Seldom do we meet people who can see things on a larger scale than what we can see ourselves. Even more rare to meet people who tell things as they are without a care of how people will perceive them afterwards. We crave those people. Those who have an open mindset and see things as they are. I have met very few people who have this outlook on things outside of the car community. But when its someone who is within the community, someone you share a common bond with, it becomes an interesting friendship. It's knowing that no matter what questions you have, there's someone to give you an outside perspective on the way things are. For us, that go to person is none other than Matt Greene (@mattgreenevw). Matt is a U.S. Army Veteran who has served for our country over seas in the middle east. He is also probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the community, bar none. These attributes aside, Matt has seen what our community started out as and what it has become today. Some of you may read this solely to gaze upon the beauty that is Matt's MKIII Jetta. While others may not agree with what we will discuss. But we aren't here to please the masses, nor is Matt here for the "scene points." Without further a due, here is our feature on Matt Greene and his 94' Volkswagen Jetta.
So without diving too deep into our discussion, because it will get hot and heavy, lets talk about where it started. As with all of our features we want to know what fueled the fire, what sparked the passion? For Matt, it was in 2001 with his aired out S10 breaking necks in the high school parking lot. Fast forward to 2004 where he graduated into cars that were a little bit faster with a SRT-4. Unfortunately the brutal speeds from the SRT-4 were a struggle to tame, it ended up in the back of a Thunderbird. With that out the window, what was to be next on the list of Greene machines? As it turns out Matt's dad was a manager at a car lot that happened to be home to 1.8T MKIV Jetta, that obviously went home with him the same day. Mind you in high school Matt owned a MKIII Golf that he putted around town in, so VW's weren't really anything new to him. Nor was modifying a car, hell on Day 1 the exhaust was cut because why the hell not? Day 2 and a cone filter was installed. Over the course of 6 months the car was lowered, chipped, and had a slew of other goodies added on. But the best part about owning the car, in Matt's opinion, was meeting the VW community at the time. Over night he had more friends than he ever had before, even now Matt keeps in contact with many of the people he has met over the years and at that time. One of those people being his now wife, Andi Greene.
After the MKIV Matt began to dabble with all sorts of different VW models, just to find what would suit him best. From having 3 Corrados, a couple MKIIs, and then the multitude of MKIIIs. It was the MKIIIs that showed Matt where he belonged, jumping through several GTI's and applying what would be considered "normal" modifications. It wasn't until when him and Andi got engaged that he stepped into the car that would change how he is seen across the community. It was a Silver Arrow VR GTI, the car that most people know Matt for in the first place. It wasn't known for its show worthiness, not because it received over a thousand likes on InstaGram, no. The car put Matt on the map within the community because he did everything he possible could to squeeze as much power out of the car, without it leaving the garage. This was achieved through making his own exhaust that he had a friend weld once he was ready. Using actual mathematics, and not a guessing game, coupled with trials and tribulations of experimental parts he ended up making as much power as people with built N/A motors. All said and done the car made 190whp with a stock long block. For spending not a lot of money, its surely a feat to be recognized of. Especially when there was no such thing as being Instafamous. That one build opened the flood gates and Matt was then deemed as the "go to person" in the community. To this day Matt continues to help people troubleshoot problems that go on with their builds and simply to give advice. But isn't this what our community is supposed to be? "Family and dedication to helping others." This was just one of many quotes by Matt that hit me directly in every feel. It's the people who stay true to the community that Matt values and is drawn towards. We couldn't agree anymore. "I am not in the VW community for anything other than fellowship." It's these beliefs that make us have more hope for those within the community. To see that there are those who care about things other than being "Instafamous".
Now that you have some insight into who Matt is, lets pull back more of the curtain on his 94' Jetta. Believe it or not that Jetta may have not been where it was today if not for the tear down of the GTI. In fact it was Andi that happened to stumble upon the car on craigslist. The 1 owner Jetta was not too far away from the Greene's residence at the time. Finding out the car was an automatic was somewhat disappointing for Matt, but then hearing the car had 61,000 miles on it. It couldn't have been passed up. While viewing the car it became apparent there was no signs of rust or body damage, and so it was swiftly purchased. Day 1 began with a VAST majority of parts installed on it from his GTI. Soon it was an Automatic ABA with stage 3 DS axels, 5 lug swap with upgraded rotors, poly bushings, and motor mounts that were stiff enough to withstand far more than the car could. After throwing on the NGP coilovers and Gottis, the time came for it to meet the pavement. This lasted for a month or so before Matt deployed to Kunar, Afghanistan in 2013. The car was on jack stands and draped with a car cover until September of 2014 when he returned home. Quickly the car was made driveable again and promptly taken to H2Oi the same year. In the past year the car has been given all the attention it needs to how it sits today. After starting life as an OBD1 automatic, it is now an OBD2 manual. Gone are the NGP coils and in are the KW V2s. The 16x9.5 Gottis are still present, however, the new bits include euro bumpers, full black interior swap with sport plaid seats, and Vortech V9 supercharger for whines and giggles.
