Ratty Rescue: Jetta BYOEandT

Are you in the market for a new project car? Looking for something to wrench on? Well, our latest Ratty Rescue may be just the car for you. This 1990 Jetta coupe needs a few things, one of which is a new home. Another is something just as important: a drivetrain.

The MK2 Jetta is a standout in the long lineage of VW sedans. It’s known for many fine qualities: a comfortable yet sporty European drive, crisp handling, and sharp design. Jettas came with a number of different engines and trim levels over their 8-year production run. They were available in the very common 4 door sedan body style as well as the rare 2 door ‘coupe’ like the car here.

This 1990 2 door is ripe for a restoration and has many positives. To start, the car has minor rust; from the photos it looks like the front fenders need the most work. Interestingly, the pinch welds under the rocker panels show little to no rust. The rest of the exterior has some flaws, but no extensive bodywork is needed prior to paint.

Another positive: the interior. While it’s not clear if this car started life as a GLI (I can’t remember ever seeing a GLI coupe), the red stripe dash, red stripe door panels, and Recaro seats are all out of a GTI or GLI. And it all looks in very good shape, even the bolsters on the seats, which is rare. It even has the matching red-stripe bumpers and OEM 15″ BBS wheels. If this wasn’t a GLI someone has gone to great lengths to make it look like one.


The car has some upgrades too. Disc brakes have replaced the original rear drums. There are some Corrado bits here and there. Raceland coilovers give a lowered stance. It even has manual steering: perfect for the most hardcore enthusiast.

Like all our Ratty Rescues, it needs a few things. The most important: an engine and transmission. But if you’re sitting on a lousy car with a good engine, this is the perfect candidate for a swap. A 1.8T would be great in this shell. Or a torquey VR6. The possibilities are almost endless.

If you want more information on this bring-your-own-engine-and-transmission car, contact VWVortex member jettasmooth. He just lowered the price to $1400. Take a look at the classified ad in our forums and in these photos. Or see the car for yourself in Waltham MA.