Let's hear a little bit about the driver - What's your name and where are you from?
Hello, my name is Westley Bench, I live in Salem, Oregon.
What got you into modifying cars and what kept you in it?
6 years ago, I bought my first car (another mk3 Jetta TDI). Almost instantly, I was captivated by the possibilities! It quickly started to take over my entire life.
I've been fortunate to have a couple people in my life to point me in the right direction. My girlfriend's dad (Jim) has a vast amount of automotive knowledge. He unintentionally became a VW mechanic alongside me, and really helped refine my personal style and standards.
My former boss (Sean) is a big VW fan also. Most of our daily conversations were about our cars. He gifted me a nice polisher, complete with pads and compounds. Seeing my car's paint transformed with my own hands was a critical moment for me.
Lastly, my current "boss" (Dan) has provided me with a situation that allows me to take my cars to an entirely new level. A little bit of space, and a couple of the right tools make all the difference.
There's always something to do with cars, I don't think I'll ever actually "finish" any of my cars. Not because of my attention defect, or general preoccupation, but because there is a continuous stream of ideas. They can always be refined in some way. A lot of what I'm doing with my cars is my first attempt at doing so. I expect continued improvement, and revisit projects and ideas with a more adept hand.
Ok ok ok... Tell us about your ride, what is it?
This is a 1998 Jetta TDI that I built "just because".
(1/21) After many months of work, I was just getting my other mk3 put back together. With the countless hours invested, there was no way I was going to drive it in winter Oregon weather. I needed a new vehicle quickly, and because the first mk3 is incredibly spoiled, it needed to be cheap. *Enter 2nd mk3* At the time, this car was several different colors, fading, peeling, and very unsightly. I didn't really feel like I needed to start another big mk3 project, I just intended to clean it up enough to enjoy as a winter vehicle. Obviously that didn't exactly happen and I got carried away as usual. My "boss" left on vacation for just under two weeks in July, so I moved into the shop and started... That whole thing is kind of a blur, and probably not the most exciting story. Lots of sanding, grinding, welding, etc. 11 days later I had a pink mk3!
Most of the substance in this build is on the outside. I wanted smooth; so I smoothed. Doors, bumpers, trunk, etc. Any seam I could find, welded and filled. The wing is made from some 18ga steel that I bent to shape. Sprayed in a (slightly modified) Rubystone Red (Porsche 82N). Wheels sprayed with a "color-shift" pearl.
Painted pillars (gauge pod molded into driver's), wrapped Headliner and custom lighting (all foot-wells, above each seat and glove-box) . Dyed seats, misc sound deadening and plastic repair. Certain parts of the oem interior I really enjoy. Doesn't need a complete remodel.
Anything special under the hood?
Besides being free from oil or contaminants, right now the engine is stock. I fabricated a custom exhaust from the turbo back, but so far almost everything has stayed oem (or equivalent). I have plenty of extra "performance" TDI stuff from all the iterations over the years, but haven't yet decided about the performance direction for this car.
What are some things you've done to your car that others might not notice?
Seems to me that unless someone is familiar with mk3s, a lot goes unnoticed. I think that's a good thing because it could mean my work is good enough to blend in and appear factory. To be fair though, for anyone seeing the car, the color might be so overwhelming that they get disoriented and lose verbal communication. It's anyone's guess.
Even though they will never be naturally seen, the front and rear crash bars have some wild pinstriping and colors.
Anything else you'd like to add?
For now, any updates about this car will be on it's insta (@pinkmk3jetta)
If you want to see some more tasteful work, check out our shop (@automotiv.us)
Thank you (@anphonie) for the pics.