2003 Audi A4 1.8T
As regular readers will know from the Letters page, many of our readers are military personnel. In fact, one of our writers, Brady Cloward, was a bullet-dodger before he learned to fly. And whatever you might think about the current conflicts, we want to support those doing the dirty work.
When speaking to them, a common theme that crops up is that their cars are very important to them. Many miss the freedom to drive while on active service. However, they also point out several advantages. One of which is that while on active service they don't spend their money in strip clubs or the like, especially if you're holed up in a battleship for two years, like Lawrence Coates. So while he was at sea, money he saved went towards his '03 Audi A4 1.8T project car.
Lawrence acquired his Audi in '03 but four-ring blood runs deep in his veins. "It started when I was a kid," he said, "My family had an Audi 5000 which I fell in love with from day one. So while I was stationed overseas I wanted to put my money into something I love. I brainstormed with my Uncle Eddie and decided to go with the two-tone paint."
"Uncle Eddie" is actually Eddie Tisi who Lawrence refers to as "the guru of hooking up cars." He was apparently also the man to trust with his hard-earned money each month. "I truly owe everything to Uncle Eddie," he continued. "I had a dream and he helped me to put it together."
While Lawrence did a three-year tour of duty in Okinawa, Japan, carrying out logistics support on a helicopter carrier, Eddie worked closely with Troy Wilhite at Group 5 Motorsport in San Diego, CA to get the A4 from stocker to rocker.
To start the transformation, they installed a full Oettinger body kit including the front bumper with custom mesh, side skirts and rear apron. They also fitted a de-badged Kamei grille with the same mesh as the front bumper.
With the aero enhancement complete, they could go to paint. Two-tone schemes have been around for ages but still look good. In this case, the upper half was painted in Porsche Basalt black over the stock Dolphin grey lower half.
With the two colors coming together seamlessly, several more mods were done. For example, the top of the tail lights were painted body color, while clear side markers and turn signals were added. The driving lights aren't so subtle, though. When storming the San Diego freeways, all you see is an explosion of halogen from the E-code PIAA Extreme H7s.
Next on the list would be the interior. They acquired a pair of Sparco Milano seats for the front, then in one of those moves that never seems to be documented in photographs, they matched the headliner to the seat material in alcantara. The rear seats also got inserts in the same material - we know 'cuz Troy from Group 5 was brushing them like kittens when we arrived for the shoot!
The trunk hasn't been ignored either. The sumptuous alcantara sweeps into its crevices, swaddling the audio equipment and recessed Porsche rim. After all, you can't be rolling a donut on a ride this sophisticated if you happen to get a flat!
The aforementioned ICE in the trunk includes two 10" Alpine subs, a couple of amps from the same company and a 15" were Eiger Vision LCD screen that's been custom-mounted in the trunk lid. It's surrounded by (what else?) alcantara.
In the cockpit, the dash was modified to accept a double-DIN-sized Alpine head unit, which send signals to the Alpine components front and rear.
And while they were working on the dash, a trio of gauges were mounted in a custom pod and secured to the center console to monitor boost, oil pressure and volts.
As any car enthusiast knows, your motor means more than a trunk display. So Jack Daniel's Motors in New Jersey suggested its stage 2 upgrade, which included a K04 HP turbo, APR software and Audi TT fuel injectors.
"With the K04 upgrade, we found the stock hoses were melting and oil was getting all over the place," said Lawrence. Fortunately, Samco hoses helped resolve the problem and provided the turbo inlet pipe. A Neuspeed power pulley and torque damper were then added, along with a Racetech intercooler and stainless cat-back Milltek exhaust.
With its multitude of engine upgrades, the 1.8T is pushing a claimed 230hp at the flywheel, up from the stock 180. It also boasts a number of dress-up items, including a polished intake manifold as well as Carbonio's carbon engine cover and cold-air intake.
With respectable power figures, a set of stoppers was in order. Continuing the Porsche theme, a set of ECS Tuning 13" drilled rotors and four-piston Porsche Boxster calipers were fitted up front. Drilled rotors were fitted on the rear, to be used with the stock calipers, and all four calipers were finished in a black powdercoat.
The big brakes required a big set of rollers, so 19x8.5" RH AL three-piece wheels were obtained from GMP Performance and color-matched in Dolphin grey.
The brakes, rims and two-tone paint all come together in a blissful symphony of color-coded harmony. Even the 235/35-19 Toyo T1R Proxes tires get in on the act - well, they're black...
We discovered that getting the wheel offsets flush took patience and a number of tire and spacer combinations from Group 5. But, the result was worth the effort, once the suspension was dropped with Eibach Pro Street coilovers to create a menacing stance.
Like the Q-ships of WW2 that hid powerful armaments under a civilian disguise, this A4 does the same with its subtle styling cues and no-nonsense aesthetics.
2003 AUDI A4 1.8T
Owner: Lawrence Coates
Location: San Diego, CA
Occupation: US Navy logistics
1.8 liter four-cylinder 20v with KO4 HP turbo upgrade, APR software, Audi TT fuel injectors, Forge OO7 diverter valve, Neuspeed Power Pulley and torque damper, Neuspeed/Samco turbo inlet pipe, Samco hose kit, Racetech intercooler, stainless steel Milltek cat-back exhaust, custom Labrea downpipe, polished intake manifold, Carbonio carbon fiber cold-air intake and engine cover, Sun Auto hyper voltage system, ground system, gauss fuel tuning, pocket voltage and fuel supply
stock automatic transmission
ECS stage 2v2 Porsche Boxster four-piston front calipers with 13.1" (332mm) cross-drilled rotors, stock rear calipers powdercoated black with cross-drilled rotors
Eibach Pro Street coilovers
Wheels & Tires:
19x8.5" RH AL three-piece wheels painted Dolphin grey with polished lips, custom spacers, 235/35-19 Toyo T1R tires
Oettinger front bumper, side skirts and rear apron, custom mesh, Kamei grille, painted tail lights, clear side markers and turn signals, Halogen E-code headlights with 6000K PIAA Extreme H7 bulbs, car painted in Audi Dolphin grey and Porsche Basalt black
Sparco Milano front seats, headliner and rear seat inserts trimmed in matching grey alcantara, Sparco five-point harnesses, voltage, boost and oil temp gauges in console, RS4 pedals
custom-mounted double-DIN Alpine IVAW200 DVD/CD/MP3 head unit, SPR/1764 speakers front and rear, MRV-F345 and MRD-M605 amps, two 10" SWR-1022D subwoofers in custom enclosure finished in alcantara, Eiger Vision 15" LCD TV mounted in trunk lid, Halogen display lighting in trunk
Troy at Group 5 Motorsport (www.group5motorsport.com), Eddie, GMP Performance (www.gmpperformance.com), Jack Daniel's Motors, Jeff at Coachworks, Waldwick Autobody, Mobilewerks