Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars. This week it’s Olly Bartlett’s VW Bora from way back in 2013…

tuned VW Bora modified

We’ve had our beady little eyes on Olly’s Bora for a few years now. Much like a fine bottle of plonk, it’s matured well and he’s finally let us sample it! Was it worth the wait? Feck yes – it’s the best it’s ever looked!

VW Bora modified engine close-up

At last count, this was Olly’s 69th car, most of which have had two things in common; a VAG badge and a massive dollop of dumpage! Olly’s a DIY modder, and with a long list of motors behind him, it’s fair to say he knows his way around an engine bay. Pulling out the original lump, he replaced it with his own, home brewed concoction.

VW Bora modified front-profile

The 1.8T motor that now lives under the hood was fully re-built before being fitted into the car. BAM block pistons, a modified RMR inlet manifold, custom hybrid turbo and a shed load of other goodies have helped Olly get no less than 300 of the finest ponies out of his Bora.

tuned VW Bora close-up

While the engine was out, Olly grabbed his chance to tuck all the wires away nice n’ tight. All hoses and untidy wires have been re-routed and the holes have been welded and smoothed to a flush finish.

tuned VW Bora seats

Last time we saw the Bora, it was wearing a set of polished Merc rims with the coilovers wound to the floor. This time he’s gone for a top-of-the range air-ride set up. Olly installed the Bagyard Bomber struts and Accuair E-Level management system himself. Replacing the old Merc wheels are a set of girthy, staggered 8.5x18in and 9.5x18in Schmidt TH rims with Radinox stainless dishes. The centres have been powered-coated black and the rims wrapped in sticky Falken rubber.

VW Bora internal upholstery

Despite the clean look of the Bora this Dub ain’t no trailer queen. The melted rear bumper is testament to just how often Olly puts those 300 horses to work. The front and rear R-line bumpers bulk out the body, while a set of homemade metal skirts run the length of the car.

tuned VW Bora modified wheels

Round the back is another fine example of Mr Bartlett’s handiwork. The boot lid has been made by combining the original boot with a metal spoiler from another car. After hours of cutting, welding and smoothing the Bora now has its own unique boot.

VW Bora modified interior

No expense was spared when it came to the interior. Up front sits a set of Recaro CS seats. The back of the rear bench has been built up from scratch and mimic the lines of the front seats. The whole lot – including the pillars, armrest and top dash have been trimmed in grey diamond-stitched leather. To add a bit of contrast, the headliner and parcel shelf have been covered in Alcantara.

tuned VW Bora

It’s fair to say that Olly’s Bora double ticks every box on the list and over the years has evolved into one of the cleanest examples we ever did see!

tuned VW Bora parked


Repainted in Audi Ibis White, gloss black roof and pillars, TT filler cap, metal sideskirts, metal boot spoiler moulded into original lid, repeaters deleted, smooth bonnet, R-line bumpers with deleted exhaust cut out and washer jets, all seams, tags and spot welds removed from bay, scuttle panel shortened, inner wings extended and smoothed, stainless bulkhead heatshield, ABS hidden in inner wing with new lines running throughout

8.5x18in and 9.5x18in Schmidt TH with Radinox stainless dishes, powder coated centres, Falken 452/40×18 and Falken Ziex 205/40×18, Bagyard Bomber struts, Accuair E-level management, full TT rack, powder coated cast wishbones, TT Hubs, white powder coated TT Sub frame, Polo 6n top mounts

Recaro CS seats, custom rear bench, re-trim in grey diamond-stitched leather including seats, pillars, armrest, dash, Alcantara headliner & parcel shelf, flocked centre console, passenger foot heater vent and speedo internals, R32 door cards, mats, Momo team 280 wheel

Avic D3 Sat Nav headunit, TSA170i 17cm 260w components

300bhp 1.8T AGU large Port head, BAM block, pistons, AGU crank, i-beam rods, RMR inlet manifold, tubular exhaust manifold, hybrid turbo, custom stainless boost pipes, TB with deleted port, custom billet alloy engine mounts, custom FPR, smooth cam cover, catch can, oil breather hard piping, OEM ECU with deleted VVT, N112, N249, N75, SAI, and combi valve, all lines, wires and hoses rerouted and hidden, custom FMIC, 6-speed box

Tony and the boys at Bodytone, Pete for machining the spacers and making the steel skirts, Polack, my best mate always happy to muck in and give the car a good valet, all the top blokes on UKMKIVS for the support!

Words Nick Turner Photography Si Gray