Eating and breathing the European tuning scene, we've seen variations of nearly every VW, BMW or Audi possible. So it's rare that we're caught off guard. And yet we were blindsided at this year's Leavenworth Drive (et 11/09). Walking through the horde of 700 cars, we saw plenty of nice Euros, but nothing stopped us in our tracks like Jess Kenoyer's '00 Audi S4. It was an incredible moment. The slammed sedan looked as if it should be at the Wörthersee Tour in Austria, not at a gathering in Washington State.
The Audi had the sort of qualities we usually find only on hardcore VWs with its subtly pulled fenders, wicked stance, smoothed body and chocolate interior. It's what the Audi community has been begging for and we're excited to give you the exclusive first look at Jess' project.
From the moment we bumped into Jess, we were reminded he's been an et reader for many years. His budget-built A4 1.8T was featured in et 8/06 when he was only 17 years old. Now 21, he's onto his sixth B5 Audi and second S4. "Once I get a car built, I get bored with it. I like seeing progress," he explained.
Before this car, he toyed with a silver S4 upgraded with stage 3 turbos; but he sold it because it was low mileage. "I wanted to start over on a completely new platform. I even wanted to do my own bodywork and try something different," he revealed.
After purchasing this '00 S4 in Colorado, Jess unleashed his vision of the perfect Audi. "My style has evolved over the past six years," he told us. "Before this, I was into anything aftermarket I could find. Now I'm into more subtle things that normal people wouldn't notice. Lately I've been more into the Mk3 and Mk4 VW scene, so wanted to go crazy and create a unique stance. Nobody has really done this in the Audi scene."
With a blank canvas, Jess summoned the courage to mutilate the B5 with plenty of help of his good friend, Jared Olin, who helped on previous project cars. He started by pulling the fenders from the vertical line on each corner. While he tried to keep it factory, each flare was pulled a couple of inches.
He continued by welding and filling the door moldings, then shaved the European trunk lid; removing the Audi rings, handle and opener.
The front featured a Seidl bumper; but the headlight washers and side vents were shaved for a cleaner look. The car was then delivered to JMI Motoring in Smokey Point, WA where an RS4 grille was grafted into the stock hood. Before paint was applied, they worked out the dings to guarantee silky smooth skin. The body was then sprayed OE Bentley black (with no additives or flake) to give a deep finish.
Once the body was pristine, Jess could work out his obsession for the hardcore Euro stance. "That's why air bags were so important. I wanted the stretched 'n poked look as opposed to tucking," he revealed.
Like a two-year old learning with Legos, Jess jumped in head first to piece together his first air-ride setup. "I was really nervous," he admitted. "All the wiring, gauges, switches; it was overwhelming. But the more I looked into it, the simpler it got."
Jess began by installing coilovers and built brackets so the air bags could sit above the Bilstein struts. From there, the 0.25" air lines were connected to eight valves. He then wired the digital air gauge and seven-way adjustable switchbox. The air pressure would be created by a Viair 480cc compressor and stored in a five-gallon tank.
Unfortunately, the air-ride wouldn't get the S4 to its lowest potential. He discovered the control arms were hitting the rain tray, so he cut holes in the tray. Luckily the rear showed no problems.
Once the drop was established, Jess shifted his focus to a set of forged Fikse FM10 wheels in 17x8.5" front and 17x9" rear. The mesh rollers were originally brushed aluminum with polished lips, but Jess planned to rebuild them for his wider fenders. He located new lips on eBay, which allowed him to rebuild the Fikses to 17x10" all around. The result was staggered offsets with step lips to seat a small army
He experimented with polished wheel centers, before painting them flat red. Neither looked right until he found inspiration from a car online and powdercoated the lips Cashmere copper with color-matched black centers.
A key ingredient to building the right stance was tires. This would make or break Jess' strategy. He tried a set of 225/45 R17s but they looked too big and clunky. So he went back to the drawing board and tried 225/35 Falken FK-452s, although he admitted they were heated overnight in order to expand over the 10" rims.
