Words by Duncan "Curly" Ward | Photography by CJ Levendal
What is left to say about Mr. April that hasn’t already been covered in glossy pages and high-res photos…? I personally think the crowd here in SA doesn’t actually pay enough attention to our resident serial builders. Chadlin April is arguably one of our finest examples in this regard, having built and rebuilt two front-cover cars, both of which featured widely throughout SA, set CampFest alight and featured in Southern Stance’s online magazine.
His previous/first build ‘Custard’, set the bar for his current and future projects, leaving absolutely NOTHING untouched inside and outside the car, which we were lucky enough to document and give the recognition it deserves.
His latest creation goes by the name ‘Megan’ and was previously featured by us back when it was still an aggressive VW red, similar to the famed Tornado Red. Since his last visit, he has been busy, very busy. He took it upon himself to completely reinvent the car, which would mean bringing the finest hands in the industry on board.
Beginning with the most noticeable change, the brand new colour, Chadlin began work on the car at JMK Panelbeaters, where his friend Jacques Barnes put in the effort to transform this mere modified Polo into an absolute showstopper. Jacques has more than enough experience in building neckbreakers himself and thus opted for a slightly obscure colour called Kingfisher Green. This ‘green’ is clearly not anything near the traditional colour, but is still a very apt name, as is explained by Charlie Hamilton James in his book ‘King-fishers’: "Their bright feather colours are not due to true pigment, for true blue pigment does not actually exist in birds. Rather, the astonishing colours of the upper parts of the kingfisher are the result of a complex structure in the layers of the feathers, which filters out certain colours of light, reflecting back only blue. This is known as the `Tyndal effect' and as a result there of the kingfisher can appear to turn from bright blue to the rich emerald green with only a slight change in the angle at which the light falls on it."
The Kingfisher bird from which Chadlin got his colour seems to change its appearance in-flight, a fitting counter-part to his own two cars which seem to change their appearance right before our eyes. According to him, one of his favourite memories of the car is when he got his first glance of the Polo in the workshop, shining in its rich new colour scheme. He couldn’t have been happier with the result, and the level of workmanship dedicated to ensuring paint perfection. He always felt that the red failed to set his Polo apart from the masses and so the new colour would definitely get the job done.
Those of you who know Chadlin, and those who read our feature on Custard (https://www.sthrnstnce.com/blog/pineapple-express) will know that he has a problem, of sorts…
He’s unable to do a half-job or take shortcuts on anything he does! His cars benefit greatly from this pursuit of perfection though, and Megan’s exterior was an exceptional beneficiary thanks to this trait. He replaced the slightly aggressive, but average Polo front end with an oem WRC full front end, complete with carbon fibre front lip. The rally-inspired lines give the Polo an unforgettably mean mug, and my personal favourite has to be his cyber-esque and super bright fog lamps which he managed to fit into the air-dams in the bumper. He furnished the WRC bumper with all sorts of fine details, such as an R-Line grill and some other, finer, components that only a trained eye could detect. Some of these include but are not limited to: headlights from the 6C Polo GTi which required a custom harness to get along with the wiring of the 6R GTi, side badges from an Audi Q7 (specifically the supercharged edition), carbon fibre side mirrors and a host of elements coated in piano black. The mirror stems, side skirts, roof and diffuser all received a healthy lick of timeless piano black, and Chadlin attached an SRS Tech rear spoiler to complete the racy look. The rear lights were tinted cherry red, a common mod to tail lights which serves to simplify but improve the look of the car from the rear, a sight which many drivers must be familiar with as the little Polo is certainly no stance queen and boasts a formidable performance repertoire to complement her looks.
Chadlin decided Megan needed some bite to match all the external bark, so she was treated to an attitude upgrade thanks to the tuning masters Revo and their Stage 2 software. However, as any tuner worth their salt would know, all mods need supporting mods, so on went a larger ITG cold air intake, painted Kingfisher Green to match the body. In addition, a Forge cooler replaced the original VW unit, a full 63mm Miltek non-resonated exhaust ending in some meaty 90mm tips was fitted and a carbon fibre engine cover was fitted to hide all the go-fast bits. One of my favourite touches was not the carbon fibre engine cover itself, but more so the chrome WRC badge on the cover, which I think perfectly sums up the smaller details that Chadlin absolutely nails.
