We get the exclusive on the first, Liberty Walk-kitted Audi R8 V10 to hit the streets of the UK…
Our Japanese chums have a glorious heritage of creating extreme bodykits. In the early-’90s, the likes of VeilSide and Erebuni produced kits for everything from MR2s to Supras, transforming them from mild to wild. But in recent years, the dudes from the Land of the Rising Sun have raised the bar, yet again.
Ever since Wataru Kato burst onto the scene, our newsfeeds have been bombarded with a relentless flow of jaw-dropping cars. From Porsches, to Lamborghinis, Liberty Walk has stamped its mark on pretty much every high-end car you can imagine. Ferrari 488? Yep. Lamborghini Aventador? Of course. McLaren 650S? You betcha!
Characterised by wide, riveted-on over fenders, you can spot a Liberty Walk car from half-a-mile away. They make a big impact, which is why Down & Out Customs and TED Motorsport, decided to create the UK’s first, LB-kitted R8.
“There were three of us involved with the project, but my job was to organise the parts and build the car,” says Chris Hazell, owner of Down & Out.
The kit itself took six weeks to arrive from Japan, but once it landed it was relatively straightforward to fit. “It was perfect. But I have to admit, cutting away the original arches of a V10 R8 was a bit scary,” smiles Chris. “Mind you, that wasn’t the worst bit. Having to drill a hole in the £4,000 carbon fibre rear spoiler, to accommodate the reversing camera, isn’t something you want to do every day!”
The job took around 12 weeks to complete, which gave Chris and the crew plenty of time to consider what colour to paint it. “In the end, we decided to go all black, to be different to all the other Liberty Walk cars out there – it’s a bit more subtle without all the stickers.” Well, as subtle as a big, black, wide arch R8 V10 can ever be.
Lovingly cared for with the very best from the Auto Finesse range, this thing has huge road presence. There’s just so much of it, all muscular curves and wide arches, that you struggle to take it all in at first. “People walk past it, then suddenly stop and turn around when they realise it’s not a regular R8.” The fact it’s decked on an AirREX setup, simply adds to the wow factor. The plug-and-play system, favoured by Liberty Walk, is simplicity itself and comes with everything ready to plumb in.
Pop the bonnet and you’ll find a neat air tank in the custom enclosure, which was designed specifically to slot into the R8’s narrow luggage compartment. The air system can be controlled by smartphone, allowing the R8 to be dropped over its wheels at will.
Clearly, a project of this calibre required some extra special rims, and Chris knew just who to turn to. “3SDM created a…