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    FINE AND CANDY / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf

    Craig Levens has always liked colourful cars, but his latest Candy creation is probably the most talked-about to date. Words: Tony Saggu. Photos: John Colley.

    “It’s the colour,” explained Craig Levens while carefully massaging the microfibre over his candy-coated creation. “People love the colour, I get asked over and over what colour it is.” The 30- something Cumbrian custom car connoisseur is used to fielding colour queries; this one-off GTI is not his first attempt at a hot hue on a mad motor: “I had a bright orange Subaru STI before this,” he told us. “I was deep into the Scooby scene back then and the car had every modification available on it, as well as a lot of custom stuff.” Craig was obviously munching on the Scooby snacks pretty hard; the 450bhp flat-four 4x4 cost a rumoured £100,000 in parts and labour. Strong money indeed, but Craig did get a lot of Subi silverware and legend status among Fast Car types, bagging ‘Best in Britain’ in 2009 didn’t hurt either.

    While what he’s trying to express may have changed, Craig’s got the hang of using colour to make a statement, but fast and loud have given way to cool and classy. “The car has undergone a couple of makeovers to get it to where it is now, but playing with colour has really changed its character all through the project,” he said. Craig admits the GTI was nice enough straight out-of-the-box, aside from a little rims-andsprings action he was content to leave it factory fresh. “My friend had one,” recalled Craig. “It was awesome to drive, from the first minute I drove one I knew I had to own one.”

    Anyone who’s been on the hunt for a Mk5 will know the perils involved; there’s no shortage of cars, but small cars that go fast get trashed and/or pranged with inevitable predictability. A good few weeks of intense searching eventually unearthed what looked like ‘the one’. “I found it on Pistonheads, a black ’54-plate Mk5 GTI, reasonably priced, low mileage and in great condition,” Craig recalled. “I had to move fast; I saw the ad at eight in the morning and drove three hours that day to pick it up.” The mildly modded fifth generation Golf was perfect for what Craig had in mind: Eibach springs, #BBS CH reps and a gentle tinkering with the ECU was the sum of the aftermarket antics. “I was planning to add some stereo upgrades and just a few bits and bobs really, that was it,” he told us.

    Given his history with the STI and the fact that the car was delivered straight to Plush Automotive in Leicester on the day of purchase, no one was fooled. “The car was bagged within the first month,” he laughed. “Luke at Plush pulled out all the stops to get it done. Plush is always busy and you have to book months in advance. I wasn’t expecting to have the car even touched for ages!” Craig had barely got his name on the logbook in November 2009, and by the time fat man was sliding down the chimney that year plans were already underway to have the car at Ultimate Dubs early in 2010.

    Show car status was going to call for more than merely bags and BBS. So, with a makeover needed and time at a premium, a plan was hatched to go all-out on the interior. “I wanted to do something completely different that would really make the car stand out,” Craig explained.

    A headliner to carpet bright aqua retrim contrasting against the factory black paint certainly did the job! “I added a lot of accents before the show like a Lambo Gallardo steering wheel and some Euro touches to the exterior; the whole package looked good.”

    After Ultimate Dubs, Craig finally got to take the car out of Plush and back home to Cumbria… briefly. “Unfortunately that’s been the story ever since I’ve owned the car,” lamented Craig, “with family commitments, I’m unable to attend all the shows or take the car to places to have it worked on as I live about a four-hour drive away from most of the shows and shops.

    Just recently for example I decided to lend my good friend, and owner of The Install Company, Phil the car so he could take it to as many shows as he wanted, which would enable him to showcase his insane skills and promote his new business. We do meet up at shows from time to time so I can have a look at my own car, which is quite a surreal feeling!” Craig admits the months that followed saw him slowly edge towards the slippery slope of another total makeover for the car. “Things started to get a little out of hand in 2011,” he laughed. “I’d promised myself I wouldn’t get as involved in another project as time-consuming or expensive as the Subaru, but, well, you know…”

    Towards the end of 2011, Craig turned his attention to the engine; a light upgrade was to be the order of the day, he’d already done the whole fire-breathing monster motor thing with the Subi, so mild tuning would do just fine on the Mk5. Aside from the obvious cosmetic work on and around the mill, a lot of it courtesy of Forge, the 2.0-litre turbo has received a Revo Stage 2+ and HPFP (High Pressure Fuel Pump) upgrade.

