ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT - HOT RIDE: SEAT LEON MK2 WORDS MIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY DAN PULLEN
THERE’S A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR FAME. BUT IT DOES HAVE ITS PERKS…
Packed with #Forge-Motorsport
goodies this sexy SEAT has go as well as show.
If you’re into tuning your #VAG
motors, you’ll most likely recognise this world-famous SEAT as the ‘Forge Motorsport demo car’. Well, let’s get this out of the way right from the start. It’s not.
You see, even though we’ve all seen this spectacular white-on-white Leon popping up in various advertising campaigns, appearing all over the web and on show at more than a couple of events. It is, and always has been, the personal car of our mate Kris Butler.
Of course, as we can plainly observe, this storming Spaniard is packing more than its fair share of Forge gear. In fact, there’s just about everything they’ve ever manufactured for the Mk2 LEON and few extra one-offs, like flashy hoses and a custom catch can setup nestled under that bonnet. But all that’s easily explained by the fact that Kris works at Forge Motorsport HQ in Gloucester.
Kris is actually one of the team that develops these kind of products, so he may have benefited from a bit of a staff discount. But it certainly wasn’t one of the five-fingered variety like I got when I worked at Lidl (free bratwurst and 9p baked beans eh? – Jules). I guess that’s always the problem with doing a job you love, especially one surrounded by top-end kit and the expertise to evolve even more - it’s impossible not to get involved. I mean, if you’re a plumber I’d imagine your bathroom is a thing of abject beauty. If you happen to sell Ferraris for a living I’m betting there’s something pretty tasty on your drive right now. And if you work in KFC, you probably can’t remember the last time you cooked at home. It starts with a nice little discount and before you know it you’re having the gas cut off because you’ve dropped all your wages on trinkets before they’ve even got to the bank. We’ve all been there.
Perhaps that also explains why Kris’ SEAT is such a devastating work of art, when the initial plan was just to plonk on a nice set of wheels and drop the ride height. It’s a modifying story we’ve heard a million times before. Kris never meant to go this far, but things just escalated. We’re glad they did. Presumably so are the Forge marketing bods.
Of course, at the very beginning, two years ago, the first mods came from necessity. As Kris no doubt told his missus, the air-ride was an ‘absolute must’ for getting on the drive. And the new wheels, well that’s just always ‘a must’ isn’t it? But was he content with his super-slammed ride on slick 3SDMs? Yeah, for about five minutes. It’s just after that when things went nuts.
There’s no denying that the finished article is extraordinary and striking. What amazes me though is that despite all the fame and bona fi de show-car status, it’s not just his daily driver, but 95-percent of the mods have been buttoned-up by Kris himself.
He’s clearly from the school of having a crack at everything first before writing a cheque, and that makes it all the more impressive. I have to say too, he’s done a formidable job fitting the air, trimming the interior and building that awesome boot install. In fact, it’s only the bodywork and anything that’s been machine-stitched that have been paid for with real money. More cash to spend at work I suppose.
There’s none of the usual tale-tale signs that this car is DIY built. The execution is first-rate and there’s even a few swish, high-end details that are as likely to be found elsewhere as a fart is in a jacuzzi. Just check out the super-rare Anniversary Edition Cobra Misanos? It’s not often you see aftermarket seats with heaters in ’em, either.
In all its Alcantara glory the interior finish is sensational and, from the pictures, it’s pretty obvious that Kris is also a fan of the odd slice of in-car entertainment. Now, I’m not sure if there’s been a spot of part-time moonlighting at VIBE Audio, but there seems to be plenty of their very best products crammed in there. The contrast between the inside and outside is also profound. The plush interior gives a warm fuzzy feeling of luxury, while the styling is all intensity and aggression. The imposing BTCC kit along with the stance not only hint at all the added power under the bonnet, they spell it out. Plainly.
The colour is all-business too. The brightness and intensity of the candy white paint gives an almost surgical, sterile and super-clean edge to the whole project. Naturally, you don’t build anything with such whiter than white credentials without having a particular fondness for detailing and Kris can buff with the best of ’em – you could safely perform open-heart surgery on the bonnet. Maybe all the notoriety has given Kris a more acute interest in the car’s appearance than normal. I’ve seen this sweet SEAT on a number of occasions and every time it’s been nothing short of immaculate – that’s pretty special for any daily driver, not least when it’s a family car.
Kris’ fondness for the purest and hardest to- maintain of colours has recently extended to his wheels too. After deciding his black 3SDMs didn’t show up too well in photos he found these Bentley monsters for sale on Instagram already painted white. Celebrity status and Bentley products seem go hand in hand, just ask David Beckham or Lady Gaga. And for a car that soaks up just as much of the limelight there can be nothing better than the highest-of high class rollers.
Above all though, what makes this car special is that, unlike so many, it’s famous for a good reason. There’s none of that Keeping Up With The Kardashians or Big Brother bollocks here. This one should be immortalised not as a big money company demo car but on its own merit. And in that case long may its fame continue!
It’s not a company car. It deserves attention on its own merit.
TECH SPEC: #Seat-Leon-Mk2
TUNING: Forge Motorsport carbon intake, FMIC, custom silicone hoses, alloy oil and water caps, carbon canister cover, alloy washer bottle, BOV actuator and boost adaptor; colour-coded cam cover; charge pipe; battery cover and fuse box cover; Powerflex engine mount, custom catch can setup; stainless steel exhaust with oval tailpipe; Revo Stage 1 remap.
CHASSIS: 9x19-inch Bentley Continental GT alloys in white; 225/35x19 Nankang tyres; Air Lift V2 Slam Series air ride suspension; 2x Viair 380 compressors; Powerflex suspension bush kit; Forge Motorsport 6-pot (356mm front) and 4-pot (330mm rear) big brake kit; chassis notch.
STYLING: Full BTCC body kit; Triple R front splitter; gloss black vents, bonnet trim, grille and door pillars; delocked; rear wiper delete; custom Xenon black headlights; tinted side repeaters; Heko wind deflectors.
INTERIOR: Cobra Misano Anniversary custom diamond stitch heated seats; rear seats trimmed by Cobra to match; Alcantara trimmed headlining, A/B/C pillars, kick plastics, arm rest, shift gaiter and seat sides; Diamond stitched Alcantara doorcards and parcel shelf; Forge shifter; #Seat
Sport handbrake cover, white dash and centre console parts; Leon Mk3 flat bottom FR steering wheel; Defi-style boost gauge; upgraded MFD speedo; black and white mats.
DNX520VBT satnav headunit; VIBE BlackAir limited edition component speakers front and rear; 2x VIBE Black Air 12-inch subwoofers and 4 channel amplifier; VIBE Space mono amplifier; VIBE circuit breakers and wiring; VIBE Anti-VIBE sound deadening in doors and boot area; custom boot build trimmed in Alcantara.
THANKS: Mark at VIBE Audio; Mark and Adam from Cobra Seats; Peter at Forge Motorsport; James and Simon at Auto Finesse.
So what’s it like driving a car that’s so acclaimed?
“I don’t think it’s quite that famous mate – it’s not KITT from Knight Rider is it? People do think that Forge built it though.”
Does that chafe your arse a bit?
“Nah, not really – I guess I know what I’ve put into it. You can’t always get all the recognition, right?”
Can I have your autograph anyway though?
“If you want. Where would you like it?”
On this bill for lunch.
“Now that’s what I call famous – do you FC boys ever pay for anything?” Not if we can help it mate.
Kris did almost all the work himself. Swisher. Swish. Kris did almost all the work himself.