In 1989, VW released one of its rarest production cars of all time. It absolutely was a hand built specimen from the production plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. Was themed around its Helios blue paint, although the rare gem wasn’t an increased-performance race edition with extra power and exclusive suspension upgrades.
VW produced only 1500 samples of the special 1989 Jetta GLI 16v in Helios blue, along with the lucky few who obtained an example were bestowed with the typical features found in a loaded GLI. But alongside the exclusive exterior paint, the factory Recaros also received special blue plaid inserts. Aside from color-matched wheels, the cars were identical to their GLI counterparts.
The exclusivity stood the test of your time, with many enthusiasts still lusting after the low-production sedan integrated the venerable Mk2 GLI chassis, although some deemed the Helios upgrades insufficient for admiration.Within the last few years, FMS has built cars for the SEMA show and chose a couple of Jettas to steal the show in 2013. The first can be seen here, while the second car is really a more extrovert widebody conversion for the popular VW sedan that can be seen here. Read about both cars, as well as their build up here. (Widebody build, Helios Jetta build)
The Jetta is a capable car that may be equally appealing when modified, said Rory Stramer from FMS, though Not to take anything away from the wonderful Golf GTI platform. For many people with families, the Jetta is really a more viable option. So that we wanted to show VW fans how the current Jetta adaptsto this sort of treatment. Therefore, we decided on a crazy, high-horsepower, widebody build for just one car, but took a much more attainable approach to the Helios tribute car, he added.
I instantly suggested we build a Helios tribute car, simply because I owned an original and still regret selling it, said Gil Plasencia from FMS Automotive in Cerritos, CA and builder of this car, Once we first explored the idea of building cars for the SEMA booth. The Mk2 chassis really spoke to you and the Helios cars were extra special with the blue paint and special interior. It was exclusive and something only hardcore VW fans know about.
Keen eyes will note that the Tribute isn’t actually Helios blue. It’s finished in Tempest Blue Metallic, which can be almost a dead ringer for the original paint. It’s available on the 2014 VW Jetta and helped inspire this tribute.
Preferred to use Tempest Blue because it’s available right now to anybody wanting to build something similar, even though before balking with the paint code, understand that FMS could have painted it in the original color.
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For your build, we again sourced as many parts as possible from your VW Accessories catalog. We even sourced some OEM parts from across the pond, while everything else came from well respected aftermarket companies that again make the project easily accessible to anybody looking to replicate our car, Plasencia said.
The exterior is simple but effective thanks to OEM parts such as the gloss black mirrors and VW Accessories body kit. The latter was painted black to reflect the trim about the ’89 car.
Other OEM accents feature a gloss black Jetta Hybrid trunk headlights, spoiler and grille. In addition, it has smoked tail lights from the 2014 GLI along with custom LED foglights and blue pinstriping on the front-end.
Life inside is a lot of the same: elegant and restrained. It starts off with Recaro Specialist seats that were reupholstered in black leather with blue/grey cloth inserts, designed to echo the original Helios cloth. This is also carried over to the rear seats. A VW GLI steering wheel was installed, and it was trimmed in black leather with blue stitching. This treatment was then carried over to the e-brake handle, center console and famous golf-ball shift knob.
The RNS315 navigation system and back-up camera were retrofitted into the car. Harder to recognize is the VW Accessories sound box and digital sound processor that had been discreetly mounted in the spare wheel. It improves the sound without sacrificing space and was one of only three units currently in the united statesis indeed cool. It’s got the existing school, throwback feel of the original car. I think we nailed it, Plasencia opined. All show and no go wasn’t portion of the equation. In fact, the original 16v cars were fast within their day, so ignoring performance wasn’t going to fly.
Underneath the hood you’ll find the new 1.8T fortified with APR software and an early production version of its Carbonio carbon fiber cold-air intake.
Downstream, there’s a custom 2.5 exhaust developed for FMS having a Magnaflow muffler to uncork the power and sound.
Of course, more VW accessories found their way onto the new motor, like reservoir caps, while FMS custom-painted the engine cover. When it comes to cutting corners and slowing your roll, you’ll find color-matched Golf R brakes each and every corner, with H&R coilovers bringing down the house.
Turning this symphony of speed into forward motion are a set of ceramic-coated 19×9.5 VW Motorsport wheels that were wrapped in 235/35 R19 Nitto Invo tires.
I think a combination of parts works. It’s got traditional flavor blended with modern style and just enough performance. It’s also something anybody could build. So, i’m pleased with how it ended up and hope it sparks enough interest that VW builds another Helios Edition in the near future, Plasencia said.