    Craig reckons the PDT Tuning massaged motor now makes a little over 265 ponies with a healthy 290lb ft of torque. “I originally felt that I should have gone with the Edition 30 Golf, with the KO4 turbo as standard, but Dave at PDT unlocked so much power and drivability from the GTI engine, it’s now a total blast to drive.”

    The following year saw the car largely undercover. Major mods were afoot and 12 months out of the limelight would barely get the work done. “Over the last few years Ultimate Dubs has kinda become the show that we work to as a deadline,” he told us. “Pretty much all the major mods have been unveiled there.”

    Early 2013 would be crunch time and showgoers were in for a big surprise. If there is an exterior finish that can blend stunning, while subtle and crazy, with classic, it’s the scrupulous solvent-based automotive nectar that is Candy paint, and Craig had acquired gallons of the stuff: “I wanted something different,” he explained. “I always loved House of Kolor paints and felt that this car needed something to make it stand out from the crowd. I wanted a classy colour that would never age.

    “I looked at doing a colour that would go with my aqua interior at first but I found nothing that blew me away. Eventually I decided to sell the interior and the possibilities were endless after that. I always liked Candy red but this is quite a popular colour and a little boring if I’m honest, so I looked for different shades of the red, from dark through to light. That’s when I came across the Brandywine; as soon as I saw it I was hooked. Because the original colour of the car was black it made sense to go with the black base coat to give the finished job a rich deep look; the desired finish we wanted was a beautiful Hennessy bottle red.”

    Candy is notoriously tricky stuff to work with, even seasoned painters fear it. The trouble is that true Candy isn’t really paint at all, it’s a translucent tint; a thin almost see-through coating that is as unforgiving to work with as the average traffic warden. The stuff has to be applied with robotic precision, anything but a perfect, even coat and you’ve left the door open to blotches, dark spots and stripes in the finish.

    “It took about nine months to paint the car,” Craig said. “Tim at True Paintworks in Leicester did all the work. It took three months just to get the paint. Then it wasn’t just the paint; Tim was faced with doing all the other bodywork mods as well.” Craig told us he was more than a little eager to see what the custom Candy would look like on the car, but didn’t put the paintshop on the clock: “I told him I didn’t have a deadline for the job, just to take as long as it took to get it perfect. He took his time and did a fantastic job. He had the odd issue here and there but nothing he couldn’t sort out. His skill is extraordinary, I mean just look at the car… it looks like it’s covered in Cognac.”

    Tying the entire Candy brandy bad boy exterior makeover together are a set of seldomseen RSV Forged three-piece split-rim wheels. “I chose them simply because I wanted something completely different, and I have yet to see another set of these in the UK,” explained Craig. “I went with the finish as it matches the Satin grey detail on the exterior of the car, tying it in perfectly. AirLift Performance struts with camber adjust, AccuAir management and Bilstein rear shocks assist with altitude adjustment: “The chassis is notched and lots of custom work was carried out by The Install Company to make the whole setup work,” explained Craig, “including a full stainless steel hardline install. Mine is one of only two cars in the UK to have been done the same way.”

    Craig’s lowriding Hennessy hot hatch is more than just pretty paint job, though. Aside from a myriad of understated mods blended into the bodywork under the Brandywine, the creative custom work continues into the cabin. “Initially I threw a stockish black interior in the car after the aqua trim was sold, although that was a stop-gap measure,” recalled Craig. “I wanted a retrim that would work with the candy colour to form an overall character for the car. The old aqua black contrast was bold and didn’t take too many prisoners. The new interior blends better as it complements the exterior and brings out the class.”

    McLaren MP4-12C front seats are the centrepiece of the interior: “They were owned by a friend who I pestered until he gave in and sold them to me,” Craig explained. “I knew they would be a great addition to the Mk5 interior and make it more unique.” Steve at Edge Automotive in Rugby stitched up the black and Merlot masterpiece swathed in yards of finest Alcantara, and carbon detailing is peppered throughout as the Mk6 and 7 Series VW extras. “We ordered a US Spec driver’s doorcard to replicate the UK doorcard on passenger side,” revealed Craig. “It’s a small detail, but that’s what the project is all about; I wanted to concentrate on attention to detail everywhere.” The Hennessy air freshener certainly didn’t go unnoticed…

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo, S3 Intercooler, #Forge-Motorsport Twintercooler with black silicone hoses, Forge Motorsport polished oil cap, water cap, washer cap, polished atmospheric DV Valve, ITG intake painted satin grey, Autotech Uprated fuel pump internals, R8 coil packs, Stage 2+ Revo mapping, Eurojet Turbo back exhaust, Fuse box cover painted Satin grey, battery cover painted Satin grey, Forge Motorsport front-to-back shortshift, Forge Motorsport side-by-side short-shift.

    CHASSIS: RSV: S|1 series 19” RSF1 three-piece forge wheels, centres painted matte gunmetal, lips and barrel painted gloss gunmetal, hidden hardware, 215/35/19 and 225/35/19 Nankang NS2 tyres, M14-M12 stud conversion kit, D12 gunmetal wheel nuts, #AirLift front/rear performance struts, Bilstein rear shocks, Whiteline anti-lift kit, Powerflex wishbone mounts, #Powerflex control arm bushes, H&R 24mm front anti-roll bar, H&R 28mm rear anti-roll bar, BSH rear drop links, #AccuAir ‘E’ Level, 2x380cc #Viair compressors, 2x three Gallonpolished seamless air tanks, chassis ‘notched’, strut towers cut to allow camber adjustment on the font, Forge Motorsport front: 356mm, six-pot BBK, Forge Motorsport rear: 330mm, four-pot #BBK (includes separate handbrake caliper), calipers and disc bells painted in HOK Brandy wine with Charcoal ‘Forge’ decals.

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in House of Kolor Brandywine Candy, OEM Mk5 R32 Xenon headlights (split and painted Satin grey with Brandywine Mk7 GTI-style stripe), USA spec front bumper, smoked USA side-markers, Votex lip smoothed into front bumper, smoothed underside of bonnet frame, Mk6 Golf R mirrors grafted into Mk5 baseplates, Mk1 Audi TT filler cap grafted in, Edition 30 rear bumper smoothed together and edges faded away, front wings widened 10mm, rear arches pulled 5mm, R32 rear lights. Mk6 rear boot handle; centre of handle; centre of Votex lip; centre of rear bumper; smoothed GTI front grill; open fog grills; wiper arms; rear scuttle panel; and smoothed front slam panel all in Satin grey.

    INTERIOR: Wine/charcoal Alcantara trim (every panel), wine/charcoal Alcantara mats, carbon fibre and charcoal Alcantara Mk7 GTI MFSW, carbon fibre dash strips, door strips, fire extinguisher, centre console inserts, McLaren MP4-12C front seats trimmed with original stitch pattern, Mk6 GTI roof liner and visors, Mk6 GTD rear seats trimmed to match the McLaren stitch pattern, Alcantara MK6 GTI gear knob, US-spec driver’s doorcard to replicate UK doorcard on passenger side, chrome tipped switches throughout, Cherry red hazard warning switch, Custom #AccuAir controller in centre console, Hennessy air freshener, #Dynavin N6 OEM-style head unit, Audison Voce Amp x 2, Audison Voce Component speakers, JL rear speakers, Audison 10” Voce subwoofer, #Audison Bit 10D processor, Bit 10D controller custommounted in roof, custom stainless steel, floating polish tank, hardline install, white LED lighting throughout interior/boot install.

    SHOUT: Chloe for putting up with me, Phil at The Install Company: this car wouldn’t have been finished without him. Russ Whitefield and Mark Gurney for all their help, Steve at Edge Automotive for the epic trim. Dale at Meguiar’s UK for looking after the paintwork and keeping it fresh, Paul at C6 Carbon, Tim at True Paintworks, Kris at Forge Motorsport for all my Forge Parts and RSV Forged for my wheels.

    The staggered 19” RSV: SI1 series RSF1 forge wheels may be a bit of a mouthful, but the fit, finish and uniqueness is what steals the show for us!

    It’s hard to believe Craig’s previous ride was a bright orange Subaru Impreza. Something’s obviously changed in his mindset, not entirely sure what, but we’re extremely pleased for him and us!
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    Our Finnish photographer, Jape Tiitinen, creates some stunning images of cool Audis, but he also owns one – this immaculate, 592hp RS4…

    Finland has produced an extraordinary number of world class rally drivers. In fact, the list is seriously impressive when you consider the country is so diminutive. In no particular order, there’s Markuu Alen, Marcos Gronholm, Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, Timo Salonen, Ari Vatanen and WRC Champs Tomi Makinen and Juha Kankkunen. Then there’s the small matter of F1 World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen. They must put something in the water in Finland to breed so many outstanding wheel men.

    But, when you think about it, growing up in the kind of hostile landscape that sees snow for half the year, it’s not surprising that so many Finns can pedal a bit. After all, if your daily commute involves icy stretches of road that require left foot braking and power slides to stay on the road, then you’ll quickly learn to become a bit tasty behind the wheel.

    But there’s more to it. These guys are passionate about cars and going fast, and Audis have always figured highly in the list of tuned machines. Now, Finland is a bloody long way to travel to see these quality cars. Fortunately, we have our own man on the scene, Jape Tiitinen (pronounced ‘Yapay’). His main job is taking awesome images of cool cars (as well as weddings and pretty much anything you want to pay him for – within reason!). But when he isn’t behind the camera, you’ll find him in his own, stunning Audi – a B5 RS4. Jape takes up the story...

    “I am quite a passionate Audi enthusiast. I bought my first quattro in 2004 and all my cars have been quattros ever since. The first one was B5 A4 1.8T. It got a total makeover and I sold it a year after. Next in line was a C5 A6 2.7 biturbo in 2005. This is where my OEM game kicked in; I bought an RS6 front bumper and sideskirts to make it look fresh. Eventually we replaced the turbos with B5 RS4 ones to make it faster. My hunger for power kept on growing, so I sold the A6 in 2007 and bought this B5 RS4 which was already tuned for 550hp – but the work was very poor. So I took it to my friend Mikko “Okkim” Välitalo who rebuilt the engine with stock internals to make it even faster than what the previous owner had done.” Jape ran it with this spec – a Supersprint cat back exhaust and a remap – for a couple of years, but the need for speed soon took hold of him.

    “The RNS-D navigation started to feel kinda old, so I bought an RNS-E unit from my friend’s A3. I also ordered a Kufatec digi TV tuner from Germany with OEM kit, which gives you an opportunity to use RNS-E original buttons to operate the TV,” he says. Very trick. “The brakes were upgraded to RS6 calipers with B7 RS4 discs in January 2009 when my front discs came to an end. “I ordered a pair of brand new RS6 turbos from Germany. Okkim did the labour and installed them. He also manufactured me his signature 3in downpipes from stainless steel.”

    With a fresh mapping session, the RS4 made a very healthy 592hp with 802Nm of torque. A 3.25in straight through exhaust is key to helping it breathe, while Wagner intercoolers keep the charge temps down, and there’s a methanol injection system to further cool things and aid reliability.

    With a fully rebuilt and reliable engine that made significant power, Jape could have been content to leave it at that. But our Finnish correspondent likes to drive his B5 hard, and in 2012 his engine blew. “Obviously even the RS can’t take super-hard driving for too long!” he laughs. “An exhaust valve snapped and went through a piston damaging the whole engine. It took a year and a half to get all the parts and build the engine to where it is today,” he shrugs. “This current set-up is still looking for the final touches in software from Richard Weir at Viper Tuning. I just love the fun that flatshift and launch control brings me with all the bang, bang.” Jape is a bit of a perfectionist, to say the least, so his own car had to be something extra special.