Speaking of smaller details, the interior reminds me of a luxury apartment. Nappa leather stretches as far as the eye can see, punctuated scrumptiously by precisely executed touches of Alcantara and carbon fibre. Chadlin opted to swap out the stock steering wheel for that of a Mk7 R, which boasts both carbon fibre and Alcantara from factory, and he matched this with carbon fibre DSG paddle extenders. The carbon fibre can be found making up the backs of the Corsa VXR-Recaro wingback seats he fitted in the car, which he had recovered in tan Nappa leather. The gear lever was swapped out for a carbon fibre GTi DSG gear lever and was wrapped in an Alcantara gear boot. The doors received carbon fibre door card inserts, and the handbrake didn’t escape the carbon fibre treatment either. The cluster was upgraded to a Mk6 R’s blue dial needles, and all info lights in the interior were changed from a tacky orange to a cool white.
Chadlin recalled the difficulties that he faced in trying to get the Mk7 R steering wheel function in conjunction with the 6R Polo’s wiring, and remembers painstakingly developing the harness to attain full functionality of the steering wheel complete with steering wheel controls, something he proudly shows off. It’s a detail not many know the true struggle behind, but one he fondly remembers conquering with the invaluable help of Chris from Retro Fitters.
The interior, and the accompanying ICE in the boot/doors, is his favourite place to be, as it provides a cocoon of comfort and class to combat the daily hustle and bustle he experiences. Rich tones, scents and textures are the order of the day, accompanied by crystal clear audio thanks to the handiwork of YT Revision, famed for their detail and craftsmanship in both air installations and sound setups. YT didn’t hold back on the upgrades, and installed a 9” Android head unit, which utilizes a full Kicker system to provide some serious sound quality. Power is beefed up by a Kicker KX series amplifier which feeds Kicker KS 6.5”splits up front, Kicker KS 6.5” co-axials in the rear and a mean little 10” Kicker Comp VR subwoofer nestled in the boot.
As soon as you open the boot, the first thing you’ll see is the proudly engraved work of the one and only Stratten aka ‘FatStrat’, though his adult name is now FS Projects. He is also no stranger to our cyber pages and has been responsible for the air installations on many of our featured cars. So it comes as no surprise that Chadlin recruited him to create something truly magnificent in the slightly limited boot space the Polo could offer. Strat began dreaming up a hardline setup that only he could pull off, and began sorting out the necessary bits to make it all work. In terms of hardware, Chadlin and Strat went with the tried and trusted brands of Accuair, Firestone, AirLift and ViAir to complete the air setup. Accuair’s eLevel management system was chosen to keep an eye on everything, operated by a custom carbon touch pad of course. Dual 444cc ViAir compressors and a 5-gallon seamless tank were painted Kingfisher Green to match the car and installed, feeding the bags all round. The front strut is custom as well, using an AirLift Dominator bag to provide lift. In the rear, a Firestone bag works in conjunction with AirLift shocks.
The lows, as you know, are never enough for a car enthusiast, and so Chadlin opted for custom drop plates to be installed as well, providing him with the drop he needed to dial in his fitment to et = perfect.
Speaking of et, we almost forgot the utterly gorgeous wheels! Chadlin worked tirelessly to build up his set of 17” 3-piece split OZ Futuras, sourcing parts from across the globe to bring the wheels up to his standard. He had the faces and caps of the wheels completed in a brushed metal finish, topped off with a gold plated centre OZ plate. He got his hands on some premium SRR hardware for the wheels, namely some gold spike bolts and gold valves. He also acquired carbon fibre centre rings for the wheels, and recruited the help of the famed wheel refurbisher Wheel Unique who sourced some 2.5”Radinox 2-step lips to finish off the wheels. He wrapped the 9j wheels in Nankang rubber all round, opting for the ultra-low profile 185/35 in the front and the slightly more modest 195/40 out back.
I’m getting tired just reading all of the modifications he has carried out, and to think he has successfully completed two cars to this standard is utterly mind-blowing. We have to give credit where credit’s due and nowhere is it more deserved than heaped on top of Mr. Chadlin April. I take my hat off to you and cannot wait to see what you find to fiddle with next, although talk around town is that you have been spotted in a lightweight turbo toy, hooning around? Finish it off well enough and we may just have to stop by and have a look…
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