It was a great car, except for the engine, which I speak about in my 2010 Jetta forum post here. Never has a decent car been let down by its engine like this combo. I would have welcomed any of the several other engines offered this year, even the less powerful 4-cylinder. At least then one can chip it.

But a normally aspirated engine... you're just stuck.

The LA Times reports the VW executive in charge of US emissions was arrested two days ago in Florida.

This is the second arrest of a VW employee as part of the fallout from Dieselgate - VW's attempt to hide poor emissions while their cars are tested.

Oliver Schmidt, who was general manager of the engineering and environmental office for VW of America, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and wire fraud.

Schmidt is the second VW employee to be arrested as part of an ongoing federal investigation into the German automaker, which has admitted that it programmed diesel-powered vehicles to turn pollution controls on during tests and to turn them off in real-world driving. The scandal has cost VW sales and has tarnished its brand worldwide.

oliver schmidt

As of this writing, he is still in jail in Florida.

VW is in the middle of a Dieselgate agreement reached in 2016 with the US government: vehicle buybacks.

2017 GTI

It was a gorgeous 2017 GTI S 4-door manual in Night Blue Metallic, and interior in the only color available on GTIs -- Titan Black. Here's the build link.

What I don't like:

  • The 3-flash turn signals (even if you blip it, it still completes 3 cycles)
  • The shifter knob looks strange and feels cheap

What I like:

  • Price... they wanted $22,xxx for it
  • The fantastic, traditional GTI Tartan seats!
  • While this one was only a 210-hp S trim (no LSD, big brakes), it is a quick car

Buying Experience (incomplete)

I went to Emich Volkswagen in Denver and had an hourlong meeting (including test drive) with the very helpful John (sales). He ran my info through a preliminary credit check (660, not as good as I'd like), and a VW Financing approval request. I qualified for a lease, my choice 3 years or 4.

I chose a 4-year lease to make things easy and that put the payment just at $400/month. At that point it was getting too real and I said I needed to think it over. I didn't plan to go in and buy a car, cold. It's just now how I roll.

I went in wanting to buy, not lease, but John said that after the typical 3-year lease and buyout, buying and leasing are within $100 of each other. I was skeptical, but I rolled with the lease because it is the more flexible of the two avenues.

I've read a lot of posts on car sites saying to lease a new VW instead of buying, because of reliability concerns. Maybe I was letting paranoia creep into my thought process. Whatever the case, I explored the lease option with my sales rep, and I must admit, I like the flexibility it offers. I like the idea of leasing and turning it in if the car is not reliable.


VW jumps neighborhood streets
700-hp VW Baja Bug jumps neighborhood streets

Idiot Gets 2 Weeks in Big House

“Ultimately [the police] caught me by my name being on the side of the car, not blurring out my license plate, and I didn’t expect the video to go that viral.”

Blake Wilkey, 27, was the owner and driver of the 1967 VW bug (aka Shark Attack) in the YouTube video titled “Urban Assault,” posted on January 22, 2016. In the video, he is shown driving and jumping the 700-horsepower off-road vehicle through a few towns in San Diego. The video got over one million hits in a short period of time after it was posted (that number was at 1,634,357 on May 26).

On May 22, Wilkey rolled out to the fourth annual Air Cooled Fiesta VW car show at Southwestern College, one of the only places he could legally visit because it was “work-related.”

“I had to do two weekends at the downtown jail, 45 days of house arrest — unless it is to and from work only,” Wilkey said. “It's just been a major drag.”

It's always great to see great interaction in our VW forums. It just goes to show what an awesome community we are building here. One user, Rob57 shares his specialized performance enhancements, so I present to you without further adieu, Rob's excellent post on how to up your horses on the cheap! - (and please, contribute your thoughts readers!)
A radial engine is one way to go about it!
I am often asked about performance improvements for VW/Audis/Skoda/ and Seat... the latter two are European only VAG models with Skoda also being sold in Australia/New Zealand. I will provide a list of suggested enhancements to up your HP and drivability for typical VAG engines and manual transmissions. They're in no particular order.

