Tag Archives: Doncaster

One For All – Only Charged Dubs’ 2000 Audi C5 A6 Allroad

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

I think that we may have a slight addiction to wagons, just check out a few of our recent features and all will become clear! Regardless of manufacturer, they just transform so well when introduced to a fancy wheels and lowered suspension. There’s also something satisfying about essentially turning a ‘boring’ family car into something that can turn heads. Estate cars are ultimate practical cars, with plenty of people using them over small vans if they can get away with it, which is exactly what today’s feature car is used for. It may not be a show piece, but Only Charged Dubs’ Audi Allroad has been subtlety, yet tastefully, modified to handle their daily duties as well as transporting the OCD trade stand around the UK and Europe (just like we do with our own Audi wagon, in fact). Plus, it works hand-in-hand as a demo car for many of the products they offer, too, featuring an Airdynamiks air suspension package with AccuAir e-Level management and more.

 

 

Matt Payne (head honcho at Only Charged Dubs) was using his trusted Skoda Fabia MonteCarlo as their demo car through 2014-2015, which pretty much helped OCD with their journey into the air suspension market. However, as the company grew, the need for a bigger vehicle grew at the same time. “This led to me looking at a range of options, I knew I didn’t want a van as whatever I bought also had be my daily driver and demo vehicle for OCD and our products, so I wanted something that would tick as many boxes as possible.” Matt explains.

 

 

Being a Volkswagen fan at heart, Matt started looking at B5 & B5.5 Passat wagons, which he’d always had a soft spot for. “The American’s seem to get these looking just right, which is where I pull a lot of my style & tastes from when modifying cars” he admits. However, he noticed that most Passats had “been around the world in mileage” and it was difficult to find one with a bigger engine than a 1.9tdi, along with the bodywork never being in good condition. Matt didn’t want to have to pay out for lots of paint and body repairs. So, the search expanded to Audis, such as B5 and B6 A4 wagons, but they were just too small for OCD’s needs.

 

 

With the A4 out of the equation, this left him with the A6, notably the C5 platform, given the budget. “The C5 has always been a bit of an ugly duckling – I’ve never been a fan of the boot lid and plate holder. But after looking around, and then seeing modded Allroad’s, I started to change my mind.” Matt explains, mostly down to James’ at BecauseBags and Jules Loose’s modified examples, to name a few. Matt mentions that the upsides to the A6 platform are that they come very highly spec’d from factory, have good engines, loads of room and plenty of comfort for daily use – ticking most of his boxes!

 

 

With a newly found love for the factory wide arches, Matt began the search for an Allroad. “I spent weeks casing cold trails of sold Allroads, with dealers saying that they never have them in stock for long”. So, when the ideal, 1 lady owner car, popped up near London, Matt quickly made the trip down from Doncaster, and did a deal. Not surprising, considering the Allroad in question had under 90k on the clock, was fitted with the optional Recaro leather interior from factory (also found in the S6/RS6), had good service history, and more importantly to him, “no fake wood trim!”.

 

 

“We wanted the Allroad to grab people’s attention at shows, as well as showing off the products and brands we can supply” Matt explains, so the first port of call was to get the car on to better air suspension. Well, it turns out the Allroad is actually fitted with factory air suspension with three different selectable heights. Unfortunately, being pretty dated, it’s not the best system and a lot tend to fail when they get on a bit, plus the factory air would never give OCD the actual drop that they wanted. Being the sole UK distributors of Airdynamiks, they teamed up to create a brand new C5 air suspension kit with them, bringing a new option to the market.

 

 

With a new strut and bag package all round, an AccuAir e-Level management kit (Rocker switch kit) with height-sensor technology was a no-brainer for Matt for trouble-free usability, especially since the car would be fully loaded up a lot of the time. The air installation was carried out just in time for the  Ultimate Stance show back in 2015… “It went in pretty simple, mounted in the spare wheel well nothing showy, just making it neat & usable.” he explains, utilising dual stealth VIAIR 44c compressors, dual VU2 valve units, iLevel WIFI control, and dual 3-gallon seamless air tanks.

 

 

However, Matt soon worked out that the Allroad is fitted with a slightly different front wishbone and upright setup than most of the models of the same platform. “The Allroad arms are taller, meaning drop is limited, so we sourced RS6 uprights and replaced these. The wishbone arms were also replaced RS6 examples with the addition of SPC camber adjustable top arms, which got attacked with the angle grinder to save us a few more mm’s clearance to the body when air’d out.” To add insult to injury, the OE front brakes didn’t fit either! Essentially, the whole front suspension setup had to be changed, bar the ARB and callipers, for the required drop.

 

 

With the Allroad finally sitting as he had imagined, the next jobs were to sort out a few cosmetic changes, starting with the headlights. “Another bugbear of these vehicles is headlight lenses going yellow – mine had too.” Matt says, which he replaced with a newer set of US-spec examples, sourced directly from the States. These feature amber running lights, instead of sidelights, which most people don’t even notice, but totally bring the silver car together. Interior-wise, a Kenwood double-DIN SATNAV unit was installed, making those long drives to Europe much less daunting. Additionally, Matt swapped out the generic automatic gear shifter in favour of a Black Forest Industries knob, which actually makes the car look like a manual – a nice touch. The original 4-spoke steering wheel was also replaced with an S6 3-spoke wheel to complete the transformation.

 

 

Finally, let’s get down to the wheels – probably the most aggressive part of the car’s appearance. Along with the S6 and RS6 models, the Allroad ideally demands wide wheels to fully make use of the factory arches. The OZ Futura has always been one of Matt’s favourite wheels, so he decided to make a set work on the Allroad. This meant stepping up a much smaller faced wheel into a usable size. “We took a set of 17″ OZ Futura’s and stepped them up to 19” using bubble style lips (which we had to wait seven months for!), plus 7” barrels front & rear, 3” front dishes, 4” rear dishes. Sandwich mounted, with high polished dishes, black powdercoated barrels, silver powdercoated faces, with spoke fronts brushed, then full faces clear coated for protection. SRR black chrome hardware was used to finish them off”. The built wheels land at 19×10.5j (235/35/19 tyres) up front & 19×11.5j (245/40/19 tyres) at the rear, resulting in perfect arch-to-lip fitment all round – “The US look I wanted from day 1!” Matt says joyfully.

 

 

OCD have had the Allroad for 18 months now, with parts still stored away and waiting to fit. It’s fair to say the car still isn’t “done”, but then again, when is anything? A custom RS6 style grille is being put together, plus the S6 steering wheel is going to be retrimmed to match the BFI gear knob. Black headlining and pillars from an S/RS model are also on the cards. But, being a big Audi, there’s always something to be maintained… The team have already replaced the alternator (which requires the complete front end removed for access), sorted various oil leaks, replaced countless tired parts and checked the cams over (as these commonly wear on the V6 engine). Whilst it was apart, they cleaned the bay up, had some parts wrinkle-black coated and put together with new stainless fixings, which just makes it look that little bit extra special. There are plenty of jobs to keep them busy, but most importantly, Matt finally has an all-rounder that delivers on looks, practicality, is a pleasure to drive, and works as the perfect demo vehicle for OCD, too.

 

BONUS GALLERY

 

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More info on Only Charged Dubs:

Only Charged Dubs website

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Air by OCD – Matt Payne’s 1992 Mercedes-Benz W201 190E

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

The Mercedes-Benz 190E has been a hit with petrolheads ever since they were used as touring cars and seen throughout legendary motorsport events. However, with the sought-after Cosworth models now out of most people’s price range, the spectacle has turned on to the standard 190E’s, which back in their time would’ve looked like any normal boxy German saloon car, simply blending into the landscape. What owners are doing to them now though, is quite remarkable. Who’d have thought dumping one on the floor and adding some larger wheels could make such a basic car look so appealing? Even though they’ve been a popular vehicle of choice in the modified scene ever since the late 80’s/early 90’s, the demand has massively grown over the last couple of years in the UK show scene… One of our favourites being Matt Payne’s Arctic white 1992 W201 which we’re showcasing today. Although we’ve already featured a W201 this year, Charlie Wheeler’s static 190D (click here to check it out), we’re switching things up and taking an alternative look at how things can be done using air ride, with Matt’s simple yet effective build.

 

 

Matt has been interested in cars for a long time, mainly through family influence. Since he was 17 years old he’s been following the car show scene, attended local meets and helped out on cars with his friends. Training as a Volkswagen technician certainly played a huge part in his ever-growing fascination with cars and predominant obsession with VW’s. In fact this led him onto starting his own business, Only Charged Dubs (OCD), who predominantly specialise in VAG cars – G40/G60 forced induction, air ride, servicing and much more.

 

 

The car that really got his company noticed was down to Matt’s third car, a Mk2 Golf which started out as a ‘1.6 Driver’, which he fully restored and eventually converted to a G60. After two years of daily driving, something more modern was required – a Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo… This really helped OCD grow as a recognised business.. it was the ultimate car to show off their air-ride services to a ‘general’ audience, not forgetting the development of OCD’s custom Polo platform air ride kit which put them on the map.

 

 

So why the Mercedes-Benz you may be asking? “I’ve never been a huge Merc fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for any modern classic car… late 70’s, 80’s & early 90’s cars just have that square boxy look that I love” he tells us. The Fabia had been around for nearly three years, so Matt decided it was time for a new OCD demo car, whilst he could still drive the Fabia daily (although this has now finally been replaced by a bigger Audi A6 C5 Allroad, on custom air of course). “The 190 seemed to be a new modern classic, and after seeing a couple bagged and thinking we could get a cheap kit for it, I bought this one.” Matt explains.

 

 

Matt found the 190E through eBay, it was a completely standard 1.8 8v petrol, but the head gasket had gone due to lack of use and the exhaust had fallen apart inside so it ran way too slowly for his liking. The all-important paint, however, is original and came up incredibly after a good detailing session and machine polish/seal. It was an ideal base for OCD’s demo car and it meant they could create something from a completely blank canvas.

 

 

“We needed it to be on the floor, looking OEM+ and really show off what OCD and air suspension can do. Not just the usual brands of air & wheels!” he explains. Only Charged Dubs are well known for their custom air work, not just bolting on the usual ready-made kits which are widely available. This car is a fantastic example of what is possible when you think outside the box.

 

 

The air setup on Matt’s car was created completely from scratch, after trying out a cheap kit that was available for the platform and realising it was “crap”. The team at OCD got to work on creating a better solution, including new front arms, bag mounts and a custom BC Racing damper kit with camber top mounts, allowing for adjustment all round. “Our kit is a full comprehensive suspension kit, this replaces the OE front arms with no other modifications required. The only thing that’s needed is 2 holes drilled in the rear upper spring seat to allow the air bags to mount up.” Matt reveals.

 

 

This allows the body of the car to drop as low as possible with no rubbing or catching – now that’s what we like to hear! “This allows much better air bag pressure when driving, allowing a much nicer drive – it really feels like factory still and just floats along the roads.” he continues. After fully testing the setup, OCD’s kit is now manufactured and available for the W201 platform – get in touch with them for more information.

 

 

Along with the custom front LCA’s and bag mounts, Matt opted for Universal Air ‘AirHouse2’ bags front and rear, 3/8″ air lines all run by dual Speciality Suspension 28″ & 24″ air tanks, two Air Zenith OB2 compressors, an AVS 9 switch box, Zaetech Digigauge and wireless touchbox. “The main piece is the RideTech BigRed manifold that really makes the car bounce!” he chuckles… this really has a different effect to airing up and out in comparison to a lot of other products on the market – making it that extra bit cooler! All this has been built into a beautiful boot installation which is a superb demonstration of hard lines and fabrication which OCD are known for.

 

 

With the car on the floor, Matt wanted to get the wheels right. They’d already gone custom with the air ride, so why not go the same way with the wheels? The outcome was a set of Mercedes-Benz ‘Barrock’ wheels, a Mexican hat-styled wheel originally found on W123’s. OCD had their machinist precision cut the wheel faces and matched to a BBS RS 16″ face bolt pattern, allowing them to go for 16″ to 17″ ‘bubble’ step up lips, resulting in 17×8 up front and 17×9 rears. “It’s a slight mod that no one really notices over the custom wheels. Which I like, it adds even more to the OEM+ look of the car and really suits the car well.” Matt explains. These are paired to 195/40 tyres up front and 205/40 at the rear, a tasteful amount of stretch.

 

 

Interior-wise, Matt preferred to keep everything original, similar to the outside of the car. “I wanted black as it doesn’t age as much and appears to be quite rare in the old 190’s”… The only elements out of the ordinary that you might notice are; the Zaetech Digigauge air pressure display which is neatly installed into one of the blower fans and the chunky AVS 9 switch box used to control the ride height. Sticking to a manual air set up just seems so right in a classic car like this – a modern looking digital controller wouldn’t look at home in the W201.

 

 

 

 

We’ve seen the Merc at several car shows this year and it’s unsurprisingly turned a lot of heads. Matt and the team have put just the right amount of modifications on the car. Only air and wheels you may ask… What more could you possibly need on a classic car like this? Matt has put his touch on an already beautiful shape. As well as putting the car on a set of BBS RS for a few shows to change things up, the custom Barrock wheels do suit it perfectly. From now, not much will be happening with the Merc other than a little more colour coding to the boot build over the Winter. Matt mentioned he may even regrettably put it up for sale in the new year to make way for another OCD demo car. Despite the name ‘Only Charged Dubs’, the 190E demonstrates that they really can tackle any sort of air build, whether it’s a ‘dub’ or not. We’ll be finding more about what they get up to with an exclusive shop visit, so check back to Slam Sanctuary soon.

 

 

More info on Only Charged Dubs:

Only Charged Dubs website

Only Charged Dubs on Facebook

Only Charged Dubs on Instagram