Chances are that to you, dear reader, your car is your life. It’s something we, as “car people”, can all get behind. To those that don’t understand, even those in the motor trade, they’re just tools; a form of efficient transportation, a means of getting home quickly from work and delivering the wife (or husband, we’re a diverse set after all) to the in-laws on a Sunday afternoon. Finding the right place that really “gets it”, that you can trust with your pride and joy, is no easy task.
Introducing Matt and Jonny Leggett, the genius brothers behind Reflex Auto Design, based in Daventry, in The Midlands, UK. One word that can definitely be used to describe them both is “passionate”; the trade is in their blood. They can thank their dad for that…
Ideal Motors Coachworks was formed in 1948, and took on a star apprentice in the form of Matt and Jonny’s dad, John, in 1965, at the tender age of 17. By 1980, he’d become a partner in the business, and in 1986 he became the proud owner. It quickly gained a reputation as one of the best Rolls Royce and Aston Martin restoration specialists in the country, built on John’s eye for detail and exacting standards. With a pedigree like that, it was obvious that when his 3 sons, Christian, Matt and Jonny joined in 1986, 1987 and 1995 respectively, they wouldn’t be churning out quick rattle-can resprays. With dad still involved, mum Christine working alongside Jonny’s wife Hayley in the office, and oldest brother Christian acting as Manager, this remains a family business through and through.
Reflex Auto Design (RAD) was formed in 2000, by Matt and Jonny, after people had seen the cars they’d built for themselves. Impressed by the standard of the work, which really is second to none, people asked them to build theirs for them. The brothers took over Ideal, amalgamating it with Reflex in 2014, making this a true family business. They intend to keep it that way…
The boys philosophy of “better, not cheaper” is evident in some of the cars they’ve built; they painted (among other things) one of our favourite cars of all time, THE Rauh Welt Number One! If it’s good enough for Nakai-san himself, who oversees any build of his beloved RWBs first hand, it’s good enough for the likes of us. They’ve also had more than a hand in a few (few?!) Gemballa Porsches, fitted bodykits worth more than some of our cars to Bentleys and Porsches, and are currently involved in a redesign of friend of WCS’ Elmo’s Civic. The fact that during our visit, a ’80s as you like Ferrari 308, owned by a well known rockstar petrolhead was in the booth ready to be prepped, should tell you everything you need to know.
This philosophy is carried over to every aspect of the business. That’s real carbon. Not a dip. We have never seen a weave as perfect as that, it really is flawless. Currently, the boys are a dealer for Northampton based Streamline Carbon, purveyor of finest composite parts for many French, Ford RS and high end automobiles. They refuse to sell anything less than perfect…
The respect the brothers command is evident in the list of companies they’re involved with; Meguairs, who offer a mini detail, free to the customer, on any respray done by RAD; Revo, who carry out the work on their behalf, and work closely with the business; KW, H&R, Bilstein, V-Maxx, Weitec, Forge, Pipercross, the list goes on…
The relationship these guys have with Brad and the team from fifteen52 is something pretty special. Renowned for both the quality of their products, and just generally being a decent, honest company, to be so involved with them is a huge pat on the back to Matt and Jonny, and again goes to show just how well respected they are. You’ll be able to get a proper look at their wheels on our stand at Ultimate Dubs in March, as well as having the opportunity to pick up some merchandise, all supplied by the boys at RAD.
Having always been heavily involved in modifying VAG vehicles, it made sense for them to push in that direction. They’ve made a bit of a name for themselves in the Caddy world, for being serious innovators. Which brings us neatly on to…
“That” Caddy. Bought as a Cat-D write off back in 2012 with just 770 miles on the clock, the ex-RAC (yep, really!) van was the perfect repository for Matt’s vision. “After building and owning two previous pre-facelift Caddys, I wanted to build a facelift model with every possible upgrade to make it as nice to drive as possible.”
He wasted no time in completely redesigning the front end, using brand new genuine Touran parts, along with creating a totally one off, custom made hybrid Touran/Golf Mk7 GTI bumper, incorporating arches from the European market only Caddy Cross. This theme is carried on all the way to the back, with Caddy Cross skirts and rear arches making the less than subtle machine look even more unique. At the back, Matt decided to totally replace the two rear doors with a single piece tailgate; no easy task. After changing cross-members to make it fit, he still wasn’t happy, so a narrowed plate recess and Mk6 Golf badge/boot release found their way on.