    “I’ve had lots of different wheels on my RS during the years. The latest, which are also my favourite, I bought from eBay – BBS LMs in 10 and 11x19in. I knew they would fit in the arches of the RS, so I bought them with no hesitation,” he laughs. “They needed a 30mm spacer at the front to clear those massive C5 RS6 calipers and 15mm at the rear to sit right,” he adds. Some may question the logic of staggered wheels on a quattro, but Jape is happy with the set-up and has experienced no adverse effects. The wheels really do make the car and it’s hard to find anything that offers the same classy looks, and motorsport pedigree of these sublime splits rims. “I am a true wheel whore,” confesses Jape, “there must have been at least 20 sets of different wheels on my RS. In my garage I have two sets of Audi OEM wheels in 9x19in and 9.5x20in and Rota Grid 9.5x18in for winter. The BBS LMs are my favourite wheel of all time.”

    When it came to the exterior, Jape was well aware that with a B5 less is definitely more. The wide arches and subtly aggressive front bumper, with vents, combine to give the avant a stealthy, but purposeful look. The factory colour is a very shiny and well maintained black, but Jape wanted decided to try it with a white wrap. “My brother-in-law, Eero, from wrapped it in 3M 1080 gloss white.” This high-quality vinyl wrap was very carefully applied and transformed the B5. It’s great to see something that’s not matt and the gloss really works with the lines of the car. In fact it was so effective, it left Jape with another problem.

    “After the car was wrapped my faded headlights started to look really old,” he smiles. “I found a right side light from a local Audi forum, but the left one was a bit harder to locate. Eventually I found one in Germany but the seller didn’t want to ship to Finland. Big thank you to Patrick Hille in Germany for taking care of this and shipping the missing light for me.”

    With a fresh wrap and sparkling new headlights, Jape had the grille surrounds plastidipped to de-chrome it. Then some very subtle touches were added such as the Polo rear wiper, SEAT Leon Cupra front splitter and some carbon mirrors. The overall effect is stunning – an immaculate white RS4, with some serious power to back it up. Inside this B5 was given a full refresh, including a set of Corbeau seats. A self confessed gadget freak, Jape has also fitted a Kufatec OEM+ TV tuner and upgraded the navigation unit from a newer A3. It really does give the B5 a contemporary feel.

    So what’s next for this stunning white B5? “This car has been with me for eight years now. For the first four years it was my daily ride. After I jumped into the RS6 turbo game, I had to get another car to be my daily. The RS needs so much care, it can’t be a daily any more!” Wise words – how many B5 RS4 owners are nodding sagely at this comment..?

    Since the photoshoot, the 3M wrap has been removed, but even this brought out the sense of fun in Jape. “We had Audi club Finland’s ice track day and I felt like doing something different. I thought that if I just peeled off some of the wrap and added some graphics and lights to the car, it’d look like a US police car, with my own funny twist. So I peeled off the wrap just leaving the doors, bonnet and the roof white. Eero at cut some stickers and voilà quattro Trooper was born! Now that’s one police car you’d struggle to outrun!

    With its stint as a police trooper at and end, Jape fully removed the wrap and the B5 is now back to its original and some might say best colour. “After I peeled off the wrap Antti Piri from Shineld came to my garage with his crew and polished the beast for 2 straight days.

    So there we have it. Our man in Finland is not only an ace lensman, and genuinely nice fella, he’s also a massive Audi tuning fan. Living the dream? You bet!


    Rather than simply remove the entire wrap, Jape thought it’d be fun to take some off some of the 3M gloss white vinyl to reveal the original black paint underneath. He then decided it’d be funny to create an RS4 police car, and project RS4 Trooper was born. A set of lights from eBay, some graphics and he was done. The car is running its winter wheels in this pic, some 18in Rota Grids (even his winter wheels are cool!).

    Far Left: The golden arches beckon! Above: The V6 biturbo powerhouse.

    Above: Corbeau RRS seats Right: Moody, ‘golden hour’ shot is stunning.

    Above: Upgraded navigation and Kufatec TV.

