Steve Noble saw the potential in his dad’s old B6 Passat and with the help of a good group of friends turned it from potential trade-in to Show ‘n’ Shine winner.
You don’t often see a heavily modified B6 Passat do you? Before the members of UKPassats spit their coffee all over the nice new magazine they just bought, hear me out. What I’m saying is, you see the occasional modified daily here and there, but save for the dedicated club standers at shows you don’t see too many in the show and shine lanes. I guess what I mean is you don’t see too many B6 Passats built with the Show ‘n’ Shine in mind, if that makes sense. Sure, there’s been a few notable exceptions, Indy Virk’s all black everything stunner from a few years back being one but other than that, our memories aren’t coming up with much. Well, of course, we do also have Steve Noble here! Steve likes a Passat he does, well, he’s had four B5.5 wagons before this B6 sedan, so you would expect as much. “It’s one of the things that made me want to build a B6, the fact you don’t see many of them.”
He hasn’t always been a fan of the family friendly load-lugger though. “I started out with Vauxhalls and Fords, actually,” Steve stated. “I was then looking for something German and reliable and ended up with a 2005 Bora Highline. “I had it for about 18 months and really enjoyed it, I wasn’t too clued up on modifying so it got the cheap coilovers and Lenso combo at one point, but it set the seed for all the cars that came after it.” Next came a lightly breathed on Cupra R before the run of B5.5s, the most notable of the bunch being a red Highline PD130 that sat on cream BMW Tigerclaws. Later on, after a little spell on two wheels, Steve bought an ex-British Gas 2K Caddy van. “This was about when a few friends of mine started really getting in to the whole car and show thing and I wanted to do the same with my Caddy,” Steve added. “We ended up painting it Volvo Polestar blue inside and out, we fitted some Mk6 GTD seats and we carpeted it out, too.”
Later on, Steve decided it was time to switch the van out for a car again and started looking at some possibilities. As it happened, his father was looking to move on his B6 and Steve, tempted to try and put his own spin on something a bit different, snapped it up before he could trade it in.
“It was actually Indy’s car that was a big inspiration for me,” Steve confirmed. “I’d seen it at a few shows and on social media and I really liked how it looked, I liked the smooth front and the US-spec rear. Little bits that you wouldn’t notice unless you knew what you were looking at.” In the end, Indy’s car became more than an inspiration for Steve, it became a source of his car’s bumpers and a few other bits, too.
Steve had barely removed his dad’s CDs from the glovebox before he got on the phone to the guys at Only Charged Dubs and ordered a kit. The car sits on Air Lift Slam Series struts hooked up to V2 management with fixed 2.5 degree top mounts. “We got the kit and in an afternoon in my garage with my mates we had it fitted,” said Steve. “I’ve had my hand in a lot of things on this car,” he added. “Fitting the air, building the wheels up, fabricating the seat mounts and the strip down and paint prep,” he continued. “I can’t take credit for all of it of course, having a group of mates with the skills and knowledge to get things done was a big thing and I can’t thank them enough.”
The boot build was not something done in the garage at home though, as you can probably tell from how sweet it looks it’s a pro job done by none other than the suppliers of the kit itself, Only Charged Dubs. The guys also chassis-notched the front end while the boot build was being built, and the results of all their hard work is plain to see. The twin three-gallon stubby air tanks sit in front of the other thing that draws your eye in the boot, the 12” JL Audio W7 sub-woofer mounted at the back of the trunk. That, along with the hardlines and the subtle LED lighting are all Only Charged Dubs doing too.
The most striking thing about the car, other than the rather nice WatercooledIND wheels of course, is the paint. A lot of B6 Passats are painted Reflex silver, and this one was too, originally anyway.
“A friend of mine had a Mk5 painted by a friend of his, Gareth Taylor, and after seeing his work I was more than confident in his abilities,” Steve explained. “The whole paint job was done in an out-building at my mate’s garage which was less than ideal but it’s come out brilliantly,” he smiled. “In fact, some of the best reactions I’ve had to the car have been explaining how it was painted in basically a leaky old outbuilding in a yard. No booth, no built-in extraction or heating to speed up drying, just a cold old dirty garage. You certainly can’t tell though!”
