A lot of car guys will say they were born into their automotive pastime, as if they regard the hobby as more an inherited birthright than personal choice. In Nathan Lloyd's case, the claim is nearly literal. According to Lloyd, his dad ordered a 1969 Camaro, that most iconic of American muscle cars, on the very month he was conceived (no official word on whether conception took place in the Chevrolet, however). Although it would make an exciting twist, he wasn't delivered in the car, but he was brought home in it, fresh out of the maternity ward.
Lloyd grew up loving that car and ended up buying it when he came of age. Then he got married and had a couple kids of his own. Each of them was brought home in the same manner as their father. But a vintage Camaro isn't the most economical of daily drivers. To satisfy the inevitable performance itch, Lloyd was drawn to cars with smaller-displacement engines and, as he puts it: "wringing them out for all they're worth."
Obsession z Slick Silver
He goes on: "After leaving the Japanese scene for the cars' lack of soul, and after fixing up a GTI, I came upon what I truly love: an all-wheel-drive, small-displacement sleeper. I love the fact that this TT is a small, purpose-built creation that's all about its inhabitants. I can go to the track on Saturday and hit Mammoth on Sunday." That would be the special-edition TT ALMS seen here, which Lloyd purchased new in 2002. The car may look familiar; it was featured in this magazine's pages around four and a half years ago.
Like most projects, this one started with basic bolt-on mods: intake, exhaust, software. Lloyd drove it that way for three years before turning things up. In 2003, when we first featured it, it was riding on compression-adjustable Bilstein coilovers and wearing a new front-mount intercooler. Since then, it has gone from hopped-up street sleeper to a much deeper obsession, representing a shining example of the 1.8T's latent performance.
Lloyd and his TT popped up on our radar once again last April. european car had just taken short-term delivery of one of the first R8 press cars on the West Coast and we headed to Penske Audi West Covina to support an Audi club rally. During the drive, Lloyd was at the front of the pack and, much to the chagrin of our easily bruised egos, he and his TT ran that R8 ragged all the way up the mountains above Azusa, California. The car was now making something in the neighborhood of 300 hp at the wheels, on pump gas, and had seen a whole host of recent modifications. We were visibly impressed as we exited the R8 and decided this first-gen TT deserved a second look.
One big difference is the new forced induction setup from Del Rio Power. Built around a GT2871 turbocharger, the complete kit also includes new intake and exhaust manifolds, an S4-spec MAF, larger throttle body and a new front-mount intercooler complete with new piping. Larger-capacity 580cc injectors provide an increased fuel supply for the thirsty configuration and the entire system is masterminded via software developed by Torque Factory's resident laptop gladiator, Jeff Moss, who performed extensive fine-tuning for the new fuel, ignition and boost maps. Using Moss's data, GIAC wrote the code for new programs for both pump gas and race fuel, along with kill and valet modes.
Other engine upgrades comprise an Evolution Motorsports intake to augment initial air uptake, a more muscular Forge 007 diverter valve and VF Engineering motor mounts at all three fastening points to keep the new, much more powerful powerplant from bucking out of the engine bay. Reinforcing the bottom end against the enriched power output, Lloyd cracked open the crankcase and replaced the stock connecting rods with stronger Pauter forged units. Everything else inside the engine, including the pistons, crank and valvetrain, remains factory spec.
So how much power are we talking, exactly? With GIAC's new software based on Torque Factory's data, the car pulled 309 hp at 5600 rpm and 316 lb-ft of torque at 5100-at the wheels. On the new 104-octane race gas program it threw down peak 351 hp at 6100 rpm. Peak torque remains the same but occurs 100 rpm earlier at an even 5000. All testing took place on VF Engineering's Dynojet dynamometer, at its facility in Anaheim, California.
Possibly even more significant than the car's now copious power output are its new handling characteristics. The suspension has been reconfigured with rebound- and compression-adjustable KW coilovers. Lloyd says this new system was employed as much for improved performance as for improving his own knowledge about fine-tuning the suspension.
To help combat understeer, Neuspeed 22m anti-roll bars have replaced the stock 20 and 15mm units. The ALMS-package wheels have been replaced by DTM Kreuze alloys in an 8x18 format with Toyo R888 tires providing grip.
Beyond the suspension, Lloyd's newest toys include a Peloquin rear differential and Haldex Blue Box upgrade. These upgrades conspire to eliminate the TT's signature neutrality and 'understeery' feel by allowing the tail end to hang out under aggressive driving. Power is applied more directly by the Peloquin, while the Haldex box allows the rear diff to lock a 50/50 front-to-rear torque split instantly on throttle, compared to the normal 70/30 front bias. This equates to a much sportier character and an exponentially greater amount of fun from the driver's seat.
What's next? Nathan Lloyd thinks the project is pretty much done, but he's hesitant to confirm that in so many words, because: "I thought I was done three years ago." It is, after all, something of an obsession.
And we're happy to report he's also kept Dad's old '69-albeit fully restored and mildly modded to "make it sound like it was meant to." There's a lot to be said for sticking to your roots, especially in auto enthusiast circles.
2002 Audi TT ALMS
Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive
1.8-liter inline four, dohc, 20-valve.VFE engine mounts, Evolution Motorsports intake, Forge 007 diverter valve, Pauter rods, Del Rio turbo kit [GT2871 turbo, intake/exhaust manifolds, S4-spec MAF, enlarged throttle body, front-mount intercooler], 580cc injectors, GIAC software, Fast Intentions turbo-back exhaust
Six-speed manual, VFE stage-four clutch, Haldex Blue Box, Peloquin rear differential
KW V3 coilovers, Neuspeed anti-roll bars, Defcon 1 front control arms, Forge lower control arms
Stasis/Alcon front calipers and 14-inch rotors, Stasis 12-inch rear rotors
*Wheels and Tires
DTM Kreuze, 8x18
Toyo R888, 225/40
SGI rear spoiler
Boost, oil temperature gauges in place of ashtray
Peak Power: 351 hp @ 6100 rpm
Peak Torque: 316 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
104-octane program, measured at the wheels