1) Free flow intake air box (BMC and K&N make good ones),

2) larger diameter exhaust pipes from the CAT (catalytic converter) back (there are many good ones Autotech, Leistritz, Remus, Sebring, ANSA are but a few... key thing is that they are TuV approved), (Be aware the CARB Rules apply in California regarding such modifications)

3.) Schrick makes a 268 degree inlet cam shaft that is easy to replace on the 4 cylinders DOHC engines that will instantly make a huge difference in performance... get a good torque wrench and new valve cover gasket and your good to go.

4.) Most gasoline powered VW power plants use an ECU that has two curves on it... one is for regular gasoline and the other for premium or High Test... switching out your ECU chip with a performance one will give you more juice at a low cost, but will require you burn only premium fuel, there are several good ones out there with Superchips from the UK as good as any,

5.) A quaife differential is an expensive enhancement that should be considered carefully... it is noticeable when accelerating from zero as compared to a stock car, but really has a high price tag for just a few tenths off the 1/4 mile times.

6). suspension upgrades are a good place to improve drivability; larger front and rear sway bars and uprated structs and shocks are always good... be careful about lowering Springs with it best to buy systems of Springs and struts/shocks that are designed to complement one another in purpose designed kits Such as Koni/Eibach or Bilstein/HR. If you like a very stiff drive quality for extra stiffness consider a front strut tie-bar that connects between strut towers under the hood; otherwise, it may be too stiff to your liking.

7.) Tires and brakes are about equally important to stop with assurance. An expensive brake upgrade while putting less than performance rubber down is a waste of your money. (Galfer makes a great Big Brake upgrade kit for VWs; as good as Brembo but 1/3 the price, but is generally unavailable in the USA, so you'll need to find a suppler in the UK to ship it to you. A call to Autotech or Europarts might get you there faster.) Use upgraded pads or you may burn through them faster than you are accustomed.

8. Short shift kits take getting used to... if you are very good at operating a M/T then consider a short shift kit; otherwise, you will burn through your clutch much faster getting used to one... Sachs makes good clutch kits for VWs; Luk is a bit better! Short-shift kits are easy to install and good ones are sold by reputable suppliers.

Please remember to always buckle up for safety and this includes times when your on a race course and properly qualified, obey all traffic rules and track rules too! Drinking and driving never mix and driving a modified car which can accelerate much quicker makes it potentially more dangerous!

Growing up, I always found it fascinating that no matter what vehicle was out there, somebody would find a way to shove a V8 in it. That would usually mean a Chevy motor stuff into something that could support it in the first place.

First: a confession, or rather a string of confessions. Over the years, I have been a willing wrenchman in this pursuit of upgrading horsepower. I once put a Chevy 350 in an early 70s Jaguar XJ6. The original engine was a piece of crap and the car was sturdy. Plus the parts to do it were readily available by mail (pre-internet days). I put a 350 in a Chevy Vega. This was popular at the time and all you had to do was change motor mounts, the transmission hump and if you were smart, you would upgrade the brakes so you could stop the suddenly heavier vehicle. The list goes on and on. I committed many atrocious acts of Frankenstein-level vehicle swap/transplants. It was fun, it was easy and there was nobody there to stop me. I could keep you here for days on this topic, but I thought it was appropriate to share given the subject.  

In all my years, I never imagined that I would see something like this. I had seen very complex sand rails and dune buggies that had VW roots but really didn't look or act anything like a VW. I had heard of these many years ago, I read about a couple in a magazine sometime in the 80s, but here it is. A Volkswagen V8 Beetle Bug. For real.

VW PURISTS - This is your chance to look away.


Here is the heresy and brilliant lunacy of this project in a nutshell. Gone is the original rear engine, air-cooled wonder of the VW motor. Gone is the original chassis. In is a front-mounted V8 powerhouse that is stroked out for more power. A full 2 x 3 steel tube chassis replaces the original, along with an integrated roll bar, a fabricated transmission tunnel, a relocated gas tank and all kinds of madness.


Builder Dale Nelson goes over his entire plan and offers tips on how to build one yourself, if you want one that is. It looks like a really cool project.


