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June '08 Featured AZ'er: Capt. Obvious' 2003 A4 sedan

June '08 Featured AZ'er: Capt. Obvious' 2003 A4 sedan

June 1, 2008 - By Audizine Staff
User Name: Capt. Obvious
Real Name: Darrick Bartley
Location: Renton, WA USA
Year of Vehicle: 2003
Model of Vehicle: A4
Engine of Vehicle: 1.8T
This month we've got a real treat, something completely different. Sure we do our best to bring you a unique and interesting feature article every month, but this month we've got ourselves a guy and his car that are really pushing the envelope - as well as the buttons! We'll explain that last part shortly. Anyway, if you're active in either the B6 A4 Forum or the North West Regional Forum, then you'll no doubt be familiar with this man's work. Love it or hate it, you've got to be impressed with the time and energy put into this car.

A quick look at the Amulet Red 1.8T sedan seen here and it's obvious that Darrick (who somewhat appropriately goes by the username of Capt. Obvious) has done some serious work to this car. The most notable feature is the suspension. You will be hard pressed to find an A4 that sits lower, as the wheels can be tucked deep into the fenders if he so chooses. This is achieved by a fully custom-assembled air suspension setup, one that had to be pieced together with parts from various manufacturers as no direct bolt-on system existed in the states for the A4. Such wild and crazy modifications can be attributed to Darrick's eclectic tastes, especially that of the tuning scene in Europe.

Another notable modification on this car would be the curvy and clean bumpers, which are smoother than the dome of Kojak. Not even the rear exhaust pipes can be seen blemishing the back bumper's shape. The wheels are pretty unique as well, a set of shiny three-piece Lorinser RSK-2 in nineteen inch by nine all around. It's almost like Darrick decided to go chrome just so people didn't miss them from behind those fenders. A peek inside the cabin will reveal more unique bits, such as the rather daunting looking set of controls for the air-ride setup which is just within reach of a handmade Burberry shift boot. As wild and different as this car is, one can't help but be drawn to it. Maybe it's all those cool looking buttons and controls! Anyone see the operating manual?
Current Modifications

Engine/Exhaust: This is my cruising / daily driver / commuter car, so not a whole lot.
K&N drop-in
TurboXS DV
Custom painted engine covers (including RS4 engine cover) 
Suspension: Custom-built air ride which includes the following.
Bilstein Sports all-around
Universal Air Aerosport bags in the front and Slam! Specialties RE-5 bags in the rear
5 gallon, 150psi tank filled with a Viair 480c air compressor
AFC valves
3/8" lines for speedy bag fills
Fab-Lab Pressuryte ride height control system 
Chromed 3-piece Lorinser RSK-2's, 19x9 et37 all-around
225/35 Falken 452's
Stock rotors w/ PBR Ultimate Ceramic pads
  Interior: I really like what Audi did with the interior from the factory, so I kept it simple.  Why mess with a good thing, right?
Custom brushed aluminum beltline trim
Podi gauge pod with Winston's new gauge that matches the factory gauges perfectly
Dicelink iPod interface
Custom mounted digital air gauges in the ash tray (monitors the pressure in each corner as well as my tank pressure)
Real Burberry shift boot (was a purse in its previous life)
Amulet Red paint
Stock front bumper smoothed and molded into one piece
Tow hook shaved
Rear bumper shaved and molded (exhaust cutouts shaved)
Painted lowers
Tinted tail lights and side markers
Cleared corners on headlights
3000k yellow fog lights and high beams
Blacked-out Audi rings on front grille
Trunk emblems shaved
In.Pro chrome mirror covers
Custom speed dimples in the doors from idiots in parking lots :(
Future Modifications
APR 1+ ECU, custom cat-back exhaust
More body and paint work (of course!)
Lots of black suede in the interior and a nicer stereo
Q (Audizine): First off, how long have you owned this vehicle?
A (Capt. Obvious): Almost two years.
Q: How has your ownership been with this vehicle overall?
A: It's a love-hate relationship.  I love this car, but I hate myself for spending so much time and money on it.  Since owning this car I've officially downgraded my love of cars from a "hobby" to a "mental illness".

Q: Think you'll be getting another one anytime soon?
A: This car has started to snowball into quite the vehicle, and it's getting to the point where I'm afraid to drive it a lot of places.  I think it's time to get a second car and hopefully refrain from modifying it too much.
Q: Is this your first Audi?
A: First Audi, long time VW nerd though.
Q: How long have you been into Audis and/or in the tuning scene?
A: I always loved VWs growing up and always wanted one, but never actually owned one, until my sophomore year in college.  The Mitsubishi Eclipse I had at the time was getting really beat up from parking on the streets of Seattle, so I decided to sell it and needed a cheap car that I wouldn't care about as much.  My dad found a beige 4-door 1983 Rabbit for $500 and bought it for me thinking it was the perfect car for me because it would be reliable and I wouldn't have to care about it too much. Best of all, it was so old and ugly there was no way in hell I could could spend a bunch of money modifying it.  Or so he thought.  Within a month and a half of him giving the Rabbit to me, it was slammed on H&Rs and rolling around on 15" Porsche Phonedial wheels. (laughs)

Q: How long have you been into cars in general, as an enthusiast?
A: Since I was old enough to know what a car was.  As a kid, if it had wheels, I loved it; bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, cars, motorcycles, you name it.  I'd spend hours making fantasy cars out of my Legos.
Q: Where do you think that passion and enthusiasm comes from, can it be traced back to anyone or anything?
A: My dad is what really got me into cars.  When I was 8 or 9, he bought an old Honda CR80 motorcycle at a garage sale that was totally beat and didn't run anymore.  He and I tore the bike all the way down to the frame and totally restored it to practically new condition. He then taught me how to ride on that bike.  I'd work on my motorcycle while he worked on his, it's how I first learned about how internal combustion engines work. It was all downhill from there!

