Rocky Mountain Club B5

Members => Member of the Month => Topic started by: ColoradoB5 on January 06, 2004, 07:06:41 AM

Title: January 2004 - Jay Gietl
Post by: ColoradoB5 on January 06, 2004, 07:06:41 AM
How I learned to live with an addiction.
Jay Gietl

It all started in the Spring of 2000, I was getting ready to start doing a lot of work my 1977 IHC Scout II and decided I needed another vehicle to get around in while it was down.  I knew I didn't want to buy anything, the economy was good, I just received a raise and a promotion and deals were to be had.  So I started looking, I had seen some "new" Passats on the road and I really liked the style. I had previously owned a 1993 VW Fox and knew I didn't want a small coupe or sedan so the Jetta, Golf and GTI were out of the question.


I started looking at Passats and other comparable cars online, checking prices, reviews, customer comments and of course looking for gripes and bad experiences.  My Fox was a real pain, the car had a lot of problems, but the engine was never an issue until the intake manifold cracked, which to use a cliche, was the straw that broke the camels back.  I knew I didn't want to live with that again, but everything seemed so perfect with the Passat. I was flipping through the paper and I noticed a local dealer, Tynans, had a Passat on special for lease.  it was a 27 month lease on a specific inventory number, this was perfect! I didn't want a lease more than 3 years, and even then, I really only wanted a 2 year. So I called, marched on down to the dealer and BAM! it wasn't there, it was out at another dealership showing off some options. They tried to bait and switch me, but I told them, "call me when it's back in." We set up an appointment to come in and see it on a Saturday morning, I had already test driven another 1.8T manual and was totally satisfied with what the car offered stock.  I drove the specific inventory item I advertised and was sold on it. I wont go into detail about the miserable experience of getting the car from Tynans, but lets just say had I not been so in love with the Passat I wouldn't have leased from them.

So now it's late May, and I have my first brand spankin new car, in my name, being paid for solely by me! I was so happy, it was a huge achievement for me in my life. I wasn't really into modding up front, I liked how quick the car was, it handled well, but it did have a lot of body roll.  However considering my previous vehicles in life it was the nicest car I had ever owned. As time progressed a few months later, boom! Another promotion and raise for me! My new "boss" was a car enthusiast, he used to work on a Porsche racing crew and had a love for fine tuned German automobiles. He mentioned to me about how tunable the 1.8T was and that with a few modifications my family sedan could be a whole different car. I started searching the web for sites that might have info, after all, I had spent the previous 2 years visiting a site for my Scout, so I knew there was something out there. That's when I found ClubB5.

( was a perfect site for me, when I joined the Off-Topic forum was pretty much non-existent and the site was really all technical and seemed like a nice automotive family. I lurked for a few weeks then signed up and absorbed as much information as I could.  I couldn't believe how great the information was.  Around the same time I hooked up with another local auto group called 5280_Hydro, it is a Yahoo eGroup, but the folks were about driving and checking out each others cars so I hooked up with them.  Mostly Jetta's and Golf/GTIs, but it was fun.

Through them I met Boris, Chas, Spec and Andrew at a GTG on a cold January day in Greenwood Village. That was also my first VW GTG I had ever been a part of. After seeing some modified Passats I determined it was time....   

As we rolled into the Spring of 2001 I started looking for things to do, mainly cosmetic since my car was leased and I had no intention of keeping it, so I didn't want to do anything mechanical. I fell in love with what I later coined as the "Common Mod List." This included the Kamei mesh grille, crystal clear corners and sides and the S2000 antenna.  At the time, this was the most common look to the B5 Passat. By June 2001 I had pretty much acquired these parts and had them on, I went to Vegas, pulled up to the Bellagio valet, and knew I had done well when the valet couldn't figure out what kind of car it was.


As 2001 progressed I realized I has only a year left on my car and I was pretty much done, we went on a few more drives that year with the 5280_Hydro group and I believe once as Clubb5. That fall I learned I was going to be losing my job, and made the decision that the romance with my beloved B5 was going to end.  In early 2002 I began selling my "Common Mod List" items and brought her back to stock.  I was unemployed and knew I had her until the end of July.  As 2002 moved along Chas and Boris were working feverishly on the 1st Annual National GTG. I watched the threads closely and began thinking about whether or not I would participate, after having met Chas, Boris, Spec and Adrian previously I figured I'd probably come to the BBQ's and say hi since I wouldn't have my Passat any more.

It was becoming a hard time for me, it was July 2002, no job, no job prospects and I needed to do something, I realized that I needed to keep my Passat because I didn't know where my next job was going to be.  So I started inquiring with VWoA about keeping the car and they said they didn't need to pull a credit report and since I was still receiving severance I was able to prove I still had income.  It was a heavy and dangerous gamble, but went for it and bought my car I had been driving for the last 26 months. As soon as I bought it I worked on re-modding it and so on. It was August and we were just a couple weeks from the National GTG so I needed to do some stuff quick. There was a deal too good to pass up on Eibach sport springs through Impex, bought em, received them the day before the National GTG, stayed up all night doing the front end by myself, then 40 minutes before I had to leave to go meet 03Indigo and Wendy Darling for the first time I finished the back end.  I was able to meet those two at O3Indigo's house and we proceeded to Second Creek Raceway where I met some new friends and got to hang out with some old ones.

However, it didn't stop at the track, I was broke, just bought and installed Springs, and while we were at Boris' house for a BBQ there were raffles for 2 chips.  I was in on the Upsolute one and I ended up winning.  I got a great deal on it and pass-variant was a rep and was able to do the upgrade on the spot! So now, I had new sport springs and a chip! No way! It was incredible, my car handled so much better and was so freakin fast. I spent the next few weeks re-learning how to drive my car and to stop spinning my wheels at the lights. While at the National GTG I got a job offer and I knew things would get better.

In the fall of 2002 I was able to acquire a Chasbar which helped tighten up the front end then in February 2003 I picked up a used set of Borbet S wheels with Bridgestone Potenza's (yeah the freakin Z rated ones!).


I also installed a DieselGeek short shift kit and bought a Kamei illuminated shift knob which I still have yet to install. So here we are in a new year and I have a few wish list items, cat-back exhaust and tinted windows.  Don't know when or if I will do either, but we'll see, I've obviously proven myself wrong already. :)

Here is a list of mods done to my 2000 Passat GLS 1.8Tm:

As Delivered:
Colorado Red
5sp Manual
Beige Velour Interior
15" Stock Steelies w/Contis
6 Disc Changer
Cold Weather Package
Spoiler (not sure by who, the dealer put it on)

Kamei Sport Grille
Crystal Clear Corners
Crystal Clear Sidemarkers
S2000 Antenna Sticker Sticker
Tinted Tails
Rear Fog

Eibach Sport (VW Sport) Springs <-- Dealer option!
Borbet Type S 17" wheels
Bridgestone Potenza RE730 225/45 ZR 17

Audi TT Bypass Valve
DieselGeek Short Shifter
Upsolute Chip

New Beetle Sunglass Holder
Kamei Illuminated Shift Knob (waiting to be installed)
Rubber VW Floor Mats