It could be the best looking front-wheel drive TT you'll ever see.
We will say this for European tuning company and interior specialist Vilner – no matter the car, the results are always interesting. We say this because the latest creation to spring from the Vilner garage isn’t a high-dollar Mercedes, or an American muscle car. What we have here is a 1998 Audi TT, and not just any old model. This is a roadster, compete with a 180-horsepower turbocharged four cylinder engine turning only the front wheels. As near as we can tell, such a machine in good condition would retail for roughly $5,000 in the United States.
We’re not trying to hate on the Audi; it’s just that you seldom see such treatment given to a low value car. Then again, automotive passion is anything but logical, and the TT is a glorious little runabout worthy of an interior upgrade. And this old Audi does looks great with its new clothes.
According to Vilner, this particular TT is a well-kept example that’s lived a very good life with a single owner who decided a change was in store. To make that happen, Vilner ditched the stock grey interior for some fresh soft brown leather, accented with blue seat belts, blue stitching on the steering wheel, and Alcantara strips throughout the cockpit – all to match the Audi’s deep blue exterior. The TT logo was also incorporated through the interior, notably on the seat and door inserts. The center console was given the same brown treatment, as was the central box between the seatbacks.
The TT’s owner had already tweaked the outside, but Vilner added LED elements to the front and rear lights to help modernize the classic design. Overall, it's rather posh without getting to shouty; arguably a perfect match for the modest TT.
One thing worth noting about this refreshed Audi is something Vilner mentions in its press release, but few people stop to consider. When you have an open-top vehicle, interior design deserves extra attention because in effect, it becomes part of the exterior design. That philosophy is certainly evident with this project, and it’s something we’ll be paying more attention to in the future.
In the meantime, tell us what you think about this inexpensive Audi’s interior facelift.
Gallery: Audi TT By Vilner
Audi TT by Vilner: A model named after a motorcycle race that still turn heads
Have you ever wondered why this emblematic model bears these two initials? ТT? For someone it may sound odd, but the name of that cool looking front or ‘quattro’ car comes from the Tourist Trophy – the oldest (1907) and most dangerous motorcycle race in the world. NSU raced its bikes on the Isle of Man from 1911 - later VW merged NSU and Auto Union to create Audi – and had its 1000TT, 1200TT и TTS car models in that connection. And much later, in 1998, Audi revived the two ‘italic’ letters (the official TT race logo is also slightly tilted to the right) and put them on the back of its cosmic looking compact Coupe and Roadster.
This particular TT had been bought new from its owner which keeps the car in tiptop condition to this day. But it was time for a change, it was time for a Vilner therapy but without too much differentiation from the car’s original spirit. The stock interior was covered in grey leather which was too boring and that was the trigger.
But you should be very careful when you’re dealing with an open top car cockpit - in terms of colours and style, the interior of a roadster should be done much more thoughtful because you see the exterior and the interior at the same time. Vilner made blue accents inside – Alcantara stripes on the seats and door panels, blue seat belts and blue contrast stitching on the flat bottomed steering wheel. The same has been totally remodelled by Vilner’s specialists: brown and black leather with rally style blue central marker.
The central console is now painted in soft brown too, and the central box section between the two backrests is wrapped in fine leather. Main statement inside is made by the TT perforation motive on the seat’s central sections and the door panels. You can also notice the non perforated ТТ logo on the backrests, and – if you look much more closely – you’ll find four discrete elements execution of which speaks for themselves. These are the washer like plastic pieces on the bottom of each headrest stem. Barely noticeable for most eyes they’re usually left in bare plastic form but Vilner wrapped them in opaque leather. Nice touch.
The owner had the car’s exterior already modified but the art studio added LED elements in the headlights and on the back, which gave the TT more contemporary look. The black ‘Vilner’ signature on the back is the final stamp of approval which matches the ТТ initials on the other side also changed in gloss black.