Every fall, hundreds of wild custom vehicles and the creative minds behind them gather at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show in Las Vegas to show off the latest trends in car modifications on the latest models.
While SEMA never fails to draw out the unusual and unexpected, the best in show often demonstrates a flair for making everyday vehicles striking – in ways that might not require access to a paint shop and years of experience. This year, some of the top aftermarket suppliers and customizers in the country chose the 2019 Jetta and the upcoming Arteon to show how cars can transform into personal expressions. Here’s an up-close look at the results.
Volkswagen enthusiast Jamie Orr has a history of cutting-edge builds, and has now taken his talents to a White Silver Jetta S with six-speed manual transmission. His plan to stand out with the Jetta was to go for understatement, but with sharp details.
“I’ve been a long-time fan of the Volkswagen Jetta through the years,” he said. “The 2019 model has some really interesting and exciting design elements, which I was thrilled to try to highlight.”
Several of the parts Orr chose make their debut on his car, starting with the set of 20-inch Work Emotion T5R 2P wheels, wrapped in Delinte DS8 tires. The exterior carries an ECS Tuning 3D-printed prototype body kit, including a high-rise rear spoiler. Lowered on KW Clubsport coil-overs that feature remote reservoirs and three-way adjustable damping, the aggressive stance also showcases ECS Tuning brake rotors with Brembo six-piston calipers up front and Golf R calipers/carriers at the rear.
Inside, Orr installed RECARO® A8 seats and rear seats reupholstered in houndstooth-style material, complimented by a Black Forest Industries color-matched shift knob and boot,
“Almost every part that has gone into the car has been developed specifically for it within about four weeks,” says Orr. “I was ecstatic to be able to collaborate on a newly released design, from a beloved car line with such great history.”
Inspired by Jetta/Golf accessories from the 1980s and 90s, Air Design USA’s Jetta SEL plays to the strong retro trend among gearheads today. Nineteen-inch TSW Hockenheim S wheels, shod with Falken Azenis FK510 tires, are a modern redesign of the 90s-era DTM-inspired Hockenheim wheel. An Air Design USA body kit with rear lip spoiler is complimented by vintage look tri-color graphics that echo onto a roof-mounted bicycle, attached with Volkswagen Accessories roof bars and upright bicycle rack.
A lowered stance is achieved with EIBACH® Progressive Rate Lowering Springs, while front performance brake calipers get a coat of GLI red paint. Inside, two-tone custom cognac and black colored seating surfaces with matching door cards and steering wheel complete the retro look.
“Air Design’s first styling kits were developed for the Jetta Mark 2 and Jetta Mark 3 and have been part of the Volkswagen Euro-tuning cult, with a legion of dedicated fans throughout the world,” states Mariana Lopez, PR and Social Media Manager for Air Design. “When the Jetta A7 arrived this year, we knew we had to make sure we developed a sporty styling package to be available for our customers.”
When it came to customizing Volkswagen’s upcoming flagship sedan, the tuners at H&R Special Springs didn’t see any need to tinker with the car’s striking exterior design.
“The all-new Arteon is one of most exciting new vehicles to arrive on the automotive scene,” says Roland Graef, president of H&R Special Springs. “The lines on car are very pleasing, with good proportions — everyone that sees it says it looks great.”
The H&R team rose to the occasion instead by lowering the body with its VTF Adjustable Lowering Springs. The stance takes a slightly more aggressive tack thank to 20-inch Rotiform BUC wheels and H&R Trak+ wheel spacers wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires, guarding newly aggressive Brembo GT six-piston Monoblock brake calipers. The sole exterior flourish comes from a set of Sticky Jewel Graphics on the lower sides.
Built to highlight the aftermarket suspension offerings from H&R Special Springs, this Jetta R-Line has been lowered via H&R Street Performance Coil Overs and Trak+ wheel spacers. Perching the car on 19 x 8.5-inch Rotiform BUC wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires has cleared the way for upgraded front performance brake calipers, color-matched to the Habanero Orange factory paint, and 13.4-in rotors.
Styling comes by way of an Air Design USA body kit, including a high-rise rear spoiler and Sticky Jewel graphics. A full suite of available Volkswagen Accessories rounds out the build, including Comfort & Protection accessory MoJoMats® carpet floor mats & MuddyBuddy™ Trunk Liner, Bumperdillo® rear bumper protection, and pop-in sunshades. Even the steering wheel was swapped with a BAK Performance carbon-fiber and leather sport wheel with orange stitching.
“The Jetta is a great car out of the box,” says Graef. “Like all of our projects, we always build vehicles that can be repeated by others and utilized by the daily driver enthusiast.”
Note: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards