Words : Josh Rainwater / Cinemagraphs: TJ Hall
This past year may have not been one of the coldest winters on the books but it did seem to lull on for much longer than anticipated. Lightless days makes time nearly stand still, especially if you have something fun in a garage that is just beckoning your every call to drive it or wrench on it. However after much ado, summer is officially upon us!
There’s no feeling in the world like spending a day at the beach with close friends, sipping cold shandys and playing volleyball before a bonfire on the sand. Included but no less important with this is making a hapless cruise at dusk with the windows down, top back, and speakers dialed to 11. Arguably there is no better tuna basket that is worthy of being a daily driver as well as weekend cruiser than the Audi TT. The TT is one of the most masculine convertibles in the Volks-Audi lineup and helped push sales of the car between both men and women. This is no easy task when you consider that most convertibles are rigidly genderized and the TT is essentially a squashed Beetle; the most feminine convertible ever created. You would be hard pressed to a high school parking lot that didn’t have at least two in every color.
Owner Steve Florio definitely saw something in these little topless powerhouses too. He picked up this beauty in May of last year after getting rid of his prized fourth generation Jetta just hours earlier. Steve loves his VAGs so much that he couldn’t stand to even be without one for a single day!
His love for the brand is undeniable and his eye for detail shows through. He goes on to say, “I love VW’s and Audi’s to death along with almost all German cars, but don’t get me wrong, I can be a fan of any car manufacturer as long as the build was done right.” This attitude really is what the scene needs because if you stay true to your roots but also look to other makes for inspiration, you can create a unique and refreshing project.
Steve’s TT looks absolutely OE-licious. The flares are stock but the degree to which the wheels fill their holes, makes the body look much wider. Other than the aggressive fitment, this definitely looks like something that COULD have rolled off the show room floor.
The paint is beyond exceptional and the way it reflects the surroundings would make you think that it’s actually a mirror. The body looks as good as the day it rolled of the assembly line-A pretty stark accomplishment for a daily driven car.
I will always be an old school VW kind of guy but there is just something about the Audi TT that I’ve always found appealing. Its styling is well defined but inconspicuous as well. There are numerous Kia Fortes’ that will be mistaken for a Civic but this is one car that is so unique any layperson could point out exactly what model it is. To be so closely related to the New Beetle, it really is leagues away.
In a scene where you see so much style biting and unoriginality, it’s so refreshing to see those unique touches that help to make a car stand out. One very unique feature that Steve will proudly tout (and who wouldn’t) is his European spec OEM removable hardtop. These things are so stupid rare that it’s not even a matter of if you have the money to buy one, it’s who feels like selling one. There are less than a half dozen of these mugs in the states. The last one, although not confirmed, was speculated to of fetched $3500. This is one piece that probably won’t surface at your local swap meet.
The interior of the TT keeps the same stylistic instrument cluster that is found on all models across the PQ35 chassis but they still manage to keep it uniquely TT with the modular 8-divot trim ring that is repeated across the vents, shifter base, steering wheel and even every push button and dial switch. It’s just a really nice way of telling you, “It may be a Volkswagen, but it’s not a Volkswagen.”
Whoever said you shouldn’t wear black and brown together, should be shot! The brown is not too overpowering and could possibly pass as being a dealership option. The raw and nearly unfinished appearing buckets add a real solid and rustic persona to the inside. Almost as if the interior is a piece rawhide Americana or was it chiseled from a single slab of granite. Think G-rated Ed Gein meets John Wayne. Steve goes on to say, “I always tend to find the older crowd loving and admiring the interior of the car when at shows and meets.” You rarely find this kind of classy craftsmanship nowadays so we can definitely see the draw.
If hundred dollar bills were dimes, he would like to do a turbo .:R32 swap or something just as radical. As of right now Mr. Florio rates his satisfaction on the enjoyment-o-meter at an 8. He also added, I just like to “Cruise around in the nice weather with the top down just enjoying the car to the fullest!!” And when it comes down to it, you really can’t ask more of a car than that. You can dress up a car, polish it, or even modify so much of that it couldn’t be identified without a VIN number, but at the end of the day the most important thing that is so commonly overlooked is too just have some fun with your toys.