Welcome to AUTObiography, our newest Feature at VWvortex that gives our readers a chance to get their rides featured on our site. Readers can submit several photos and fill out our questionaire below. We have the tedious task of selecting which of your witty responses and photos get published. Every Wednesday we'll feature a different reader ride, so tune in each week.

Want to see your car featured in an AUTObiography? Just click HERE . We can't promise you that we'll feature every car that gets submitted, but we encourage you to be creative, as that's always a good way to score some brownie points with us. Quality photos won't hurt your chances any, either.

Next up, and winner of this week's NGP Racing $50.00 gift certificate is VWvortex member Jetta32696


Q: How long have you owned this car?

A: Eight years and counting...

Q: Is there anything unique about the history of this car?

A: I’d like to think so. I bought the car brand new in March of 1996. Since then, it has been hit about 6 times from just about EVERY angle. After the first accident, most people give up on cars. Not me. I just kept on fixing it… and fixing it, and fixing it…

I’ll describe a couple of the more memorable incidents:

One night on my way home from an event, I’m stopped at a blinking traffic light about two blocks from my home. I look both ways about 4-5 times as it’s a pretty crazy intersection. I slowly edged out into the street after noticing the coast was clear, and I proceeded to go through the light. Out of nowhere, this nut on a old Kawasaki motorcycle doing about 60 mph flew up the street, hitting my car in the rear driver’s side quarter panel/rear tire, breaking the axle, and destroying the quarter panel and part of the trunk. Afterwards, I got everything replaced - no big deal.

Another incident took place on my way to work. While sitting at a stop sign “minding my own business,” once again out of nowhere, an 18 wheeler crossed my path and clipped my front bumper, and pulled it 2/3 off of the car. He also damaged my front fender and barely missed my new wheels. Many of my current mods came as a result of this incident – I got a euro bumper, fenders, e-codes, smoked blinkers/dummies, badgeless grill and grill spoiler and had the trunk emblem shaved.

My Jetta also had the ever popular “020” trans problem. When that happened, the car sat for 14 months virtually untouched - just occasionally started until the battery died. Then finally the trans was replaced, and now it’s my daily driver again.

Q: What was your objective with this car?

A: When I bought it, I didn’t have any objective. It was just my car, and I wanted to make some subtle changes to it.



Q: What tuning style would you describe this car as?

A: OEM Plus, as I have all OEM-spec parts (some are OEM German), plus a few bits and pieces from here and there.

Q: Who helped you build this car?

A: 96% of the work was done by the service department at Gensinger Motors in Clifton, NJ (where I bought the car). The other 4% was done by me and a few guys that I’ve met on Vortex and in the VW community.

Q: What makes your car special?

A: What makes the car special to me is that no matter what it’s been through, it always comes back strong.



Q: What is your favorite part/feature/function?

A: The wheels, as they’re the only part that is completely custom made to my specifications.

Q: Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?

A: VWvortex and my own vision, once I found VWvortex.

Q: What don't you like about this car?

A: I don’t like that it’s a basically stock 2.0.



Q: What would you change if you could?

A: Engine, transmission, gauge cluster, pedals, bolt pattern…

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

A: "10." I’m completely satisfied with how the car came out, and after all it’s been through, I think it still looks pretty darn good.

Q: What would you do to the car if money were no object?

A: I'd swap in a fully-built VR6, supercharger, pulled fenders, and wider wheels.



Q: Who has been your biggest critic of this project?

A: Me - definitely me!!!

Q: What do your family and friends say about this car?

A: My friends love it. Most of my family likes it. My mom hates it…


Q: What is your ideal day with this car?

A: Getting up early Saturday morning to wash/detail her. Once that’s done, get dressed, pick up wifey and drag her to a DJD or Enfig event. I really enjoy just chilling with friends in the VW community who have the same appreciation and love for VW/Audi’s in general.

Q: Who gets to drive this car?

A: Myself, and any mechanic that gets to work on her.

Q: If your car had a motto, what would it be?

A: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!!"

Q: If you had to name your car, what would you name it?

A: The Six Million Dollar Car!!! “We can rebuild it...”

Q: What was your previous project?

A: A New Jersey Transit 2-zone bus pass.

Q: What is your next project?

A: A '99 Silver Arrow Jetta GLX.

Q: What one word best describes your car?

A: "Bionic."

Owner Information:

Name- Keith B. Bratcher, Jr.

Address- Dirty Jersey

E-mail- [email protected]

Occupation- Executive Assistant

Club Affiliations- Back It Up Car Club

Vehicle Information:

Year- 1996

Make- Jetta

Model- GL

Mileage- 109,000+

Original Color- Windsor Blue Metallic

Current Color- Windsor Blue Metallic

Engine- 2.0 liter 8 valve

Engine Modifications- Neuspeed P-flow, Blue Igniters plug wires, Bosch Platinum 4 spark plugs

Exhaust Modifications- TT cat-back w/Borla muffler, Ractive tip

Transmission Modifications- stock

Suspension Modifications- FK fully adjustable coilovers, VR6 strut mounts/bearings

Brake Modifications- Brembro drilled and slotted rotors, Mintex pads, stainless steel braided lines

Wheels and Tires- 17x7 DTM Kruez 10 spokes, 35 ET front, 29 ET rear, wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1-S 205/40-ZR17 tires

Exterior/Body Modifications- European front bumper/rebar, European GLX lip spoiler w/splash guards, European fenders w/side markers, Mattig badgeless grille and grille spoiler, shaved trunk emblem, European rear plate tub, matching Euro plates, European fog light mod, Vento headlights w/amber city lights, GLX tail lights, smoked European turn signals/dummies, color-matched mirror caps, covers and door handles

Interior Modifications- Leather GTI front seats, Jetta GLX rear bench w/headrests, GLX puffy leather door panels drilled for manual windows, Drivers Edition blue-stitched shift boot and e-brake handle, European headlight switch, VW keyless entry module, Audi TT pedals, color-matched steering wheel cover

Audio/Video/I.C.E.- stock

Thanks/Props- Gensinger motors service department, Back It Up Car Club – (Wendell, Ron, Brian, Sal, Ryan, Darren, Tone, Moleneaux, Ronnie, Amir), Tom & JJ, Big Chris, Joe, Rich, and the rest of the guys/gals from DJD, German Squad and Autokrieg

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