The dub scene is huge. A lot bigger than what I initially thought anyway. There is a strong UK VAG/Dub scene, but across the pond it may be even stronger. Volkswagons flourish the streets of the Americas like they're cool and easy to acquire, modify and make your own (Weird, huh?). A cool classic VW scene is also very much alive and thriving in the USA. With the mighty VR6 and R32 engines available in a huge variant of USA model VWs, the swap is a real American dream. A dream worth waking up to, if your name is John Sena (With an S, not a C, don't play the song in your head I know what you're doing). John is one of the many VW Enthusiasts from America, and his particular vehicle shows why the scene is so strong.
Although he was born in New Jersey, This Mk2 Jetta managed to find its way to the highways of Florida and into the hands of John, where he now resides. The Looks of this old school Volkswagon may be up to the standards of todays stance gods, but the story goes way deeper then just the style.
'It was summer 1995, my dad bought me my first car (91jetta) my dad was a (Motor Trade) tech and car guy.... he passed away in 2010 and decided to build a car in his memory so I went back to my roots in building what started it all for me.'
'He passed away whilst I was in afghanistan at war ....never got to talk to him one last time, this car's my "closure", you could say'
Johns father had the luxury of working on some high end vehicles. Such as this Ferrari!
With a strong, passionate foundation, Johns automotive memorial began to evolve. Starting with a '92 GLI (2.0L 16v for North America, everything is bigger in the USA!). Although the car was not in the best of shape to begin with (Let's be honest, who has a project car that has been great from the start?) John started to get busy.
Now, although a GLI may have a pokey enough engine to begin with, it is 1992 pokey. and thats just not quite good enough for todays standards. So as you would expect, the heart of this wagon started from its origins up to a 2.8 VR6 engine, and after John had decided to strip the car down and really go for an all out build, the engine changed from the VR6 to its younger cousin, the Mk4 Golf R32. The power plant swap has launched the bhp figure to a tasty 240bhp (Standard R32 Figure), which should feel like more than a punch in the teeth when mated to a car more than 10 years older. Getting the gearbox to be silky smooth consisted of using a close ratio Corrado VR6 'box, combined with Mk4 Linkages and tower for a precise shift.
'I chose a lot of newer style parts to give the car an updated feel of a modern car, I love keeping is OEM+ as much as possible by using parts from newer generation cars'
However, one aspect of this car is where John probably went back in time, fitting a sun roof from an Audi 4000 for the 'Tilt and slide' rather than VWs slide only option offered at the time. Various parts have been camouflage hydro dipped by Statement Hydrographics, as a reminder to Johns times in the military.
Yes, that is correct, It's a 2.8 VR6 lump, but everyone knows 3.2 is bigger right? RIGHT?!
And the heart transplant happens again!
John tried to obtain as many parts as he could find for an old VW like his, I bet these were hard to find!
That awesome 'Tilt and Slide' Audi 4000 sunroof being fitted. It's the little details that impress.
Now onto my personal favourite part of this whole build by far, and an amazing tribute to Johns father, something John can look at every time he drives his pride and joy anytime, anywhere. A custom set of dials with an image of Johns father on the rev counter, absolutely beautiful. What a tribute.
As the build continues forward, the GLI is running on some lovely Schmidt alloys, with a stretch to just keep them arches from kissing the tyre. A smooth ride is also at hand thanks to an air ride system. More changes are happening soon, John plans to do some more work to the braking system and hopefully even a mild turbo set up in the future.
An incredible build that may look stunning on the outside, but has the beauty, power and a wonderful meaning inside that really does shine above all. An incredible tribute and memorial build of Johns father and one I am sure he would be incredibly proud of. Stunning little details really bring this car out and matches everything together. A stunning take on a classic VW enthusiast vehicle, one that Johns hoped to hand down to his children as they get older.
Fast forward to today and this GLI is a strong figure in the American VW scene. Clean, classy, and with a load of character.
This is it from us today, and we will leave you with images from the professional shoot with The Street Kids photographer, Hiro (@Orihonphoto). Be Sure to follow us @TheStreetKidsGarage, John @RDirtyToo, and Hiro!