Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars. This week it’s Will Smith, and his modified VW 6N2 Polo from 2014…
Feature taken from Fast Car magazine. Words Robert Godwin Photos Si Gray
Highs and lows, pros and cons, big fat kisses and jabs to the ribs… whichever way you look it, I’m sure we are all aware how much of a bitch life can be. 21-year-old Will Smith knows this better than most, having spent a large portion of his short automotive career being dropped into cavernous troughs and dragging himself up the steep peaks which proceed them. Many people would have given up a long time ago, thrown in the towel and conceded that the crazy world of modified cars was not for them. A lifetime of bird watching and watercolours would result, and probably a much healthier bank account… but let’s not dwell on that!
Will, however, is a stubborn fellow, the type that never gives up without a fight, no matter how big and scary his opponent may appear.“I started tinkering before I was even old enough to drive” Will tells me, “the first thing I remember doing was smoothing the boot on a mate’s Cinquecento. He couldn’t drive either!” Will ended up buying that very car as he prepared to take his test, but unfortunately a dodgy immobiliser scuppered its chances of ever getting on the road. This seemed to set a trend, as Will points out, “I haven’t got a great record with cars…”
The little Fiat was followed by a Citroen Saxo, which just had time for a few body modifications prior to the discovery of a serious case of rust. This was promptly sold on for a mere £120 and replaced by Will’s first VW Polo. This one lasted a bit longer, at least enough time for him to smooth the body and drop it on a set of airbags. The scrapyard in the sky beckoned shortly after it came out the paintshop though, thanks to a terminally corroded front chassis leg.
Disheartened, Will decided to approach things from a different angle, buying himself another Polo, but one that had been the victim of a rear end shunt. I guess he figured if it was broken from the start, surely the only way was up? Well, with the best intentions of fixing up the accident damage he quickly became side-tracked in the fabrication of some crazy arches after spontaneously purchasing a set of rather aggressive HTN splits. Many long nights of fibre-glassing and sanding followed, only to conclude that the original damage was far worse than anticipated, and really not worth repairing. Arse.
I may have mentioned that our Will is a pretty tough cookie to crack, and with sheer dogged determination, yet another Polo arrived on his drive. His heart was set on building a drop-dead gorgeous, show-winning example of Wolfsburg’s pocket sized hatchback, and nothing was going to stand in his way. He had a vision, which simply had to become a reality.
Will was deep into the Dub scene by this point, owning the two Polos beforehand, (short-lived though they may have been), had introduced him to a lot of new friends, which in turn had re-shaped his views on modification. “I’ve met some of my closest friends through Volkswagens,” He tells me, “and a couple of them in particular have had a big influence on this build. I never used to be, but now I’d definitely say I’m a proper VW enthusiast.”
Will’s previous forays into huge arches and in-your-face modifications would be confined to the history books. What interested him now were smooth, simple lines, silky paintwork and, above all else, an effortless air of quality.
Back to that vision I mentioned a moment ago, Will tells me that it has barely changed at all as the build has evolved, he has strived to stay true to his initial goals the whole way through. One thing that did change though was the colour.
“I had wanted to paint it purple like my last one, but decided that it wasn’t right to do it twice.” I fully support Will’s decision on this, as I’m a great believer in pushing yourself to do something different. “I racked my brains for another colour and it was only the night before the paint was ordered that I decided on the blue!”
And a stunning shade it is too, a factory Nissan colour with a custom undercoat giving a slight pearlescent quality, it really suits the car perfectly. Underneath the awesome paintwork are a whole host of mods, so subtle and unassuming they’re almost invisible to the untrained eye. Like its owner, this is a car that doesn’t shout about its accomplishments, preferring to draw people in for a closer look before revealing its secrets.
From the shaved door handle recesses, through the reshaped bumpers perfectly matching up with the expertly flared wheel arches, to the completely smoothed dashboard (entirely free of dials and gauges) this little Polo is a master class in OEM+ styling.
It couldn’t have been a Will Smith build if it had been plain sailing throughout though! First off, at nob-o-clock in the morning on the day of its show debut at Ultimate Dubs, and just a day after bolting the spangly new Rotiform TMBs on each corner, he had a tyre blowout in quite spectacular fashion. With zero sleep and the efforts of a friendly tyre shop in the arse-end of nowhere he did eventually manage to make it to the show, where the car was a massive hit.
