"We were up 48 hours straight before we started the drive to Las Vegas. Tape was holding the windshield before we headed out," remembered Chris Meyers, owner of the green '01 Audi TT. His father Biff owns the yellow one, and they shared an amazing journey to Wüste2010 (et 9/10).
"TTs are basically a Mk4 VW but a little gayer," explained Chris. "You have to work really hard not to make them a chick car. So every night for six to eight hours, we worked on the cars in a little 18x25ft garage for about four months before the show."
His coupe has gone through three complete transformations, while his father's '02 convertible has seen two. And since they live in Alberta, Canada, there aren't many established Euro shows, so they look forward to the annual 2700-mile excursion to Wüste in Las Vegas.
With this kind of dedication, it wasn't surprising that Chris had been infatuated with VW and Audi since he was 14 years old. "I started tearing apart my sister's Mk1 Cabriolet," he told us. "I tore it into so many pieces I couldn't get it back together!"
Working on cars got better as time passed. Chris went on to build two GTIs and three A4s. His passion led him to turn wrenches for different shops, eventually earning his mechanic's license. After a short stint at a VW dealership, he opened the doors to Das Auto Haus four years ago, where he makes a living specializing in European car maintenance and repair. It also became a haven for project cars like these TTs.
Ironically, Chris wasn't a TT fan until he saw one with an Audi A8 grille. "The first thing I did was buy some cheap wheels and a body kit. But I quickly learned the error of my ways," he explained. So the TT underwent two makeovers as his taste evolved.
Then adversity struck. Earlier this year, the car was broken into and stripped. "I almost took it to a scrapyard. It was disheartening and I was done," the owner admitted. The thieves stole the wheels, interior and stereo, beating the body pretty good.
Luckily, the salvaged engine kept the project alive. The 1.8T had been rebuilt with Integrated Engineering H-Beam rods, an 034 Motorsport intake spacer, ported AEB head and R32 throttle body.
Giving the car its mind-blowing power was a Garrett GT35 turbo with a 60-trim hot side - he used to have an 80-trim but the turbo didn't spool until 5000rpm. Now it spools at 4000rpm, giving him more usable power.
Because the TT was a quattro, a custom 3'' downpipe was fabricated, mated to a custom center section which meant cutting out the spare wheel well.
With Snow Performance meth injection and 870cc injectors, the car was tuned on Unitronic software to give 600whp at 31psi, according to the owner.
After the theft incident, Chris decided to shave the bay, removing most bolts and brackets, tucking the wires, relocating the power steering reservoir under a headlight and removing the battery as well as the fuse and relay boxes.
Giving the bay some bling, the intercooler piping, valve cover and intake manifold were polished; while the sides of the valve cover and intake manifold were painted purple along with the alternator bracket.
This purple fetish followed to the control arms, subframe, cross brace and oil pan, all of which were powdercoated.
H&R coilovers and Powerflex bushings gave the TT stellar handling. Stopping was made easier thanks to a combination of RPI and ECS Tuning big-brakes.
This left two projects remaining - the exterior and interior. "My painter made me go green. I wanted Aviator grey, but he pushed me to a prettier color," he laughed.
The pearl hue is from a '09 Dodge Viper, applied after the body and Rieger kit were repaired. The front bumper had its gills shaved, while the skirts and rear valance were molded to the body. Then the rear spoiler, markers, washer nozzles and antenna were shaved for good measure.
Finishing the exterior were 19x8.5'' OZ Opera 2 wheels with color-matched bolts and lettering.
With only a few days until Wüste2010, Chris went wild on the interior. From the dash, seats and door trim to the headliner, everything received grey and black alcantara with lime stitching.
The audio system followed, with the trunk housing four JL Audio subs in a fiberglass box. The rear seat was deleted to accommodate three batteries and two Steg amps, while Focal components replaced the interior speakers, with another pair were into the dash.
