Sparkling candy paint doesn’t appeal to everybody, certainly not Jukka Nieminen, the creator of this matte camo Audi A3. With its multi-colored exterior, incredible interior, turbocharged V6 and military theme throughout, this army A3 really stands out from the bunch.
The owner, a 34 year-old graphic designer from Tampere in Finalnd, is no stranger to the VAG scene. Previous projects have included an Audi A4, RS4 Avant and VW Golf. For his next project, he heard about a special VW color code for a satin “Finnish Army Green” paint. So he duly placed an order for a new Golf R32 in this unique hue. However, the application was denied. The local VW dealer simply wouldn’t deliver the car in that color, so Jukka had to reconsider.
Eventually, the voice of reason led him to a stock Audi A3 3.2L V6 he bought from Germany. It was fully-equipped with S-Line extras but on the trip home the army green vision popped into his head again. “I thought the car would look great in flat green, but maybe it wouldn’t be enough to separate it from the rest,” he explained. “That’s when I came up with the camouflage scheme!”
A plan was conceived and, as soon as the autumn leaves fell, the A3 was disassembled in preparation for the long Finnish winter.
Parts were ordered from a multitude of styling companies, including an Oettinger front bumper that was widened to fit the Nothelle front fenders. The four Nothelle fender flares and side skirts were then molded to the body to create a cleaner look. “It took a whole lot of work to make the Nothelle parts line up with the Oettinger kit,” Jukka said, “but it was worth it to make the widebody harmonize with the lines of the stock car.”
The Oettinger front bumper was further modified to remove the license plate holder and add RS4-style matte black grilles into the intake ducts.
In the rear, the license plate was relocated from the tailgate to the bumper by Jukka’s bodyshop, JP Autotuning. They did it by mutilating a Mk4 Golf rear bumper to rob its plate housing and lights.
The tailgate was repaired with sheetmetal before removing the handle at the same time. However, its opening function was restored by placing a button in the hole left by the deleted rear wiper.
With its complex patterns, it was clear that the paint job would require a painful masking process to create a legit camo scheme. However, wrapping the car in vinyl wasn’t an option for Jukka. “I wanted a unique paint job and wouldn’t allow any cheating!” he laughed.
Therefore, it was important to find the right painter, so Pete “Big P” Pihlajamaan was chosen: famous in Finland for tattoos, airbrushing and some serious artwork.
First, the car was dusted in a beige paint. The body was then covered in masking tape and the camo pattern drawn by hand, tailored to suit the bodywork. Pete then grabbed a scalpel and revealed the parts of the pattern to be painted in an orange color. During this process, the doors were removed and the masking continued over the door sills and body gaps to ensure a flawless finish.
Once this was done, the entire car was masked for a second time to receive the darker brown camo color. Finally, a flat satin lacquer was applied over the military pattern to create a rough but refined look.
The 19" BBS LM wheels didn’t escape the spraygun either. Nor did the Porsche Cayenne six-piston front and Mov’It rear calipers. All were painted in the base beige color, with the center of the wheels painted black for contrast.
While the camo paint grabs all the headlines, nothing prepares you for the quality of the interior. Jukkas’ showpiece isn’t what you’d expect to find beneath the military exterior and it takes your breath away.
The deep brown Nappa leather is accented by diamond stitching on the four seats, door cards and floor mats. The rest of the interior is covered in alcantara suede, and lots of it!
It’s like being immersed in a brown alcantara bath, with the soft suedette covering the carpets and even being diamond-stitched on the headliner. It’s also used as inserts on the doors and covers the console.
With the dash covered in brown leather, Jukka introduced some contrast with perforated cream leather on the steering wheel, shift knob, e-brake, center armrest and the back of the Recaro Sportster seats.
It doesn’t stop there: he also added Mk5 GTI pedals, an Audi TT footrest as well as TT air vents with A’PEXi boost and EGT gauges in the central vents. “I was inspired by the latest Bentleys,” Jukka explained. “But I also referenced more classic vehicles with handcrafted interiors such as older Rolls Royce, Morgans and Maybachs.”
Of course, no show car is complete without a hefty sound system and Jukka doesn’t disappoint. The original Audi MMI with Bose speakers is gone, replaced by a double-DIN Alpine head unit with DVD player. This operates a separate TV tuner and navigation, and it’s all hooked up to a pair of Helix amps in the alcantara-lined trunk.
