Rampant Rabbit Playboy Audi A5 3.0 TDI 8T3
With Playboy bunnies all over and a chrome pink finish, you might be forgiven for thinking that this wide-body A5 is a case of style-over-substance. But you’ll soon change your mind if you come up alongside Sophie Skinner on the dragstrip… Words Daniel Bevis. Photography Chuff Media.
Rampant Rabbit Playboy themed and wrapped in chrome pink vinyl this wide Audi A5 is stunning!
BUNNY BOILER PLAYBOY PINK AUDI A5 MAKES US HOT UNDER THE COLLAR
It’s easy to knock the Playboy culture. After all, if Hugh Hefner’ssole aim in life was to accrue sufficient wealth to enable him to live out his days in a dressing-gown, smoking a pipe and surrounded by scantily-clad ladies a fraction of his age, isn't that all just a bit tacky? Well, if you look at it in such over-arching terms, perhaps — but it's always important to dig a little deeper, and Hef's endeavours over the years were intriguingly multi-faceted. In the 1950s, for instance, he used Playboy magazine's editorials to question contemporary prejudices toward homosexuality. He opened racially diverse clubs in the 1960s and vocally supported the civil rights movement. In the '70s he held high-profile fundraisers to restore the Hollywood sign. The point is, more and more unexpected details emerge as you dig deeper into the story.
The vividly pink Audi A5 you see here is similarly multi-faceted and intriguing, which makes the use of the iconic Playboy bunnies throughout the car entirely appropriate. First impressions. well, they're pretty bloody devastating, aren't they? Proportions amplified and exaggerated by that wide-body kit, unique wheels the likes of which you've never seen before, and of course that shockingly bright chrome pink finish. But this is far more than surface glitter. The promise of Marilyn Monroe's shirt-potatoes on the front cover may draw you in, but leafing through reveals insights into scientific breakthroughs and cultural movements; beneath the lipstick shimmer of this Audi we find intelligent engineering and offbeat thinking. It talks the talk, but it also very much walks the walk.
Sophie Skinner is the proud owner in the driving seat, and she's reimagined the sleek coupe in her own image. «This car was originally owned by my boss, Corey England at Wrap Capital,» she explains. «When he told me that he was selling the AS, I just couldn't let it go to anyone else as I've always loved it. Corey had bought the car fully standard and started modifying it straight away; he had an uprated front-mount intercooler fitted along with a custom 3in straight-through exhaust, and sent it off to Bevo Tuning where it was mapped; the car is now Stage 2, running 330bhp and just shy of 600lb ft.»
The work had already begun in earnest, but Sophie isn't the sort of person to take on someone else's project car and just keep it as it is. She had plenty of ideas right from the get-go, and the fact that the Audi was running coilovers and wrapped in Hexis turquoise mirror chrome gave her two immediate starting points. The wrap was duly ripped off, and Sophie began the process of working through the to- do list that she'd been building up for some time.
«I knew I had to put it on air,» she grins. «The car was taken down to Sub 7 Auto Work in Newton Abbot, where Aaron was given the task of fitting the 02 Performance USA 0iamond air-ride system. He stripped out the coilovers, changed the bushes, and fitted new lower arms. Once the air-ride was on, he had the challenge of setting up the ride level sensors to ensure the car had a safe ride height and wouldn't catch while driving.»
Sub 7 ended up taking a pretty holistic approach with the build, not just reworking the suspension but also giving the car a full service and check-over before moving on to the creation of a one-off custom boot build. Sophie was keen for this to sit in the wheel well, which immediately caused a problem because of the position of the battery; this had to be re-sited further back to allow room for the air-ride management and compressor, but with this done the team had the freedom to really get creative with the reconfigured space. The cables and air lines were all hidden neatly under the floor, and a large Playboy bunny was cut out with a Perspex sheet fitted, creating a viewing window to the build below. Pink neon lights were installed inside the build, and also in the upper edge of the boot, and the air tank was wrapped in glitter black with a chrome pink Playboy logo.
«As well as 02 Performance USA supplying the 0iamond air suspension, they also created my custom dished heart wheels,» Sophie continues. «We had to work out exactly what size wheels we needed — the offset, width, dishes and so on — and this was a very time- consuming job but we got there in the end! Once the measurements and design were agreed, 02 started the process of making them… but the complexity didn't end there. When they had made one wheel, they then had to go through a number of rigorous checks to ensure they were going to be safe on the road; as the results came back, we had to adjust the thickness of the hearts until we were all happy. And with everything tested, modified and perfected, a full set of wheels was made and they were shipped over to the UK.»
With great rims comes great responsibility, of course, and this was never going to be a case of bolting a set of intricate bespoke wheels to a stock-looking AS and leaving it at that. All of those fastidious measurements had been carried out with significant extra girth in mind, and that's precisely what happened next.
