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Ruben Pina Jr.'s 1997 Volkswagen GTI DE
A little bias never hurt anyone now........Did it?
By Ruben Pina Jr.
Photography by Ruben Pina Jr.
September 2005
I'm sorry guys, I know it might be unfair, but I just love my car so much I had to make it September car of the month! Could you blame me really? :-x Anyways, as most of you may know, I recently acquired this car from a fellow V-dub enthusiast in Jacksonville, Florida. I will give you a little history behind why I would go to such lengths just to get what is seemingly "just another GTI."
Well, it all started in September of 2003. I was without a car, at least one that ran, and I was in dire need of something that would not only get me from place to place, but one that I liked. I have always loved the way that the MK3 GTI's looked and being that I had only seen a few in San Antonio, I knew I had to get one. Upon searching, I came across the VWVortex forums, which is the biggest resource for VW's, and started looking for my next car. I looked for a few months till I finally found what I wanted. It was a 1997 GTI DE in Ginster yellow. This car already was supercharged, had a Quaife LSD, and a whole laundry list of other modifications. Only problem was that it was located in Pennsylvania. I told the owner I would pay him an extra $500 if he would drive it down to me and he accepted. That is when my V-dub love started.
Well, needless to say, I loved the car. The car was incredibly fast and the interior was immaculate on it. The only problem was that the supercharger kit that was on the car was notorious for running dangerously lean. So I got a hold of ATP and got their 310cc injector upgrade kit which included the software to run the bigger injectors. Me being the master mechanic I am decided to put the injectors and the chip in myself. Well, when I was installing the injectors I forgot to put on one of the o-rings that sealed the injectors onto the fuel rail. Anyways, I finished installing the injectors and the chip and what a difference it made! The car was sooooo quick after that. But, without my knowledge one of the fuel injectors was leaking gasoline onto the alternator. The car ran fine for about two days and then kaboom; a fire erupted and the car was gone.
The insurance covered the car and I took off the expensive parts and sold then on the Vortex. I used the money to buy me a 2002.5 GLI. I drove the car for a little over a year but missed having a GTI so bad. So, I sold my Jetta and went back to the Vortex. I looked for a few months and found the perfect car. It was a 1997 GTI DE in Ginster yellow, the exact same car I used to have! I had to get it. Only problem was that it was in Florida. No problem, I took out a loan and flew over to get it. I was a little nervous that when I got there I would see it and it might not be as great as the pictures. Let me tell you, it was in even better shape in person than in pictures. The car was amazing!
So I started my long haul back home which took me 26 hours to get home because of I-10 being shut down for the hurricane damage. I loved every minute of it though and would do it all over again if I had to. The car ran like a champ all the way home and still does even know. Once home I gave it a detail, clay bar, wax job, and some other odds and ends that it needed. I love the car and can't wait to start modding it. I am going to take my time but this 1997 VW GTI DE is part II and will be even better than the first! So stay tuned for what you will find!

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Owner info: SooprmanX
Name: Ruben Pina Jr.
Occupation: Telephone/Computer Technician

Vehicle Specs:
Year: 1997
Make: Volkswagen
Color: Ginster Yellow
Model: GTI VR6 Driver's Edition
Engine:2.8 Liter

Engine Modifications: GIAC chip, P-flow intake, Scorpian muffler, powdercoated manifold, Inxx hood struts
Transmission Modifications: Stock
Suspension Modifications:H&R Sport Springs, Bilstein Sport Struts
Brake Modifications: Zimmerman cross drilled rotors, Mintex redbox pads
Wheels and Tires: Fittipaldi Argus wheels 17x7(Black polished lip) and Kumho Ecsta 205/40/17 tires
Exterior/Body Modifications: Zender front spoiler, JOM badgeless grill, JOM M3 mirrors, ABT side skirts, S3 tail lights, VIN etched in all windows, ABT hatch emblem, European plate
Interior Modifications: ABT pedals and door pins, European headlamp switch, Passat cup holder, chrome fire extinguisher!
Mobile Electronics: Optima Red-top battery, Alpine 3 disk indash CD, PPI A200 amp, MTX crossover, Kicker 12 L7(Square Sub)
Lighting Modrifications: Smoked side-markers