Would this Jetta have won the race with Johnny Tran?
Jesse's Volkswagen Jetta from the first Fast & Furious movie is arguably one of the most recognizable movie cars on the planet. The problem is, it just wasn't fast enough to beat Johnny Tran. If only Jesse had enough cash for a Spoon engine, a T66 turbo, NOS, and a Motec exhaust system. Basically, Jesse got Swiss cheesed because his car was too slow.
After two decades, the team at Deutsche Auto Parts (DAP) has finally rectified the issue and reunited Jesse (Chad Lindberg) with a replica of his famous Jetta. The Jetta is completely movie-accurate, but under the hood, it has the 2.0-liter turbocharged-four from a Mk7 Golf GTI.
All of the work done to the car can be viewed in a 30-minute YouTube video posted by DAP. If you're not familiar with their work, it's the same guys who shoehorned Audi's modern 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 into the engine bay of a 1997 A4.
This was not an easy engine swap, however. The third-generation A3 Jetta was introduced in 1992, and as we all know, cars tend to grow over the years. Therefore, the main issue was space under the hood. The EA888 engine is a compact unit, but the build still required some cutting and fabrication.
The stock EA888 wasn't enough, so DAP also added an updated intercooler and a new radiator. Power figures weren't provided, but it's fairly easy to get 330 horsepower out of this engine using only a software remap. A new subframe was put in place to ensure decent handling, further enhanced by an all-new coilover suspension.
The shell was given a white paint job, and the necessary decals were added to make it look just like the movie car.
All in all, the build took four months, which is remarkable considering all the work that needed to be done. The video below summarizes the build beautifully. The final touch was the neon underglow, which went through a brief period of being cool in the early noughties.
Ultimately, the group made a pretty rad tribute to one of the most famous cars in the F&F franchise. It's not on our list of the best Fast and Furious cars, but looking back now, we may need to add it. After all, it played a big role in establishing how far Vin Diesel was willing to go to defend and avenge his fambly.
Even with these impressive mods, we still wouldn't go head-to-head with Tran and his Honda S2000.