While newbies seem obsessed with their new-wave cars on air and wheels and their 15 minutes of fame, we’re grateful for the small number of diehards more interested in the bigger picture and the long game. Enter Andi Riley and his stunning modified Audi 100 Coupe.
Feature from Performance VW. Words: Jimbo Wallace. Photos: Si Gray
Unique. Different. Unconventional. All words that us car folk generally throw around with little respect. Yet we don’t need to harp on with the usual journalistic hyperbole when it comes to Andi Riley’s 1972 modified Audi 100 Coupe, this thing tells its own story as soon as you see it. Remember, let’s say… 15 years ago when people used to build cars and unveil them at shows with only their closest mate’s knowing about the blood, sweat and tears invested? The sense of anticipation and excitement that surrounded shows before the interweb and social media age meant that people would arrive at shows totally amped about the vehicles that may or may not turn up. For Andi Riley, a mechanic, camper converter and all-round fabrication whiz, an element of that old school cool was lacking thanks to the Insta generation who trickle out every detail of each single element. In the day and age, quite how Andi kept this modified Audi 100 coupe under wraps though we have no idea.
So, when we arrived at Ultimate Dubs 2020 in sunny Telford, imagine our surprise when nestling between the main halls and the coveted red-carpet area was this mind bending, Samurai grey modified Audi 100 coupe in all of its resto-mod glory – reimagined, rebuilt and rejuvenated for the 21st century! It might look like the past, but it sure as hell drives like the future. Also, loads of show goers kept enthusiastically asking us: “Have you seen that amazing grey Audi in the hallway?”
For Andi, the main man at modification and camper conversion specialist, Not Just Campers in Leeds, this car was all about validating his business, “I bought it 18 months ago after visiting a show in Belgium hosted by the Rollhard crew. There was a gorgeous Audi 100 two door there and it was sublime. After the van (Andi’s world-famous VW T5 with a twin turbo RS4 engine onboard) I really wanted to do a car properly, a full nut and bolt rebuild – no corners cut. So, I decided there and then that I needed one in my life.” As a tool to prove that his company is indeed “Not Just Campers” there was only one stumbling block and that was finding one! “I started looking everywhere. Then, one popped up in Wales that I found on the internet. It had been imported from South Africa, so I chucked the kids in the car and set off early one Sunday.”
Even though the kids hated it to look at initially, this piece of history was soon on the back of a trailer heading for Leeds. Andi wasting no time stripping it down with lots of help from his son Joshua, even buying him a swanky new socket set to help out, unveiling just a couple of minor rust patches along the way. In fact, we can vividly remember seeing this car on a rotisserie when Andi was stripping the seam sealer off, just prior it being sent off for sandblasting. “Perhaps thanks to its time in South Africa, the car was incredibly solid. We only welded small repair patches into one of the doors were the South African models used to have chrome trim, and a couple of small playing card size sections within the inner arches,” Andi revealed, continuing, “The real fabrication work began once I decided to swap the engine and gearbox.”
Having already sourced an early VW Passat (B5) 1.8T as a donor vehicle, largely due to the longitudinal engine layout, Andi had a fantastic source at his disposal. “It was a lovely little. car, I ran around it for a couple of weeks to make sure it was running right, so throwing the original 1.8 and three-speed auto away was a no brainer, particularly after I drove the UK’s foremost Audi 100 hoarder Keith’s OE car, that was dreadful,” quipped Andi.
Custom engine mounts were crafted that bolt to a box section cradle that runs beneath the engine before connecting to the smoothed chassis rails so the entire motor can be dropped out – mounts and all in no time at all. Likewise, the five-speed manual gearbox was also mounted inside a large portion of the Passat transmission tunnel, skilfully grafted in as the Audi tunnel wouldn’t accept the bigger manual ‘box, Andi having to knock up his own gearshift linkage to suit. At one point there was also a chromed K04 turbo that Andi rebuilt, but when it wouldn’t squeeze in against the new engine mounts, he settled upon the original K03 item that came with the motor, rebuilt to hybrid spec and fully balanced to make the most of the REVO ECU remap to up the power to somewhere in the 212bhp mark. The mods are kept to a minimum within the ‘bay, but the neatly concealed VW wiring loom runs the 1997 Passat clocks, while a custom-made, stainless steel, turbo back exhaust system vents waste gases to atmosphere. “The lights, wipers and ancillary parts are still run by the Audi fuseboard, but we stripped back loads of the Passat wiring and used the VW ignition barrel, transponder and immobiliser system.” Andi revealed. He’s also the first to admit that he didn’t want a totally smooth engine bay, so many of the original pressings and panel lines remain in place beneath that heavenly Porsche hue. The eagle eyed amongst you will also notice that the block and the gearbox are painted in a colour that matches the interior leather – you can tell Andi enjoys an episode or ten of Motortrend TV’s Bitchin’ Rides in his spare time.
