Monthly Archives: February 2015

Caffeine and Cars – Kicking Off The Year with Car Audio & Security

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Whenever we hear of any sort of event that Car Audio & Security are planning, we know it’s going to be a mind blowing experience. Being the UK’s largest car electronics retailer, you can always expect to see the best and latest technologies on display. However, over the past few years they’ve become even better known as Europe’s number one Air Lift Performance and Rotiform dealer – therefore if you share our interest in the modified car scene, these guys will no doubt be a household name. So, was it worth the 190 mile round trip from the South Coast up to the Car Audio & Security headquarters in Hayes (West London)? Well with good coffee, good company, and of course incredible cars… the answer should be obvious.

 

 

‘Caffeine & Cars’ was all about unveiling the new Rotiform cast wheel collection, enabling people to pre-order any of the new sets before the rest of the general public. Plus, some appealing discounts on Car Audio & Security’s other products such as Air Lift, Rockford Fosgate, Kenwood and much more.

 

 

Unsurprisingly the weather was appalling, although this is fully expected for most of our trips to London. This somewhat had an effect on the overall turnout of cars, but nonetheless plenty of people were turning up throughout the day to grab some deals, talk cars and check out the new wheels. With Ultimate Dubs only two weeks away, most of the car’s we were hoping to see are still being finished off!

 

 

No problem for Car Audio & Security though, with their full line up of demo vehicles finished and on display – showing off the best of what Rotiform and Air Lift have to offer, always a winning combination with any modern Audi or Volkswagen platform in particular.

 

 

Vick Nagi’s red A4 Avant was certainly a talking point for most, he made the trip down from Leeds to show his support. Check out the widened arches allowing those 20″ RS5 rotor wheels to tuck perfectly all round.

 

 

Amongst all the German metal it is always a pleasant change to see the Dodge Challenger SRT8 demo car, complete on a full Air Lift kit making it an instant car for the wishlist. It just goes to show that you can bag anything if you really want to! No doubt this improves the stock ‘boaty’ handling, too.

 

 

 

 

On to the main spectacle and there’s no argument.. Parm’s latest RS4 is an absolute beast. A refined and tasteful build kitted out with full Air Lift suspension, tucking a brand new set of Rotiform SPF in a gorgeous double dark tint (DDT) resulting in an utterly mean look. It’s finished off with one of the nicest boot installs we’ve come across in a while. What more could you require from an Avant…

 

 

 

 

Tuck was certainly an occurring theme of the day, even with this Mk6 Golf R on 20″ Rotiform BLQs.

 

 

 

Another new set of the beautiful SPF’s were found on the Car Audio & Security Mk5 Edition 30.

 

 

Just in case you hadn’t seen enough Rotiform and Air Lift!

 

 

 

 

Outside, we captured a few cars that caught our eye, some even still in Winter mode like a certain bagged S4 you may recognise…

 

 

We loved Ricardo’s bagged A1 on Rotiform VCEs…

 

 

And Mark’s Mk4 Golf estate with Bora front end conversion on yet another set of VCEs which really suit this car.

 

 

An awesome afternoon was had, spent mostly catching up with some of our friends and meeting new ones. We’re blown away by some of Rotiform’s latest offerings, so if you’re looking to upgrade for show season, they’ve certainly upped their game even more so this year. We’re glad we could make the trip up to witness Car Audio & Security’s high level of standard as per usual. If you missed out on the action, head over to their website (caraudiosecurity.com) to check out the new collection. Thanks for having us, here’s hoping we see a few more of these smaller events throughout the year, especially when the weather improves.

 

 

C Spanner Warrior – Nick Hart’s 1988 BMW E28 520i

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

I was first introduced to Nick Hart’s E28 5 series back at ‘The German Show’ event last year in Beaulieu. It totally blew me away, firstly due to the super rare “Weinrot” paint job, which you could describe as a sort of burgundy or red wine colour. I’d never seen another car with this paint from factory. Plus, the car was static, silly low, on a set of stunning RFs. This was all during a time before the E28 had become such a popular car on the show circuit. There’s now quite a few of these beauties in circulation – each with their own personality. I’ve been wanting to get a closer look at Nick’s though, because it’s simply one of the (if not the only) lowest static examples in the UK. I’ll always remember how he had to battle his way along the appalling New Forest roads to get to that show and back. Amazingly, he’s lowered it even more since… This is a serious ‘no f**ks given’ car.

 

 

Nick fits electric gates for a living, but has always had a huge passion for cars, spending countless hours on them in his spare time. He’s owned all sorts.. from a Mk1 Golf, Starlet Turbo, to a Volvo 340 with a Williams Clio engine. Prior to the E28, he owned an E36 which was mainly used for skidding. He was offered the E28 as a straight swap, so Nick went for it with the initial idea of drifting it, until he realised it would probably be best to preserve such a fine piece of history.

 

 

What I love about Nick’s E28 is that it’s rough around the edges. He’ll admit that this isn’t the kind of the car that will win a Show ‘n’ Shine, and he never intended it to. It’s not perfect – but it’s a hell of a lot tidier than when he first picked up the car. The car was in such a state, it’s fair to say that it looked like it had been pulled straight out of a bush. Clearly minimal love was shown by its mammoth list of previous owners. He’s done superbly to bring it back to its former glory.

 

 

The first thing most people notice when they glance at the car is the faded drivers wing. Nick says that he’s often asked why he doesn’t just replace the wing or get it sprayed, but he likes it as it is – essentially adding to the car’s character. He believes at some point in it’s life it has had a scratch repaired by the means of an amateur paint job, which has worsened over the years. As long as the car is solid, how can you not like a bit of genuine patina?

 

 

In addition to the unusual factory paint colour, the rarities continue under the hood. Originally a 520i auto, at some point during its past the engine and transmission have been swapped out, in place of 3.0 litre bored out M30 lump from a mix of E34 and E28 parts as well as a manual swap. This would usually seem like a selling point to most, but it’s actually caused Nick nothing but hassle. Being a ‘home-brew’ swap from multiple engines, it’s been impossible to know what parts to buy first time round, resulting in plenty of trial and error.

 

 

Nick had to try five different starter motors, three fly wheels and two clutches just to find the right setup to get the car starting correctly. Not to mention, he had to rip apart the whole fuel system due to massive rust and corrosion and rebuild it again with similar frustration. There always seems to be something that needs tinkering with – but it’s all fun and games. Luckily for Nick, he has use of a work van for daily duties.

 

 

The interior has had a bit of a switch up since Nick picked up the car. A previous owner had fitted a pair of RS Turbo Recaro seats with harnesses, which he felt didn’t suit the car at all. He hunted high and low for a replacement, and finally hit the jackpot with an incredibly tidy set of original E28 cloth front seats which matched the rear bench perfectly. With the addition of a wooden Nardi steering wheel out of an MX5, plus an E46 wooden gear knob, the interior now resembles that quintessential 80’s look and feel.

 

 

Having finally been a passenger in Nick’s car along a variety of roads, I can confirm that it really is stupidly low. It scrapes everywhere… even on what can look like a flat/even road. A lot of people ask him how he’s lowered it. The answer.. a continued ‘DIY’ attitude, with Nick and his friend Craig finding a cheap way to get the car sitting as low as possible.

 

 

This involved re-drilling and welding Polo 6n coilovers and adding E30 top mounts which were machined to fit perfectly. I think you’ll agree that the results are absolutely spot on, although some precautions had to be made to preserve the engine’s sump. This was sorted easily using a set of SS AUTOWERKS engine raisers – and a custom sump guard just for extra piece of mind.

 

 

To finish off his vision, Nick knew the car had to be on splits, opting for a set of classic BBS RFs. 17×8.5 ET8 up front with 5mm spacers and 17×9.5 ET13 at the rear, these are married to 205/40 and 195/40 tyres resulting in beautiful overall fitment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick is one of those people that builds a car for himself, and doesn’t give a damn about what others think or whether they approve. You won’t have seen the E28 at many shows, as Nick really isn’t bothered about people seeing it. So, I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with him – I certainly feel it’s something worth sharing. With much of his spare time spent running SS AUTOWERKS, Nick is also working on a Mk1 Caddy project which is looking super exciting – and by the sound of it will be looking ‘mint’ in comparison to the E28. Although with talks of either a V8 conversion or M51 diesel engine swap, I just know he won’t be forgetting about the BMW any time soon.

 

 

Better Known as ‘The Curse’ – Jack Waller’s 2006 Volkswagen Mk5 Golf R32

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Within the car world the Volkswagen Golf has always been one of the most popular cars to modify, from the first generation Mk1 all the way through to the current Mk7, you’re bound to see a diverse selection of these cars at any car show. If you’re looking for a modern-ish car that pretty much does it all, the Mk5 is the all-rounder, especially now they have now become so affordable. For this reason the show scene often feels overrun by these cars and owners can find it quite a task to differentiate their pride and joy from their peers. Jack Waller’s example is  quite unique though… For one, it’s the R32 model – the holy grail of Golfs from this era.. packing a 3.2 litre VR6 engine with 247bhp straight out of the factory. For Jack, stock power wasn’t enough – his car boasts a supercharger, pushing it to over 360bhp!

 

 

But before we get into details, first let’s take a step back and delve into Jack’s motoring past… Cars have always been a huge part of his life, with his late father having quite the collection; including two Porsche 911’s, an Aston Martin DB4 and a 1960’s Alvis. Jack admits that there was little hope for him! He started off with a Renault Laguna 2.2 diesel as his first car when he turned 17. Fear not, it wasn’t long before he discovered the world of VW’s and Audi’s. At 19, Jack made the move to the VAG world and purchased an Audi 8L A3, which eventfully ended up in a rather large ditch. Next up saw him in a Mk2 Jetta (which is still an ongoing project to this day) which he used whilst searching for another A3. Jack has also had a few shared cars and projects with his friend Will (aka. Wingate) including Mk1 Caddys & Golfs, Mk2 Golfs and a Mk3 GTI. However, after three years and endless sump changes from being stupidly low, Jack decided to sell his A3 and treat himself.

 

 

With his mind set on something quick, after several test drives in various R32’s and B8 S4’s, Jack came across ‘The Curse’. The car had already been supercharged and was up for sale at the same cost as a standard R32. He knew he’d found something special. As soon as he fired the car up inside the specialist’s warehouse, Jack was smitten and knew he wasn’t leaving that day without it. Bank account emptied, he was finally the proud owner of a supercharged R32 – with the drive home being one of his favourite drives to this day thanks to the R32’s signature exhaust note.

 

 

A month into ownership and things started to go downhill, when a worrying noise emerged from the engine bay one morning. Jack called up Turner Race Developments (TRD) straight away – the company who had previously installed the supercharger and taken care of the car. They collected the car the following day to discover the cam chain tensioners had loosened. A lucky escape, and just a few days later and the R32 was fixed and back on Jack’s driveway. Another few weeks passed and ‘The Curse’ struck again – with the auxiliary belt snapping, thanks to a carrier pulley ceasing. Several months went by problem-free, until Jack was out driving one day when he came to a halt after an all mighty bang followed by a sudden loss of power – plus a noticeable dent to the bonnet! To his and TRD’s great surprise, the supercharger belts had snapped – something they’d never seen happen on one of their kits before. Luckily the guys at TRD sorted it right out and new belts were fitted and realigned with a slightly higher tension. To this day, the engine and charger have been OK. Let’s hope it stays that way!

 

 

Once the these issues had been taken care of, it was time for Jack to get down to business, sorting out the essential lowering of course. When he purchased the car it was already sitting on Bilstein coilovers, but after many painful experiences with static cars – combined with living down a mile-long gravel track in the middle of the New Forest, he knew it was time to make the switch to air ride. After some research, he called upon the services of Air-lift.co.uk (Intermotiv) to carry out the install. Jonathan (at Air-lift.co.uk) talked Jack through the whole process and helped work out what was best for the car and what he wanted as an end result. The solution was Air Lift Performance Slam struts with the all important AutoPilot V2 digital management, for optimum control. Finished with a hidden boot build including double tanks, plus custom anti roll bars and the addition of a quick release air line, Jack hasn’t looked back and absolutely loves the way it drives and handles.

 

 

With the stance sorted, it was time to give the R32 a new set of shoes. Going back to the popularity aspect of these Mk5’s, wheels are a tough element to get right – or stand out for that matter, with the usual BBS’ done to death. After considerable hunting, Jack finally came across something slightly different, a set of Image DM’s in 18×8.5 and 18×9.5 for sale second hand. After striking a deal and getting them home, he realised that the former owner had built the wheels with the front centres running on one side, and the rears on the other. So, an unexpected tear down and rebuild was required straight away.

 

 

See how the car is still continuing to live up to its name… After an initial test fit, Jack realised he had gone a bit wrong with his offset calculations – but a quick chat with a local engineering company and 5mm was shaved from the mating of the centres. 205/35/18 tyres were fitted all round, and finally the wheels were on! After a couple of late nights tweaking the camber and rolling/pulling the front arches, he was happy with the result.

 

 

Being the production manager for a signwriters by trade, Jack thought he’d do something about the original Magic Black Pearl (LC9Z) paintwork that had become more than tired. The option to wrap the car seemed obvious and at minimal cost to himself. The first wrap to hit the car back in 2013 was a ‘gunmetal matte metallic’ colour, although recently this was changed again to ‘night blue matte metallic’ as seen here. Both wraps were left until the last minute for Edition38 2013 and 2014 consequently. I wonder if he’ll be in the same situation for 2015’s show…

 

 

Let’s take a look at some more figures on that Ruf-Kompressoren / TRD “Stage two supercharger”… with a dyno reading of 362.5bhp and 349.7lbs/ft and a 0-60 time estimated at 5.5 seconds, there’s no comparison to a stock R32. Jack thinks if he was to ever sell the car, he’d struggle to find something that can put such a grin on his face – or any passenger for that matter. He also wants to stress that Jamie and Dan (the guys behind TRD and Series 1 Suspension) have been brilliant and by no means are the unfortunate incidents with the supercharger kit a reflection of their handy work – more so a combination of bad luck and possibly his ‘eager’ driving style. They’ve always done their upmost to sort any issues as quickly as possible and Jack highly recommends them to anyone looking to have work done. It’s awesome to see a company that care about their customers and take care of the aftersales promptly.

 

 

 

 

 

With his bad luck striking again at the end of 2014 with a burst radiator the week before Players, then hitting a badger at 4am on route to the show, Jack has stuck with ‘The Curse’ for 3 years now through thick and thin. At the end of the day, it still puts a massive smile on his face every time he takes it out. He’s done the car justice and it certainly stands out from a lot of the other Mk5’s in the country. Plus, the owning the car has been a massive adventure in itself, meeting some brilliant people and some of his closest friends along the way. Despite the odd ‘hater’ here and there, Jack is proud and happy to be a part of the modified car community. Whether you’re trundling along to work in the daily (his Lupo TDI) or cruising to a show in the R32, he says you can’t beat a wave from a fellow VW owner. With a US spec front end in the works, talks of an interior retrim and (naturally) a colour change, I can’t wait to see what Jack has in store for us later on in the year. Although I’m just as intrigued to see what will happen with his other project car – a 1976 Audi 100!