#DRIVE LOW PARK LOWER
You think you’ve got problems with getting your car low? We suggest you go and find Vick Singh Nagi, he’s a full-blown addict. Words: David Kennedy / Photos: Si Gray
Getting low is an addiction, and it’s one that afflicts many of us. There’s no ‘Just Say No’ campaign or ‘Talk to Frank’ adverts on evening TV, nothing to steer people away. It sneaks up on you. Just a taste, a set of lowering springs bought off a mate at first, just to make your car look a bit cooler.
Everyone else is doing it, how bad can it be? Sure enough that first taste gets you. Soon, you’re hanging out in dark garages and workshops away from prying eyes, winding coilovers down on their threads. Just a few more millimetres you say, that’s it…
Soon enough, you start making excuses, lying to yourself. Sure, you can’t get over speedbumps anymore, but that’s fine. Sure, you’ve spent all your hard-earned on modified drop links and chassis notches. Your arches might be mullered but that’s okay, everyone’s doing it right? But then you need to get lower and chase the rush. You ditch the helpers or cut the coils. Now you’re on the hard stuff. There’s no Promises or Priory that can help you now. If only you hadn’t let your mate give you those lowering springs all those years ago…
“Yeah I’ve got a problem, there’s no way I can pretend otherwise, it is what it is I guess,” Vick Nagi smiled. “#drivelowparklower, right?”
Vick is a man who shouldn’t need much of an introduction to readers of this magazine. While he hasn’t had a car featured before in these hallowed pages, the Leeds-based Dub nut has owned more awesome cars than we can count and had his hand in even more. Many UK people will recognise Vick’s name for his many years of service as the peace-and-harmony-preaching Edition38.com moderator, or the man on the mic on stage at E38’s show for four years. With so much time already under his belt, not to mention a happy family, successful property development business and his side gig Lowpro UK who supply air-ride, audio gear and wheels, we were shocked to learn he’s only 29 years old – it seems like he’s been around forever! “It all started when my brother Bobby and I used to be out on our BMXs around Leeds. We would always see and hear Bini Yousaf’s Mk2 VR6 back in the day,” Vick smiled. “Then I ended up getting my own Mk2 GTI that I did a few bits to but being young and not having enough money meant it ended up getting scrapped as my mum couldn’t cope with a primered shell on her drive!”
A few cars came and went later including a Mk1, a few Mk2s, a nicely built Polo G40, that Corrado (more on that later) and a B7 RS4. And that’s not including his partner Avril’s car collection. “Avril is all about power, she’d much rather go to a hillclimb than a static car show,” Vick laughed. “You guys featured her Mk4 back in Drive-My, she’s had a 420bhp Anniversary, a tuned Edition30, she’s still got her R32 and we’ve been building her TFSI Mk2 for a while now too. If she had her way the Audi would have big power and be on R888s. She’s a real petrolhead… which makes things easier for me!”
With a new house purchase on the cards Vick had to let the RS4 go but with a dog and son Vaughn in tow, they needed to replace it with something equally as practical and it was the Edition38 forums that came up trumps. “It was the wrong colour in red but it was the exact spec I wanted and I figured that seeing as it was going to be a sensible daily workhorse it didn’t matter much,” Vick explained. “The first thing I did was send it to Leeds Bentley where my good friend Kevin Swallow replaced every service part that could be – the EGR, water pump, cambelt, everything. I wanted it done right and done reliably and he was the best man for the job.”
Vick knew he was never going to keep the A4 as Audi intended and with memories of Belgian B8s in his mind, not to mention his friend Shiv’s white example that had been kicking around the show scene at the time, it wasn’t long before things started happening. JH Pro Paint sorted the paint out and as soon as the clear coat dried Vick was shooting down the M1 to have Shiv fit the Air Lift Performance suspension kit paired with AccuAir E-Level management.
