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- Post is under moderationGRANDE DESIGNS Mk5 GTI gets big wheels, big brakes and a big attitude. It’s kind of a big deal.
SATIN YELLOW #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Mk5 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-V
Volkswagen Mk5 Golf GTi “I wasn’t going to do much to it, honest.” How many times have we heard that one? Ricky Grande is the latest person to roll out that line in front of our cameras… Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Anna Richardson and Keith Sowden.
“You can write Ricky’s Mk5 feature this month Dave,” said Elliott as we put the plan together for this issue, “it makes sense, you wrote his last one didn’t you?” Yeah, I did, way back in 2008 when I was only a year into my tenure with PVW.
Back then I had no idea I’d still be doing this almost a full decade later, heck, I was surprised Elliott hadn’t seen through my nonsense at that stage and I was still getting away with it. Now, roughly nine full years since Ricky Grande and I first met and almost a decade since I started on the mag, a whole lot is changing for me on a personal level but just looking at Ricky’s ‘5 is turning into something of a trip down memory lane for me. It’s funny, back then we went on far more shoots than we do now (yay, budgets!) but I still remember Ricky’s like it was only last month. Fresh faced, definitely thinner and most likely with a really stupid haircut, I went to Ilford in my Bora (back when we could take our own cars on shoots before the accountants here stopped all that!) and met Ricky and his cousin Harm and we instantly clicked. James Lipman was the photographer on the day, a guy who is now without a doubt one of the most in-demand and popular car photographers in the world, and we had such a fun day shooting the two cars, Ricky’s Mk4 and Harm’s Passat, on the streets of Ilford in the sunshine. I’ll never forget us performing a kind of rolling road block on a random overpass to get the rolling shots Lipman wanted, me driving his old Passat and him hanging out the back tailgate like he used to. Health and safety? Yeah, we've totally got that.
Ricky and I stayed friendly over the years, bumping in to each other at shows and reminiscing about the old days and how much fun the shoot was. He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s pretty cool to be able to write up the feature on this, his really rather cool Mk5 so long after we first met.
But anyway, that’s enough of the misty-eyed introductions, let’s get down to business. “This has been the biggest build I’ve done since the Mk4 days,” Ricky remembered, “I've had a few things in between, coilovers, wheels and a map, but nothing all that interesting,” he continued. “You see, after the Mk4 I’d sworn to myself that I’d never get that stuck into a car again… famous last words, right?”
He is right. ‘I won’t get so involved with the next car’ is up there with ‘ah, it all got out of hand’ and ‘I didn’t mean to go so far’ as the most common sentences uttered to us when we interview a feature car owner. Ricky bought the car from the Edition38.com classifieds (remember them? Facebook has got a lot to answer for, they were the place to find a car back in the day) for the simple reason that he hadn’t owned a fifth-gen Golf yet and simply fancied one – simple as that! “I wanted a DSG rather than a manual but the deal on this one was too good to pass up on, I just wanted a simple, fast and reliable new daily really, nothing more than that,” he explained. “I don’t think I’d even got home from picking it up before my brother Naz and some other friends started sending photos and Instagram links of sorted Mk5s to my phone,” he added laughing, “I didn’t really stand a chance, did I?”
Things started simply enough, like they often do, a good service and going over at GNR Motors, his brother’s garage, was the first port of call. “I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my cars that I like them to start in the best condition possible, plus doing the boring servicing stuff first saves money in the long run, there’s no point spending all that money doing a car up if it’s going to blow up from something silly later down the line,” he reasoned.
Service book stamped, next came some coilovers and wheels, a set of Audi Speedlines, which kept our man’s modifying itch satisfied for a little while. A season of shows later, including a few trips to Europe and most notably Worthersee, was the catalyst for the next stage, as it so often is.
We’ve often said here on PVW that Worthersee is where trends are born. We can’t quite remember which year it was now, our collective memories definitely are more fuzzy than clear cut these days, but we definitely remember when we first started seeing the first of the ‘super low, static, tucked’ cars around the lake. They wore German plates, they were almost all nu-wave cars at the time and while the UK was still loving poke and aggressive fitments, these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches on Mk5 Golfs and the like and most importantly, they were doing it without a compressor or bag in sight. It certainly made an impression on us, and it certainly made an impression on Ricky and his crew too.
“Our heads were buzzing with ideas on the way home,” Ricky smiled, “and after a few dinners, beers and phone calls back home we had a plan set for the Mk5 to try and get that look we had all fallen in love with out there.”
The shopping list was impressive; RS4 buckets for the interior, wide wings from SRS like the German boys were running, OZ Ultraleggeras, big brakes on the front and the all-important special super-low coilovers. “Sukh of Westside planted the seed to get the extra low coils on it and he sorted out a set of H&R Ultralow 140s which were fantastic,” he remembered.
The colour change also came around this time. “Out in Europe we had seen so many brightly coloured cars and just loved the impact they made,” he remembered. “I wasn’t sure what colour to do the Golf but I knew it had to be lairy,” he smiled. “I then saw a Lamborghini Huracan at my friend’s place and fell in love with its bright yellow paint which settled it. It was hard to wrap my head around the car being yellow for a while but it gets noticed where ever it goes which is cool I guess,” he laughed, “you certainly can’t miss it!”
A little while later and it was time for a change in the chassis department. No, Ricky wasn’t abandoning the static life for a set of Air Lift’s finest, it was more of a sideways move. “My good friend Jason Debono started Gepfeffert UK which is the special super-low KW coilover arm here in the UK,” Ricky explained. “The H&Rs were fantastic but I wanted to support a friend’s new business, and the KWs came with fully adjustable top mounts, trick stainless bodies and adjustable damping too which really sold it for me.” The result of the coilover change? The Golf ended up another centimetre closer to the Tarmac and the Ultraleggeras were shoved even further up in to the arch liners, resulting in a happy Ricky.
A number of the super-low static cars in Worthersee back then had cages in, purely for the look, and it was a look our man loved. MAQ Racing provided the show cage which also got treated to a wrap of the same yellow as the car itself and the backs of the leather RS4 buckets. Of course, with a show cage and two rear brace bars in place of where the rear bench used to be, something needed doing to the boot itself so in went a false floor setup in matching carpet. Out back Ricky had already put a Gladen 10” subwoofer in a custom enclosure on one side and a pair of Gladen amps on the opposite one courtesy of another friend of his, Amarjit at BladeIce.
“Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style Milltek system from Ruben at Tuningwerkes to suit it,” Ricky explained. “That, the EVOMS intake, RS4 coilpacks and a stage one map is all it’s got under the bonnet but that’s all it really needs,” he continued. “I’d like to have K04’d it and all that for a big jump in power but being this low does compromise the drivability, of course, and living in London like I do I didn’t think it was worth the extra effort and cost.”
Speaking of expense, the most costly part of the whole car was without a doubt the brakes. “The brakes, no question, were the hardest and most brain-frying thing we did to it,” Ricky winced, “we must have spent £6k on second hand brake kits Naz and I trying to figure out how to make what we wanted to work, work.” The fronts were simple enough, eight-pot Brembos and 370mm discs but it was the rear end were things were complicated. “We wanted to go with R8 rear brakes with the twin calipers but with larger discs, so the rears are 365mm, only 5mm smaller than the fronts,” he added. “The hard thing was because we didn’t want to run spacers it made getting the ridiculous disks and twin calipers to fit properly a real hassle but we found a way… I’m not telling you our secret though!” He added, smiling.”
Final items on the hit list were getting the aluminum-look trim across the dash skimmed in carbon fibre, getting the wheel, gear gaitor, arm rest and handbrake trimmed in Alcantara to smarten things up and a final set of wheels, this time 8.5x20” OZ Superturismos robbed, sorry, borrowed from friend Naz.
