Matyi: One of our very own, the notorious @downshift_jon from Melbourne recently had some gorgeous shots done by Vinh Mangalino. We talked to him about his journey and the end product, that is so well known across Australia.

Why did you choose this particular vehicle?

I modified my previous car, a VW Golf R far too much – it was bagged, wrapped and widebody – and sunk way too much money into it. I decided to sell it a year and a half ago, after which I decided I’d get a B8 Passat because there was no modifications for it. I also chose Diesel because I do quite a bit of travelling. It’s also harder to modify a Diesel as the market is more driven towards Petrol owner modifications.

What did you build the car to do?

Basically to look nice and be a good cruiser. It’s not going to break any land speed records, but it does manage almost 1500km to a tank on the Highway.

What’s the best thing about it?

The look. It just looks futuristic in my opinion. A lot of people I’ve met say it looks very “space-shippy”. Apart from the look, my favourite part has to be the airbag suspension. It creates so many confused looks from people who have never seen that sort of thing.

It hasn’t come without issues though – I ordered the Air Lift Performance kit 5 weeks before I was to leave for WTAC2018. The rear part of the kit arrived 2 weeks before I was supposed to leave and was missing the rear kit and Management. The rear kit and management turned up 3 days before I had to leave and we had to scramble to get it fitted and finished.

Then, because I wasn’t stressed enough already, the day the car was bagged, I blew an air line airing out in the autobarn car park. Lines were a bit too tight underneath and caused the air release valve from the tank to shear off. Did I mention this was the night before I had to drive to Sydney to attend WTAC and help run the Stylized event?

Estimated Build Time and Cost

Well, I kept the car stock for over a year. Then WTAC came up and @downshift_adam asked if I was going to do anything to the car to make it showy like I usually do. I then decided to bag it and chuck some SSR wheels on it. As for the cost of everything, probably about $15k retail for the airbag suspension, wheels, install and the other little bits it has.

What would you do differently next time?

Get rear air lift struts with the kit. Originally I used my stock rear strut and just replaced the spring (McPherson design) with an airbag. It went very low, but had a lot of travel due to the stock shock being designed with comfort in mind. This caused a little bit of guard damage when I was driving low and was lip-to-guard.

Did you have any other drama with getting such epic wheels sorted?

When I purchased my BBS RSs back from the new owner (formerly on my Golf R, rebuilt twice by me already 2 years prior), I purchased some lips and barrels and was sent the wrong size (16-18 not 17-18). Trying desperately to get a refund or ship the lips back (cost was far too high for that), I ended up selling off my current lips and barrels and trading my 17” stamped faces to someone in Perth who swapped me their 16” stamped faces. Unfortunately E-Go forgot to pick them up, which set me back another 7 days before we cancelled the pickup and just used Couriers Please.

After going through issues with the wheel lips and such, I got tyres fitted. I was so happy, the car looked amazing, but one of the tyres didn’t seal properly. We took it off, re-seated it and it didn’t seem to be leaking any air. I drove home then did a quick trip around the block and came back. The tyre was completely flat. I was devastated as I had a photo shoot on that weekend that I had to cancel. Turns out, the tyre had multiple defects in the sidewall.

What’s your plans for the car’s future?

I have some Ulterior Motive flares sitting in my garage, that will go on for a moulded wide-body. Some more exterior bits and probably another 10 sets of wheels. Oh, also an APR Tune when they finally get it completed for me!


  • Ashlea Morton for putting up with my constant stressing over parts, my car in general and helping me funding it. Also being my rock and stopping me from doing dumb shit to my car.
  • DHF Tyres for their massive help, doing tonnes of alignments, tyre fittings and fitting suspension components.
  • Raymond Chan from RAW Works for supplying me with new genuine BBS Parts.
  • Jay Stagoll for Gold Plating two sets of tyre valves and my hex caps. Seriously, go hit him up. Guy does amazing work.
  • Ben McCudden for being my Wheel Guru.
  • Jonathan Camilleri from Pro Image Graphics for the Downshift livery on the side and all my other stickers.

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