In The Name Of Pride

Despite all the talk of the non-VW attendees at Players Classic this year, I couldn’t help but shine a spotlight on at least one build of note, namely Dan Bray’s Caddy R360.

There is a tiny bit of self indulgence here, which I’m hoping you’ll allow me. My first motorised vehicle was a 2005 Volkswagen Caddy, so I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Despite having some outlandish ideas for mine, I never would have realised something like this was possible. What at first might appear to be just another ‘bags and wheels’ build is actually so much more.

2018 Players Classic VW Caddy TFSI for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-5

When this Caddy left Volkswagen’s production line in 2011 it was a 2.0-litre TDI 140PS model. Similar compact vans are a common sight on the roads and highways of Europe, offering maximum loadspace within a compact wheelbase. Typically, they come with a sliding side door which accesses the rear, which this one used to have until the entire quarter panel was removed and replaced with a non-door panel. This is maybe your first insight into just how considerable the vehicle’s build was, as it’s something which involved a huge amount of work, but that’s invisible to the untrained eye.

The subtle addition of Caddy Cross arch extensions and side sills, complete with custom carbon inlays which have been blended and colour matched, are another subtle OEM+ modification. The removal of the stock fuel filler cover and its subsequent replacement with a complete Audi R8 item is another significant visual modification which could easily go unnoticed. For reference, the standard Caddy fuel flap is a rectangular door with a traditional filler neck inside.

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Then there’s the completely custom front bumper which merges the original Caddy item with that of a Golf Mk7.5 R front bumper into a one-off piece. The bonnet on these usually feature a notch for the top of the VW badge, but that’s been removed. Dan wanted to retain the badge, so had to modify the original grill to lower the badge into place and clear of the bonnet’s edge. The rear doors were removed and replaced with a lifting tailgate. The mirrors are custom VW Touran items with custom carbon covers. The rear bumper? You guessed it, a custom Caddy/Golf Mk6 R hybrid. Oh, there are custom carbon B-pillars, too.

That’s the guts of 400 words and we’re still talking about the exterior, which in my opinion isn’t even the best part of it.

2018 Players Classic VW Caddy TFSI for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-34

This is.

A 2.0-litre TFSI sourced from the limited Golf Mk5 GTI Edition 30 producing 360hp in its lightly modified form. These sort of power figures are pretty much the norm for these engines, which are equipped with a K04 turbocharger from factory. Some mild breathing modifications courtesy of a HPA intake manifold, VWR air intake and an Inconel down-pipe matched to a titanium exhaust system get the party started, while an uprated intercooler courtesy of Eurojet, a Forge radiator, Integrated Engineering valve cover and catch can ensure the party stays going. Finally, a Loba high pressure fuel pump and the aforementioned Golf ED30’s fuel pump fitted to a Caddy’s petrol tank are all the extra fuelling requirements needed for the Revo Stage 2+ software to bring everything together.

360hp to the front wheels is considerable, but will prove no issue for the Wavetrac limited slip differential, as also fitted to Project GTI. These things are quite simply magic pieces of kit, and transform the FWD experience immeasurably. Unlike my GTI, Dan’s kept the 6-speed manual gearbox from the ED30 and outfitted it with a Sachs Stage 2 clutch mated to a Loba flywheel, as well as the beautiful CAE shifter inside the cabin.

2018 Players Classic VW Caddy TFSI for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-1
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Then, there’s the interior which is a talking point in itself. It’s certainly not typical and again features countless small touches that require huge amounts of work, for incredibly subtle details. Asides from everything being wrapped in Alcantara with blue stitching that is. Take the air vents as an example; they’re not from a Caddy, they’re from an Audi A3 and they’re most certainly not a direct swap, but they look factory. The hazard light switch is from an Audi TT. The seats aren’t just any old things, they’re brand new Porsche Boxster Spyder items which were immediately stripped of their leather and re-trimmed.

While it’s unlikely that Dan will be working on any building sites with the Caddy in the future, the completely custom build in the rear ensures that he won’t be carrying any bags of concrete any time soon. The clubsport cage has been colour matched to the exterior while the Air Lift Performance 3H manifold takes pride of place within the install. The neatly arranged hard-lines lead to custom wrapped carbon air tanks fed by custom wrapped carbon compressors. No detail has been left untouched; everything has been considered in here. Regardless of whether it’s your thing or not, the craftsmanship has to be admired and respected.

2018 Players Classic VW Caddy TFSI for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-36

Sat on 20-inch ADV.1 wheels, and brought to earth with Air Lift Performance front struts and bags with Air Lift Slam Series rear bags, I think you would be forgiven for not taking note of every detail on this van as you walked past it at Goodwood.

For me, it epitomises what I love so much about the VW scene. There’s so much here that didn’t have to be done, but was done because the builder wanted to. Details that only Dan will ever know how much work was involved in crafting them.

It’s not a vehicle that was built for the approval of others, which becomes quite clear when you talk with Dan himself. It’s a vehicle built for him and something which he, and all involved, can take pride in. Surely, that’s what it should always be about, no?

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

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30 comments

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1

Now I really need this van!