Then, just six weeks after completion, disaster struck again. I won’t spend too long on this part as I don’t want to waste my word count on such humongous wastes of oxygen, but Will’s car got suddenly and irrationally vandalised one night in Slough. A couple of days later, to add salt into an already savage wound, the air-ride failed, leaving the car stranded.
“I lost the love after that if I’m honest,” Will shrugs, “I bodged it back together but it started annoying me to even drive the car.” This prompted him into abandoning the project and buying a Mk4 Golf instead, which was dropped over a set of 3SDM’s within days of ownership. This is still bouncing off the road now as Will’s daily driver, and is slowly working its way through VW’s back-stock of 1.8T sumps!
The desire to restore the Polo to its former glory was unshakeable though, and six weeks after it left the road it was back in the bodyshop, where it spent a further four weeks under the knife. “I’m really glad I got it sorted, it is now the best it has ever been!” Will says, a massive grin spreading across his face.
This was the beginning of June, and in the few short weeks following it, he hit every show humanly possible, and plans to continue this trend as long as he can. “I’m just enjoying it now, without having to worry about it going wrong!” For God’s sake don’t tempt
In the mother of all contradictions, just moments later, Will lets on that it is going back into the bodyshop for a few ‘small’ changes very soon, with some other ‘slightly less small’ changes to follow over the winter. This includes a 1.6 16v GTi engine swap to replace the little 1-litre lump which Will fondly describes as “being as fast as two midgets pushing it.”
For me, this car is an almost perfect example of how to modify a 6N2 Polo. In the metal, the sleek lines of the subtly tweaked bodywork are nothing short of stunning, it has an interior trim to put Alan Sugar’s private jet to shame, and an audio build that, thanks to the footwell-mounted sub will, quite literally, knock your socks off. But sometimes almost perfect just isn’t perfect enough, and although there is bound to be some further heartache and heartbreak involved, Will is not going to stop until he is 110 percent happy. I honestly cannot wait to see what he achieves next.
Life is full of highs and lows, but when some of those lows are adjustable via four little buttons on an Alcantara-trimmed dashboard, all the others kind of pale into insignificance to be fair. Will Smith wouldn’t have it any other way, he’s busy loving his life of highs and Polos.
TECH SPEC MODIFIED VW 6N2 POLO
Smooth front rubstrip, stubby mirrors, smooth door handles, door handle recess deleted, side mouldings removed and holes deleted, petrol cap tab deleted and smoothed off, completely smoothed boot, genuine JDM-spec rear lights and bumper, roof smoothed, aerial deleted, rear light water drainage smoothed, re-spray in Nissan Intense blue with custom base coat
EMP performance exhaust system including downpipe, Pipercross panel filter
8.25x15in front and 9.25x15in rear fully polished Rotiform TMBs, Airlift custom front struts and custom top mounts, Bagyard supreme rear struts, 1.5in and 10mm airlines, Airlift V2 Autopilot management, Twin Viair 444C compressors, Viair 5-gallon air tank, polybushed rear beam and rear strut bushes
2013 Jaguar XKR8 Recaro CS seats, genuine Audi R8 steering wheel, custom dash with clock delete and iPad Mini built in, custom A-pillar tweeter mounts, custom mid-vocal pods in original tweeter locations, custom sub enclosure in passenger footwell, custom mid-bass mounts on 46mm baffles behind doorcards, full custom install in the rear, fully trimmed in BMW black Nappa leather and charcoal Alcantara
iPad Mini linked into Audison Bit One processor, Audison Bit One DRC, Audison SR1, SR2 and SR4 amps for full 7.1 active surround sound, Audison Voce 12in subwoofer, Audison Voce tweeters, Audison Voce 70mm mid vocals, Audison Voce 165mm mid-bass speakers
Shakey, Steve and Paul at Studio Incar for doing a fantastic job on the interior and air, Reece for always coming to the rescue when stuff goes wrong, Jamie at Bodyart for painting it, my Mum and Stepdad, Chris, Jamie and everyone on Cleaned-UK