Eddie Seabold's 11-sec. Jetta
In a long line of MkIII show cars at the second Waterwagens event, I came across a Laguna Seca Blue Jetta with a simple and well-designed custom turbo system. I've seen plenty of homebrew, and a few shop-brew, one-off turbos on all kinds of cars, and most of them are pretty scary. This one was pretty close to how I'd do it. The only part of the stock engine its builder hadn't been afraid to throw away was the long block. The workmanship was excellent.
I looked closer and noticed a row of 12-sec. time slips against the firewall. This 2.0L was likely the fastest car at the show, and it was definitely one of the prettiest. Eddie Seabold introduced himself as its owner and turned out to be a really nice guy. It took some time to get a photographer back up to Washington, but there was no question this Jetta would be in the pages of european car. Eddie tells his story:
"This is a 1996 Wolfsburg Edition Jetta that I bought new. It was originally silver. I started making it a show car, and within a year it sported a full Abt body kit, coilovers and 18-in. DP wheels. Back then, everyone said you couldn't fit 18-in. wheels on a MkIII Volkswagen. I entered the car in shows from Canada to California with great results, but I realized the show needed some go to complete it.
At the time, there were only two Volkswagen tuners offering forced-induction kits, and I decided to go the custom route. Then I got caught up trying to prove wrong all the people who said you can't build a crossflow motor with good power. Bud's Machine Shop and Pete Ross built the engine with stock bore and stroke. Kirk at PTR Injection built the intake manifold. After many headaches and a lot of trial and error, we arrived at the current setup. We're still perfecting it.
The last time this car was run on the street, it was driven 160 miles to an event, pulled low 12s all day and was driven home, getting 31 mpg. This year, I got serious about weight reduction. The front brakes were downgraded to 9.4-in. rotors to clear the 13-in. wheels and drag slicks. I even pulled the chassis harness and got the weight down to 2,400 lb. The lights don't work, though, so I can't drive it on the street. It's making 350 hp and 365 lb-ft at the wheels, running 20 psi. My best time is 11.64 sec. at 122.8 mph, and I'm guessing about 4.0 to 4.2 sec. from 0 to 60. It's not bad for a car that came with 115 hp!
I'm not a big fan of taking the car to shows anymore. I go to all import and Volkswagen-associated races, about 25 a year, and attend test and tune nights at the local track.
My plans for the winter are to change to a straight T4 turbo, build the head, use a copper head gasket, and lighten the bottom end and valvetrain. I'll put the wiring harness back in, too. Hopefully, we will make about 450 hp at the wheels and be able to drive to the track, pull a 10-sec. pass and drive home. That is the goal. "