[photos: Si Gray]
Coming from many years in the aftermarket scene, Rico Dieling has lived through the trends that we remember fondly, and some that we’d like to forget. While some of those trends (and cars) have come and gone, the one thing that Rico never took his eyes off of was his dream car, the Audi RS 2.
At 23 years old, Rico was working for the Volkswagen Group when he got an offer he couldn’t refuse, and it wasn’t long after being tossed the keys a pre-production RS 2 that he swore he’d own one someday. In the time since, he has done a number of builds focusing on the first generation Golf and its numerous variants but when the opportunity to own one of the heroes of his youth, Rico jumped at the chance.
Since first taking possession of the 748th Audi RS 2 ever produced, Rico has changed nearly everything about the car while leaving the original aesthetics largely untouched. While the car still has its original paint job, a number of pieces have been re-done in Carbon Fiber including the B and C pillars, Sunroof, Fuel door, Side mirrors, and custom Carbon Fiber brake ducting where the OEM fog lights used to be.
While putting a modern spin on the original aesthetics, Rico also updated his RS 2’s lighting front and rear. The headlights were retrofitted with Xenon units, which throw a much-improved beam over the stock HIDs. For the taillights, a combination of many different pieces was used to create one off units. The outer lenses are from the US-market Audi 80, while the inner lenses were taken from a Japanese-market convertible, with the centers being the only part retained from the RS 2’s original setup. This mashup of OEM taillights is the only one like it in the world currently, giving the RS 2 an extremely subtle rear visual transformation that only a true connoisseur would notice.
For suspension and wheels, the same attention to detail applies. Three-piece Porsche 964 BBS RS wheels were sourced, but in order to work properly on the car they needed to be separated and re-barreled in a different offset. The centers were then bolted to the outside of BBS Motorsport lips, which relocated the air valve to the inner barrel of the wheel, creating a smooth look. Rather than go with a standard Coilover kit, Rico took a similar approach to his custom tail lights and went with a combination of Bilstein and H&R parts to achieve his desired ride quality. The choice seems to have paid off, as Rico claims that the new kit rides and handles better than what was originally fitted to the car thanks to the guidance of some friends in the industry.
When it came to performance Rico decided that the stock RS 2’s 311hp wasn’t quite enough, so he decided to make some minor changes. The stock exhaust was the first to go, in favor of a custom system made specifically for him by German firm BN-Pipes. To achieve what Rico wanted, a one-off system was the only way to go, and BN-Pipes delivered a system that retained a stock appearance while offering greatly enhanced sound and performance. Aftermarket software, a larger intercooler and other various parts were fitted as well, pushing total output to over 400hp. In keeping with the RS 2’s theme, most of what is found under hood has been powder coated and either covered or constructed from carbon fiber.
Moving to the interior, you will likely be surprised that for the most part it has been left in original spec. Rico saw fit to install Recaro A8 seats with custom painted seat backs and extensively reupholster the door cards and seating surfaces, and because the work was completed by a former Recaro employee, it retains a factory appearance. As a fitting final touch, Rico’s idol and former Sport Quattro S1 pilot Walter Röhrl autographed on of the interior panels.
As a finished product, Rico’s RS 2 is able to bridge the gap between some of the more wild builds found at places like Wörthersee, and the subtle OEM plus projects that often appeal to more discerning enthusiasts. His clinical attention to detail likely lead to more frustration that he’d like to admit, but Rico is quite pleased with the car you see today. Rico told us, “I tried my best to leave it original and upgrade it wisely, to keep it classy like it is supposed to be.” Mission accomplished, Rico.
More pictures of Rico’s RS 2 can be found in our gallery below.