Buckets of carbon, widened body, bagged and sitting on Rotiforms; this ‘Roccos got the lot.
We all get into mischief when we’re teenagers, that’s just life. You’ve got to push the boundaries and find the limits of what you can achieve (and what you can get away with). Although for Mark Shepstone – known to everybody as ‘Sheep’, so that’s what we’ll call him – this idea was taken rather literally. A Citroën Saxo Mischief, to be precise, the special-edition hatchback in vivid Inbetweeners-yellow that he started out with when he first got his licence. “I loved that car,” says Sheep. “As much as it was held together with rust and Irn-Bru cans, it was still my baby. It didn’t really get too many mods; the odd painted badge and new speakers, and obviously chrome Lexus lights!
That car made the journey for a 1.6 Astra SXi, which after less than six months of owning cost me my licence – don’t speed and use your phone, kids!” Wise words, and suitably chastened by the ban, Sheep found himself having to start again with a smaller-engined ride, the insurance woes being a natural consequence of the situation. The 1.1-litre Citroën C2 may not have been quick, but it did serve a valuable role: this was the car upon which our woolly hero began to appreciate the methods and merits of more in-depth modifications. And we’re not talking half-measures here – he added a shagpile roof, a full custom boot build, a tasty repaint in black and orange, coilovers, the works. And after a couple of years Sheep levelled up to a BMW E36 Compact so he could start all over again, the mods including the loudest pipes he could possibly fit. “It sounded pish because it was an auto,” he laughs. A few other cars came and went, and some mini-motos too, until eventually he settled upon the car that he really desired: the VW Scirocco.
“I’ve always been into modding cars, and I’ve always helped friends modify their cars,” he says, “but being an apprentice mechanic, I wasn’t very financially stable so I couldn’t spend fortunes to start with. However, I’ve always been into VWs, and when I started a new job as an aircraft builder I was able to save up a bit of money and buy a Scirocco. I guess I hadn’t seen a lot of modified ones at the time and it seemed like a good base; I clearly remember my mum saying ‘I hope you’re not going to modify this one,’ and obviously my response of ‘No, of course not’ was a total lie!”
BAGS OF FUN
The dream car in question was found at a local VW dealer, a bog-standard GT in white – packing the TDI motor, as Sheep was still eddying in the wake of that driving ban. And of course, as we’d all wholly expect, it didn’t stay bog-standard for very long at all. After a little sweet-talking with his mum (because, despite being a grown man, it never pays to piss off your ma), he convinced her that yes, it was a wise investment to lay down a fat wedge on some Air Lift suspension and a decent set of wheels. And so the game was afoot!
“David stepped up and fabricated metal infills”
“I fitted the air-ride myself after having a couple of issues with the air supplier, and the car slowly started to progress and won a couple of shows,” Sheep recalls. “The body was then fully smoothed off by Simons Coachworks, and Del at Optimus Trimmers carried out a full white leather and blue Alcantara retrim. Jonny at Elite Customs made up the exhaust system, and the wheels got fully polished by Mike the Polisher. It kept progressing, until eventually I’d taken the car as far as I could and was at a bit of a crossroads, not knowing if I should sell it or continue and go wide-body…”
There’s an old saying that applies perfectly here: if there’s any doubt, there is no doubt. The very fact that Sheep was talking about wide-body stuff means that he’d clearly already made his mind up. And so it came to pass – before he knew it, he was stock-piling parts ready to take the Scirocco to the next level. It took a lot of research to determine which bodyshop would be most appropriate to get the job done right, but eventually Sheep arrived at Connell Motorsport and found himself among kindred spirits. “I went to see David and Del down at Connell, and they seemed up for the challenge so the car was booked in and the parts were ordered,” he recalls. “At this point I feel I should highlight that when you decide to go wide-arch and set a budget, triple it! The small parts that had to be sourced honestly nearly broke me. And as the car was cut up and the kit slowly pieced together, weeks of head-scratching and stress followed as I knew I wanted the kit smoothed, which was a massive problem trying to smooth in and stop cracks appearing. Oh, I also found out I would have to totally change the bumpers to the Scirocco R ones just to give the kit any chance of fitting!”
That’s the thing about being a trailblazer though, isn’t it? It’s easy enough to copy other people because it’s all been done before, but where’s the satisfaction in that? Sheep was very much doing things the hard way, but the rewards at the end are so much greater.
FEELING THE BLUES
While all this was going on, Sheep had been agonising over which colour to paint the car once it was complete, trying to find something that’d really suit it that hadn’t already been done to death. Then one day, quite by chance, he stumbled across BMW’s Yas Marina Blue, and instantly knew that this was the answer. With that decision made, the interior came out, as did all the glass, and the freshly reworked shell was slathered in its new shade… at which point Sheep decided that he wanted the rubstrips removed and the doors smoothed too. “That went down well,” he laughs. “David stepped up and fabricated metal infills – not just fibreglass filler, this full job had hours of metal fabrication put into it. I’m sure each door alone had something like twenty hours of work put into them. After David was finished with it, my friend Kirky – sadly now passed away – came and collected the car and safely delivered it to the unit I was borrowing to finish the project. I spent every night down in that unit till 10, 11, 12 o’clock to finish it, and eventually after a good six weeks of rebuilding it finally moved under its own power.”
“before he knew it, he was stock-piling parts ready to take the Scirocco to the next level”
You’ve probably spotted by now that while much of this build is working to a grand over-arching plan, the details keep spearing off on tangents as Sheep has new ideas, and that’s exactly what happened next. A good friend, David Craig, made a custom carbon fibre boot floor for the car as a favour in exchange fixing his Astra, and it suited the car so much that Sheep opted to follow a full-on carbon theme. “I decided to go mental once again and carbon-skin everything I could,” he grins. “Craig McCloy of CMCarbon was called and he worked his magic with my full interior plastics, and some custom speaker pods which started life as fi re extinguishers. Mark at BYC was then contacted and he built me the massive wing for the back of the car, which also saw Craig’s carbon treatment.”