Q: What do you most love about your car?
A: As far as I know, I pretty much have the only bagged Audi A4 in the US at the moment.  I've heard of others, but I've yet to see pics or any proof of them.  Except one, but it was so ugly and tastelessly modded that I'm not going to count it.

Q: What's your biggest peeve in regards to the car, the one thing you dislike the most?
A: I don't know what the hell Audi was thinking putting the 170hp 1.8T in a car the size of the B6.  It's so slow it's almost comical.  Also, it's hard to take stuff apart on these cars since they're so well built and over-engineered.  Every time I dive into a new mod it's like I'm trying to solve some ridiculous mind-teaser puzzle just figuring out how to get the damn thing apart!

Q: Can you explain or sum up your modding style?
A: My style is kinda all over the place - from the Euro scene, to the minitruck scene, to the VIP scene.  I absolutely LOVE the crazy stuff that comes from VAG scene in Europe, I love the smooth lines and cleanliness of the stuff over there.  If my car had a motto, it would be "Less is More". My car might be considered pretty over the top by some, but the average person probably wouldn't notice a lot of the stuff done to it.
Q: Describe your fondest memory of owning, modifying, or driving this vehicle.
A: My favorite thing to do when I see people checking out my car while driving is to hit the switches.  People don't expect to see a luxury car like an A4 to have air ride on it, and the looks on people's faces is always priceless!

Q: Do you prefer to do the work yourself, or do you have a shop or specific person perform the work?
A: I always do pretty much all the work on my cars myself, or with the help of friends.  The only thing I don't do myself is paint and body work, which I leave up to Hans and Andy at Dreamwerks in Snohomish, WA.

Q: Which mod are you the most proud of or happy with?
A: Definitely the air suspension.  There are no kits available in the US for the B6, so I had to design and build the suspension from scratch.  It took A TON of research since I'd never done anything with air before and I wanted to make sure I did it right the first time since the parts and supplies for it are so expensive.
Q: What would be in your ultimate garage, if you could have any vehicle you wanted?
A: I've always joked with my friends that if I were famous, I would have the funniest episode of "Cribs" on MTV ever.  I would take them into my garage and I'd be like, "Yeah, this is my Bentley Continental GT that I like to roll around in to go out to dinner, and this is my Mercedes CLS that I drive when I need to carry a bunch of people.  But over here are my favorite cars. This is my 1992 Volkswagen GTI with a VR6 swap, over here is my bagged Audi A4 Avant and my 1997 BMW M3 convertible with the Dinan supercharger. And this is my ratty old aircooled Bug that's about half an inch off the ground.  Oh, and don't forget my Porsche 911 over there too".
Q: What do your friends and family think about your passion for Audis?
A: They think I'm nuts and don't really understand it, but they always want me to drive everywhere!
Q: How does your love for cars and Audis affect your life, does it play a pretty big part?
A: Cars are definitely my passion.  I just love them and I always have.  Working on my car is a big stress reliever for me.  Nothing calms me down better than spending a couple hours cleaning and detailing my car on a sunny day, or installing some new parts.
Q: What brought you to Audizine, and how long have you been with us?
A: I checked out some of the "other" Audi forums out there and I couldn't stand them, whether it was forum software or the people who frequented them.  I checked this place out and I felt "at home".

Q: When you're not on Audizine, or out playing with the Audi, what do like to you do for fun?
A: I enjoy beer.  I mean, I really LOVE beer.  And boating.  If cars were to be suddenly outlawed, it'd be okay as long as boats were still legal.
Q: Have an interesting day job? Care to talk a little bit about it?
A: I can create a pretty intense spread sheets and put together one hell of a PowerPoint presentation.
Q: Any word of advice for your fellow enthusiasts, a bit of wisdom you'd like to impart on the masses?
A: "Buy nice, or buy twice."  Or maybe, "do it right the first time".

Q: And that about does it. Do you have anyone you'd like to thank, any shout-outs?
A: Bill Gates for signing my pay checks, Achtun!ng,, Bar Society, Low.Life.Society., Dreamwerks, DubCo, my girlfriend Sarah for putting up with all my crap, Mom and Dad, and everyone who has supported me while building this car.
  1. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - John Bunker

  2. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - John Bunker

  3. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - John Bunker

  4. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - John Bunker

  5. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - John Bunker

  6. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - Joel Parker

  7. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - Joel Parker

  8. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - Joel Parker

  9. Capt. Obvious 2003 A4 sedan - Joel Parker

June '08 Featured AZ'er: Capt. Obvious' 2003 A4 sedan
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