150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

A Caddy that works for a living everyday of its life yet wouldn’t look out of place on any showground? Considerably more effort than it sounds? You betcha… Words: Jimbo Wallace. Photos: Matt Clifford.


WORK IT


There’s nothing like a bit of scratch and gouge to offend somebody who does bodywork for a living. The mere mention of 80grit, shopping trollies, keys and parking next to anybody in a busy multi storey will make many a painter weep and physically recoil whilst sucking air through those front teeth. Unless, that is, they’re one of the relatively new-fangled and endlessly versatile SMART repair specialists who can patch scratches with ease whilst waving their wizarding rods of paintless dent removal to restore a car to showroom like flawlessness without even going near a spraybooth.


150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

«They used to rub against the sliding door until Reflex modified the brackets for me»

Anyone who’s ever seen this PDR witchcraft in action will attest that it’s considerably more complicated and highly skilled than any professional ever makes it appear. So, as we ogle a van that’s used on a daily basis as a works vehicle, it’s staggering to believe that this really is a ‘wagen that works. Whereas the vast majority of Caddys and Transporters are more at home with a few mangled copies of the Daily Sport and some McDonald’s wrappers strewn across the dash, this particular 2k Caddy couldn’t be further from the stereotype.


150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

«They just didn’t ‘feel’ quite as sharp as I thought they should»

For Stuart Court (48) his van is an extension not only of his personality, but also his business, ADT Smart Repairs, “You just can’t turn up in something average when you do what I do, it really is the ultimate calling card for my business, and the Vauxhall was shot to pieces as I’d probably only washed it three times in ten years. People always remember me when I pull up in the Caddy,” says a clearly proud Mr Court “Even when you’re working on Supercars the owners always give the van a polite nod of appreciation, it really is a talking point.” And who can blame them? This 2012 1.6TDi is an absolute stunner. Tapping into the Van GTi culture that has emerged since VW Commercial Vehicles realised that it can pimp up almost anything that leaves the factory with optional styling extras, this is no run of the mill UK load lugger. Stuart’s outlook when he first got the van in 2016 was pretty simple, “I just wanted a van that was a lot tidier than my old, battered Vauxhall.” he revealed. He got rid of the Combo and sold a nice E46 330Ci that he hardly used to invest in this ’12 plate Blackberry Metallic (LL4U) high-spec Caddy. Factory specced with air con, leccy windows, MFSW, heated seats and a Bluetooth phone kit already, and having covered just 65k it was poised ready for Watford lad Stuart to work his magic.


150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

“The compressor I use is massive so everything had to be based around that. I also needed room for all of my carp fishing gear, so it truly is a multi-purpose vehicle.” Attention initially focused on getting the shelving right in the back of the van along with a new Altro floor to accommodate all of Stuart’s work gear, but then he made the mistake of thinking, “Won’t it look nice with a set of alloys on.” We all know where that slippery slope heads, right? A 93-page build thread on the Caddy forum suggests it’s come a long way since the first set of 19” OEMS alloys arrived. Vmaxx coilovers and an axle flip with centrailising plates from Reflex Auto Design followed soon after to tweak the ride height down just enough to combine functionality with style. Touran door mouldings and some solid, carpet covered bulkhead panels followed shortly afterwards and things were progressing nicely following days and days of paint correction via Stu’s trusty mop and a few bottles of G3. “Amazingly, and it’s something that people always comment on, apart from the additions I’ve made the paintwork is largely VW, although every panel except the roof has changed in some way since I’ve had it.”

Performance wise, it now benefits from an AH Performance remap and a bespoke Golf R style EMP Performance cat back exhaust that exits through a heavily modified Caddy bumper, painstakingly cut, plastic welded and filled to match up with a Touran R-Line lower diffuser, “I do all of my bodywork in my back garden under a gazebo, so when the weather’s howling and the rain is pissing down it’s far from ideal, but the results are well worth it.” Stu relied upon the same technique up front where a Scirocco R lower half is combined with a Maxton Design front splitter and bonded to the original Caddy upper half to form that uber aggressive pointy end. When combined with the bespoke EM Tuning Morimoto Xenon headlamps, complete with RGB angel eye surrounds, it’s far more VW R than VWCV ever intended.

Knocking out 150hp the 1.6 CR TDi lump isn’t likely to set the world on fire, especially when packed out with all of Stu’s work gear, but the interior is such a nice place to be that quarter miles are the least of his worries. “It’s a completely senseless project. I’d never, ever build a works vehicle like this again. It’s come so far now that it’s almost completely impractical as I scrape to customer’s houses, but I still love it, even when it needs cleaning every couple of days.” The subtle and refined styling also includes updated Touran mirrors, an aluminium rear wiper delete and some Caddy 4 facelift rear lights that required a wiring pin swap and a nifty bit of VCDS coding to eliminate any dash lights. Basically, if it can be done to a Caddy then Stuart has done it throughout the course of his ownership.


