Sorry for the poor photo, but it's the only one I have handy at the moment. It was taken the day I got it, while waiting for the salesperson to get some paperwork ready.
On July 8th, I was at a red light in my 2000 Corolla CE, waiting for it to turn green, when a black 2002 Dodge truck lost control and T-boned me in the driver's side, spinning me counter clockwise 90* and pushed me into a drainage ditch. He got away with barely a scratch on his bumber. The Corolla, however, was totaled.
After weeks of searching and test driving -- 2003 Chrysler 300M (liked the big 3.5 L engine, but the car felt too big for me), 2002 Dodge Neon (was under-powered and just didn't feel right), 1999 Passat (I really wanted this to be the one, but it was junk), and looked at countless other -- I started to get desperate.
I eventually spotted "Greta" (that's what I'm calling my Jetta until I come up with a better name), my 2002 VW Jetta GLS 1.8t at Bentley Chevrolet in Florence, AL. They wanted $6900 for it, which I thought was too high, so I offered $5000. Thinking they would reject my offer, I continued searching, but on July 24th, 2012 (exactly a month ago today), the anniversary of my wife and I's first date, while eating dinner, the dealership called saying they would accept $5000 + taxes/fees.
So that night, we went to check out the car in person and take it for a spin. While test driving, we took it up the street to AutoZone to get the codes and after presenting them the KBB and Edmund's values and pointing out the check engine light (codes P0171 and P0420), I offered $5000 out the door and they accepted. Later, I realized how much needed to be fixed and realized that I probably could have gotten it for less.
It's not much right now, but it gets me from A to B. All that I've done to it so far is fixing it up -- took out the broken armrest to either repair it or delete it, stripped off the soft touch coating where it was getting gunky, removed the dealership's die-cut label from the trunk, took off the front licence plate frame and plan on filling in the holes, did the key fob range mod, cleaned the engine compartment, etc. How exciting, right?
Right now, I've got to get it running smoothly before I do anything else. My wife is having car troubles, too, so right now, it's just doing things that are either necessary or free. What I'd like to do in the future, though, is maybe get some wheels, change a lot of the lighting over to LED, and do minor performance mods. I don't plan on turning this into a high-power beast or anything like that -- just a fun, sporty 'dub for my wife and I to enjoy.
CHECKLIST (what I'd like to do/have done):
REPLACED - "New" Transmission with ~80k and 1yr. warranty (4/21/14 @ 137,090 mi)
REPLACED - Timing belt (blue Gates racing belt), water pump (metal impeller), tensioner, pulley, and coolant (4/21/14 @ 137,090 mi)
SWAPPED - Center Console with Cupholders (Dec. 2013)
REPLACED - Front Valance (Nov. 2013)
REPLACED - Tiptronic Shifter Cover (Nov. 2013)
MODDED - Gearshift broke, replaced with SPP TipMod (Oct. 2013)
NEW WIPER BLADES - Bosch Icon, 21A & 19B (10/17/13)
NEW BATTERY - EverStart Maxx H-5 (10/11/13 @ 135,577 mi)
OIL CHANGED - Mobil 1 5w-30 and Mobil 1 Filter (9/29/13 @ 135,567 mi)
REPLACED - Replaced MAF w/ Lightly Used One (9/27/13 @ 135,567 mi)
NEW - Front Tires (6/17/13 @ 134,444 mi)
NEW - Pre-Cat. Oxygen Sensor (4/13/13 - Code 17536: System Lean)
NEW - Gates Barricade EFI Hoses (4/10/13)
NEW - Purolator PuroOne Air Filter (4/1/13 @ 133,420 mi)
FIXED - Leaking Sunroof Drain (2/2/13)
CLEANED - Throttle Body and Intake Air Temp. Sensor (12/8/12 @ 131,668 mi.)
INSPECTED - Diverter Valve; Suction Good (12/8/12 @ 131,668 mi & 4/13/13)
NEW - Transmission Solenoids - OEM, All 9 (12/2/12)
OIL CHANGED - Valvoline SynTech 5w-30 and Bosch Distance+ Filter (12/1/2012)
NEW - NGK BKR6E Spark Plugs (10/14/12)
NEW - Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gasket (10/14/12)
NEW - 034 Motorsports Silicone PCV Hoses (9/27/12)
PAINTED - Body Color Rear View Mirror (9/18/12)
PAINTED - Side Mirror Caps (9/14/12)
TEMPORARY FIX - Vacuum Line from Intake Manifold to Brake Booster
RECALLED - Ignition Coils (Eligible for Recall)
TEMPORARY FIX - Removed Broken Arm Rest
REPLACE - Cracked Windshield
BAD - Code 16795: Incorrect Flow - Install New SAI Pump (have pump, need to install)