A few weeks ago, I decided to give back to my readers by announcing that I’d be giving away a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 to the starry-eyed dreamer that gave me their best and most insane project ideas for the car. It was tough, but I’ve finally managed to narrow it down to 10 finalists. Your butts—hold on to ‘em.

If you’re unfamiliar with the rules of the giveaway, they’re outlined here:


The basic premise is that I’m giving away this Jetta to the creator of the proposed project that gets the most votes via our poll here on Jalopnik.

The June 15th deadline for submissions has come and gone, and I’ve sifted through the hundreds of submissions to get the 10 best and most realistic ones for your perusal and support.

In order for one of these dreamers to get the car, you lovely readers will have to vote, and vote hard. Cast your ballot in the poll at the bottom of the post for the project you’d most like to see, and the winner will be crowned a week from today.

May the best project win!

Dune Buggy

Photo by Tom Hart

Here’s my plan: You said it, dune buggy.

2" lift kit (Yes, apparently they make that. They make you sign a waiver to buy it so you know it has to be fun.) Mud Tires (cut the fenders and flare it for maximum tire size.) Homemade bashbar on the front with some big off-road lights. ORV stickers.

I would then take it to Silver Lake sand dunes and drive it like I got it for free! With side by side comparison to my VW dune buggy, of course! VWs were destined for the sand, it couldn’t be more perfect. Please let me ruin this very nice car.

Note: My dad owns a car hauler and a 3/4 ton so I can pick it up no problem. Also, you’re more than welcome to come thrash both these dune monsters with me


(Suggested by Alexander LaRocca)

Stripped-out Autocross Lightweight Track Car

If given the chance I shall be building such a car into the stripped, light weight... (Superleggera you might even say(think doorless, nearly bodyless)) , perhaps even twin leaf blower electronically supercharged, autocross monster of only a lunatics dreams.

Realistically I’d love to build onto the VR6 but that’ll depend on budget. I would expect to strip it and build it into a crazy looking autocross devil. Think.... Front wheel drive, 4 seat Ariel Atom. With ya know.... More weight and less power.

Seriously I’d do this thing proud. I’m not even a VW fan so I’ll have no qualms about tearing it up.


(Suggested by Mr. Rivers)

Pickup/Ute Conversion

Keeping it simple: Smyth kit pickup conversion

Love the VR6 sound, so keeping with aftermarket catback, some sort of aftermarket induction. Rims, tires, suspension rebuild with proven combination, and manual swap.


(Suggested by Christopher Fretag)

#Stancenation Tiki-Themed Insanity

Photo by John Lloyd

I’d slam it on a extra set of racelands I have. Cut off the roof, weld the doors shut, turn the interior into a tiki themed beach. Think sand, tiki touches, beach chairs, the works.

Drive it to h2o in the fall in OCMD and troll around in my mobile beach doing one wheel burnouts tills something goes pop. This car will be my tool to push #stancelyfe further, hopefully to its much needed end.


(Suggested by John McLoughlin)

Watercross Sled Hauler

Photos by Courtenay Ryan

So I race watercross, snowmobiles across the water in the summer, how I would use the Jetta is make it into a race sled hauler. I would cut the rear half off and fab up what is commonly known as a “sled deck” , but instead of the usual 2 place deck I would do a single version, so it would make getting to races across New England and New York easier and with a little better gas mileage. I would back half the car at the B pillar taking the part of the roof, trunk and anything else that gets in the way, out. Installing an electric winch to pull the snowmobile up onto the deck, a ramp that slides underneath the deck to make loading easier. I would use the rear floor for gas can and oil jug storage along with a small space for my helmet, goggles, life vests, tools and other riding gear.

Obviously I would have to address common VW reliability issues, I have owned a 1991 GTI 16v and an 1989 Corrado g60 swapped to a 12v VR6, so believe me I know what I would be getting into. I would add some sorta of extra lighting (bro light bars) to make driving back roads at night much easier getting to and from the ponds. I would take my time in stripping the car so I could sell some of the pieces off to help the cost of this build. Also I would was to sticker this thing up with my race number #603 and do the Black, blue and yellow accents to match the sled. Also I would install a trailer hitch set up to pull a small trailer with extra gear, chairs and a easy up tent.


(Suggested by Courtenay Ryan)

Off Roader/Rock Crawler

Photo by Noah Schiach

The build will consist of upgrading the suspension, along with new tires, and some rally lights, for safety, obviously. The Jetta will be a multi­purpose vehicle, so it needs to be ready to hop curbs, handle light off road trails, yet still be driveable enough to enjoy on the road and endure long road trips.

