1997 Jetta GLX VR6 (Mk3). For its age it's a great little performance car to buy for someone on a budget. You can pick these cars up now anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000.
Here's what you need to watch for when buying this car, besides the normal stuff.
These cars attract rust like bees to honey, if you live anywhere they salt roads. So make sure you check the rocker panels, most MK3 VWs love to rot there. Also check around fenders and rear quarter panels. Open the gas lid and check for rust behind it.
But most importantly, open the hood and check the strut towers, because for some reason, Jettas with VR6 motors seem to have the strut towers rot out, which if not caught early will destroy the car. Also check the floor boards for holes, as the rubber plugs love to fall out and leave golf ball size holes in the floor boards that rust and get bigger.
Well the main thing you wanna ask is if the "timing chains were replaced". To check this, put your head close to the right side of the engine (near the coil pack) and listen for a noise that kinda sounds like a chain bouncing around. If you hear that, talk the price down $1000. Cause that's how much a normal shop will charge to fix it. Cause the transmission has to be removed, making it a 10 hour shop job.
Also, when you get in the car, throw it in reverse and back up a hill. If it pops out of gear, or makes a grinding sound, don't buy it. Also make sure the car has pink antifreeze (G12), not the green stuff.
These cars are a lot of fun to drive. Interiors are really nice. The leather seats can be a bit stiff. Car could be quieter inside. With an Borla exhaust it sounds like a sports car. (Check youtube)
Since these cars are old and getting rare, Autozone, Advance and Nappa don't carry parts for them much anymore. So you will have to order stuff online, which ends up being cheaper.
Modding this engine will also empty your pocket.
If you're wanting to go crazy with mods and don't have a lot of money, get a 1.8T motor instead.