Exotic, rapid, and mind-warpingly creative, Jordan Clarke’s bagged Audi R8 Mk1 is smokin’ hot…
Fast Car. Words: Joe Partridge. Photos: Harry Hartland
The Pineapple Express is a jet stream that flows from the Hawaiian Islands across to the Pacific coast of the United States, its fusion of warm rain and low ground temperatures resulting in some pretty freaky weather. It’s also the name of a weapons-grade strain of sticky hyper-ganj that lent its moniker to a slacker movie about mind-altering infumations; a movie which contains possibly the only Hollywood line to make a Daewoo sound cool or edgy: “You just got killed by a Daewoo Lanos, motherf*cker!”.
If we smoosh together the key elements of this admittedly quite esoteric introduction, it starts to resemble something akin to a bright green Audi R8: jet streams, unexpected conditions, mind-warping visuals… and, somewhat improbably, even the Lanos is instrumental. How so? Well, we’d better ask Jordan Clarke – he’s the man holding the keys to the story as well as to the bagged Audi R8.
“My first car was a Daewoo Lanos,” he admits, as the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle begin to tumble into place. “I’ll be honest, my previous car history isn’t great. After a couple of weeks with the Daewoo, I wrapped it around a tree…”
Best thing for it, probably. But things didn’t get much better in the immediate aftermath: “I bought a Mk3 Golf next – that broke,” he continues, totally poker-faced. “Then it was a Mk4 Golf which I absolutely loved… but then sold. Next up was my absolute dream Fiat Punto Grande, an Abarth replica that was all blacked out, and that blew up after two days resulting in me losing all my money. Due to the skintness caused by that, it was back to a £300 burgundy Toyota Corolla that I ‘drifted’ in the snow, ripped off the rear bumper and bent the rear wheel so was running a spacer-saver – a really good look. I then moved onto my EP2 Civic, my first ever properly modded ride, and the car I subsequently started SlammedUK with.”
That’s right, we’re looking at a mighty oak that’s grown and blossomed from a slightly crap little acorn. Following a relentlessly shaky start, Jordan’s superlative business acumen got the better of his wonky automotive luck; spying a prime niche within the UK automotive crowd, he founded a lifestyle brand focused on cool apparel and accessories as well as popular meets and shows. SlammedUK has grown into a scene colossus, by virtue of the fact that it’s run by true petrolheads – there’s no cynical marketing here, it’s all about people living the lifestyle. And as Jordan began to take the new endeavour really seriously, it was necessary to sell his beloved Civic to fund the genesis of this quirky brand – but you know what they say about karma, it always comes back around. Before too long, he was able to pick up a Mk2 MX-5 (“my favourite car ever, I love MX-5s!”) and give it the proper modding treatment. In time, the Gravity show was founded – another scene linchpin that’s grown into something massively popular and successful – and a project van was built for merch and suchlike, the ‘Slamsit’. So the next logical step was, obviously, an Audi R8.
Yep, it’s perhaps an unexpected move, but there are two principal reasons why a first-gen V8 R8 with a manual ’box is the perfect demo car for a brand like SlammedUK and a show like Gravity: first of all, it’s something desirable and aspirational that modding enthusiasts can look up to and be inspired by. And secondly, well, Jordan just really wanted one. That’s the best reason, really.
It’s a magnificent head-and-heart choice, there’s no denying that. The R8 enjoys all of the creds of a bona fide supercar: gorgeous design that’s as much desktop wallpaper fodder as it is automobile; insane powerplant; stunning performance figures. But at the same time it’s an Audi, which means it’ll always start on cold mornings, it won’t overheat in summer jams, it’ll be faultlessly reliable, the clutch won’t catch fire if you drive it in inner-city stop-start traffic. It’s got uniform panel gaps and decent interior plastics. It genuinely is an everyday supercar. And with the launch model packing 414bhp from its 4.2-litre V8, this really is a car that ticks pretty much every conceivable box. (Unless you want to carry passengers, of course. But what would you rather have sitting behind you – a couple of ungrateful mates kicking your seat and whining about the music choices, or a dirty great V8? Exactly.)
