Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Written By Gavin Dowse
Someone that is not a car person will never truly understand the rational of destroying a “reliable daily driver.” For those who don’t care for cars or the automotive world, I get it. No really, I do. Why would I take a bank loaned automobile and dump money into making it lower, putting new wheels on and continuously buying more cars… Cars are really only good at rusting, falling apart and depreciating in value. It doesn’t make any financial sense. I was drinking a few weeks ago with my buddies and one of them asked me why you would put astronomical amounts of money into a car. I personally have three projects cars so he felt that I was an expert on this. Truth be told I didn’t have a good answer for him. I have no idea why I would want to make my car scrap on speed bumps. Now Joe Anderson is a close friend of mine but is the undisputed KING of dumping time and hard earned money on car parts. From his BMW to his newly acquired Volkswagen, he is just terrible at keeping cars stock and “reliable.” Or buying reliable cars to begin with haha.
Joe if you don’t know is an EXTREMELY hard working and motivated individual. He also has been my best friend for the better part of 6 years now. We are the only two idiots I know that would take reliable daily drivers and make them less reliable and daily drive-able… He works part time and is going to school to be a welder, ps he hasn’t had a day off in over 5 months now… Him becoming a welder is dope because it going to fab a lot up for me. Joe’s first car was a 1993 BMW 325is and you can read my original article here. Now to excerpt that post, that car was fan-fucking-tastic. I will never forget the first time I got to drive that car; it was magical. I know what I had written was pretty negative but the car itself was the most fun I’ve had with four wheels, that’s for sure. It was a red number, black leather interior with a M50 and getrag 265 manual. The BMW E36 chasis was built to be driven at the limit, at least thats what justifies Joes two speeding tickets. Joe actually did end up driving the wheels off that car and unfortunately ended up blowing the head. He later sold it for pennies and once again became car-less. But this red E36 is the reason I’ve got into BMW’s, and I will own my own E36 some day.
Once the car exploded he started searching for another BMW but was limited due to funds. To context the decision if you have never owned a neglected BMW you wouldn’t understand. A clear majority of older BMW’s are mostly left unmaintained and when that happens repairs get expensive quick. I eventually managed to talk him into giving a front wheel drive platform a chance. This opened up the opportunity to find a unbelievably clean 2003 Jetta Gl on craigslist. His only requirements was that it ran and had a manual transmission. The car was rust free, super high mileage and had a manual transmission so off we went. Like the last adventure to pick his last car up we had to road trip the Tahoe.
We both test drove it around the block and the only real concerns I had for this car was it smelled like a melted box of crayons (I guess this is pretty normal for MK4's, who would have guessed). The car was exceptionally clean, very well taken care of and a perfect daily. Joe ended up negotiating the price literally one time and the guy took the offer. Now I’m still not sure if that was sketchy that he took his first offer but the title actually lined up to the seller unlike the BMW. Fast forward the 2+ hour ordeal in the Fonda DMV it made the trip home without any real hiccups. I managed to shatter his passenger side window almost two hours after he got it home… OH and it lost reverse but I swear it was more reliable and everything has been smooth sailing since.
The car is a base model, 2 owner car with the best OEM sound system VW sold in the MK4 platform. That was it. It was only intended to get Joe from home to work and school. In the mean time he was supposed to also save up enough money to buy an E36 //M3. Unfortunately that’s not where it went. After 200,000 miles the car needs to be maintained. Joe’s original idea of maintaining this car was to just do one oil change. That was until he realized it was too good to just let die.
He started out with a couple of gaskets to keep the 2.0l happy and stop from puking coolant. Next up were JOM Blue Line coil overs and oem mounts. Simple stuff to refresh the car but of course that’s not where it stopped. The cars exhaust had fallen to the sands of time, being that it was paper thin and had many holes. That was replaced with a Magna Flow catback exhaust. We did the timing belt, tensioner and water pump to keep it from grenadeing upon itself along with a full set of VF Engineering racing mounts. Lastly the stock 15inch steel wheels and hub caps were just not going to cut it. Joe splurged on a set of 18inch Alzor wheels and ran 12.5mm spacers in the front to be #HELLAFLUSH. He also got a short shifter because 75whp racecar. Now paint and body are on the list of things to fix the MK4 cancer.