We are looking for a 2­-3” lift, which will provide us enough clearance to get over some rocks and curbs. This will let us fit some larger, all terrain tires on the car. We want some capability off road, so that we can get out if we are stuck, but we also want to be able to get it sideways, if the situation arises. I found a cheap, DIY lift kit online that we would be able to compile parts for and build ourselves. It is basically just pucks that go between the spring and the mounting location for the spring, but it mimics a kit that we could buy for $300, and the users on the forum gave it a thumbs up.

Since the car will be driven on and off road, and probably driven at night more than occasionally, we need some sick kc lights, bro. Maybe even a light bar. Yes, definitely a light bar. In all seriousness, some sort of additional lighting will be useful, and will improve the front­ end appearance. In the end, we’ll probably go with some round lights, since we can’t put a lightbar on anything that isn’t a) A Jeep or b) A bro truck.


(Suggested by Noah Schiach)

Time Attack Race Build

Photo by GXS Racing

I’d like to create a time attack type of Jetta. I’ve always been a huge fan of the VR6 even though everyone tells me to build a 1.8T. We have a big following in Austin, including the Austin Euro Gruppe on Facebook (Over 500 members), and we also have a network of performance shops, such as BD Tuning, that will help us with engine work and, of course, the turbo kit that will be required to keep up with the B5. We also have a Formula Drift driver, Josh McGuire, who would build our roll cage, fender flares to fit a nice track wheel and tire choice, and every aero piece that it would need. We also have a vinyl wrapping company and an artist that we’ve worked with who can wrap the car in a special design.


(Suggested by Rev Match Media)

Project Race Car For Disabled Veterans

I have been doing the marketing side for a non-profit that is forming that deals with disabled Vets and racing. Nope, not kidding. I came from the race world before doing some service myself and got back into it after I got out. The fast pace, competition, and camaraderie in motorsport is very similar to that found in the service and this type of community is what is needed by some of these guys after getting out of the service and being in limbo right after. These guy currently run a rally car in NASA and probably wouldn’t mind if you covered the other cars as well (there are three cars at this point).

I think it’s crazy because this would help everyone all the way around. Yes, they have a fairly large facility in North Carolina that they work on all this stuff.


(Suggested by William Yeske)

LeMons Rally Car

Photo by Stef Schrader

The proposal will be to transform your Jetta into a LeMons Rally Car in time for the Western LeMons rally that travels the route of Monterrey-Las Vegas-Big Sur-Death Valley-Monterrey.

The deserts of California and Nevada will be a challenge to traverse but my friend Greg and I are crazy enough to attempt it because we’re college students who love to do crazy things while drinking PBR and eating Ramen noodles.

Our goal is to turn the lowly boring Volkswagen Jetta into a Desert Crawler. This means adding lifted suspension, big chunky off-road tires, rally lamps, unnecessary light bars, belly pans, front brace bar, jerry cans, and everything that one would add to an off-road warrior.

Our crazy plans will be adding a Brat style Captains/Jumper chair. Basically bolting down or welding up a chair in the trunk area for extra “why are we doing this?” Followed by a Rotsun style hater pipe exhaust exit and maybe even a huge turbo in the steps of the Rotsun.

Finally, we would decide our dress-up theme to be between:

Jurassic Park, German Executives, Anchorman, or anything that comes to mind that we both agree on.

We need a car to turn into a desert driver and this would be potentially the best option (besides Raphael Orlove’s NYC Baja Bug) because it’s so left field and that makes it the right choice.


(Suggested by Nick Amato)

Testbed For Every Low-Cost/Shady Mod You Can Do

My proposal is more of an experiment. I’m willing to budget somewhere between 1-2K in ridiculous ebay products to modify this thing. electric supercharger? Chinese coil overs? 350hp turbo kit? exhaust kit? whistle tip exhaust? Make it a sleeper or fast-n-furious the thing? bag the suspension? Whatever you want, I’ll install and run it through some tests. We’ll have fun with it and the readers will enjoy it. I’m heavily in the VW world and everything else has been done to death with these things like slamming and such. This will be entertaining and scientific.


(Suggested by Mike Dallin)

Have at it, readers. Whose project is the most worthy?


Tavarish writes and makes videos about fixing and modifying cars on the internet. Sometimes they actually run.

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