“The car has always been a daily, travelling to building sites, carrying tools around and taking Vaughn out and about so from the off it evolved with how we used it,” said Vick. “With that in mind, air-ride was a given, but I wanted it to be different,” he added. “To be honest it all started because people were saying what’s the point of air if you can’t drive it as low as you can on coilovers? And with Simon Sweetland from (super low coilover specialist) StillStatic giving me friendly grief about it, and my good friend Phil from The Install Company doing the same, I knew what needed to be done.”
Once it was back from Shiv’s it was time to give the Audi new rolling stock. Luckily, Vick isn’t exactly lacking in that department. “I’ve got a room full of wheels in my house!” he laughed. “Avril collects art, my art is wheels.”
He’s not joking either, just about every time we saw the A4 over its run of shows it was on a different set of wheels! “It’s had about eight sets on it, every cast Rotiform made, Rotiform splits, 20” BBS E28s and a few sets of 20” Audi OEM wheels too. Manny at BSmart Auto actually keeps a few sets of 20” tyres in stock for me now as I’m always needing them stretched on last minute,” he laughed. “I wanted something special for Ultimate Dubs 2015, though, and Brian at Rotiform put together these 10x20” INDT centrelocks for me which I just loved,” he added.
As for the bodywork, well there’s more to that than there initially seems too: “I replaced the stock rear lights with the latest B8 RS4 Neon Bar lights which cost me an absolute fortune from TPS along with the OEM LED number plate lights too.” The car went back to JH Pro Paint again later on to have the arches pulled, rolled and widened. It also paid a trip to JC Weldfab where the rear trim was replaced with a US-spec S Line item along with a custom exhaust system being built with two large tailpipes to fill the valance better. “The system was tweaked so it would sit higher under the car,” Vick remembered. “Getting it lower and lower was always on my mind, so anything that could be done was.” Vick then had Jon at Vinyl Image wrap the roof bars and chrome trim in gloss black: “It’s funny, I’ve had three different Jons working on the car, Jon at JH Pro Paint, Jon at JC Weldfab and then Jon at Vinyl Image!”
Just air and wheels. That’s all you need to build a show car these days, isn’t it? That seems to be the all too common misconception anyway.
In fact, there is a world of difference between just bolting on an off-the-shelf air kit and the kind of work that’s gone in to a car like Vick’s A4 here. Sure, the struts themselves are as they were when they left Air Lift’s Michigan factory, but everything else? An Audi Master Tech would have a field day! The arch plastics have been trimmed and the top turrets have been notched to make space for the control arms to name just two bits that aren’t as they’re meant to be anymore. “Phil at The Install Company modified nearly every point under the car that involves the suspension – the rear arms and top mounts have been tweaked, and the inner arches are pretty heavily modified too,” Vick smiled. “We wanted it to be the lowest driving A4 in the world, and I think we achieved that.” So how low can it go and still drive normally? “Taking out the steering column when it was at its lowest on a catseye on the M1 was impressive and annoying at the same time… especially as it went through the subframe and punctured the rack…”
Other highlights? The RS4 wavy brakes, fitted by another mate in the shape of Aaron Smith with Syco Graphics cutting up some custom stickers for them.
Vick’s aware that to some people, a car like this will always be seen as just an ‘air and wheels’ build. But you know what? It doesn’t bother him one bit. “Most people love it as they understand there is a lot more to it than meets the eye but some see it as over-hyped as it’s just air and wheels, you know,” he smiled. “I don’t mind either opinion as I love it and I know the fun and stress of building a real low-driving car has not been simple or easy.
“I really like the look of an OEM car, to me the A4 almost looked like a concept – you know how concepts are always a lot lower than the real thing and have wheels that completely fill the arches? I think it looks like that,” he added.
