The Most Striking Volkswagen Jetta At SEMA Was Actually Made In Only Six Weeks

Well known Volkswagen enthusiast Jamie Orr thought of a fantastic project with Volkswagen of America - to build an awesome custom Volkswagen Jetta S in six weeks’ time and present it at this year’s SEMA. With the photos of his astounding Jetta bathing the fields of social networks all around the world, I am here to tell you about the tiresome, but fun six-week voyage Orr had to take to finish this project. Right now, the White Silver Jetta S is exposed at the SEMA Motor Show, and it showcases a wide array of aftermarket parts. Orr was directly involved with the development of these parts as they basically did not exist six weeks ago. Not in their physical form, not as 3D rendering pieces on a PC, or even as ideas. Well, right now, they garnish the exterior of possibly the best car Volkswagen showcased at SEMA this year. This all-involving project was focused on crafting aftermarket pieces from the ground up.

What Does Jamie Orr Say About The New Jetta S At SEMA?

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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With so little time and so much work to do, Orr had to start from a clean sheet of paper and actually imagine every single thing about this car. Orr, who is a really cool car guy, I must add, told me that he started with a completely original vehicle and imagined it all from the ground up.

“The most challenging part of the project was that nothing had been produced for the car yet. I started with a completely original vehicle, and had to measure it one day to see what I could do,” Orr told me.

Well, the measurements were obviously right as the end result includes a number of cool touches that include a 3D-printed body kit, a custom interior, all-new wheels, and a stance reminiscent of what Europeans do with their cars.

It seems that European stanced cars and car tuning trends in Europe were the main inspiration points for Orr as he tasked KW to produce the suspension pieces up to his specifications.

Creating custom coilovers was the only way he could achieve the desired car height. The adjustable set of KW coilovers gave a rather cool appearance to the Jetta and have remote reservoirs. These do, in fact, make it possible for the Jetta to sit as low as it does.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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“This style of being able to drive the car low due to suspension travel and wheel offset is a trend in Europe currently, and I wanted a striking design for SEMA,” Orr commented on the style and suspension.

Well, it is a striking piece for sure. No question there.

New Wheels Debuted On The Jamie Orr Volkswagen Jetta S

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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“I collaborated with Work Wheels to make a custom set of T5R 2P 20” wheels, which are debuting on the Jetta. They have a very high offset which allows the wheels to clear the big ECS Tuning, two-piece, Rotor-based brake setup while staying inside the fenders.”

Well, with all new wheels and a body-kit debuting here, you have to acknowledge the greatness of this build. This feat is enriching the Jetta habitat and offering something thought-provoking to those who own these cars.

The specially designed Work Wheels T5R 2P 20-inch wheels took the whole stanced car style to another level.

Work Wheels has never showcased this design before, and yes, they are available for order. In this case, the wheels hide massive ECS brakes. Orr was able to fit brakes like these thanks to the installation of the new wheels which have big enough offset for the big discs and calipers.

3D-Printed Body-Kit

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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Obviously, designing a body-kit for a car and actually making it is an all-time dream for a regular gearhead. Orr is just that, and he reached out to ECS Tuning to use their 3D printer for producing the parts.

“The body kit is probably that part that I’m most excited about for the future of car modifications.”

I asked Orr if he could share his thoughts on 3D printing and possible mass market applications. This was his response:

“To be able to 3D scan and design body parts within a matter of weeks isn’t new but being able to make it into a physical form on this scale is still a technique which is reserved for really big 3D printers. As the technology evolves, I suspect we’ll see more and more people using it. ECS Tuning plans to offer the parts in final form in both Carbon and plastic, but to be able to produce the one-offs this quickly and with this quality is just phenomenal. And I couldn’t be happier with their realization of the design elements that I wanted.”

3D-printed parts include:

  • Front lip
  • Bumper canards
  • Rear diffuser
  • Rear spoiler (Orr smartly left a piece of the rear spoiler unpainted so that people at SEMA can actually see the printed piece)
2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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The integration of the lengthened side skirts was the final exterior custom touch. Orr decided to lengthen the original Volkswagen-built pieces. It worked, obviously.

Drivetrain and Performance

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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Out of three custom Volkswagen Jetta cars actually prepared for SEMA debut in the U.S., not a single one featured any meaningful drivetrain upgrades. The reason is really logical. As Orr said, cars aren’t actually moving at SEMA, so he focused on the styling and the suspension. It shows.

The car feels quite sophisticated. Now, that does not mean he did not play with the idea of engine upgrades.

