Belgium has always had a strong foothold in modified car culture. I remember seeing Belgian modified car events on the pages of Max Power and Fast Car growing up, amazed at the level of modified cars being built. Whilst some of you might still remember the days of airbrushed paintwork, oversized wheels and TVs mounted in door cards, modified cars these days are less wild, more mild these days, thankfully.
Belgium, with a relatively small country with a population of around 11 million, has a thriving modified car community. The guys and girls of Belgium are huge petrolheads. Even tough motoring regulations can’t stop cars being modified by enthusiast owners: the car community in Belgium never fails to keep on building great cars, no matter how the law tries to put a stop to them.
Car Enthusiast Level: Expert.
Whilst the laws are slightly more relaxed for “old timer” cars, modern metal has to undergo stringent annual checks which can make owning and running modified cars frustrating/difficult, so we’re huge fans of the way Belgians find ways to stay legal whilst enjoying the art of car modification whilst keeping standards high, mixing it with the best in the European car scene.
One such petrolhead with a sharp eye for cool modifications and classy personal touches is Ellen Rymenants, from Langdorp in Belgium.
Ellen is a car girl through-and-through, let’s get that clear right from the start. With a petrolhead dad, it was inevitable that Ellen would develop a love for cars. Ellen’s dad took her to the annual Autosalon event in Brussels from an early age and things just grew from there.
At 17, Ellen’s first car was a Honda Del Sol, which didn’t escape the modifying treatment. Ellen kept things simple but effective with her “cleaned” Honda featuring air ride, Schmidt TH lines, alcantara interior, and smoothed bodywork with S2000 rear lights grafted in. No stranger to building modified cars, Ellen has owned three Hondas, five Audis and two VWs, all of which were given the personal touch.
Audi Mk3 8S TT.
So, fast forward to last year, when Ellen was on the hunt for a new car. In her mind, there was only one car on her list, and that was the Mk3 Audi 8S TT. With the latest generation TT looking sharper than ever, improving on the classic “concept car” looks of the original Mk1 model, it’s not hard to see why Ellen came to this decision over her next car.
With the 8S TT looking so aggressive out of the box, Ellen wouldn’t need to make huge changes to the base car, but after all, Ellen’s track record and love for modified cars meant it wasn’t exactly going to stay stock, was it?
With her decision made over which Audi model to look for, Ellen then set her heart on a particular spec: it had to be Quattro, it had to be a Blackline edition and it had to be Vegas Yellow.
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.
With the feelers out for the ideal car, the online search was expanded across Europe. In the end, Ellen’s dream spec TT was found in Germany, which for most would present a problem, but the dealership was actually only 2 hours from Ellen’s hometown, so a few phone calls later and Ellen was en-route for a viewing.
Ellen knew upon seeing the car that this was just meant to be, the right spec, engine and colour, it was a match made in heaven. In reality, the modifying process there and then, with Ellen asking her boyfriend Levi to start looking for plateless grilles whilst she was signing for the car. Given Ellen’s track record and love for modified cars, it wasn’t exactly going to stay stock, was it?
The aggressive lines of the 8S TT are hard to ignore. The front end of the casts a hostile snarl even in stock form, so with a few choice modifications the latest TT definitely comes into its own.
With the plateless grille on order and delivery of the TT scheduled, Ellen’s thoughts turned to other parts for the car. Knowing she was going change the wheels and suspension setup, Ellen decided to purchase a pair of Mucke wide front wings to provide additional from wheel clearance when running low. These items retain the OEM look but create plenty of room for bigger wheels - a must for anyone wanting a low driving height.
When the car was delivered, the real fun started and Ellen really got stuck into her project TT. Carbon fibre, with it’s motorsport connotations, is a welcome sight on any modern car, and the Mk3 TT is no exception.
With this in mind, Ellen added a carbon front splitter, rear diffuser, door mirrors and carbon fuel cap. These subtle details might go unnoticed by the untrained eye, but for car enthusiasts like us, additions like this make all the difference.
The flashes of carbon weave work perfectly against the sharp lines of TT body and smooth as silk Vegas Yellow paintwork.
On the hunt for a good mix of looks and performance, Ellen went for the 2.0 TFSI model and with 223bhp/230ps on tap, 0-60 is reached in around 6 seconds, Ellen’s TT is definitely not just about “show”.
Enjoying stock power for now, Ellen’s TT has taken her all across Europe, racking up the miles with trips to Ultimate Stance (on the RollHard stand, obviously) and lake Wörthersee in Austria. Ellen’s TT is enjoyed exactly how it should be, creating new memories and meeting new people along the journey. Don’t forget to check out our Wörtherseetreffen coverage here, where Ellen’s TT caused quite a stir.
Inside, the TT is fantastic place to spend time. Impressed with the TT’s interior, Ellen didn’t feel the need to change anything inside. With Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit” as standard, the dash is a work of digital art, displaying everything on one huge screen right in front of the driver. The black innards contrast brilliantly with the Vegas Yellow bodywork.
When it comes to modifying a brand new car, it’s all about making subtle and classy enhancements to the overall OE package. Given that the TT was great looking car to begin with, modifying was always going to pay dividends, especially in the wheel department.
Wheel choice is critical on any modified car - it can make or break an entire project because let’s face it, car people love wheels. Whilst it’s true to say that money can’t buy taste, it’s hard to argue with a set of genuine 3 piece BBS wheels. Be it BBS RS, RF, or any BBS with an E stamped on the face, BBS wheels are a timeless classic in any flavour.
Ellen’s TT wears what can only be described as BBS royalty - Ellen’s wheels are definitely top shelf material. Ticking all the right boxes, these 3 piece BBS E88 are 8.5” x 20” all-round, wrapped in 225/30/20 Hankook Ventus. High end in every way, these wheels exude pure class, with the gold centres contrasting perfectly against the Vegas Yellow bodywork.
You might just notice the huge upgrade brakes nested nicely underneath the aforementioned BBS E88s. Ellen raided the Audi parts bin to fit a brand new set of 370mm R8 front discs and calipers. In Audi Performance grey, they look right at home against the BBS gold.
It should be no surprise to find out that Ellen’s TT sports a top notch air ride suspension setup. Thanks to Steve Fraser in the UK, Ellen was supplied the full kit, which at the time, was one of the first 8S TT kits in Europe. Full Airlift 3P management with Airlift Performance struts, this car rides smooth as silk. Laid out in the Austrian sun, this coupe sits perfect.
Having been shot by Lucio over in Austria, it’s clear to see that Ellen has built her car for pure enjoyment. It’s fair to say Ellen’s TT is the perfect mix of stance and “useable fitment”. This car does it all. When it needs to, Ellen’s TT holds its own against the classiest cars in Europe, but equally isn’t out of its depth on twisty roads when driven hard and enjoyed.
With looks like this, it’s hard to argue with the impact that top quality modifications can make to a car. With the minimum of fuss, Ellen’s Vegas Yellow beauty shows the rest of the 8S TT fraternity exactly how things are done. We love it.