Jak Titch has been through his cars like they’re going out of fashion. But after pulling the mother of all social media stunts and hitting the headlines with his infamous Polo, we’ve got a feeling this one’s sticking around for a while yet…
Isn’t it funny how rapidly things can spread like wildfire online once they’ve gone viral? Accidently upload a picture of yourself in the tub to Facebook, for example, and before you have time to do anything about it, it’s probably getting downloaded by a bunch of people in Denmark you’ve never met before.
Somerset-based Jak Titch experienced the full might of social media himself last year after a Facebook challenge left his car with an ever-so-slightly controversial Donald Trump support livery for a whole week, riling the UK car scene in the process. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a story of 13 sets of alloys, some seriously well thought-out mods and one of the most impressive show cars in the country in its own right…
Young Jak here is no beginner when it comes to tweaking cars, that’s for sure. Starting out as a VW Transporter conversion fitter, he’s also bought and modified a remarkably eclectic mix of vehicles in the time he’s owned a driver’s licence.
“This is my third Polo,” he begins. “I also had a 6N2 on a set of Ronal Turbos and a chequered roof. And a 9N3 GTI which had about 260bhp before it got written off. I had an E36 3-Series with a welded diff which lasted four weeks. And a Land Rover Freelander which lasted four days!”
With cars coming, going and breaking spectacularly at such an alarming rate, Jak eventually attempted to snap out of his modified vehicle phase, looking for something comfortable, new and reliable to act as his new daily driver. “I found this one locally and it was completely mint!” he smiles, recalling snapping up this tidy grey 1.2-litre Turbo 6R Polo. A perfect car to keep standard and enjoy as it came from the factory, right? “One week later it was on coilovers and wheels!” Jak laughs. We should’ve known…
Aside from the subtle mods, things remained relatively sensible and useable. Until Jak ran into a little trouble on the way to a show…
“It was fully loaded with kit and sat on the bumpstops, when both front shocks blew out on the motorway!” he painfully recalls. “I then had to choose whether to put it back to standard, get more coilovers and risk the same thing happening again, or go for air.”
Knowing this was a big fork in the road, with ‘daily driver’ and ‘full-on show car’ being the two available directions laid out in front of him, Jak inevitably opted to go all-out on the Polo, snapping up a full Air Lift Performance suspension kit and fitting it with the help of Adam at Moor Performance before setting up the V2 management to get it sitting perfectly on its alloys.
“I then bought some more wheels,” Jak continues. Ah yes, wheels. Something which he has a habit of switching and swapping to keep people on their toes. “I liked the look of two of the new Cast13 styles and couldn’t choose which I preferred, so ordered one set for one side, and one for the other!” The same dilemma hit him when choosing some Fifteen52s a few months later (this time with a front-back split to keep things fresh), before he found the tasty BBS RC041 splits that are currently on the Polo (but for how long?). These have been finished in a stunning gold hue by Devon-based Wheel Power, and only see the light of day when it’s show time, with Jak rocking a set of Cast13 RB4s for any other occasion. Still with us?
Amongst the wheel indecisiveness came another pretty big transformation for the car: a vinyl wrap. “It came from James at South West Tinting,” Jak explains. “I knew he was as OCD as me and I wouldn’t go anywhere else. The car was supposed to be Renault Liquid Yellow. But I changed my mind last minute to this Cherry Pearl Red…” Good choice, Jak. The Polo now sits luxuriously with its lavishly coloured bodywork and gold rims to top it all off.
But that’s not Jak’s last encounter with South West Tinting, as we’re sure you’v ealready gathered by now. Because during the ‘will-you-give-me-free-products-if-I-can-get- a-certain-amount-of-likes?’ Facebook phase of 2016, Jak contacted James again to see if the firm would change the colour of his Polo once more in return for a certain amount of Facebook shares. Needless to say (you can read all about this after the story), Jak reached his targets with ease, and the rest is history!
Thankfully though, as you can see, the car is back to its subtler Cherry Red Pearl self, finished off with impressively well thought-out touches such as the genuine VW carbon fibre ‘Optic’ wing mirrors, smoothed bumpers and all-red rear lights, creating a classy Euro look that works great on the Polo’s angular lines.
Inside, the standard of modifications remains just as high, with a leather retrimmed interior, flocked roof lining and pillars and a tidy ICE install modestly transforming this once humble hatchback into something much more special.
With a wheel switch-up on a practically monthly basis, along with a spec list that would make most so-called show cars blush, it’s not difficult to see that behind all the Trump livery madness lies a seriously pampered and loved little machine with Jak’s Polo. Only ever taken out for shows, it’s evolved massively from its humble daily driver beginnings.
However Jak admits it might be time to switch things up once again soon. “What’s next? Who knows! Maybe something Japanese, with lots of ponies under the bonnet, rear-wheel-drive and a stupid diff…?”
Remember back in the summer of 2016 when everyone was trying to get free stuff out of companies with the
promise of a certain amount of likes and shares on their Facebook pages? As a tounge-in-cheek take on this
blagger phenomenon, Jak tapped up his friend James from South West Tinting (the company that supplied
the car’s original red wrap) to see what they could sort out. James was on board with the challenge, offering
Jak a Barbie pink sunstrip, a full re-wrap in tin foil or a Donald Trump support livery, depending on how many
likes and shares he could achieve.
“Within the hour, I’d already reached the highest target, and just laughed it off,” Jak remembers. “Until two
weeks later when James phoned me, asking when I was coming down to get the Trump livery put on! I had to
keep it on for a week, which happened to fall over the weekend of Trax 2016, where I was based on the FC stand!”
Cue endless newspaper articles, rude hand gestures from other motorists when driving, and even a BBC radio
interview. We think it’s safe to say Jak’s stunt has made his car somewhat unforgettable now!
TECH SPEC: 6R VW POLO
Full wrap in True Blood Red with gloss black roof; carbon fibre front splitter, grille, rear badge inserts and rear spoiler; genuine VW carbon fibre Optic wing mirrors; tinted front foglights; smoothed front bumper; all-red rear lights.
1.2-litre turbo engine; Pipercross air filter; Forge Motorsport intake duct, intake ducting, turbo intake piping, turbo-to-throttle body piping, aluminium caps, coolant hoses and dump valve; custom aluminium air box; custom 2.5-inch stainless steel turbo-back exhaust system; Revo re-map.
Six-speed manual gearbox.
Air Lift Performance Mk4 front air struts; Firestone rear air bags; Air Lift Performance V2 air ride management; twin 444C VIAIR compressors; Powerflex lower engine mount, front and rear wishbone and rear beam bushes; front driver’s side chassis notch; 7.5x17in BBS RC041 alloy wheels with gold centres, polished hex nuts, polished lips, stainless steel hardware and red centre caps (5×120 PCD with 25mm adaptors); EBC Brakes disc and pad upgrade all-round.
Re-trimmed front seats, centre armrest and gear gator in leather with red stitching; sun visors retrimmed in carbon leather; flocked roof lining and A/B/C pillars; black interior lights; genuine VW carbon fibre Optic rear-view mirror; iPad Mini headunit install; boot air tank install.
James at South West Tinting for the Vinyl Wrap and Donald Trump graphics; Adam at Moor Performance for helping me build the car; Leon at VWX for the interior re-trim; Forge Motorsport for supplying all the parts for the engine bay; Wheel Power UK for the wheels; Autoperfekt, Studio448, Perflection Autobodies and OlderWiserClothing for their support!
Words Sam Preston Photography AS Design