We all have our own ways of extracting maximum joy from cars.
These methods are generally shaped over the course of our lifetimes and are influenced by our surroundings, upbringings, friends and family. There is no right or wrong way (within reason I suppose, don’t go sticking chainsaws on the outside of your car) to enjoy cars, just different ways.
Some like to seek out every tenth on a racetrack; others enjoy the process of a nut and bolt restoration. There are those who obsess over wheel fitment and aesthetics, and the few who want to challenge us to think rethink everything we know about cars and what they’re capable of. Some people understand this, some don’t or at least choose not to. But really, it doesn’t matter all that much. You don’t have to choose a side, and it’s okay to like different things, for different reasons.
The only thing that really counts is that your car makes you look back when you walk away from it. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.
It was a few years ago when I first met Andreas Pfeffer. It was hard to miss the carbon covered and static dropped Mk7 GTI on the roads around Lake Wörth. We stayed in touch ever since, and try to meet at Wörthersee each year for a chat and some photographs.
Andreas is dedicated to the static low life, something which I abandoned a long time ago, but still have respect for. It’s something which takes a serious amount of dedication and patience, especially when done correctly.
Living in Germany, Andreas and his friends have no choice but to do it the right away. The laws and their strict implementation around modified cars in Germany are no joke; even cars passing through the country are subject to them. Although it’s hardly surprising that a country which features roads with no speed limits holds people and their vehicles to the highest of standards.
These rules and regulations have shaped how German and other European car enthusiasts go about building and customising their cars. They must conform to set guidelines in order to keep things above board, and not to sweat every time the polizei roll past.
One of the strongest styles which is prevalent at Wörthersee is tucked and slammed. Even those running air, will set up to drive the cars as low as possible while the rim rotates deep inside the wheel arch. They’re not going to be winning any races, but that’s not why they do this. They do this because low cars look good.
It’s why most concept cars in their earliest stages appear with massive rims, no arch gap, and sat on the floor in sketches and design renders. To have a wheel setup which occupies the whole aperture is visually pleasing.
This is what many strive to replicate.
When you consider Andreas’ C8 Audi A6 Avant, it’s a great example of this style. The fully polished Vörsteiner wheels, which measure in at 22×9-inches with respectable 235/30R22 tyres on all four corners, are just the right size for the huge body which they carry. It looks absurd rolling along, like it shouldn’t be possible, but somehow is.
Andreas runs his own line of Gepfeffert.com suspension, which has been designed from the get go to allow cars to run extremely low, while still retaining decent ride quality. It’s not just a set of coilovers wound down to the last, running a fraction of its stroke. He does have a subtle four-wheel lift system installed, similar to what Dino has in Project GT-R, for those particularly tricky situations.
I personally feel that this type of car is perfectly suited to this style. It’s a big cruiser, and continues to serve this purpose. I’m sure if Andreas had wanted power, he would have just bought an RS6 instead…
Similarly, the A1 is a small city car. It was designed to be upmarket, but utilitarian in its purpose. It’s not a race car, and it was never intended to be one, but just look at how much more interesting it is just lowered and on a set of well suited wheels.
The 19×8.5-inch BBS Speedlines were custom made to three-pieces and mounted with 5×100 to 5×112 PCD adapters giving an effective offset of around +35.
These aren’t cars which are about huge spec lists which out-value the original purchase price of the car, but rather cars which demonstrate that you can do something simple with sublime results. In a sea of bland, econo-boxes, tell me these wouldn’t stand out a mile in traffic?
Which is sort of the point of them. They’re cars which tell others that you are a car person, and that cars bring you joy in life. They’re a badge of honour in that you won’t accept ordinary.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1,000hp over-fendered autobahn missile, or a sleek, slammed family car on big wheels, if you’re a car person, you’re a car person. You’re one of us, and that’s all that matters.
Well, as long as you still look over your shoulder every time you walk away from your car, that is…