For my tastes, despite my past at having done things like this, I would prefer to restore a classic over going this far into modding something that will end up nothing like its intended design. But perhaps that is because I am getting older and it is getting harder to find these classics. I suppose if you find a nice donor, have some time, a welder and all kinds of tools, you can say you did it once the same way I butchered Jaguars that Brits probably pine for and wince at.

Well it's not much news, but it is a bit telling of the situation at hand. News emerged that indicated Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller had a two minute conversation with United State President Barack Obama this week and during that quick conversation, he apologized for the dieselgate scandal.

Mueller shares:

“I took the opportunity to apologize to him personally for this matter” and “I also expressed my thanks for the constructive cooperation with his authorities and naturally expressed the hope that I can continue to fulfill my responsibilities for 600,000 workers, their families, the suppliers, the dealers."


It was a nice token of gratitude in a regretful situation. It is also not something that is likely to rattle investors any as it is clear that the company needs to be in good graces with some of the leaders of the biggest markets in the world. There are other ramifications beyond gratitude and public displays of cooperation. It is still possible that the company may see massive fines that have yet to be determined. The environment and emissions standards that come along with that subject has been a principal subject of choice for the President's administration. This kind of outreach may serve to show that Mueller and his company have turned a new leaf and will continue to keep good relations wherever possible. Whether that influences the regulatory agencies involved in the forthcoming fines is another matter that remains to be seen.

Mueller also pledged to continue the company's push towards electric vehicles.

Most of the American public has heard about the Dieselgate scandal. To be totally honest, it is very difficult to avoid the news anywhere you look. Recent news showed how the auto manufacturer Mitsubishi admitted that it has 'cheated' fuel economy tests for the last 25 years. While hardly an epidemic, we now have two international car companies that have been found with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. It begs the question - are emissions regulations too restrictive?


Mitsubishi knowingly committed these acts over a twenty-five year span and about 625,000 vehicles are under this scope of improper testing. The numbers could sway wildly in the days and weeks to come, but Wall St. had no problems reacting to the news. The company's value took a major hit, losing about $3.9 billion to date since the news first broke. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also ordered the company to retest its vehicles.

Mitsubishi vehicles underwent a variety of tests that toyed with standards set in Japan starting in 1991. Adding the spectre of egregiousness, Mitsubishi reports having discovered the fault in 2001, but they refused to update testing methodologies. The company thus far reports that four models were part of the manipulated data. They include:
the eK Wagon and eK Space, which are manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the Dayz and Dayz Roox which is anufactured by Mitsubishi and supplied to Nissan Motor Company.

The question remains. Are these companies cheating to gain profitability? How could it have gone on for so long? Are worldwide regulatory agencies creating a tough situation where companies are choosing this self-destructive path?


General details were announced today about a plan from car manufacturing giant Volkswagen to car buyers in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen vehicles were affected by the scandal, more than 480,000 in all. Owners will have the option of having the automaker buy the vehicles back or have them fixed by Volkswagen. Senior United States District Judge Charles Breyer did not provide an actual cash amount, but he added that the deal would include "substantial compensation."

Apparently, many details are still being worked out. This leaves many wondering what is going to happen next in terms of repair, in terms of compensation, and in terms of timing. What this announcement does say is that the general terms have been arrived at.


According to the reports, Volkswagen will be called on to set aside funds for green automotive technologies in addition to a fund designated for corrective efforts to address the pollution that never should have been emitted.

Some $1 billion dollars will be set aside for the owners and the repair tasks. If you're curious about the Volkswagen deal and you have one of the 482,000 Volkswagens affected by the deal, here is your easy cheesy guide to determine if your vehicle is one of the targets. All 2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine vehicle owners can choose repairs or buybacks, including those with leased vehicles. The models include the VW Jetta, Golf and Passat models dating to the 2009 model year.

However, there is still no agreement regarding the 90,000 vehicles or so belonging to Audi and Porsche owners also affected. Those 3-liter, six-cylinder motors also were part of this chicanery, but those owners will just have to wait.

At the end of the day, Volkswagen must be relieved to be able to move on as soon as possible, although the damages have been estimated by some to be over 30 Billion dollars.