Vick is one of those people we could talk to for hours, he’s just that kind of guy. Not least because, boy, once he gets going it’s hard to stop him but also because we like the way he thinks. “I know it’s a cliché but it’s the people that make the car scene such a nice place to be,” Vick smiled. “Take me doing the MC’ing on stage at E38 for example, I met so many good people and contacts from doing that over the years, people like Jon at JH Pro Paint. I badgered him to come up on stage with his Mk1 and now our families are friends, how cool is that? And I’ve got so many stories like that too, I love it.” Vick was well known on the Edition38 forums for preaching positive vibes and stopping arguments, and he’s just like that in person too. In fact, if you’re ever in a bad mood at a show, go find Vick. We guarantee you’ll leave him feeling a whole lot better!
“Being such good friends with so many people means I can get away with badgering them as much as I do,” he laughed. “Take all the custom chassis work that Phil did. Not only did he do some incredible work on the car but he became one of my closest friends in the process, the man is an absolute genius and we share the same opinion about having fun with cars and not taking things too seriously. But I probably became the biggest pain in the backside for him!” he added laughing. So what’s next for Vick? “I’ve got my T5 that Phil’s raised the inner arches and fuse board on.
He’s also raised loads of other engine bay gubbins and developed a totally custom loadrated Air Lift-based four-link setup for it so it’ll be the lowest driveable T5 anywhere soon. We’ve also still got the ’bagged R32, Avril’s TFSI Mk2 is in the works and there’s the Corrado to get back on the road too,” he said. “Now that we’ve got Vaughn and our business is growing so fast, other things are taking over, I’m so busy family time is more important than it ever was. I’ve now sold the Audi and have a Mk7 Golf R and I’ve already got an Air Lift kit sitting here for it…”
Seeing as Vick is a man of many words, it only seems right we leave the last words to him: “My time is so valuable these days and I’m in the fortunate position that I can afford it, so I don’t mind paying for the best people to work on my car,” he said. “But don’t call it a chequebook car, that drives me crazy! Why? Because who has a chequebook these days? If anything, it’s a debit card car or a bank transfer car!”
We could all take a leaf out of Vick’s book. So many positive vibes come from this man, it’s no wonder he has so many friends in the right places, even if he does still badger them to death…
Dub Details / #Audi-A4-Avant-B8
/ Rotiform / #Rotiform
ENGINE: 2.0 #TDI
140bhp, six-speed, #JC-Weldfab
CHASSIS: 10x20” centre-lock #Rotiform-INDT
management, custom work by The Install Company, rear arms modified, front top mounts modified, underside modified at nearly every suspension point, inner arches all modified, B8 RS4 wavy discs front and rear
EXTERIOR: 25mm wider front arches, 20mm wider rear arches, gloss black optics, US-spec rear valance from 3.0-litre model in S Line grey, RS4 Neon rear bar lights, badges all custom made by G23 in black, arch liners all modified, US-spec grey S Line plate blank, all trims replaced with new items, tinted plates, windows tinted all-round
INTERIOR: All stock, Audi MFSW, hidden air install, Recaro baby seat, #Recaro
pram in boot
SHOUT: Avril and Vaughn, my sweethearts and the people that support my/our obsession! My parents (just for giving up telling me off for wasting money on cars) and my brothers and sister. Adam and Dan at G23 Engineering, Jon and Michael at JC Weldfab, Jon and his team at JH Pro Paint, Subhraj Sidhu, Simon at StillStatic, Mark Ikeda, Mike The Polisher, Corey, Carl and Cody at Air Lift, Parm, Raj and Marcus at Car Audio Security, Russ Whitefield, Pepe Cappunci, Kevin Swallow, Zach at ZZ detailing, Manny Sirha and the team at BSmart Auto centre for tyres and everything (01132 426 338), Si Gray for amazing shots, Syco Graphics, Chris Scragg, Richard Proctor at Leeds TPS, Ricky Sohanpal, Brian at Rotiform wheels, Jon at Vinyl Image, my friends at Edition 38, Meguiar’s and Phil James at The Install Company for more than I can list. And Lowpro!
“We wanted it to be the lowest driving A4 in the world, and I think we achieved that”
It’s the subtle touches, like the oversized tailpipes and raised exhaust system – to allow for more ‘lows’ – that make this far more than just an ‘air and wheels’ build.