150bhp tuned 2012 Volkswagen Caddy 1.6TDi

The same extravagance of flawless exterior also extends to the interior opulence. Having graduated from a pair of Mk7 GTi pews to some RS4 wingback Recaros, Stu is no stranger to reworking every aspect of his daily runabout. Seemingly his definition of ‘work van’ is very different to ours. It’s safe to say that he’s taken things to extremes inside and really the only part of the van that remains close to standard is the engine, which all the time it remains reliable is likely to stay that way, despite having suffered from the well documented 1.6 TDi injector failure during his tenure. “The interior was actually a lockdown project for me,” Stuart mused, “I swapped in the Touran dash, doorcards, sound deadening and carpets, and trimmed all of the lower dash panels in alcantara as part of my Covid makeover.” GTi pedals also found their way inside while the Scirocco R steering wheel needed coding in to communicate with the CAN BUS setup making it a deceptively luxurious space in which to spend the daily grind as Stuart darts about Herts, Essex, Oxford and the Midlands with his PDR guru skills. While he was at it every conceivable spot of light grey trim was dusted with a more upmarket dark grey hue, basically what we have here is a vehicle where as soon as Stuart thinks he’s finished, he finds something else to upgrade or improve. That’s where the Alpine X800d Sat Nav unit, Hertz 6.5-inch front door components, JL Audio 12-inch sub in dedicated basswedge enclosure and Pioneer GM-D8701 mono amplifier come into play for top choons whenever his lugholes demand.

The absolute icing on the cake for this project comes in the form of wheels, air and brakes though, “I justified the brake upgrade to myself by saying the van weighs quite a lot with all my stuff in, and the air ride was a bargain from AH Performance as well because Adam had recently taken it off of his 2k Caddy.” Indeed, with a full Airlift 3P setup Stuart now has the versatility to carry as many sprayguns as he likes, “It also looks mad and prevents scraping the splitter across every speedbump known to man.” See, air ride, it’s all about practicality really isn’t it? Combined with a set of 8.5x20" MB Design KX1 rims; “They used to rub against the sliding door until Reflex modified the brackets and hinges for me,” this is one that has escalated some way beyond, “just a set of rims and a spot of lowering.”

The final slightly spurious reason for big stoppers was, “I didn’t think the 345mm R32 upgrade I had previously was man enough for the purpose – they just didn’t ‘feel’ quite as sharp as I thought they should.” Hence the monster Porsche Cayenne six piston calipers (Brembo 18z) that now bolt up to stock Caddy hubs and wrap around 350mm Mercedes GL450 Brembo drilled and grooved front discs. Combined with some two inch longer HEL braided lines the middle pedal is now razor sharp. Overkill some might say, but if it keeps Stuart happy that he won’t ding that work of art front bumper, so be it.

And there you have it, a van that he wasn’t going to modify and was just meant to be a “run around.” Will he keep ploughing his valuable time, money and effort into it? We have no doubt, and as he sails off into the sunset we hear the distant murmur of, “Maybe I could do a 2.0TFSI engine swap next?” Stuart… Stuart, it’s only meant to be your works wagen. We just pray that the carp fisheries have kind approach roads for your own sanity.

Check out – My Blackberry Caddy on the Caddy2k forum for the full 93-page lowdown on how the entire build came together.

DUB DETAILS

  • ENGINE: 1.6-litre TDi AH Performance remap, EMP Performance cat-back exhaust system, new injectors, Optima yellow top battery, colour-coded cam and engine cover, red anodised bolts throughout engine bay – 150bhp
  • CHASSIS: MB Design KX1 8.5x20" wheels (ET50); 235/30 x 20 tyres, Air Lift 3P air ride struts, separate bags and shocks out bac;, 2x Viair 444c compressors; 4 gallon tank; 3P management ECU with manifold and centre console control panel; 1/4” lines; inline water trap. Brembo 18z six piston calipers mounted with bolts, sleeves and nuts; Mercedes GL450 350mm Brembo drilled and grooved discs; R32 rear brake conversion; HEL braided lines; sump guard; rear trailing arms with poly bushes; watts linkage; axle mounting plates; shortened uprated rear shocks
  • EXTERIOR: VW Blackberry paint (LL4U) Maxton Design lower splitter; Scirocco R lower bumper grafted to OE Caddy upper; EM Tuning custom Morimoto Xenon headlamps with RGB angel / demon eyes; Heko wind deflectors; blacked out grille and badge; Touran mirrors and side mouldings; Maxton side skirts; VW barndoor rear spoiler; Touran R line rear diffuser grafted into Caddy bumper; rear wiper delete; Caddy facelift rear lights; sliding door bracket and hinge spacers
  • INTERIOR: Altro floor in back and full racked fi tout for compressor, air tank and tools; Camo headlining; Removable trimmed bulkhead panels to allow for fishing rods; Audi RS4 Recaro wingback seats; Touran dashboard swap; custom alcantara trimming throughout; Anthracite painted plastic trim throughout; Touran door cards; carpets; fully sound deadened with Silent Coat; USB charging point in cigarette lighter; USB charging point and bass controller in Touran centre console; GTI gearknob; Scirocco R steering MFSW; Pioneer amp and compressors beneath driver’s seat
  • SHOUT: The Mrs for putting up with it all, Adam Hodge for the air ride, remap and general Caddy knowledge; Si Sweetland at Still Static for the wheels; Jonny and Matt Leggett at Reflex AutoDesign; EMP Performance for the exhaust; Caddy 2k Forum, anyone who’s has helped with coding, VCDS or sourcing parts along the way
«So when the weather’s howling and the rain is pissing down it’s far from ideal»
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