At around this point we usually have a questionnaire where we ask a multitude of questions to, well those in question. But with Matt, we only had two questions that we really wanted to ask. Two questions that will either resonate with the masses, or rub a few the wrong way. Besides those factors we would think it be beneficial for you the readers to ask Matt your own questions and get inside the head of someone who has been in the community for quite some time now. With that said...
Q: What are your thoughts on the community? I hate saying the word "scene", but what's your take on the state of things?
A: My favorite question. There is a difference between the scene and the community. I will address the scene first. The scene is well and alive. Thriving better than ever. The scene is thriving so well that it is in fact taking over the community. Which is where my problem with it begins. I understand completely that people want to be famous and have a lot of followers and all that. But the scene has become a race to see who can be the most popular. Who can go to the most shows and bring home a 1st place trophy and get all of that attention. Good for them. Trust and believe if I wanted to send out my parts for chrome plating and pay someone to build me a motor and shave my bay I could definitely afford to do it. The problem is I am not here to do what everyone else likes. I am here to learn and see what I can do myself. I personally do not know how to chrome plate. So nothing I own is chrome plated. Nobody has heard of Matt Greene built, its all Schimmel built or some other company, so I do not own any fancy built parts. Its all stuff I did myself with sourced parts. I don't know how to properly shave a bay without a bunch of filler that's going to crack in 2 years like the majority of builds do. So nothing I own has a shaved bay. If I did want that stuff I could try and turn to a member of the COMMUNITY that knows how and could spread some knowledge. The problem with that is those people are few and far in between. Anyone that knows a skill like that wants to hide it form everyone and make a buck. While that is perfectly fine, a lot of people don't have the confidence, know how, not to mention time or space to try something new. Well some of us do and that is where the community starts. That simple fact is also why the community will always be here after the scene cars die and that crowd moves on to the next generation or the next model of car. The community is about people that will stand beside you and help you with whatever you need. We are all busy and trying to make it in this crazy world. But when it comes to being a part of a community you make that time to help out your fellow BROTHER. If you cant be a contributing member of the community then that makes you part of the scene. Plain and simple. That is why you will continue to have show winning cars that belong to people that are too good to even say hi to you or check your car out at the next show. They only want to find the next hook up so they can pay less for their next mod.
Pause, this response evoked so many emotions within myself that resonated with every fiber of my being. There could not be a more true statement that reflects what is going on currently within our own world. To often do we see people who are not genuine towards others, people who would rather be known for something other people like than being known for what they themselves have built on their own. And built not to be famous, but to build for the sake of being a gear head. To build for your own pleasure and enjoyment.
Q: What would you change about the community if you could?
A: If I could change anything about the community it would be the mass broadcast of this: "com·mu·ni·ty :a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals." If people realized what the community was about and actually worked to achieve the definition of it, EVERYTHING would change. A community needs several levels. We need new people that want to learn. Mid level skilled people that can answer common questions and then subject matter experts that can be there when all other avenues fail. The immediate judgement of any new member of our community for sure scares away people. I am guilty of it to, posting that gif image of "post new thread and the hand grabs the arrow and puts it on search." Sometimes its necessary, some entry questions are exactly what we don't want in the community like, "how can I poke and stretch on garbage coilovers and get all the scene points". But some people may actually have a future in the community and are pushed away because the mid level community thinks they are experts and are quick to hit submit on that judging reply.
An interesting reply to say the least is it not? Who would think outside of this? What I'm saying is, everyone is quick to judge and blow people off without actually taking the time to educate them. Hell it's the same thing Matt just replied as his answer. No one has taken the time to think outside of what they know and see what someone else may not know. Some people want to achieve a certain look without understanding the repercussions of what they may do. Sure being hella low static is cool, but at what cost? Some people have no idea until it's too late to turn back and reverse the damage done. But what if you could be static and low and look good with the help and knowledge of those who have been there and continue to do so now? It's definitely something to ponder upon.
So what now? What does the future hold for the Greene's and their machines? Well I for one can to tell you to expect a joint article including Andi and her GTI, that is an absolutely oasis among many. I can also tell you the Gottis are for sale and will be replaced by either another 3-piece set or one of the RS' sets Matt has lying around. Besides that? Who knows, maybe the community will go through some hardcore cleansing and be restored to its former self, or segregate itself further into a void of "scene" versus community. We hope we can play a role in bringing things back together, and we hope this article, along with Matt's words and view of things will help to push us into the right direction. Matt would like to thank his wife Andi for being there through thick and thin, purchasing parts that may be beyond the cost of what others would be willing to pay, and to simply have someone who can be in the garage all day and not care one bit. To those who are actually part of the community and are DIY-ers (check that out in the Greene Thesaurus with other experimental language) willing to lend a hand to anyone. A thank you to those who didn't take Matt's words to heart and are not in a corner crying. Some parting words? "Fake parts do not equal "built", it equals scene." As always we will continue to be voice for those who wish to speak, and for those we would love to have speak. We cannot thank Matt enough for giving us an opportunity to write about him and his home brewed Jetta. We would also like to thank Matt for his service, as some of us do not carry the same courage he does to fight for our country over seas. Thank you all.
Photo by James Brown
Words by Sean O'Connor