Yup. I got a Mk3 Jetta to go with the Golf.

When I bought it, I thought it was a 98, per the seller, but the VIN came back 97, as did the title. Speaking of, I got temp registry for it (45 day tags in Ohio) and just need title transfered to me, but meed a VIN inspection before I can do that, which I can’t do because....

It isn’t roadworthy. It was sitting in his yard (along with around 100 other cars, mostly Mk1-4 VWs, plus a handful of B4 and B5 Passats, some aircooled, and a couple examples of Detroit iron, since 2015 at the earliest. On Thursday when I went out the engine started, but it did not today, probably because there’s no gas in it. That or the sender is dead. But why isn’t it roadworthy?

That’s why. A keen eye will see that five of these six bolts are sheared in half. These were holding the passenger side axle to the transmission. I knew that half shaft was bad going into it, but we both figured it was just some bad CV joints. Now, I just have to take the flange off to get the other halves of the bolts out. I have til June 2, when my tags expire.

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Now, the obvious question is why did the bolts break to start. My hopeful guess is that they were just improperly torqued, backed off, and snapped as a result. The car is in the ballpark of 273k miles on it and the same axle looked newer, as if it was installed by some 21 year old jackass while parked on the street who didn’t have space to torque properly. Apart from the axle, what does it need? Not a lot. Just new tires (two have good tread but have been sitting), all the fluids flushed, brakes bled (but pads and all 4 rotors- it’s a GT, so four wheel discs- look newer), wheel bearing repacked for peace of mind, and one parking brake cable reattached. And a good deep cleaning. Then, I want to get a new steering wheel (Mk3 Cabrio post facelift preferred) and I’ll have a 4 door sedan with four wheel discs, a sunroof, adjustable steering wheel, and seats not bolted to the floor. No clue yet what else it’ll need. The battery had been dead a while before we started it, so no codes were kept.

Now, the rust. Ooh boy. Rockers are almost fully gone, normal for Mk3s, so jack from the subframe, there’s a little on the doors and quarters, plus tge gas cap door, a bit behind the door, but... that’s really about it. Floor pans are good, spare well is good, strut tops are good minus some paint bubble on a front. Clear coat is gone on most surfaces, and some rock chips turned to quarter-sized rust spots on the hood, there’s black plastic on the front bumper showing, but none of it is structural.

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Tow guy was more than happy to drive a hundred miles on Easter Sunday, too. He showed me what AAA paid for his company to take it from Muncie to Dayton- around $650, $100 less than the car cost. I’m really getting my money’s worth on my Premium, and I still have two 100 mile tows left before August. Now, I wait on a specialty tool to pull my flange.

So what are my plans for this? I really don’t have one. It’s in much better shape than I had expected, so that scratched my plan for parts car. Now, it may be a winter beater (but isn’t that the Golf’s job?), might get autox or rallyx prepped (again, the Golf’s job), or I might throw a body kit and wrap on it to hide rust and drop it three inches. Realistically, I'll drive both cars to my taste until one has an irrepairable problem (read: really bad rust or I blow a hold in the 020) then swap good parts to the runner. 

I also made an Instagram for my Mk3s if anybody wants to see how much of a joke these things are. It’s @hoopty_mk3, which is fitting.