Jess' brilliance continued inside. He ordered a pair of Status Racing seats but instead of typical black or red leather, Jess chose delicious Chocolate brown leather. Enough fabric was spared for him to reupholster the door cards and shift boot, while the headliner received matching brown cloth.
Behind the seats, Jess deleted the rear bench and fitted a half cage, which was painted black by JMI. The dash trim was painted piano black at the same time.
Jess dropped the S4 at Evolution Audio in his hometown to install a modest stereo. Focal components were used in the doors, while the trunk houses a 10" Boston Acoustic sub, with a 300-watt Diamond Audio D1 amp on the opposite side.
Where the rear seats used to be, Evolution mounted the five-gallon tank for the air-ride. All the other suspension components were hidden under carpet in the spare wheel well.
We've highlighted Jess' grand scheme for an authentic European hard-hitting show car. But don't be fooled, this S4 isn't a slob. Jess pulled the twin-turbo V6 and its six-speed transmission with help from a friend. The 2.7-liter block remained untouched but the stock turbos were swapped out for larger K04 units from Achtuning. A fuel kit with larger injectors, new MAF housing and RS4 accordion hose was also added. Jess then fabricated a custom 2.5" downpipe with 2.25" dual exhaust to expel spent gases.
Having previously owned a stage 3 S4, Jess understood the need for a stronger clutch, so fitted a Clutch Masters stage four hybrid with the strength to handle big-turbo applications, yet allowed him to daily-drive the car with ease.
While it hasn't been dyno-tested with all the parts installed, it's come a long way from the factory-tuned 250hp. In fact, Jess estimated 400hp to the wheels.
If we could give an award for the best Audi of 2009, Jess' B5 S4 would take the trophy. It has it all right ingredients, enough power to pounce a Maserati, plus the stance and swagger to make enthusiasts drool. It doesn't get much better than this.
2000 AUDI S4
Owner: Jess Kenoyer
Location: Bellingham, WA
Engine: 2.7 liter V6 with two RS4 K04 turbos and inlets, fueling kit, custom downpipes and dual exhaust, 710n diverter valves, Samco Sport boost hoses, Evolution Motorsports cold-air intake
Drivetrain: six-speed manual with stage 4 Clutchmasters hybrid clutch, B&M short shifter, JHM shift bushings
Suspension: Bilstein shocks all around with Universal Air Aero Sport front bags, rear Bagyard kit and Contitech bags, five-gallon tank, Viair 480cc compressor, 0.25" air lines, eight SMC valves, EAI seven-switch box, FBI Rides digital air gauge
Wheels & Tires: 17x10'' Fikse FM10 wheels painted gloss black with copper lips, 225/35 R17 Falken FK-452 tires
Exterior: pulled fenders, shaved upper and lower moldings and side markers, RS4 grille molded into hood, shaved Euro trunk, smoothed Seidl front bumper with RS4 mesh, E-code headlights with 4500K HID bulbs, car painted OE Bentley black
Interior: Status Racing Ring seats upholstered in Chocolate brown leather with four-point harnesses, door card inserts and shift boot in brown leather, headliner in brown cloth, Autotech rollcage painted gloss black, interior trim painted piano black, UUC Rob Knob II shift knob, Auto Meter boost gauge, R32 steering wheel, rear seat delete
Audio/Visual: Focal 100CA1 4'' speakers, Boston Acoustics 10" G110-4 sub, Diamond D1 300.4 amp
Thanks: God, my family, Jared Olin, Scott Cunningham, Mike Visintainer, JMI Motoring, Status Racing, Evolution Audio and everybody else
School Daze At the tender age of 17, Jess graced the pages of et 8/06 with his '01 Audi A4 1.8T quattro. It was his third B5 A4 after turning 15. This budget-built example was put together without the cheesy stickers or big spoilers popular in high school. His A4 sported quality parts from Rieger, Sparco, Enkei and H&R. Even the 20v motor received a K04 turbo upgrade along with GIAC software and a custom exhaust.