2

I don't get this van at all. The work is immense. But. Why? I was hoping it would have at least a functional rear interior for the reason for a van but....

I guess it's a british thing.

3

Beautiful.

Pointless but beautiful.

I completely get it.

4

Similar here. Quality is off the chart and it is kind of nice.
But it is not “in the name of pride” but as the instagram handle suggests, it is in the name of appearance and “look at me”. Nothing wrong with that, to each their own.
And I am confused with what it is or tries to be. A daily? A track car? Most likely though, a show queen...

5

Questioning the why is a dangerous thread to pull as we'll quickly unravel many an automotive niche.

6

Not really. Laptimes, driveablilty, fun to pedal, all are reasons. This van will be super fast for sure, but it's just a shiny polo-van trailer queen. It's a piece of art and that's it. Not joy of machine in my opinion, when likely a stock Polo GTi would be more fun, practical and enjoyable.

7

@Josh Walby I have no idea what you're talking about, this thing is AWESOME!!! He built it because it's cool? It's literally pleasing to look at in photos so I can only imagine in person. And it's sick how it has a cage even though there are no windows so it's a bit of a surprise when you open it. This thing will probably be kept clean for a few shows and then slowly start to get used properly. Even if it doesn't, who cares, I'm glad someone else built it and I got to see it!!

8

I love creative and well executed OEM+ builds like this.

9

whole vw scene=built for internet upvotes

10

Ever heard of the Berg Cup

11
Matthew Sales

Looks fantastic, very well executed. I particularly like the sliding door removal. It makes it seem more like a panel van from the '70s and '80s. To me it would be so much better without the cage and instead a mattress and plush trimmed area for chilling, keeping in with the '70s panel van theme, not to mention it'd make a cool camper.

12

I like it a lot. The custom hybrid body panels are cool.

13

Heh, ugliest car I've ever seen. I think the Pontiac Aztek finally has a rival.

14

One of the most awesome SH feature cars in recent memory.

15

Reminds me of that XJ220-powered Ford Transit.

16

It's nothing like that. Supervan was at least fast AND track worthy.

17

"Reminds me of," not "it's exactly like." It's a hot-rodded panel van with track inspiration, only this owner cared to tackle the rest of the vehicle. I don't see how someone can have a problem with a complete build.

What makes you say this isn't track worthy? It's certainly got the power (as much as you'd want in a FWD), and I think by now the whole 'you can't use air on track' argument has been pretty well snuffed out.

18

Performance air you can yes (which it has in the front only - rear is just lowness at present). This gets trailered to shows and polished. I'm sure the golf driveline and engine is more than up to the task too, but i'd wager it never will.

19

You keep saying it gets trailered, but it doesn't.

20

This feature make me annoyed. At myself. I saw this van at the show and thought it looked smooth on the side profile but didn’t even click that it was the absence of the side doors. The thing that annoys me is that I didn’t stop and look inside etc to see what lurked within. The outside was so subtle that I just moved onto the next. I really need to make a vow to myself to stop by and look at the inside of every car at every show because there’s so much more to see that I’m just missing out on. Thank you for retrospectively sharing the detail.

21

This is good speedhunters. Keep on doing these types of stories.

22

Amazing attention to detail. Can I ask who did the trimming? Thank you in advance

23

I like how the interior door handles are the cloth pull strap style. At least based on the surround I believe that it is the interior door handle. Tiny details make all the difference, be it in a show or go vehicle.

24

Fair play to the guy who built this it looks nice , mad time , moneys and effort. I'll stick to a nasty race car if im spending mine.

25

No. Well, in fact, yes. Yet no. Modifying such an appallingly boring vehicle with purposes at the other extreme of what a show car should be by usual standards is such a loss of time, yet quite a brillant one. There's something symbolic about it that I can't help but respect, built-to-impress show pony or not. I mean, it's a show car, what else do you even expect? Yeah it's there to grab your eye and make you talk about it, whether it be in bad or good. It's damn successful in that. Though apart from being the wonder piece that is, once you go back to the real world, it's just absurd. I guess that not everything needs a practical purpose to be appreciated.

26
Martín Brandán

Holy jeez that's a lot of work. Beautiful end result!

27
Gerard Marlet

Too beautyfuk for the track, too race for the streets, and Clubsport cage so no fuction.

Really well done, extremly care on the build. to me, if you have a tuner shop, doing a rear teka wood floor where you can carry things for the shop, will be perfect.

28

Not my cup O tea, but it's still kinda cool. We don't get these cool little things in United States, and the Ford Transit is a horrible option for something similar.
For me I think it would be awesome if it were a little more functional. For me I'd rather have the room inside to haul my bikes as opposed to the cage.
To each their own. It's still cooler than anything I'll ever own.

29

Great work. Did the owner build it all himself? Not that it matters, just curious. Its fantastic either way.

30

Hilarious how its 'respect all builds' until a show car comes along and it offends so many people. The deeper you look into this caddy the more detail you notice, execution is impeccable. Who cares whether he drives it to shows or not, the amount of time and money invested into this and the fact not a lot of people would have the balls to try and pull something like this off is worth respect.

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