Working at Wrap Capital in 0evon, Sophie was in the fortunate position of having most of the mods carried out on the car at her place of work, and the next stage really was transformative. She sourced a wide-body kit from Xenonz UK, carefully selecting from a choice of diffusers to achieve the desired look, and opting to swap the front bumper for a more aggressive SS item. It's a serious undertaking to it this kit, as it involves cutting out the stock arches (the inner skins then welded to properly seal them and prevent future corrosion), before drilling into the car to it the wider arches. As you might imagine, this requires a hell of a lot of measuring and re-measuring, and the team took their time to ensure all the fitment was totally spot-on.
«The rear window was taken out so we could make sure the vinyl was fully tucked in, leaving no silver behind,» Sophie explains. «This isn't the normal process; however, when using chrome it makes the lads' jobs easier. The bumpers and lights were removed, and the wrapping process started. Playboy bunnies were cut out and applied to the wings before wrapping, which allowed me to have them embossed under the vinyl for the added detail. From here, the Audi was fully wrapped in Hexis mirror chrome pink, and after that we decided to apply PPF over the top to protect the chrome and stop any scratches and stone-chips. The full wrap process took two weeks to complete, after which time the arches were fitted, then the wheels, and the rear window was put back into place.»
The door shuts were also wrapped to hide any remaining silver, the black and grey dazzle-camo pattern leading into an interior that's studded with further pink-wrapped details. The steering wheel is also custom [see boxout], as are the seatbelts which were sent off to Kolour Koncept to be stripped and re-belted in pink.
«I don't daily this car due to it being so wide, and I also don't want to damage it,» she laughs. «I use it as a show car, and apply for shows all over the UK. At the latest one I was approached by Auto Finesse for a sponsorship deal, and of course I jumped at the chance! I do like to use the AS on drag days too — with it being diesel and high in torque, as well as AWD, it gets amazing results down the strip.»
So you see, this is way more than just a pink build with Playboy bunnies on it, this is a true polymath: a thoughtful and considered engineering project that's just as happy on the showground as it is tearing up the dragstrip. And Sophie's got plenty more plans for it: «I have neon lights to go underneath, and also neo-chrome heart exhaust tips,» she says. «I also want to refne the spaced-out rear arches and work out how we can go about this; we've thought about cutting them up but I'm against that. having spoken to a couple of bodyshops, one idea is to make some fibreglass extensions to hide the gap at the back.»
Whichever solution is sought, you can be sure that it'll all be thoroughly thought through with considered methodology and a measure-twice-cut-once approach. This car is about way more than eye-catching style — it's all underpinned by substance and integrity.
TECH SPEC: AUDI A5
- ENGINE: 3.0-litre V6 TDI, uprated front-mount intercooler, Bevo Tuning Stage 2 remap, custom 3in straight-through exhaust system
- TRANSMISSION: 7-speed S-Tronic
- SUSPENSION: D2 Performance USA Diamond air-ride, new bushes throughout, new lower arms
- BRAKES: OEM
- WHEELS: 11x20in D2 Performance USA one-off dished heart wheels, 275/30/20 tyres
- INTERIOR: Control Customs UK steering wheel, custom Kolour Koncept pink seatbelts, custom tablet dash with Apple CarPlay, various parts wrapped in chrome pink, custom boot build – battery relocated to make room for air-ride management and compressor, Playboy bunny Perspex viewing window, pink neon lights inside boot build and upper boot, air tank wrapped in glitter black with Playboy bunny
- EXTERIOR: Wrapped in Hexis mirror chrome pink (with embossed Playboy bunnies), door shuts wrapped in grey/black Aztek-print vinyl, Xenonz UK widebody kit, S5 front bumper, front splitter, rear diffuser, sideskirt extensions
Who needs to build sandcastles when you can build a wild widearched Audi A5? Playboy bunnies are a mild theme throughout the build… Even the seat belts are now pretty in pink! Wide as an overweight wildebeast and pinker than a cat’s mouth. Custom steering wheel continues the pink theme. The unique wheels with heart-shaped spokes were custom made to Sophie’s own design.
“I like to use the A5 on drag days too – with it being diesel and high in torque, as well as AWD, it gets amazing results down the strip”
The creation of a bespoke steering wheel for Sophie’s project was handled by Control Customs UK. “The idea we had was something they’d never done before,” she explains. “Originally the wheel was going to be grey-and-black leopard print – however, they’d never used vinyl with a wheel before so it was a learning curve for us all. We wrapped the steering wheel and sent it off for its resin top-coat, and it was a disaster! The clearcoat unfortunately took away the leopard print detail, so we were back to square one. The second time, we decided to do a gloss black background and use some of the vinyl from the car to create a pink leopard print finish; again, we wrapped the wheel and sent it off for its resin top-coat, and it worked brilliantly. The pink really stood out, and matched the colour scheme of the car perfectly.”