The multi-channel amp feeds coaxial speakers in the doors, while a mono amp powers the 12" Vanadium sub recessed into the exquisite trunk floor.
Despite the wow factor of the exterior and interior, this Audi A3 8P can really move. Under the hood, the 3.2L V6 motor (it shares with the VW R32) has been turbocharged to 445hp and 430 lb-ft thanks to an HGP turbo kit. This is similar to the kits available in the US through HPA Motorsports. It uses a specially-built Garrett G30 turbine, while the compression is lowered with a sandwich plate to avoid detonation.
The turbo is mounted on a HGP exhaust manifold and is fed by a short-runner intake manifold plus FMIC and bigger injectors.
The quattro drivetrain received the Haldex PP Gen2 controller to distribute the torque more efficiently, while the aforementioned big-brakes do the stopping.
Naturally, a car this low uses air suspension to achieve its decked stance, equipped with stiff Koni dampers and GAS air bags.
The owner isn’t afraid to use the power, though, recording a best quarter-mile time of 13.02sec at a respectable 178km/h (110.6mph) on a local dragstrip. “I wanted a fully-fledged show car but it was important that I could run it hard,” said Jukka. “Daily driveability mattered less, but it needed to be a car that stirred emotions – people could either love it or hate it!”
Although the owner wasn’t concerned about it being a daily driver, he isn’t afraid to put miles on it. To date, the A3 has driven from the forests of Finland to Wörthersee in Austria, Magny Cours in France and Recaro Days at the Nürburgring.
No matter where it goes, Jukka’s Audi always receives a great response and he’s delighted with how it turned out: “I’ve been building the car since ’06 and tried several concepts but now that it’s finally completed I’m extremely happy with the custom exterior, engine and interior!”
et Tech Spec
2006 Audi A3 3.2
Owner: Jukka Neiminen
Location: Tampere, Finland
Occupation: graphics designer
Engine: 3.2L 24v VR6 with upgraded crankshaft bearings, 8.5:1 compression for HGP R30 Garrett ball-bearing turbocharger kit with integrated wastegate and blow-off valve, HGP exhaust manifold and downpipe with stainless steel heatshield, custom 3" JP Autotuning exhaust system with MagnaFlow mufflers and hidden tips, HGP aluminum short-runner intake manifold, front-mount intercooler, bigger fuel injectors, dual fuel pumps, custom software tuning, braided oil lines
Drivetrain: six-speed manual, Haldex PP Gen2 all-wheel drive control unit with three-way switch (Normal, Sport, Race)
Brakes: Porsche Cayenne six-piston front calipers with 352mm rotors, Mov’It four-piston rear calipers with 342mm rotors, calipers painted beige
Suspension: German Airride Systems V2 air-ride system with Koni dampers, 3.5-gallon air tank and compressor, H&R sway bars front and rear
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5" BBS LM wheels with black centers, beige lips, blank center caps, 215/35 R19 Yokohama Parada tires
Exterior: Oettinger front bumper and grille, modified carbon fiber front splitter, RS4-style matte black grilles in front bumper, front license plate and sills removed and smoothed, Nothelle widebody fenders molded front and rear, Nothelle side skirts, tailgate smoothed with handle removed, license plate relocated to bumper in MK4 Golf frame, rear wiper deleted and replaced with tailgate button, Skoda Octavia indicators in stock mirrors, Bi-Xenon front headlights painted matte black inside, LED city lights, darker rear lights from 2008 A3 model, painted custom desert camouflage pattern with matte lacquer
Interior: brown Nappa leather and alcantara upholstery with tan diamond stitching on Recaro Sportster seats, dash, door cards, carpet, mats, trunk and headliner, Mk5 GTI pedals, Audi TT footrest and air vents with A’PEXi EL-boost and exhaust temp gauges
Audio/Visual: Alpine IVA-W202R double-DIN head unit with DVD, PXA-H70 processor, NVE-N099P nav, TUE-T15DVB-T digital TV tuner, KCE-422 iPod connection, Rainbow Vanadium 12" sub and CS36 5.6" two-way component speakers, Helix A1 mono- and A2 Competition multi-channel amps, Helix XXL Power Station, Ground Zero GZBP 12.2500 battery
Thanks: SJukka Putkonen, JP Autotuning, Design Eugen