This month’s featured ride has everything I look for in a car – well sorted out and purpose-driven modifications, coupled with a cool owner and great photos. I present to you Steve Wereley aka “Flying Tomatoes” Misano Red 2007 Audi RS4 out of Pennslyvania, with photos courtesy of Alex Dahl of Perfect Stance. You can check out the full photo set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adahlphotography/sets/72157634570039751/ and I encourage you to check out Perfect Stance as an up & coming car blog out there with some really great photos…
The car was formerly a show car for Audi USA, used as the auto show display car for the New York International Auto Show. There car was custom built by Audi with a stunning Misano Red exterior, Audi Exclusive Red/Black interior, and the Titanium package to boot. If I were custom ordering an RS4 through the Audi Exclusive program, I don’t think I would have changed a single thing (save maybe sunroof delete, but I’m not even sure if that is possible to do). The car then features a bevy of high end OEM and aftermarket upgrades to bring out the full performance and aesthetic capabilities of the RS4 that all work together so nicely.
Below is a mod list of most of the more noteworthy things Steve has done to this car. I suspect a few may be missing here or there, but I think the lion’s share is captured.
- OEM European Recaro seats with custom covers and Piano Black seat backs
- OEM B8.5 RS4 Wheel custom ordered with red stiching.
- JHM Short Shifter
- JHM weighted shift knob
Powertrain & Engine
- APR 93 octane tune.
- 2.75″ MTM Exhaust & Down Pipes with flappers to retain sport button functionality
- JHM Intake Spacers
- Apikol Diff Mount
- 034 Trans Mount
- Stern Motor Mounts
- 034 Silicon Intake Hose
- Spec Stage 3+ clutch with steel single mass flywheel
Suspension, Wheels and Brakes
- STaSIS Motorsport Coilovers with Ohlin Dampers
- STaSISAlcon 370mm Mono6 big brake kit
- JHM light weight rear rotors w/stainless steel brake lines all around
- Hotchkis Sway Bars Front and Rear with 034 adjustable Sway Bar End Links
- Stern Adjustable upper Control Arms
- 19×10.5 3 piece ADV.1s. Tikore titanium security lugs.
- Blacked out headlights
- Yellow Lamin-X for fog lights
- Black RS4 & Audi emblems (front & rear)
I think it’s always fun to learn a little bit about the owner and their vision for the car, so I asked Steve some questions. The first thing I learned about Steve was that he is very detailed, giving great (and comprehensive) answers to my questions. Steve was pretty much born a gearhead with this passion passed along from his father, and has always been attracted to big V8s. Being an engineer by trade, one can quickly see how much analysis goes into his decisions and why he might be attracted to brand like Audi, which prides itself on “Truth in Engineering.” I also thought it was cool to see as Steve’s career advanced, so did his car, until you arrive at this magnificent RS4 you see here today – a cool and somewhat motivational story to keep working hard and chasing your dreams. I took his answers and did some minor editing and bolded certain parts for empahsis – otherwise, the words are completely Steve’s.
Tell us about yourself – what do you do, what is your history with cars, and how does your car reflect you as a person?
I have been working in the structural engineering field for 7 years and have enjoyed every minute. I am also currently taking night classes to further my career which unfortunately puts a big time damper on my garage time. My first car was a 1993 Pontiac Trans Am with a 5.7L V8. That is the car that really started it all for me, I got it when I was 16. I remember working 40 hour weeks on top of going to high school and playing sports just so I could pay my parents back and buy parts for the car at the same time. My father was also a big American muscle gear head which is obviously where I got it from. I still have my Trans Am but it has taken a bit of a back seat to the RS4. My German car influence came more from my friends. All my buddies in school had VWs. I use to go to weekly VWFixx meets in my Trans Am and everyone was always super welcoming. I always got such a good vibe from the VW community but I will never forget when one of my friends first bought his 2005 GLI. When I saw that car I knew I had to have one, that’s what started me really looking for German cars.
At the time I couldn’t afford a new GLI but I picked up a high mileage B5 A4 which was to this day the biggest car mistake I have ever made. Not only was a high mileage example but it was clearly not taken care of by the previous owner. It was a maintenance nightmare and it left me stranded three times in the 10 months I had it. I dumped thousands of dollar into it before selling it and going back to my American car roots and buying a 1985 Chevy K5 Blazer. I had the truck for about 2 years before trading it in for the 2005 GLI I had been lusting after. That car was everything I dreamed it would be and I remember just driving for hours and hours for weeks after I bought it. I dumped a decent amount of money on mods and the car was slammed on coil overs to the point I couldn’t get into most parking lots.
As time passed I felt some sort of pressure to “grow up” and get an adult car. Working in the engineering field everyone was driving newer nicer cars and I guess I caved into the peer pressure. I started searching high and low for a used B6 S4. The V8 S4s really appealed to be because it touched on both sides of my car hobby, the big V8s that I grew up with and the German style and refinement that I had grown to love with my GLI. Unfortunately the S4 was just out of my price range at the time so I settled on a 2007 Acura TL Type S. It was a great car over all but it just lacked the soul of my GLI. As much as I loved that car I longed for a V8 Audi the entire time I owned it. I had that car for almost two years before someone ran a red-light and t-boned me, all but totaling the car. Insurance paid for $19k in repairs to that car and I had no interest in having it back. Before the car was even done I was back to my search for a V8 S4 to finally fulfill that dream. I found a perfect example that was about 2 hours away, it was a B7 S4 Avant with a manual trans in Imola Yellow. I’ve always liked flashy colors.
The day after I got my Acura back from the body shop I went out to look at the Imola S4 and when I arrived they informed me it had just sold. I figured while I was there I would at least walk around and that’s how I stumbled upon my dream car, my 2007 RS4.