The guys might have been on a budget but that doesn’t mean they cut any corners in the prep work. “We stripped the car to a shell save for the engine, took the glass out, inner arches out, doors off, all before Gareth came round. We rolled and flared the front and rear arches and fitted the smoothed R-Line front bumper and a smoothed US-spec rear bumper and US-spec 4Motion rear valance I’d bought from Indy,” he remembered. “Although the front bumper was already smoothed in to an R-Line lip it did require work to get the swage lines back in to it like I wanted, so we stripped it back to bare plastic and re-shaped it,” he added. “This took a lot longer than expected but it really came out well.”
At the start of last year Steve knew that if he wanted to step the Passat up a level he needed to do something to the interior, too, and do something he did, big time.
“My favourite part of the car has to be the interior,” he said. “When I first spoke to Sean at Inspired Automotive I had no idea what colours I wanted, I think I changed my mind about five times before Sean came with the suggestion of St. James red. He showed me a sample and I was sold on it there and then.”
The interior is based around a pair of Recaro CS front perches pulled from a Lotus at some point, while out back there is a rear bench from a Passat Sport. The seats are one part St. James red leather and one part black Alcantara and the Mk6 GTI steering wheel, door cards and gear gaitor also saw action on the sewing machine, as did the roof lining and door pillars which are also Alcantara to match.
The car sat on a few different sets of wheels prior to picking up the WatercooledIND wheels, the previous favourites being a set of two-piece ZH ZW4s. The current three-piece MT10s that the car sits on now measure in at 9.5×19” and 10×19” front and rear respectively and really pop against the Nardo grey paint with their white faces, powder-coated red barrels and super shiny lips which were done by Pugz Polishing.
“Engine wise I’ve left it pretty much alone to be honest,” Steve said. “But it drives lovely so I’m happy enough. Small knocks and rattles really bother me so the car has to drive and feel right, after all there’s no point having a car that’s nice to look at but horrible to drive is there?” Steve’s happy with the mapped 2.0-litre oil burner’s performance and reliability, but when pushed does sometimes wonder if he should have gone further under the bonnet. “If I was pushed to say something I’d change about the car I guess I would say maybe I could have considered an engine swap or smoothing the bay or something, but that’s if my hand was forced,” he smiled. Clearly the sign of a very happy man. The boy’s done good!
What’s next for Steve with the Passat? Well, nothing. Like so many of us, real life got in the way of car fun for Steve and the quest for a house saw the car sold a little while ago. “Would I do it again though? Oh, absolutely, 100%. And I’m sure I will soon, maybe something older and track-inspired, I don’t know,” said Steve. “I made so many good friends, experienced some of the best shows in Europe with some great people and made so many memories I’ll definitely do it all again at some point, he continued, before adding; “Modifying cars to me was something I did and still do with my mates, that’s what’s important. Seeing their cars and what they were doing to them and thinking what I’d do to mine, it’s all part of it. For me, travelling Europe, making friends and seeing stunning cars isn’t a bad way to spend your time.” We couldn’t agree more Steve.
Tech Spec: VW Passat B6
2.0-litre TDI CR140, mapped, DPF removed and custom exhaust leading two twin 3” turndown tips
9.5” and 10×19” WatercooledIND MT10 three-piece wheels with white faces, satin red barrels and polished lips. Air Lift Performance Slam Series air-ride on V2 management with fixed 2.5 degree camber mounts, chassis notch
Full respray in Audi Nardo grey, smoothed R-Line front bumper, colour-coded US-spec front grille, smoothed US-spec rear bumper with US-spec 4Motion rear valance. De-chromed door strips and window surrounds, arches pulled and rolled
Lotus Recaro CS front seats and Passat Sport rear bench. Retrim in St James red leather with custom engraving and Alcantara, black Alcantara headlining and door pillars. Mk6 GTI steering wheel, gear gaitor and door cards also trimmed. Dash panels colour-coded in Nardo grey, custom V2 controller mount. Boot build comprising twin Viar 444 compressors, twin three gallon seamless tubby tanks and hardlines also colour-coded, 12” JL Audio W7 sub in a tuned box, LED lighting
Feature taken from Performance VW magazine June 2018 issue. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Wipdesign