So what’s next for Ricky? Well, the Mk5 has already been broken and sold on, its parts living on in numerous other builds while the car itself has gone on to live another life. Ricky himself though, like I was when I was handed this feature to write, has been looking back. “I’ve bought another Mk4 Anniversary Dave,” he smiled, “well, actually we as a group have bought six of them…” Wait, what? “It’s another thing we’ve seen being done in Europe over the years, you’ll see a group of mates all with the same car but in different colours,” he explained. “We already had three Mk4 Anniversarys between us and we’ve all got Mk4s in our blood more than any other car, so we figured if we got three more we would have one each and we could do something like that, all looking kind of the same but different colours, should be cool…”
Knowing Ricky and his group of mates, they’ll knock the idea out of the park. Get in touch when you have mate…
“Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough, so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style MiLltek”
while the UK was loving pokE these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches
He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s cool to be able to write up the feature on his really rather cool Mk5
ENGINE: 2.0 #GTI-AXX-code , #Milltek R32-style de-cat exhaust system, #Evoms-Evolutuion intake, #Revision-D diverter, #Stage-1 map running approx 260bhp, Mk2 Audi TT engine cover, Iridium plugs, RS4 coil packs
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” #OZ / #OZ-Superturismos LM wheels with 225/30 ZR20 tyres all round, #Gepfeffert-KW-Ultralow 120mm V2 coilovers, chassis notched front, eight-pot #Brembo front calipers with 370mm discs, rears R8 rear brake conversion with double calipers
EXTERIOR: Wrapped in Satin yellow, SRS wide wings, R32 front Xenons headlights, rear R32 tail lights with upgraded LEDS, Mk6 rear badge, front US-spec front GTI grille, ‘open air’ front vent grilles, R32 rear bumper, rear wiper deleted, boot button popper
INTERIOR: RS4 front sears with backs wrapped in yellow, MAQ Racing show/roll cage, Gladen 10” sub in custom enclosure, Gladen speaker amp and sub amp enclosure, false floor, carbon fibre dash trims, steering paddles and ashtray, Alcantara steering wheel, arm rest, handbrake lever and MK7 Golf gear knob, Highline instrument cluster and Polar Fiscon, Kenwood DNX521dab headunit, MK6 switches, Candy red hazard button
SHOUT: Massive thanks to my brother Naz and the rest of the team at GNR Motors, without these guys it wouldn’t have happened and I’d probably have a lot more money in the bank. My Dad and family at Grande Auto Spares for all the support and abuse along the way, Dan and Shaun at Dubcustoms for the wrap, Jason for the Gepfeffert Suspension, Ruben at TuningWerkes for endless hours of support and parts, Amarjit at BladeIce for all the Audio, Mario at MAQ Racing for the cage and brakes support, Sunny at SS Autobody for always being up for a challenge, Edge Automotive, Raz at RetroRaz for all the retro fits, Jay at Splash & Vac for keeping the car clean, Umer at Trade4less tyres, Yusuf at ECP, Ted at TPS, Manny, Leroy, Ash, Slim, Avi B, Anna, Keith, Jamie Tall, Jamie Kebab, Danny Allen, Sukh, Raks, Ranvir, Jas, Harvey, Pandy, Sal, Vick S, Hiten, Gary S, RayARD, KamIce, Fet for the bottomless cups of tea, Vick N at Lowpro, Si at StillStatic, our Belgium crew, Gurj, Dalvir and Jaspal and last but not least all the lads at workStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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- Post is under moderationMk1 Caddy R32 Exclusive: the UKʼs hottest Caddy revealed!
/ #VW-Golf-I / #VW-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / #VW / #VW-Golf / #VAG / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #VW-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Caddy-I / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32-Mk1
WALK THE WALK
With a day job that involves getting other people’s paintwork spot-on it is no surprise that north east Dub nut Paul Walker’s own project is beyond flawless. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Si Gray.
I’ve got to say, it was DRIVE-MY that got me in to modified Veedubs in the first place,” 37-year-old Paul Walker explains. “I’ve always been in to cars and then one day I randomly picked up DRIVE-MY and, well, it all escalated from there really.”
We would like to take this opportunity right now to apologise for inflicting him with his Veedub addiction, something that has no doubt taken huge amounts of money from his bank account as he chases the high that is modified #VW ownership. Maybe copies of DRIVE-MY should have warnings printed on them like they do with cigarette packets these days. ‘Buying this magazine can be damaging to your bank balance!’. Or ‘modified VW ownership harms you and others around you’. That kind of thing.
“I had an Evo 7 that was just emptying my pockets and I decided enough was enough, it was time for a change in direction,” Paul continues. We’re not going to question how a Mk1 Caddy show car, especially one as good as this, could possibly be any cheaper than a Mitsubishi Evo 7… all we can be sure of is we’re very glad that Paul decided to make the switch because if he hadn’t we wouldn’t be looking at one of the finest Mk1 Caddys the UK has ever turned out.
The Caddy you see here wasn’t Paul’s first foray in to modded German metal ownership. Before the little truck he’d built himself a bagged and beautifully trimmed New Beetle which, although a very nice car indeed, must have been a bit of a shock to the system after a hardcore Evo!
“I’ve always been a fan of Mk1 Golfs, though, I mean, who isn’t eh? But good ones come up for sale so rarely that I started looking at Caddys instead,” Paul explains. “I made myself a promise, though; that I would keep it simple – just air and a nice set of wheels. It all went south when I started paying more attention to what some of the Euro Mk1 boys were turning up in…”
It’s probably worth mentioning that Paul earns his nine-to-five money as a dent man, or to give it the proper title, a paintless dent removal technician. This means that he is something of a perfectionist when it comes to cars and in particular, when it comes to the finer details. “I bought the car in 2014,” he remembers.
“I found it on the Edition38 classifieds but there was only one problem, it was in Portsmouth and I live so far north I’m almost in Scotland. This made checking it out in person difficult,” he continues. “Luckily the Kleen Freaks guys are like family and Adam Gough and Natalie Poulton, who live down that way, offered to go check it out for me, which was really nice of them.” With Adam and Natalie giving the truck the once over and confirming it was a good ’un, Paul bought it over the phone. “The guys got it right, it was in really good condition, which is pretty rare for a Caddy these days. I was always going to repaint it anyway so I was more concerned with it being structurally sound, which it was.”
The Caddy didn’t go home to Darlington straight away though; it went straight from the south coast to JH Pro Paint in Sheffield to have the Air Lift Performance air-ride, V2 management, and the custom four-link rear end fitted. “It was so low on its coilvers that I had to bag it immediately otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten onto my driveway, so it was a kind of a necessity as much as it was for looks,” he explains. Regular readers of the mag will need no introduction to the name JH Pro Paint. The Sheffield-based outfit is getting quite a name for itself in the modified VW scene for turning out more than a few awesome show-winning cars, not least owner Jon Hinchcliffe’s amazing everevolving Mk1 R32. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jon’s Mk1, so it’s fair to say his car was the inspiration for mine,” Paul grins. “It wasn’t until later on that Jon would become such an evil influence in my life!”
Two months later Paul had the Caddy resprayed at a local bodyshop, Autospray Darlington. “It was already white but I wanted it to stand out more so I had it painted in a muchbrighter, cleaner white,” he explains. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition it didn’t need too much repair work doing before it was painted.”
Next up was to sort out a pair of seats. “As I’m tall I wanted a pair of seats that would give me the most legroom, which the Vabrics would,” Paul continues. “Then it was a joint decision between me and the Mrs to do them in Harris Tweed, along with the doorcards, too, which I really think works nicely.”
Then Paul set about rebuilding a set of 15” #BBS-RS s, 8” in width and face-mounted before bolting them on the car ready for Ultimate Dubs 2015, where it went down very well. “For the rest of 2015 it pretty much stayed the same, other than a few bits of carbon fibre trim being fitted here and there. Stuff like the mirrors, A-pillar trims, window cranks, and the handbrake cover were all changed,” he recalls. “And then in June it went back to its second home at JH Pro Paint where, well, things got out of hand, I’ll admit.”
The Caddy came with a nicely-built 2.0-litre 16v in it which, while being a nice, dependable lump, didn’t quite tick the boxes for our man Paul here. We’re sure Jon’s show stealing Mk1 R32 had nothing to do with what was to come… “I’ll freely admit that Jon’s Mk1 was one of my main inspirations,” Paul smiles.
“After all, how could you not be inspired by that thing? But on a more personal note, I wanted a more-modern, less-revvy engine than the 16v. Plus, you just can’t beat that R32 soundtrack, can you?”
Over the next few months Paul and Jon spent so much time on the phone to each other that their respective partners though they might be playing away! But the lads had important build details to discuss and hard-to-find parts to track down. While Paul set about finding a suitable donor car, Jon set about pulling the old motor and getting to work on the bay. 74 welded up holes later, not to mention all the custom jobs that are required to squeeze the big six-shooter in to a tiny Mk1 bay, the whole thing was bare metalled ready for the next stage. That doesn’t really do justice to how much work was involved in getting the bay ready for paint, as anyone who has smoothed an engine bay will know. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how good you are at your craft, it’s a difficult, time-consuming and at times downright frustrating job. “It took Jon the best part of a month’s solid work to do the bay as it’s so time-consuming removing all the sealer and making sure every single millimetre is flawless,” Paul tells us. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition in the first place there wasn’t any major extra work to be done other than a few rust areas and the typical battery tray issues.”
While Jon was hard at work Paul found a suitable car and engine, shipped off a few odd bits to be colour-coded and got in touch with Andy Outhwaite from ACR to have a custom loom made up for the car and set about lengthening parts of the wiring to ensure it would slot easily into the smooth bay.
There’s no doubting Jon and the JH Pro Paint team know how to put out a top-level paint job and Paul’s bay is absolutely flawless from top to bottom, no matter how close you get or what angle you look at it from.
To break up the white, the sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims and mirrors were all carefully reproduced in carbon fibre. We’re big fans of the carbon fibre strips in the bed, too, and the Volkswagen text has been reproduced on the rear wall of the cab, mirroring the text on the tailgate.
“I think the hardest part about the whole build, or at least the most frustrating anyway, was having to take the engine in and out about ten times to test fit everything and get it all right,” Paul reveals. “My wings are welded and smoothed to the front panel, so getting it all offevery time was a right pain, especially as we had to be so careful.”
Once the engine was in properly and the fuelling issues were ironed out, hearing that classic R32 off-beat burble was more than enough to make Paul forget all about any frustrations he had endured. “Oh, hearing it fireup properly the first time was definitely the best part of the build; you just can’t beat that noise, can you?” he says with a beaming smile. “I’ve had a few people say it’s too heavy an engine for a Mk1 but since when has a Caddy been meant to handle like a race car? They were built to carry sheep and stuff around! Some have also said that the Caddy is pointless as I can’t put stuff in the bed anymore but that’s usually the kind of thing people who don’t quite ‘get it’ would say…”
With people who do ‘get it’ the Caddy has gone down very well indeed. It debuted at Ultimate Dubs back in March (we got this shoot in the bag the day before), and since then Paul has taken it to Elsecar, Early Edition and Letstance over in Belfast, where it’s gone down an absolute treat.
It’s no surprise that Paul’s Caddy has had crowds around it at every event it’s been to so far. It is one of the best Caddys the UK has ever turned out, it’s just such a complete car. The amazingly clean engine bay is the star of the show but you don’t need to look too far to realise that no corners have been cut. It really is an incredibly complete car, not just for a Mk1 Caddy but for a Mk1 in general, and that’s no easy task these days with the level of Mk1s being as high as it is.
And yet perfectionist Paul isn’t finished yet. “Since the shoot I’ve put some Fifteen52 two-piece F40 Tarmacs on it so I can run bigger brakes, and I’m planning to transform it in to what I’m calling ‘the race Caddy’ over next winter too,” he chuckles. “Watch this space…”
Consider it watched Paul, consider it watched!
Dub Details / #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6 / #BBS / #Air-Lift
ENGINE: Mk4 #R32 engine, VR6 #VW-Racing induction kit, #Time-Attack map, full carbon-skinned VR6 gearbox with #Wavetrac limited-slip diff, custom manifold and exhaust system, custom engine mounts and driveshafts, custom radiator, #Forge-Motorsport coolant pipes, full wire tuck and smooth bay, hidden battery under bed with positive and negative terminals behind driver’s seat.
CHASSIS: 8x15” #BBS-RS043 wheels totally rebuilt and face-mounted, #Air-Lift-V2 management with #Air-Lift Lift rear bags and #GAZ front struts, tank and compressors hidden under the bed, four-link rear axle with drop plates, G60 280mm front brakes with braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Resprayed in bright white, carbon fibre sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims, door mirrors, strips in the bed and strips on the front bumper, custom front and rear bumpers, Volkswagen script on the rear of the cab.
INTERIOR: Vabric half-back seats trimmed in ‘houndstooth’ Harris Tweed and grey Alcantara, Harris Tweed and Alcantara doorcards, flocked dash, Alcantara headlining and A-pillar trim, carbon handbrake, cover and window winders.
SHOUT: Jon Hinchcliffe at JH Pro Paint, Justin, Pete and Aidy at Autospray Darlington for my paint and detailing, Mike and Vick at Kleen Freaks for their backing, Alex Begley at Fifteen52, my good mates Anthony Warrior and Warwick French, and, most importantly, my wife for putting up with me while I did it!
If ever there was a face that summed up being obsessive about a car being absolutely spot-on, this is it. Paul takes the job of keeping his Caddy spotless very seriously, and who can blame him when the results look this good?!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation#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 / #Audi-A4-Avant / #Audi-A4-B8 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi / #Audi-A4-Avant-2.0TDI / #Audi-A4-Avant-2.0TDI-B8 / Rotiform / #Rotiform - INDT
ENGINE: 2.0 #TDI 140bhp, six-speed, #JC-Weldfab exhaust, #DTUK tuning box
CHASSIS: 10x20” centre-lock #Rotiform-INDT wheels, #Air-Lift-Performance struts, #AccuAir-E-Level 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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.