The sadder of us reading this will notice the lack of sliding door on either side; Matt decided that he liked the uncluttered look, so he sourced a genuine LHD near side rear quarter panel, grafting it in flawlessly. What you may not have noticed is the missing fuel filler cap, which now resides behind the near side rear light, giving Matt the opportunity to use the old sliding door mechanism to create without a doubt the coolest piece of automotive engineering we’ve come across for a while; a ram that pushes the light out horizontally at the flick of a switch. Running the sides of the van with no doors left Matt needing to do yet more work on the super rare Cross kit, as it’s designed for vans with twin sliders. It’s testament to the standards these boys work to that we genuinely thought the whole shebang was factory, not extensively modified.
The top class graphic work was both designed & fitted by David Jorge at Slam Signs. When first done, it was so convincing that the brothers had a letter from the RAC within 24 hours of releasing the first pictures, ordering them to change the logo as it was too similar. It’s certainly a head turner, and raised more than a few comments both during our shoot, and upon release of some teaser shots on social media.
If you’re expecting the inside to be full of aging copies of The Sun and dirty builders’ mugs, you’re in for shock. After totally stripping the shell, the boys fully Dynomatted it to ensure they got the best out of the the extensive audio setup. Mk6 Golf heated leather front seats, a customised Touran centre console with adjustable leather armrest, Touran leather door cards with retrimmed alcantara tops and Audi A1 dash vents certainly add flair, whilst the Mk6 Golf GTI leather multifunction wheel, Mk7 GTI gear knob and gaiter make you forget that this is a van. The Touran Highline clocks, complete with sweeping blue needles, along with the ultra cool glazed bulkhead, add to what is an incredibly well thought out package.
After Revo worked their magic on the 1.6 TDI powerplant, it needed something more substantial than the standard brakes to bring it to a stop. What better than a set of 356mm Forge 6 pots on the front, paired up with Golf GTI rear discs and carriers, utilising Caddy front calipers on the back to beef it up. Obviously those weren’t going to fit under the standard wheels, so Matt made the most of their status as official fifteen52 UK supplier, and fitted a set of their incredible Tarmacs, in 19 x 8.5″ (et35) flavour. V-Maxx Xtreme coilovers and a modified rear beam, to allow better exhaust clearance, ensure this van sticks as well as it goes. Their very own RAD steel sumpguard/skidplate gives piece of mind when driving the static van hard. The same part is also fitted to…
Jonny’s Touran; which was bought as a practical, sensible daily when he found out he was expecting his first child back in 2008. In his own words,”I’d always had modified cars, but the time had come to swap the coilovers for comfort and the style for sensible. The Touran stayed un-modified for just over a year!”
After not one, but two unfortunate “accidents”, the daily was left with a destroyed front end, near side door and sill. With the insurance company wanting to write it off, John took a cash settlement and kept the car, allowing him to take it “to the next level.” With a genuine, brand spanking, new shape Touran front end sourced, it seemed the perfect time to cut up a Genuine Golf R bumper, and make some magic happen.
Again, being lucky enough to have the relationship with fifteen52 that the boys do meant that Jonny got to make use of what has to be one of the best looking wheels out there right now; the Tarmac R43, this time in 19 x8.5″ and 9.5″ respectively.
With Airlift threaded struts and V2 management, the family load lugger was always going to sit well. With the brothers both being the perfectionists that they are, Jonny gave the car a complete respray after fitting the front end, and it still looks perfect now. The red grille is an inspired touch, and really makes the car.
It’s still a daily, so he hasn’t gone too mad inside. We dig the mini Recaros though!
We had a fantastic day with the boys at RAD, and were blown away with both the standard of their work, and their attitudes. You can check out the van for yourself on our stand at Ultimate Dubs (Telford International Centre, UK on March 13th).
Check out the video Here:
Check out their website to get yourself a set of fifteen52 hoops, Revo map or bags of other goodies: https://www.reflexautodesign.com/