park it in a safe garage instead of out in the street. He later posted that this was his greatest fear from parking on the street, but thought it would be because of one of the buses, and not another car.

As much as it hurts to have things go that way, we can’t wait to see what he does next.

The final picture he took before the crash: