You might recognize the owner of this Audi A3 - Adam Woodhams. His 20th Anniversary Edition Volkswagen GTI was the poster-child for et 12/08 thanks toits OEM+ styling and insanely stretched wheel 'n tire combination.
Eight months after his "Supreme Stance" feature, Adam is back with a new ride to send a bold message to Audi drivers across America. Forget the performance snobs and the show queens; it's all about European styling and stance!
"The Dub scene is what grabbed me, with its crazy stance and stretch - that's where I figured out the style I liked," Adam explained. "And I wanted to carry it over to the A3, since Audi was my original step into the scene. Now on my second Audi, I have a mixture of both."
If you don't remember Adam's story, his first project car was a B6 A4. It was short-lived after a collision with a boulder at 75mph. With a gruesome impact, Adam was lucky to be alive and credited Audi engineering for saving his life. This meant he clung to the VAG family, as seen with his Mk4 GTI and now this '07 Lava grey A3 2.0T.
What sets the A3 apart is its radical Euro styling. However, it's more sophisticated than most examples. There isn't any enormous turbo conversion, stereo setup or shaved engine bay. Instead, Adam kept it simple by concentrating on specific details to create an eye-catching daily driver.
The first details under the spotlight were the wheels and tires. As we know, choosing the right set of wheels is critical to the look of the car, so Adam enlisted the help of his part-time employer, Supreme Power Parts in Placentia, CA. The team decided to go with a set of the latest forged wheels from DPE. All its products are made to order, which gave Adam the opportunity to tailor the size, offset and finish to satisfy his demands.
The chosen finish was a brushed aluminum face. DPE normally offers a raw or gloss powdercoat for this but Adam requested a matte powdercoat, which preserved a dull appearance. The lips weren't normal either, since DPE offered Adam its new step lips with a raised inner brim to give the wheel more depth. The lips were then dipped in chrome for the ultimate bling factor and trouble-free cleaning.
Plenty of arithmetic was required to determine the size and offset of the wheels. In true Euro fashion, Adam wanted to fit the widest wheels possible to allow for an extremely low suspension drop, enormous step lips and even leave just enough room for big brakes. Because the A3 was front-wheel drive, Adam moved forward with a staggered fitment using 19x9" front and 19x10" rear wheels.
The most essential element when maximizing a wicked stance is choosing the right tire. In Adam's case it meant "stretching the hell out of them!" he told us. The 9" wide front rims received a skinny pair of 215/35 Falken FK-452 tires, while the 10" rears miraculously clutch onto 225/35 tires.
"Eric Nareshni at SPP wasn't sure if the tire bead would hold. It's the most stretched tire he'd seen. It's crazy, but I like it. It's an acquired taste; you either hate it or love it. But I've never blown a tire or bead, although I do beat up my fenders. I can't put more than three people in there," Adam smiled.
There are sacrifices with the stretched 'n slammed look, especially when you push the boundaries, but it was part of the master plan. "If it's not rubbing, you're not low enough. It means you can still get that half-inch lower," he chuckled. The generous drop on the Audi was accomplished with Bilstein PSS10 coilovers.
Behind the wheels, Brembo brakes provide immense stopping force. The kit came with 355mm drilled rotors along with four-piston calipers in red. There weren't upgrades available for the rear, so Adam created his own rotors by machining the slotted pattern to match the fronts.
The exterior and interior were next on his hit list, although Adam's A3 came with the S-Line package. "I prefer to buy the premium packages from the factory. For example, my 20AE GTI came with the body kit and Recaro interior," explained Adam. The S-Line followed the same approach, with its pronounced front and rear valances. All Adam needed to do was add Osir Design skirts to complete the sporty look.
The car was de-badged, and the rear wiper removed to give the hatch a smoother appearance. Adam then added smaller parts to either highlight or hide certain elements, such as swapping out the front grille for a smoked version. Then sanding down the grille surround to achieve a brushed aluminum finish - ultimately matching his wheels. A set of brushed mirror caps would continue the matte infatuation. "My GTI had a carbon theme, but I wanted a more refined look for this car."
One of the more time-consuming jobs was the Euro bi-xenon headlights. "There's no good aftermarket lighting kit but OEM wasn't that easy since I had to buy the housings, bulbs and harness from Europe. Once installed, I had to make the car think it had HIDs, which was a long and frustrating process with the VAG-COM," he reminisced.
The final visual change consisted of some LED daytime-running lights situated in the lower foglight grilles. Current A3s have similar lights integrated into the headlamps, but for older models like Adam's, it wasn't available. The LEDs seen here were modeled on Audis like the S6.
For the interior, Adam threw a curveball by installing fixed Sparco buckets. "Other than the Sparco logo, the seats almost look factory," he suggested. "Even the white and silver stitching matches the stock rear seats." Despite the flashy chairs, the interior retained the brushed aluminum S-Line trim.
Almost complete, Adam narrowed his sights to the engine. Striving to keep its daily drivability, he was content that the motor performed better than his previous 1.8T while returning better gas mileage. "It's a night and day difference coming from a 1.8T. It's still a four-cylinder, but it really picks up where the 1.8T didn't."
And to squeeze every morsel of available horsepower from the stock turbo, the A3 visited BR Racing and SPP. Almost every bolt-on part was installed to quicken the A3 without making any sacrifices. This included a host of Neuspeed parts - software, turbo-back exhaust, short shifter and cold-air intake. Although there's no dyno numbers to prove it, the combination should net Adam an additional 50hp. "This is the best sounding car I've owned yet," he remarked. "It's really aggressive and throaty. It doesn't sound like a four-cylinder at all."
The various performance parts were more than enough to commute an hour to work everyday. "It all came together pretty well," Adam concluded.
We could almost say Adam has the best of both worlds. Typically we use that analogy about show and go. But in Adam's case, we can relate to the elegance of the Audi brand matched with the hardcore styling of the European VW scene.
2007 Audi A3 2.0T
Owner: Adam Woodhams
Location: San Jose, CA
Occupation: Supreme Power Parts sales, Preferred Sales Inc
Engine: 2.0 liter four-cylinder 16v turbo with Neuspeed software, stainless turbo-back exhaust and cold-air intake, Forge Motorsport diverter valve and atmospheric spacer, dog-bone mount
Driveline:six-speed manual with Neuspeed short shifter with modified shaft
Brakes: 355mm two-piece drilled front kit with four-piston calipers, machined rear rotors and painted calipers
Suspension: Bilstein PSS10 coilovers, Neuspeed rear sway bar
Wheels & Tires: 19x9" front, 19x10" DPE ST-7 wheels with chrome step lips and brushed centers, 215/35-19 front, 225/35-19 rear Falken FK-452 tires, H&R bolts
Exterior: OE S-Line front and rear valances, Osir Design side skirts, smoked grille with brushed trim, brushed mirror caps and license plate frame, tint, rear wiper delete, de-badged, 6000K European bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime-running lights, yellow foglights
Interior: Sparco seats and sliders, New South Performance column-mount boost gauge, iPod integration, LED lighting
Thanks: Eric at Supreme Power Parts (www.supremepowerparts.com), Robb & Bruce at BR Racing (www.brrperformance.com)