It was honestly a car I never though I would be able to own between finding one and actually affording it but when I saw it I had to have it. I went into the dealer and asked about it and no one knew what I was talking about. It had just come in that day and wasn’t in their system yet. Someone tracked down the keys and let me take it out for a spin on my own. I was gone for about two hours and when I got back I cut the check immediately, I wasn’t letting this one get away. It still needed to go through the certification process but they told me it was a corporate car before I had it. There was absolutely no service records on the car fax and the car had just over 30k miles. That was a bit concerning to me but they assured me that some of the corporate cars don’t get their maintenance logged before it is done at their head quarters. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I was so set on owning the car at that point it didn’t matter.
I came back three days later and picked it up with all new tires, brakes and a CPO warranty. That was just about 3 years ago and the car has been an absolutely dream. It wasn’t until I started posting on the message boards that people started messaging me and asking where I got the car and all sorts of questions about it. People said things like, that can’t be an 07, it has the titanium package and exclusive interior. Both of these things were options added for the 2008 model year.
I started doing more research trying to figure out what the story was and eventually pieced together that it was the Audi show car from the auto shows. The VIN confirmed that when I found the RS4 registry and that explained why my car had all of the 2008 package options that were not available in 2007. Audi had optioned this particular car with the new 08 options to show off at the auto show. As I started explaining this to people and sharing it on the boards people came out of the wood work sending me pictures that they had taken of my car when it was on display at NYIAS. It was quite an awesome discovery and it made the car feel that much more special to me. I slowly started modify the car a few months after I got it but I can admit that I never thought it would end up like it is today.
What has been your goal in modifying the car (e.g. daily driver, show car, etc)? What is your favorite mod to the car?
I bought this car with the intentions of daily driving it. It’s the perfect car for doing so with the big V8 that I always loved from the old american muscle cars and the refinement of Germans. Not only is It the perfect mix but its also a rare breed with the AWD, manual trans, V8 and 4 doors. There are not many other cars that fit this description.
I slowly started modifying the car with daily driving in mind. I did the short shifter first, then the transmission, differential and motor mounts next, just to clean up the slop. The more I researched I learned about the DRC (dynamic ride control) failures and that was enough reason for me to justify a good set of coilovers.
At that point I was already more involved in the RS4 community and was being contacted by many members about bringing the car out to a HPDE. It sounded like a blast to me so I went all out and bought the Stasis Motor Sport suspension with Ohlins dampers. It was the only logical choice for a track car but this mod sort of transformed the goal of the car. At the time I had still never been on the track but I was focused on doing so. The STaSIS/Alcon brakes followed shortly. At this point the car started grabbing attention every where I went. I started to realize how special and how rare the car really was and didn’t want to take that for granted and beat on it too much at the track. So the car has kinda morphed over the years.
So it started out as a daily driver (it’s not any more), then was built for track duty but has settled into a bit of a show car. My favorite mod is the STaSIS MS suspension. Its just amazing how versatile it is. Its stiff when it needs to be but forgiving in the perfect situations. It seems the trend is everyone going to Air Ride and they all say that low coil overs aren’t comfortable but I think its because they haven’t had a quality set. The way this suspension handles every single driving situation amazes me on a daily basis.
Do you have any future mods planned to the car? What part(s) do you wish they made for the RS4 that no one makes currently?
There is only one big future modification left. As I have built the car I have always had a supercharger in mind. My dad always thought me that you do the suspension, brakes and supporting mods first and then add power. Thats how I built my Trans Am and thats how I built this car as well.
I would say that most everything I have wanted for this car I have found, it just hasn’t been easy. Many of the parts on my car came directly from Germany but I do wish parts were more available. Unfortunately thats part of owning an exclusive, limited production type car.
Besides your RS4, what cars are you in your dream garage?
I currently still own my 1993 Pontiac Trans Am which is still a work in progress. For those of you that are familiar with my forum user name is Flying Tomatoes and the Trans Am is the other tomato is it is also bright red. I think I will always own both this and the RS4 but my realistic dream garage would include a 997 911 Turbo and a 69 Camaro convertible. As you can see my American muscle car roots still run strong.
Who helped you with your build and modifications, and who would you like to thank?
So many people have lent a helping hand with this car but I think first and foremost I need to thank my Dad getting me started in the car world. He was always there to help and support me when I first started toying with my Trans Am in high school. I will never forget he and I laying on our backs under the car trying to figure out how we were going to drop the transmission with the car only up on stands. I also have to mention my Pop-pop who passed away while I was in HS. He was an avid car collector and enthusiast and I think his true passion for cars runs though my veins.
As far as the RS4 specifically, I have to thank my right hand man Kevin Wesolowski. He has had his hands on every part of this car as he and I performed all of these modifications our selves. I also have had two great mentors in this strange RS4 community who both sort of sought me out while I was still early in my build. Without Tino and Manny this car would not have been possible and I think most everyone involved in the RS4 community will know them both by only their first names. They are true assets to the community. The list goes on and on but Frank at Sabatini Coachworks for the awesome upholstery work on the seats, Charlie at Tikore for getting me the parts I needed in a super crunch situation, Alex at Europrice for always chasing down my German exclusive parts, Jason Diem at 4 Ever Kustoms for the awesome refinishing job on my ADV.1s, Pete Serrano & Avry Detail for keeping the car sparkling clean at all times, Alex Dahl at Perfect Stance for the awesome photography work and of course my beautiful girlfriend Stacy for putting up with my out of control obsession. I’m sure that I am forgetting someone but thank you to everyone that has been apart of this build, I couldn’t have done it with out all of you.
And without further adieu, here are some more pictures!
Thanks for tuning in!