European car met Bernd Arndt and his perfect two-door jetta two years ago at the waterwagens show in Olympia, Wash. This is his story, as he told it.
When I was 16, a friend took me for a ride in a '75 Rabbit, and I liked it. I've stuck with Volkswagens ever since. I've been through many of them and had fun with every one. This is one of my most fun street cars.The car is very simple, really. I built it because I wanted something with power, that looks different. It's a big car and I like big doors. Four-doors are kind of flaky anyway. My original plan was a two-door car with a sunroof; that was my only requirement. I found one, and that's how I started.
Everything's put together clean and nice. I had the thing stripped down to nothing before we started putting it together. It looked like a Fox, and I thought to myself, "Man, I made a mistake." Eventually, when we got to the end, it looked good. The original transplant was from a Corrado SLC, but later I pulled it out and my friend Chris Riehl built the 3.1-liter. There are no fancy cams or anything-I had some in it, but I didn't like them so I took them out.
Most conversion cars don't have A/C because it's so hard to fit in there. It's a lot of work. The ABS isn't super-hard. You've got to change all the pedal assembly and stuff, and go to the hydraulic clutch. This is the car that Techtonics Tuning used to prototype an exhaust for MkII VR6 conversions.
The interior is reupholstered, nice and black, and the instrument cluster is from the Corrado. It's a little big in there, but it's got all the nice stuff on it-cruise control, power windows and central locking. People like putting MkIII dashes in, but they're bulky and I'm a big guy. I kept the original MkII dash, and even took the knee bar out. The stereo is just a nice stock system with a CD changer. The car has the nice factory body kit on it, not a 3-ft wing. I could have bought big wheels, but that's just not me. The Tocattas have a Volkswagen part number. I use Zymol Red wax to look after the Tornado red paint.
I've done a 14.2 at about 99 mph. This is just a street car, but I'm a total drag racer. I race just about every weekend from March to November. I have the fastest naturally-aspirated VR6 in the nation, sponsored by Techtonics Tuning. I take some weekends off with my girlfriend of course, that's the way it goes. Thank God, she puts up with my crap!
I make my living in repair and service of Jaguars and Land Rovers. I do work on Volkswagens for other people, a few customers who have been there over the years. I've got to give credit to all the people who helped me on this-it's not something you can do by yourself. If anybody says they can do a car like this by themselves, it's ridiculous.
1991 Volkswagen Jetta Two-doorEngineTypeNarrow-angle V6, iron block, aluminum headInternal modifications85mm JE Pistons, ported and polished headExternal modificationsTechtonics Tuning 2.5-in.MkII VR6 conversion exhaust systemEngine management modificationsTechtonics Tuning performance chip
DrivetrainDrivetrain modificationsQuaife differential, 3.38:1 final drive
SuspensionFront: H&R springs, Bilstein Sport dampers, Autotech anti-roll barRear: H&R springs, Bilstein Sport dampers, Autotech anti-roll bar
BrakesFront: 11.3-in. vented rotorsRear: 8.9-in. solid rotors
ExternalWheels7x17-in. Volkswagen Tocatta
TiresYokohama Parada Spec 2, 225/40-17
BodyTornado red paint, factory wing and body kit, H4 headlights with PIAA 100/150W bulbs and 100W inner bulbs
InteriorGLI interior with power Recaro seats, Clarion CD changer and speakers