Getting the driveshafts to line up was the next hurdle. “They fell about two inches further back with the new gearbox, but by chopping them up and adapting them to fit the retro fitted 1976 Audi 100 suspension setup – which did away with the early Auto spec 100 inboard disc brakes, it was possible to bolt later Audi 80 stub axles into position to accommodate VW Passat wheel bearings and hubs,”
At this point, Andi also had to factor in that sensational wheel choice. “The CVs, hubs and stub axles meant I could also use some 288mm cross drilled Passat front discs in 5x112PCD, but when I decided I wanted to use the HF Turbo wheels cut and converted into custom split rims it needed a 4×98 stud pattern.” To squeeze in the thoroughly modern discs and Maserati four piston calipers, custom caliper carriers were knocked up by his local engineering shop and the discs and hubs were re-drilled to suit the Lancia bolt pattern. Talk about make work for yourself, Mr Riley, but work together it all most certainly does, “I owe a lot to the Audi Owners Club online, and also my new-found Audi 100 geek mate, Keith – who is officially the UK’s Audi 100 font of all knowledge and parts – I honestly couldn’t have built this car without his help and considerable spares.”
Having gone to all this trouble, Andi soon found that height adjustable suspension isn’t exactly rife for a 1972 modified Audi 100 Coupe with lots of other Audi and Passat bits bolted on – who knew? A quick phone call to Jonathon at Intermotiv netted some custom made front and rear airbag struts featuring Goodridge sleeve bags to really set those sills on the floor. Less altitude, more attitude, right? Combined with cutting edge Airlift 3H management, a trio of Torpedo tanks and a brace of Viair 444c compressors this setup places those 8.5 and 10.5 x 18-inch custom made split rims way up into the arches. If you’ve not already clocked the boot build that was a last-minute decision just a month before Ultimate Dubs, what are you waiting for?
With the fundamental chassis and fabrication work sorted attention turned to colouring in the panels. “I tried a spray out of Porsche Miami Blue on a wing and hated it, and the body shop guy wanted me to go straight white to keep the prep to a minimum, but then I visited a Porsche dealership and witnessed Samurai grey. There was no going back,” Andi explained gleefully. Body wise the 100 remains largely as Audi intended, with the exception of a later C3 front splitter, but then the lines of this car look so sharp and classic that it’s easy to mistake it for a product of the Aston Martin or the Pininfarini stable anyway. Sharp, painstakingly wet sanded and buffed to perfection, it’s truly stunning from every angle.
When combined with an interior that’s clad in enough Ferrari tan leather with specially imported basket weave inserts courtesy of Andi’s regular camper trimmers at SG Styling, that it looks like a Caramac feed herd have moved in. “I really wanted the chrome trim to extend all the way around and I rebuilt the centre console, so it extends further back as well,” Andi mused. Indeed, the nose rush of premium leather on those Mk2 Golf Recaros – a total nightmare to fit due to the angle of the rear runners which needed welding into floorpan, makes this interior a very special place to be without doubt. A Retrosound headunit also feeds it’s signal out to a high-class Hertz install that features 2-way components front and rear, a brace of Hertz amplifiers and a duo of ten-inch subs all skilfully moulded in around the rear wheel arches so they’re almost invisible.
There’s literally too much to look at with this build and we dread to think the hours that must have poured into from Andi and his close network of first-rate craftsmen. Hell, we’ve not even had the chance to tell you about the Passat pedal box with hydraulic clutch conversion, Pro Alloy intercooler and radiator, twin Kawazaki ZX-10R twin fans or even the insane lengths that Andi had to go to in order to secure any spare parts for the resto. What we can say unequivocally is that it’s nice to see the old boy showing the kids how things used to be done. Taking an extremely rare car and making it a 21st century masterpiece deserves huge respect, but as Andi’s mate put it on a forum once. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s only an Audi on air and wheels! Right, Andi?
Tech Spec: Modified Audi 100 Coupe
1781cc VW Passat 1.8T (AEB) engine; custom engine and gearbox mounts; VW engine wiring loom using Passat clocks, immobiliser, key and transponder; Pro Alloy radiator and intercooler setup; K&N pod filter; rebuilt hybrid KKK03 turbocharger; twin Kawazaki ZX-10R fans; Revo ECU; Custom stainless steel turbo back 2.5-inch exhaust system; Passat five speed manual gearbox with bespoke shifter linkage; Engine block painted to match interior trim; fully polished or plated ancilliaries: Kawazaki Clutch slave reservoir. Power: 213bhp 200lb/ft
Custom made three-piece Lancia Delta HF Turbo wheels in 8.5- and 10.5×18” diameter with 215/35 and 225/35 tyres. Intermotiv air ride struts, later 70s Audi 100 outboard disc brake suspension setup, Audi 80 stub axles, Passat 5×112 hubs re-drilled to accept 4×98, Maserati four piston calipers front and rear, 288mm cross drilled Passat discs, Passat rear disc conversion using OE hubs on solid Audi rear axle, weld in lower strut brace, custom engine cradle, 3x Torpedo air tanks in custom boot build, AirLift 3H air ride management, 8mm lines, eight valve manifold
Refinished in Porsche Samurai Grey; Audi C3 front splitter; repaired and re-plated chrome trim throughout; front bumper trim narrowed and tidied; largely stock bodywork
Mk2 Golf Recaro seats with headrests removed; Ferrari tan leather retrim with basket weave inserts; custom extended centre console; VW ignition barrel; Mustang steering wheel; VW Beetle aftermarket door handles and window winders; Retrosound Bluetooth enabled headunit; Hertz 2-way component speakers front and rear with hidden crossovers; Hertz 10-inch subwoofers; Hertz 4 channel and mono sub amplifiers