November 27, 2022

The recipe for this ex-police VW Passat referred to as for some WORK Meisters to be stirred in alongside tasty suspension and a tuned VR6, this was at all times destined to be a spicy fusion…

Characteristic from Efficiency VW journal.  Images: Matt Clifford

Subtlety. It’s a a lot underrated high quality at the moment. With the hysterical excitability of social media, fixed connectivity and trendy one-upmanship, it might be straightforward for us all to finish up with excessive, surprising and jarring vehicles that push the envelope of uniqueness to an absurd diploma, sporting 14”-wide neon-blue split-rims and rhodium-plated Recaros, with carbon fibre bodywork hand-woven by the Kevlar-tipped fingers of virginal sirens.

However fortunately there’s a hardcore of tuners that preserve us balanced, specializing in the small print and permitting a extra pure aesthetic move to emerge – the purposeful look that’s achieved by the even handed software of high quality upgrades. With this level-headed method, equilibrium is restored and cause returns to the scene.

Ostentatiousness is fortunately balanced by subtlety, the yin and yang of the modifying world. It’s inside the ingrained subtlety of Liam Baker’s tuned VW Passat R36 that the genius resides. To the kind of person who isn’t into vehicles, they mightn’t give it a second look on the excessive road, as they’d see nothing greater than a smart property automobile. However to individuals like us? This factor is a riot of element; a piquant fusion of intelligent elements, all stirred collectively to make one thing finger-lickin’ good.

The bottom for all that is an fascinating factor in itself, the R36 being an obscure and (at present, not less than) a lot sought-after Q-car. What’s that? A ‘sleeper’ to the younger ’uns; the time period is derived from the Q-boats utilized by the Royal Navy in World Warfare I – closely armed army ships disguised as civilian passenger or cargo vessels. And the idea of the Q-car, or sleeper, is one which’s endured for generations – the concept you could wrap up a complete bundle of hair-raising efficiency and dealing with prowess into a comparatively unassuming bundle, thereby dropping jaws and elevating eyebrows together with pulses as you blow away the competitors within the site visitors gentle grand prix.

Work Mesiter R wheels on Tuned VW Passat VR6

This pseudo-sensible household wagon got here from the manufacturing unit with a full-fat 3.6-litre VR6 below the bonnet, packing near 300bhp and albeit being very foolish certainly.

This explicit automobile, in fact, isn’t any peculiar Passat R36. Liam has labored onerous to make sure that it’s a way faraway from the idea of ‘peculiar’. “My earlier Passat was a 2.0 TDi mannequin, and it simply wasn’t sufficient for me,” he explains. “I keep in mind seeing this actual R36 for the primary time at Spring Motion Day 2019; I met the proprietor, Tom, had a very good chat and saved in contact – and once I came upon it was on the market, it was simply the proper automobile on the proper time.

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I wished one thing a bit extra particular, a automobile that I knew you wouldn’t see lots of. It has an fascinating story behind it, because the automobile was within the police power for a couple of years of its life and it nonetheless has a couple of options from then. No, not the blue lights! However it was mainly normal once I obtained it, apart from the mirror caps and exhaust.”

Air lift in Tuned VW Passat VR6

Now, having acquired a VW Passat R36 that he’d had a long-held craving for, Liam had plans, it was time for it to be tuned. Schemes and stratagems to do one thing a little bit offbeat. And far of it revolved across the idea of bolting on a set of WORK Meister S1s, just because he hadn’t seen it carried out earlier than, and reckoned it’d look fairly badass. (And he was rattling proper, proper?)

Trying to find a couple of weeks for simply the proper set of wheels, he finally discovered the proper ones on the market… effectively, good except for the truth that they have been drilled in a 5×100 PCD, which isn’t precisely a wobble bolt job when your automobile’s working 5×112. However Liam isn’t the sort of man to see issues, he solely offers in options.

Engine shot of Tuned VW Passat VR6

“I ordered some adapters and gave them a check match,” he continues. “It was instantly clear that the entrance would work, however the rear had an excessive amount of poke with the adapters so it was again to the drafting board! Then I assumed: what if I used to be to have some wheel hubs custom-drilled together with discs to five×100, that would work… and I may additionally reuse the camber arms from my earlier Passat. So I obtained two new wheel bearings, as they got here as a whole unit with the hub, and had to make use of a spacer with a 5×100 PCD to get it bang-on. My dad took on that job for me, and he completely smashed it!”