“I have owned the car for two years now,” says Jordan. “I’ve done around 30,000 miles, and have just paid a huge maintenance bill to fit a new clutch and flywheel as well as a major service, coil packs, master cylinder, slave cylinder, plugs, filters, exhaust heat-wrap, and a few other bits by my good friend Raj at Supercar Service, totalling around £8.5k. Saying that, the car hadn’t cost me anything other than fuel, service and tyres in those 30,000 miles.”
See? Practical. You don’t get that sort of good behaviour with a Ferrari (probably). However, as you’ve no doubt spotted from the photos, this isn’t a story about a man buying a stock R8 and driving it about a bit. This isn’t that sort of mag. Jordan’s done stuff. Cool stuff. In fact, this is probably the lairiest and most eye-catching R8 in the UK today.
“The car was bought and designed as a marketing tool, mainly for my Gravity show,” he reasons, and if you’ve seen the kind of awesome modded cars that are on display at Gravity every year, the treatment this Audi has received will make perfect sense. First and foremost, you can’t really miss that wrap. Designed and fitted by Identity Wraps, it’s a custom flavour in TeckWrap Gloss Metallic Acid Lime, and it’s just about as in-your-face as it’s possible to get. To make the styling even more extreme, Jordan’s added a set of Prior Design sideskirts along with a splitter and spoiler from Maxton Design. Bystanders can’t really overlook the fact that those sideskirts are sitting on the ground either, as he’s done that most magnificently sacri-licious thing anyone with a sense of cheekiness can do to a supercar – he’s bagged it. Purists be damned, this is a mind-blowingly awesome setup, the modding superheroes at Intermotiv crafting a full bespoke air-ride setup for the R8, running Air Lift Performance 3P management and brutally airing out over a set of custom 20-inch OZ Futuras. These rims were fully reimagined by Wheel Unique, with staggered widths, gloss black barrels, metallic silver faces and all new hardware. The guts of this system aren’t hidden away, but instead proudly displayed in a clever three-tier boot build which features oodles of custom work involving tanks, hardlines and nifty Perspex to create something truly alluring. As a complete aesthetic package, this R8 acts like a sledgehammer to the temple.
Now, absolutely nobody has ever climbed out of an Audi R8 and said ‘hmm, it’s not really quick enough,’ but of course more is more and these things can always be improved. With this in mind, Jordan’s seen fit to have SS Autowerks knock up a custom 3-inch straight-pipe exhaust system; the motor’s also running a Revo Stage 1 map, which elevates the peak to an amusing 440bhp.
“As someone who drives a lot, and has driven a lot of cars, I honestly can’t fault it,” Jordan grins. “It’s the most fun and most driver-focused car that I’ve driven. Two years and 30,000 miles later it still puts a smile on my face every single time I drive it; that even surprises me as there are a lot of other cars I want to own, but I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to get rid of this.” Well, it’s certainly a step up from a Daewoo Lanos. The mind-altering properties of the Pineapple Express have blazed up their magic once again. Who knows what freaky mysteries they’ll spirit into being next?
Tech Spec: Bagged Audi R8
TeckWrap Gloss Metallic Acid Lime custom wrap designed and fitted by Identity Wraps, Prior Design sideskirts, Maxton Design splitter, Maxton Design spoiler
4.2-litre FSI V8, 6-speed manual, Revo Stage 1 map, custom SS Autowerks 3-inch straight-pipe exhaust system, 440bhp
8.5×20-inch (front) and 10×20-inch (rear) OZ Futura wheels rebuilt by Wheel Unique – with polished lips, metallic silver faces, gloss black barrels and new hardware, 12mm (front) and 25mm (rear) spacers, custom Intermotiv air suspension with Air Lift Performance 3P management
Custom perforated hexagonal Alcantara/leather seat covers by SeatSkinz, custom fascia and Kenwood headunit by Car Audio Security, custom three-tier boot build with four tanks, custom painted hardlines and embossed Gravity logo Perspex floor, custom SlammedUK Audi R8 floor mats by REEFined, custom forged carbon steering wheel with colour-coded stitching by ControlCustoms