For Audi enthusiasts

05riverside a3 photo



13 August 2006

New Jersey might be the last place you’d associate with either Audi’s ‘80s rallying heritage or maybe even Audi tuning. No offense to those who wave either the tuning flag or the rally flag from the Garden state, but most short lists will overlook you. However, you have to hand it to Riverside Audi, a dealership boasting one of the largest Certified Pre-Owned inventories in America and lauding from the New Jersey town of West New York.

Riverside Audi’s owner Sean Rajan is not shy to what the aftermarket has to offer. For some dealers, this might mean a set of wheels or dipping heavily into Audi’s own accessories catalogue. However, this isn’t the case with Rajan. One look over his store’s substantial spread at the recent Waterfest 12 certainly suggested he’s most serious about tailoring a car to the enthusiast owner, and this was particularly evident with a white Audi A3 from the store’s stock – substantially modified and graced with a livery those familiar with Audi’s sporting heritage do not forget.

Riverside started by special-ordering an Arctic White A3 2.0T with DSG into their store. Once it arrived, the A3’s ECU was upgraded with GIAC Stage I software complete with hand-held flash loader. To help improve flow into the engine, a Carbonio intake was installed, while an AWE stainless steel cat-back exhaust system helps flow out with a particularly sexy note.

With added power comes the need for improved stopping capability. This is no problem for the A3, with the addition of a 14-inch brake system from STaSIS – another partner of Riverside Audi (note, brakes were not yet installed at time of photography).

Rajan, the mastermind behind this particular project, wanted some aggressive looks to match the improved performance of this particular A3. A quick call to Jameon Cropper at Dauntless ( and Riverside sourced a full flared body kit from Nothelle.

Kit and car were sent off to Final Touch Collision ( Final Touch is a preferred body shop for Riverside, known for high quality work and impressive paint finishes. Working with Rob at Final Touch, Rajan and his team had the body kit not just painted and installed, but also had the Nothelle kit’s fender arches artfully blended into the fenders of the A3 for a look much like that of the RS 4, making it not too hard to imagine what an Audi RS 3 might look like.

Completing the Nothelle look, the A3’s stock wheels were replaced with 19×8.5 Novedra VII rims by the German tuning firm and also sourced through Dauntless, shod with Kumho rubber.

With the car freshly painted and ready for the show, it was time to perform Rajan’s final vision for this impressive car. For that, the A3 was sent to the vinyl graphics shop to adorn the car with a very familiar graphics scheme. Audi Sport’s ‘80’s paint scheme, begun in rallying, carried on to Pikes Peak, Trans Am and IMSA looks surprisingly at home on the A3 – one of Audi’s most recent production designs.

The current design language defined by Sr. Walter da Silva and honed on this particular model by exterior designer Gary Telaak seem to accept the vintage livery with open arms, including the oldschool Audi “football” logo across the hood at Rajan’s request.

The finished look of the car at New Jersey’s Waterfest 12 enthusiast event where the A3 made its debut stopped Audi owners in their tracks. This may not have been the most highly modified Ingolstadter at the event, but it was certainly one of the most striking. The package works well, which is what Sean Rajan and his Riverside team are banking on as this car and another one like it have already been built and added to the dealership’s stock.

As a showcase for what a dealership is capable of, Riverside’s A3 raises the bar. This white Audi shows that those behind it weren’t just interested in selling a car, or showing off some accessories or performance parts. The attention to detail and appreciation for Audi heritage old and new make it a great package for someone looking to buy a new A3. Now I just have to call the bank and check on an interest rate…. unless someone beats me to it.

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For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.

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