Less is more. Subtleness, details, the more you look, the more you discover. I have always been a big fan of OEM-plus styling, and my first encounter with it was most certainly the Europeans and their ultra-clean VWs. While the origins of the style could be traced elsewhere, the Europeans certainly put it in the forefront. Now, the level of detail coming from Europe rivals some of the best metal in the hot-rod circles, which when you think about it is really staggering. Here to give you a master-class in OEM+ European styling is Lasse Aunala and his MK5.6 Jetta. Class is in session.
Photos By: Santtu Kilpinen exclusively for StanceNation.com
Why am I such a fan of OEM+? It really all lies in the details to make something factory-fresh, yet custom at the same time. The VW community is a great place to see examples of OEM+ styling with plenty of factory conversions and working factory parts to create a smooth, OEM look. To a lot of the VW community, the goal is to make the car look like it came from the factory with the fit and finish of the parts, paint, and level of execution. The cars are always very COMPLETE builds with the interior, exterior, suspension, brakes, everything nothing gets looked over. When you look at the cars, you can get lost in the details. Shaving, tucking, smoothing, these builds are not only about what you see, but what you don’t see as well.
Lasse’s MK5 Jetta has the perfect balance of OEM and custom mods. To the average person, it’d be hard to identify that this isn’t a mix of MK6 and MK5 Jettas. The conversion was carried out in such a way that it looks like it rolled off the assembly line like this, and it is very impressive. To my knowledge, this is one of the first MK5s I have seen with the MK6 front end swap, and it does a bang-up job of toughening up that front end. All the parts are OE, sourced from the Fatherland, and were actually ordered without even knowing if they would fit according to Lasse. Talk about having faith! In the end though, everything worked and just look at the result.
The front-end conversion consists of all the front panels from a MK6 2009 GTD, the diesel version of the GTI. A GTD front bumper, MK6 hood, adaptive xenon headlights, MK6 GTI grill with GTD emblem, and MK6 Jetta Sportwagen fenders make up the parts for the conversion. As mentioned earlier, all the parts were ordered despite not knowing if anything would fit. Fortunately, Lasse was rather positive, and if it didn’t fit, he’d make it fit, but all with a factory-fresh finish, and you can’t deny that he fell short in that department. The exterior is smooth and sporty, and coupled with a healthy slam and a classic set of wheels, has one intimidating presence.
To bring this sedan to the ground, a tried and true air-suspension setup was used. The VW crowd sure loves their air-ride, and with results like this it’s easy to see why. Also, it’s a little bit easier to fit air on these cars due to their solid-rear beam design meaning the spring and shock are separate, so all that’s needed in the rear is an air-bag to replace the spring which makes it more affordable than a setup with four McPherson struts. Up front, it’s typical business with H&R coilovers with Universal Air Suspension Aero-Sport bags. Out back sees H&R struts with Slam Specialities bags. Management is kept simple with an analog switch setup, and a custom tank with a single Viar 480cc compressor and SMC valves keep the bags in check.
Filling up the arches is a set of, what I consider, one of the most timeless wheels ever, BBS LMs. Sized up at 18×9.5 all around, the classic 2-piece wheels do a great job of fitting the overall look of the car. The little details of the wheels also make them stand out from the crowd. Red-tipped lug nuts on top of the wheel-stud conversion tie in with the red BBS center caps which were chosen because they match the red detailing of the grill. Remember that statement I made about the details? Well, there you go.
With a sport and tough exterior, one would expect the interior to be the same, but as Lasse says, it’s from another world. When the doors open, you’re greeted with a healthy amount of beige leather and deep walnut wood. The Europeans love their interiors and go pretty crazy with their leather and stitching. Lasse’s Jetta delivers in typical fashion with that factory level of finish, the only hints being the gauges monitoring the air setup tucked in the center console. Even the wood-grain touches look factory.
While this might be one of the more subtle cars we’ve featured here on S:N, it doesn’t mean the car is any less impressive. It may not be as in-yer-face, but that’s the whole point of the OEM-plus style. Nothing is meant to jump out at you, but you find yourself staring, and the more you stare the more you discover. This car is all about subtlety and detail. The factory-fresh exterior conversion, classic wheels, simple, air-assisted stance, and detailed interior all executed to the highest degree of fit and finish are what make this car special. Major kudos to Lasse for his take on VWs 5th-generation Jetta. I really love the MK6 front end and everything it does for the car. Enjoy a few more photos from our photographer Santtu who did a great job. Once again, hope you enjoyed this Jetta as much as we did, and feel free to leave a comment below. That concludes this lesson in OEM-plus styling.