And still the twists and turns kept coming. With the kit fitted, Sheep wanted to keep his Rotiforms but knew they had to be made a lot wider to suit the new dimensions. Unfortunately, it turned out that Rotiform couldn’t provide the custom lips he was after, so Sheep sent out a widespread SOS and thankfully his stepdad managed to find a UK-based company who could fabricate them. Eventually, after so much to-ing and froing and endless perfectionist tweaks to get everything just-so, the masterpiece was finally complete. A fully custom, one-off widebody Scirocco. The car that Sheep’s entire motoring life had been leading up to.
See, he may have got into his fair share of mischief as a teen, but our lives are defined by our experiences, and everything that’s happened has been a stepping stone toward this Scirocco. Sheep told us during the shoot that he’d been wanting a magazine feature since he was 17. And here it is, earned totally on merit.
TECH SPEC: VW SCIROCCO
Styling: BMW Yas Marina Blue (full glass-out respray), Scirocco R bodykit, arches cut and tubbed, Karztec wide-arch kit smoothed into body, carbon lip spoiler, carbon window spats, carbon diff user, custom carbon BYC wing, laser-cut winglets, Bentley fuel filler cap, gloss black grilles, Scirocco R DRLs/indicators, gloss black scuttle, smoothed bonnet, bootlid, and doors, rubstrips removed, welded and smoothed
Tuning: 2.0-litre TDI, Darkside Developments EGR delete and DPF delete, K&N Typhoon intake, front-mount intercooler with custom piping, full stainless 3in turbo-back quad-exit exhaust system, leather/Alcantara engine covers, remapped to 197bhp / 330lb.ft, Stage 3 race clutch, single-mass flywheel
Chassis: 11.5x18in (front) and 12x18in (rear) Rotiform ROC 3-piece split-rims, 265/35 (f) and 275/35 (r) Toyo Proxes tyres, Air Lift Performance struts/bags and V2 management, Golf R brakes – calipers painted Yas Marina Blue
Interior: Full leather/Alcantara retrim, white half-rollcage, custom carbon fibre boot floor, carbon V2 manifold, carbon air tank with custom aluminium hardlines, carbon door running plates, carbon door handles, carbon dash trims, Defi boost gauge, OBD management gauge in custom carbon holder, Golf R pedals, custom gearknob, full Hertz speaker upgrade, 2x custom carbon speaker pods (made to look like mini air tanks), 2x active subs behind front seats, full stereo system wire upgrade
Thanks: “Biggest thanks to my family, who kept my spirits up on the many occasions I wanted to ditch the whole idea. Huge thanks to Royal Mail for providing many deliveries. Again, another massive thanks to my girlfriend for putting up with countless hours of moaning about how things weren’t working. Massive thanks to Derek and Davie at Connell Motorsport for taking on the mammoth task of wide-bodying and respraying the Scirocco. Thanks to Simons Coachworks for years of me pestering them for paintwork. Thanks to David Craig for doing the false floor, and to Martin Bonar for changing a fuse. Huxtable Design and Build, and Caan Design for letting me store and finish building the car in their unit. Loads of other people to thank, the list is endless and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Name: Mark Shepstone – aka ‘Sheep’
Occupation: Aircraft fitter/mechanic
First car: The mighty Saxo Mischief
Favourite car: R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, by far
Favourite modification on your car? Has to be the widebody
Favourite show: Tough one… Dubshed is one of them, along with Cleanfest. Although I’ve been to a few Knockhill and Crail events and they have been tremendous as well
Track day or show and shine? I would have said show-and-shine, but I’m starting to change towards track days due to having a new project build
Lessons learned from this project: Where do I start?! Parts suppliers overseas lie about panel fitments, bank balances will be drained, relationships tested… you realise just how well the body copes with zero sleep, and Red Bull and Pro Plus will cause bowel irritations. Honestly, the best advice I can give to anyone wanting to widebody their car is to really do your homework; there’s going to be decisions you need to make about cutting and fitting and what will look best, just stick with your decisions and don’t keep changing your mind. And also, a decent lottery win will help out!
Any future plans? I had planned to AWD the Scirocco and have the power played with, but to be honest I’m actually at the point where I’m planning to sell it (@sheepy112 on Instagram if you wanna do a buy!). I’m currently building an E46 skid car that, all being well and if I can get a decent grasp of it, I’d like to chuck a 2JZ or RB into. But that’s further down the line… as for the show car side of it, I can’t see me building another any time soon – but you just never know…
Custom retrim in white leather and blue Alcantara. It’s been painted in BMW’s Yas Marina Blue. Rotiform ROC 3-piece split-rims.
It can be quite unnerving to take a perfectly good car and chop it to bits, especially when there’s significant amounts of money involved. “If I’m being fully honest, once the car was built and working I did stand back and actually wondered what the f**k I’d done,” Sheep recalls. “It took a good week or two to get used to it, but I can hand-on-heart say it’s the best build I’ve been involved in, and I cannot thank everyone who helped me enough. There have been masses of mixed reactions to the car, but I’d say overall it’s mostly decent comments. And the car has gone on to claim another few trophies!” You see, doubt is a natural human response – but when the dust settles, more often than not you’ll realise that you were right to take the plunge. Life’s too short for what-ifs. “I clearly remember my mum saying ‘I hope you’re not going to modify this one” Laser-cut winglets are Bentley fuel filler cap a nice touch. Carbon rear diffuser houses the quad exit. Bentley fuel filler cap.