2001 Audi TT Quattro
Owner: Chris Meyers
Location: Red Deer, Alberta
Occupation: owner of Das Auto Haus
Engine: 1.8 liter 20v four-cylinder with Integrated Engineering H-beam rods, Garrett GT35 turbo, TiAL turbo housing and V-band wastegate, V-band 3'' downpipe, CTS Turbo inlet system, custom V-band manifold, Walbro fuel pump, 870cc injectors, R32 throttle body, 034Motorsport intake spacer, APR intake manifold, ported AEB head, Glatt Performance intercooler, 3'' center-exit exhaust, Samco dual BOVs and white hoses, Snow Performance methanol injection, Unitronic software, custom power steering reservoir, ECS Tuning pulleys and carbon rad support cover, VF mounts, powdercoated brackets, manifold, valve cover and oil pan, 42DD engine cover hardware
Drivetrain: six-speed manual, Spec Mini Twin clutch, Raxles front driveshafts, Dieselgeek short shifter
Brakes: RPI 13.5'' front rotors with Wilwood calipers, ECS 11" rear rotors with Hawk pads, ECS lines
Suspension: H&R coilovers and sway bars, Powerflex bushings, components powdercoated purple
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5'' OZ Opera 2 wheels, Adaptec adapters, 225/35 R19 Nitto NT555 tires
Exterior: Rieger front bumper with shaved gills, molded and smoothed Rieger skirts and rear valance, shaved rear spoiler, markers, washer nozzles and antenna, Seat Cupra R lip, OE W12 A8 grille, Viper Snakeskin green pearl paint
Interior: alcantara dash, seats, headliner and trim with Lamborghini green stitching, Auto Meter boost gauge fitted in driver's vent, black carpet, visors and switches, New Beetle headrests, rear-seat delete, LED lighting conversion
Audio/Visual: Kenwood KVT-819 head unit with KNA-G510 nav, KCA-BT200 bluetooth, Focal 165KRX3 front speakers in dash and doors, Focal 165CVX rear speakers, four JL Audio 10W3v3 subs, Steg K4.02 and K2.03 amps, three Kinetik HC600 batteries
Thanks: wife Lisa, dad Biff, Mike at Unitronic, Dave, Dokey at Vibe Car Audio, Hater, Gary, Dirt
While Chris went beyond the norm with his TT, it's not a daily-driver like his father Biff's drop-top.
Biff wasn't always into the Euro scene. He had a small collection of muscle cars and never considered anything European until Chris started his business. From there, the second TT project was born. "We wanted to make similar cars, yet different," Chris told us. "My dad wanted a convertible so we did the same body kit with the big nose." Biff also had a larger budget, so the project was able to come together faster.
Right off the bat, a big-turbo conversion was put together using a Garrett GT3076 turbo, Integrated rods and 630cc injectors. Tuned by Unitronic, the car put down 450 all-wheel drive horsepower, which was plenty for the streets of Alberta.
Chassis tuning wasn't as extreme, with H&R Race springs and staggered Schmidt VN-Lines mounted to Nitto Invo tires.
Biff did all his own bodywork, shaving the Rieger front bumper and rear valance before molding the sides and rear to the body. He also removed the third brake light, markers and antenna.
Once complete, a bright color was needed and metallic Indy yellow pearl was selected from the Honda swatch.
The interior had the roll bar removed, while a hidden sub box held a JL 8'' sub. The hardest part of the interior was the R32 seats. "The TT floor is higher than the R32, and the roof line is way lower," Chris explained. "So I had to cut the bottom of the R32 frames and weld them into one position."
The father and son duo safely made it to Wüste2010, where they were honored in the King of the Desert competition. Chris took home first place, making the long journey that much sweeter.
2002 Audi TT quattro
Owner: Biff Meyers
Location: Red Deer, Alberta
Occupation: owner Impact Marketing Solutions
Engine: 1.8 liter 20v four-cylinder with Integrated Engineering I-beam rods, 630cc injectors, Walbro fuel pump, custom V-band manifold, Garrett GT3076R turbo with TiAL housing, V-band wastegate, V-band downpipe, CSS turbo inlet system, Unitronic software, Samco hoses, VF mounts, Glatt 3'' exhaust, ECS carbon engine covers, 42DD engine cover hardware
Drivetrain: six-speed manual with Spec stage 3+ clutch, Raxles front shafts, Dieselgeek short shifter
Brakes: OE R32 slotted front rotors, Zimmermann slotted rears, Hawk pads, ECS Tuning lines
Suspension: H&R Race springs
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5'' front, 19x9.5'' Schmidt VN-Line wheels with 235/35 R19 Nitto Invo tires
Exterior: Rieger front bumper with shaved gills, molded and smoothed Rieger skirts and rear valance, shaved brake light, markers and antenna, Votex rear spoiler, Seat Cupra R lip, OE W12 A8 grille, Honda S2000 Indy yellow pearl paint
Interior: suede Votex steering wheel, VW R32 seats
Audio/Visual: Kenwood KVT-619 head unit, KNA-G510 nav, KCA-BT200 bluetooth, Focal 165KRX2 speakers in dash and doors, JL Audio 8W3v3 sub and four-channel amp, Optima Red Top battery
Thanks: Jason, Dave, Hater, Dokey, Chris and Rose