    “Even the RS can’t take super-hard driving for too long”

    Top: A vest in Finland? He must be nails! Above: It’s all about the details.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4

    ENGINE 2.7 V6 biturbo, RS6 turbochargers with #Fin-Turbo custom made billet wings, #Autospeed exhaust manifolds, Schrick stainless over size valves, 2.8L heads, 3in stainless downpipes by Okkim, Supersprint 3.25in cat back exhaust, cats replaced with straight pipes (v-band), Devil’s Own methanol injection, 630cc #Deka-injectors , #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Wagner intercoolers, #034-Motorsport carbon intake kit with big ITG air filter, TFSI coils, 034 snubmount front bushing

    POWER 592hp and 802Nm

    TRANSMISSION 034 Motorsport carbon synchro kit, Stern engine and gearbox bushings, #JHM short shifter

    BRAKES B7 RS4 discs, C5 RS6 8-pot calipers, braided steel hoses, VW Phaeton cooler kit for brakes, stock brakes rear with braided steel hoses

    SUSPENSION #KW Variant 1, #H&R stiffer springs, hard bushes

    WHEELS AND TYRES #BBS / #BBS-LM 10 & 11x19in, Continental 5 235/35 and 265/30 tyres, 30mm spacers in front, 15mm in rear, red/gold Japan edition centre caps.

    EXTERIOR Wrapped in #3M 1080 gloss white by, brand new headlights, front grille surrounds #Plastidipped in black, fog light delete, front licence plate recess delete, Cupra R front lip, carbon side mirrors with RS4 logos sandblasted, VW Polo rear window viper, tinted windows.

    INTERIOR Corbeau RRS seats, OEM Alcantara steering wheel and gear knob, custom made Alcantara gear gaiter, #RNS-E navigation system, Vems EGT & AFR in pod gauge on steering wheel, another EGT gauge with warning light moulded into trimming left side of the steering wheel, #Kufatec OEM + TV tuner, #Audison 3-way speakers in front doors, garage door opener in cigarette lighter, interior lights replaced with LEDs.

    TUNING CONTACTS,,, jap3,,
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    One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary

    When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.

    There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”

    “Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”

    Digital audio explained:

    “The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
    Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar

    Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.

    New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”

    And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.

    “Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.

    With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.

    In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.

    Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.

    DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management

    EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps

    INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console

    THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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    This Mk2 has so much Bentley leather they’ve had to cease production of the Continental GT.

    Recently the bods at Jaguar decided to hand-build six, brand-new, lightweight E-Types, with original (albeit unused) 1963 chassis numbers, then sell them to special customers at £1.2 million a pop. Jassi’s Mk2 Golf reminds me of those.

    You see, there’s a lot to be said for nostalgia. For one it captures the heart. They reckon there’s no school like the old skool and there’s plenty of truth in that. After all, if that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t see so many new Fiat 500s and MINIs tooling around every city in Europe. The same goes for genuine classic cars, which have become infinitely more popular, not to mention sought after by all the cool kids over the past few years.

    What’s really interesting though, is that wonderful situation when old skool meets new skool head on. Nowadays the most successful creations prove that retro motoring in the 21st century doesn’t have to mean regular breaking down in some rusty old shitbox. Plenty of today’s classics are restored in a way that embraces new technology and techniques. Out-dated parts are often uprated, performance and drivability along with safety can be advanced, in fact it’s the essence of all modifying – to evolve.

    Jassi’s car is the epitome of this notion. It’s about harking back to the old aesthetic with a sneaky bit of updating along the way. This one though is less of a restoration project and more of a new build that’s been completed with the utmost respect for the original. Sure it’s practically a whole re-manufactured motor, but the modifications are there simply to enhance the ideas of the past, not totally change them. It’s an exercise in showing what could have been done if the Mk2 Golf had rolled out of the factory last week – or what would have happened if the 1980s VW bods had access to new-age materials and went a bit loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget. It shows no compromise, and that’s a rare thing.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if Bill Gates were to put together a more-door Mk2 Golf, this is exactly how he’d do it – with absolutely no expense spared. It’s blindingly obvious that this fusion of old-skool style and new techniques and materials didn’t come cheap. Many of the mods, particularly the carbon items are total one-offs, for a start. But it’s also a story about friendship. Jassi certainly didn’t have the big-budget technicians of modern-day car manufacturers when he rescued this “pretty straight” Golf 1.6L shell. Instead he turned to his friends, veteran retro #VAG modifier Parm Bhambra and a few other enthusiasts who would get the job done to the hand-built, concours standard that he was after.