Sitting fairly in concept, for certain, however with this huge hurdle crested Liam discovered himself slapped within the face with the contemporary downside of tyre sizes. In any case, he was taking a look at a set of staggered fitment rims on an all-wheel-drive automobile; with the Haldex system you’ve solely obtained an 8% margin front-to-rear, and something past that can see the automobile throwing itself into impartial and refusing to drive as a self-preservation measure.

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“After doing loads of analysis, and taking a look at tyre sizes and utilizing a web-based calculator from, we discovered it was a 55mm general rolling distance per rotation of the wheel and tyre that we needed to play with,” says Liam. “I did some extra calculations and went with these tyre sizes – 215/35 on the entrance and 225/35 on the again – nonetheless probably not figuring out how the automobile was going to react. I had the tyres fitted, put the wheels again on and tried it up and down the workshop and it appeared positive – so then I went exterior and up the highway and again, and it was all good!”

Good when issues work out, isn’t it? And the relentless rollercoaster of success simply saved on rolling. The air-ride setup is a bespoke mixture of Air Carry parts, AccuAir administration and a boot construct by Solely Charged Dubs, with Liam future-proofing the system through the use of high quality braided strains all through. With the drilled and grooved discs and calipers painted, the stopping energy is usefully improved, and he has additional plans to swap in a full Porsche Cayenne brake setup sooner or later.

The slick exterior aesthetic is basically because of a full respray in LC9Z-code paint, which is both Black Magic Pearl or Diamond Black relying on who you ask. (It’s a complete multi-marque VAG factor, don’t fear about it.) As a tasty {custom} contact, the painter was charged with the duty of including a complete bunch of additional flakes into the metallic combine, and the result’s a shimmering paint job that basically pops within the solar.

With the fats 4” pipes in situ, Liam’s augmented the rear finish aggression with some diffuser fins between the tails. A headlight improve with USDM enabled works with a plate delete for that transatlantic vibe, and shortly sufficient Liam will likely be including a splitter and sideskirt extensions – the plan from the outset was to ‘preserve it clear and make it imply’, and it’s truthful to say he’s achieved that with gusto.

“The inside is fairly fundamental on the minute, however I’ve massive plans,” he grins. “I’ve fitted a custom-trimmed flat-bottom wheel with half-Alcantara and half-perforated leather-based, together with some paddle extensions. The cluster has been up to date to the newer type with blue needles and the black-and-white show, which appears lots smarter than the OEM ones with the pink display. I plan to get some wingbacks and have {custom} upholstery carried out to match the blue/teal color scheme, together with a couple of different good trick bits.”

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Front end shot of Tuned VW Passat VR6

The eye to element is what actually characterises this tuned VW Passat R36 construct, the pursuit of subtlety keenly matching Volkswagen’s personal Q-car method with the R36. However it’s reassuring to study that, a lot as he’s made all this sound really easy, Liam is as fallible as the remainder of us.

“This tuned VW Passat VR6 construct was loads of touch-and-go at occasions, the place stuff simply merely wouldn’t work,” he assures us. “It was a little bit of a problem, however I’ve realized lots from it! I wish to thank everybody who was concerned, whether or not that was being round when work was being carried out or simply merely saying ‘you bought this’ – and my greatest thanks need to go to my mate Scottie, as he helped me just about from the beginning; he’s been there mainly each step of the best way, coming straight from work and dealing late nights doing this construct with me with out asking, and at all times there with a serving to hand.”

There you’ve it in a nutshell: pals, household, onerous work and dedication. Ostentatiousness balanced by subtlety, the yin and yang of the modifying world. The nonetheless waters of Liam’s tuned VW Passat VR6 run very, very deep.

Tuned VW Passat VR6

Tech Spec: Tuned VW Passat VR6


3.6-litre VR6, Stage 1 map, cat-back stainless exhaust system with 4” ideas, remapped 6-speed DSG transmission


9.5×18” ET3 (entrance) and 10×18” ET7 (rear) 5×100 WORK Meister S1 3-piece split-rims, 215/35 (f) and 225/35 (r) Nankang NS-20 tyres, custom-drilled hubs and discs, Air Carry Efficiency Sequence baggage, AccuAir E-Degree administration, {custom} boot construct by @onlychargeddubs, 343mm (f) and 310mm (r) drilled and grooved discs, OE calipers painted in AMG Petronas F1 colors, camber arms


Full repaint in LC9Z-code Black Magic Pearl with further flake, rear diffuser fins, OE-option chrome/brushed mirror caps, headlight improve with USDM enabled


xCustom-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel (leather-based/Alcantara), prolonged shifter paddles, cluster replace with blue needles and black/white show