It’s almost impossible to fathom just how immaculate this A3 is, it really has to be seen, and seen with your own eyes, to be believed. Yes, it really is that good!
The thing is though, here at FC, it’s our job to show you the world’s best motors exactly as they appear in real life. We use the finest photographers and art boys in the business to capture, in pain-staking detail, just how amazing these cars are and translate that onto the page. Every ride in FC should be as gob-smacking in the mag as it is on the street, no more and no less. That’s how it works, and it sounds simple, but in this case it’s not.
Now, you might be thinking this particular German cruiser looks unbelievable and the shoot is stunning and, yeah, you’d be right. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s one of my favourite shoots ever but there’s still one little problem – I’ve seen this Audi in real life, and it looks even better. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often.
So, when I say immaculate, I don’t mean the ‘Auto Trader description’ immaculate we’re all used to. You’re not gonna take a closer look and discover a planet-sized dent in the side, a front driveshaft held on with Blu-Tack and a smell like an elderly male goat has cocked it’s leg in the boot. This car is hand-on-heart flawless, exquisitely clean, irreproachably spick-and-span.
It’s also the kind of project that can only be conceived by someone with a wealth of modifying experience. You just don’t put a car like this together without knowing exactly what you’re doing, there’s a purity to it, almost if it’s somehow built on instinct. With many concepts it’s all too easy to go nuts and spoil things by doing too much, a build like this takes the restraint and knowledge of some sort of Jedi modding master – it’s about changing the stuff that matters and leaving everything else alone.
Of course, to get to this sort of level you have to pay your modifying dues first and the owner, Warwick French, has certainly done that. Despite only being in his early 20s he’s been through plenty of crazy projects, everything from a Mk1 Focus that looked like it drove straight off the set of The Fast and The Furious, to a 370bhp Fiesta ST and even a Transit Connect on chopped springs that sat so low he daren’t put anything in the back for fear of scraping up the cat’s-eyes on the motorway.
In other words he’s been there and done it, and no one can say that until modifying becomes more than a hobby, it has to become the reason you get up in the morning. That’s not to say cars are the only obsession he’s ever had, his first love was racing motocross but after a drunk driver ended his pro-career at 17, instead of moaning about it he had to find something new to channel his energy into.
Now, that’s pretty admirable for a start, I got hit by a car once at 14 and I still whinge about it now, nearly 20-years later, but that’s not Warwick’s way. He’s just put his head down and got on with it, and what better way of doing that than creating a few masterpieces? It was like therapy in metal and it’s been like that ever since.
So, with all that in mind, it may come as something of a surprise that buying a nearly-new, ‘grown-up’ Audi A3 was actually his last ditch effort to kick the modding habbit. After all the crazy cars he’s owned he told himself ‘enough is enough’ and bought a one that he supposedly wouldn’t “feel the need to modify or mess around with.” Obviously that idea didn’t last very long, only about a month in fact.
It’s just one of those things that normal people, and by normal I mean, non-gearheads – those who don’t spend their lives scraping their knuckles and obsessing about suspension geometry, just can’t understand. Some modifiers may well be a product of fashion and manage to break away from the scene after a few years. Others, like Warwick, simply have it in their blood. Once it’s there that’s it, it’s not going anywhere, especially when you surround yourselves with friends with much the same obsession. It’d be like an ex-alcoholic going to work in a brewery or the local Threshers, sooner or later they’ll be diving right back in. And who can blame them?
So here you are with your standard Audi, but your mate’s got some spanking air ride on his – there’s no way you’re not having some of that. Too right you are. Then it’s plain to see you’ll be needing a crazy set of wheels to top it all off and, after doing a few summer shows, before you know it, you’re buying a set of RS3 brakes, tearing apart your motor and starting again. Well, that’s how it happened here anyway.
The need to get some professional help soon followed, and I’m not talking about a psychiatrist to break the obsession with his Audi. The professionals in question here were audio-installers extraordinaire Bassmechanix for a full-on boot build followed buy a spot of trimming on some newly-purchased Recaros by Edge Automotive. Proper professionals, not charlatans blaming everything that’s ever gone wrong in your life on your relationship with your mother, thank Christ.
Anyway, as I think I’ve made clear, the outcome is absolutely immaculate. In fact, no, it’s more than that, this goes way beyond any sort of OCD induced vision of cleanliness. It’s perfection – there’s just no other word for it.
The OCD approach has seen Warwick develop an attention to the finer details that’s, quite frankly, bordering on insane. With so many feature cars it’s the big, expensive mods that make our jaws hit the floor, and while the stuff on this Audi like the air ride and huge Rotiforms are absolutely stunning, it’s the little things that you might miss the first time around that really push this one to a new level of awesomeness. I mean, have a closer look, he’s actually trimmed the seat subframes in Alcantara, how mad is that? And that’s just one of ‘em. I guess that really tells you everything you need to know.
OWNER: WARWICK FRENCH
TECH SPEC: AUDI A3
Rolled arches all round, de-badged smoothed boot lid, de-wipered rear window, black wrapped window surrounds, US Spec front grille.
9 and 10.5×19 Rotiform IND-T 3 piece wheels, Nankang tyres,
Airlift Performance struts and V2 management, 2x Slimline colour-coded air tanks, 2x ViAir 380c compressors, Audi RS3 colour-coded front brake calipers with 370mm discs.
Recaro CS front seats retrimmed in Alcantara with diamond silver stitching, Alcantara trimmed gaitor, shifter, armrest, bootbuild and custom seat subframes. 3x Rockford Fosgate T1 subwoofers , 2 x Rockford Fosgate amplifiers
Titch my girlfriend fro putting up with me over Xmas spending every penny on the car, Montie from Bassmechanix, Steve from Edge Automotive, Justin from Autospray, Paul from Deluxe Detailing, Mike from Kleenfreaks, and all my friends who helped and got involved.
Words Midge Photos Chris Wallbank