First of all, the car he based his work on is a Jetta with a 6-speed manual transmission. It has a 1.4-liter TSI engine that has 148 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. So, it’s not a runner. Regardless of this, it is garnished with a Borla Cat-Back exhaust system. Orr is open to working more on the exhaust and on the engine, but not for SEMA.

“I will definitely work on the engine, and the Borla exhaust system is ready for the upgrades. As SEMA is a show that doesn’t allow movement of the car, I spent the limited time on the body and chassis to start with,” he said.

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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Actually, some engine upgrades might be finished before the Worthersee Tour. Obviously, a gem like this has to reach a venue that celebrates all Volkswagen. Orr plans to exhibit the car at Wörthersee in 2019, as part of his “USA to Worthersee Tour.” Cool guy, I told you so!

I am just thinking. Can we expect a cool swap? A 2.0 TSI, or even something with more than four cylinders? After all, Orr has that 3.2-liter Golf Mk1. He knows a thing or two about swaps.

Details That Matter

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Interior
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Gifting the Jetta with fine custom pieces on the outside is only a part of the story.

Orr reached out to Black Forest Industries and Recaro to find ways to improve the interior.

They worked on installing a new shift knob and a center armrest with a final touch of adding in Recaro A8 front seats wrapped in Houndstooth fabric. That was not all. You will not find the following pieces in the cabin of any other Jetta:

  • VW Accessories Aluminum Pedal set
  • VW Golf R flat-bottom steering wheel
  • VW Accessories rear side window shades
  • VW Mojo Mats carpet floor mats
  • VW Bi-LED projector headlights (ok, this is outside, don’t hate me)

Jamie Orr had only one regret with the creation of this car.

“My biggest regret? I have a factory produced Marin Gestalt X11 bicycle in matching Volkswagen white-silver color, but due to the custom roof rack not being finished in time, it hasn’t been displayed on the car yet. I will finally do so at SEMA though.

I love putting small details and touches into my projects and hope they all add up to a car that people can explore and find new things on as they look at longer. The Marin bicycle is one small example of this, and I’m so grateful to them and all the other friends in the industry who helped make this Jetta possible in 6 weeks.”

2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr Exterior
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Obviously, this story teaches us about the process behind the creation of some of the most amazing cars that appear at SEMA. Although having only six weeks to finish the build, Jamie Orr and, I believe, a whole army of designers, car enthusiasts, gearheads, and, above all, positive chaps, worked endlessly to make this Jetta ready for SEMA. And they did. Not only that, but the Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr basically served as a platform for the debut of the custom KW coilovers, new wheels, a 3D printed body-kit never seen before, and a multitude of other pieces no one previously thought of integrating on the latest Jetta S.

Further Reading

2019 Volkswagen Jetta Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line by H&R Special Springs Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line by H&R Special Springs.

Safet Satara
About the author

Volkswagen of America, Inc. is pleased to announce that the Volkswagen Jetta has been chosen by three top automotive builders and customizers as a platform to showcase parts, equipment and build potential at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show® in Las Vegas, between October 30 and November 2. The sedan’s large, more dynamic proportions have made it an appealing car to highlight both cosmetic and performance-based parts and accessories to attendees.

“Straight from the factory, the seventh-generation Jetta’s bold new design grabs people’s attention,” says Robert Gal, Senior Manager, Performance & Accessories, Volkswagen Sales & Marketing. “The fact that this group of top tuners and customizers chose it as a canvas for their offerings and creativity is further testament to its appeal."

The following Jetta builds will be on display from October 30th to November 2nd at various locations in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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. Lowered on KW Clubsport coil-overs that feature remote reservoirs and three-way adjustable damping, the aggressive stance highlights a set of 20-inch Work Emotion T5R 2P wheels. Wrapped in Delinte DS8 tires, the wheels make their world debut on the car, and showcase ECS Tuning brake rotors with Brembo six-piston calipers up front and Golf R calipers/carriers at the rear.

The Jetta’s aesthetics are further highlighted by an ECS Tuning 3D-printed prototype body kit, including a high-rise rear spoiler. Interior ambiance is enhanced by Black Forest Industries color-matched shift knob and boot, RECARO® A8 seats and rear seats reupholstered in houndstooth style material. “I’ve been a longtime fan of the Volkswagen Jetta, and have owned many, from the first generation onward,” says Orr. “This latest iteration has some really interesting and exciting design elements, which I was thrilled to try to highlight through this project.”

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