    Despite the super plush and extravagant outcome, it was by no means a build that was done in a Maclaren-style sterile workshop either. Just take the crazy 300bhp #VR6 engine. That was tuned and fitted by Jassi’s mate Hardip, on his drive, in just under two days. Credit where credit’s due, Parm has been instrumental to the car’s success throughout the whole build, a kind of project manager for Jassi. You may remember Parm had his own project, a rather fetching TT-engined Mk2 Golf Rallye, in Fast Car a few months ago, so it’s clear he’s no stranger to updating the odd retro ride. Even so the job was far from easy, when you’re doing anything at this level, it takes more than a little attention to detail. And on this one the details are immense.

    Apart from the engine, which is pretty bloody special in its own right, the most obvious use of modern technology was the use of materials like carbon fibre. Many of these immaculately autoclaved pieces were sourced or made as one-offs by Parm’s industry contacts. The fitting and blending of the wide arches was also expertly completed by a few of his mates in a local body shop.

    There’s plenty of small but delightfully anal details here, stuff like the fact they’ve taken the time to retrim both the amps that are on show – along with just about everything else inside the car, even the small bits and pieces such as window winders and door handles.

    Just like the carbon fibre, the sandy Alcantara is also a space-age composite material, a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed here at FC. The leather used to trim those electric Recaros on the other hand isn’t quite as cutting-edge because it comes from cows (no shit – Jules). That said, they’re not just any cows, they’re special Bentley cows – opulent to say the least!

    The use of modern technology doesn’t stop with the materials or application. The parts Jassi has chosen are right up there with anything you’ll find on The Gadget Show. The stance comes courtesy of the latest Air Lift V2 kit. While the sounds are provided by some of the most up-to-date gear from JL Audio and Audison. Suffice to say it’s all super-premium stuff.

    Even the wheels are super-rare, super-modern and custom made – in a thoroughly retro kind of way. Machined from solid forged billets by Budnik in California, they’re the sort of all-American hot-rod rims you’d normally see on a Gas Monkey creation – a fusion of old and new in their self.

    I guess my point is this car is something of a missing link between past design and future technology. It’s inspired by both periods when so many out there simply look to one and call their creations either old skool or new skool.

    A great 19th century philosopher once wrote that “the future influences the present just as much as the past”. If he’d lived long enough to see Jassi’s Mk2 Golf, he’d know he wasn’t wrong.


    What do you find most inspiring, the future or the past?

    “For me both are the same. What could be the future is just as inspiring as what happened in the past, especially with cars.”

    Did you know that Friedrich Nietzsche said something quite similar in the 19th century?

    “Come on, you just Googled quotes about the future, trying to look clever didn’t you?” Er, yeah, okay. You got me.

    So shiny and new (but also old)

    All leathered up (like Jules at the weekend)

    The perfect fusion of old skool and new skool.

    TECH SPEC: #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen

    STYLING: Wide arches; Porsche door handles; single wiper conversion; carbon mirrors, roof, small bumpers, door trim, rear trim and tail light trim.

    CHASSIS: Fully-chromed 8x16-inch Budnik wheels with custom offsets (ET 35 at front and 15 at rear) and Porsche centre caps; Toyo Proxes T1 195/40R16 G60; 280mm disc brakes; #Air-Lift Performance V2 kit with dual compressors and polished tank; chassis notch; #Powerflex bushes.

    INTERIOR: Porsche steering wheel; #Recaro Edition One electric seats trimmed in Bentley Tan leather; dashboard, roof lining and various other interior panels trimmed in sandy Alcantara; custom rear view mirror, door handle inserts and window winders.

    TUNING: 2.8 supercharged VR6 engine by #Z-Engineering ; 6-speed #Quaife race gearbox; Mk3 #Golf-VR6 sports exhaust race manifold; VW Corrado aluminium racing radiator; oil cooler; relocated battery.

    AUDIO: #JL-Audio W6 10-inch subwoofer; V2 500/1 amplifier and (2x) JL Audio V1 300/1 amplifiers; #Alpine single- DIN headunit; #Audison two-way 6.5-inch components in custom housings; and 5.25-inch coaxials (rear).

    THANKS Parm Bhambra; Hardip for the engine conversion.

    What a thoroughly handsome monster Going back to the old skool.

    “It’s like 1980s VW bods have gone loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget”
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