RIP: 1999 Jetta dies
A 1999 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg, known early in its life for being a stick shift and in its later years by mechanics in three states, died on Friday, October 21. It was 18, with more than 187,000 miles on its odometer.
The immediate cause of death was overheating on the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to a family member close to – some would say too close to – the Jetta. A mechanic said that even figuring out what had led to the temperature spike would cost more than the car was currently worth.
But to owner Ivan Oransky, who drove the car off the dealer’s lot on August 24, 1998, the value of the Jetta was never financial. “It was what I could afford when I was a medical intern in New Haven. The Jetta served me, and then Cate, well,” Oransky told CarObits.com, speaking of his wife, Cate Vojdik.
Vojdik, who over time found the worn-out seat on the Jetta uncomfortable on trips between New York City and western Massachusetts, credited the car with saving the lives of the couple as well as their cat, Sam, in 2011. The car was totaled when Oransky swerved to avoid a head-on collision with a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, but Oransky bought the car back from his insurance company to have it repaired.
In recent years, the Jetta really began showing its age, requiring a several-month search for a part when its spindle gave out on Thanksgiving Day, 2014. ”VW had stopped making parts for it,” Oransky recalls. “That’s when I knew it was probably just a matter of time.”
After that episode, the Jetta went into less active duty, driven on short jaunts – a number of which required jump-starts — in and around Northampton, Mass. Somewhere along the way, various parts, including a molded plastic runner, went missing, and other parts, including the CD player, drivers’ seat adjuster and right rear window, stopped working properly.
The body of the Jetta, which is survived by two younger siblings — a 2016 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche – is being donated to New England Public Radio. Services will be private.