Ultimate Dubs ’16 – “VIVE LA EVOLUTION”

Ultimate Dubs. Arguably the most important show on the British, if not European, calendar. The one where everyone launches their new builds, traders showcase their new wares, and, perhaps most importantly, we all get together after the winter hiatus…

Saturday saw us assemble mid morning at the renowned Telford International Centre. Hugs and manly handshakes were exchanged, as everyone fought to catch up. It wasn’t long before the cleaning products were awoken from their hibernation, and as more fresh builds came through the gates, the hard work began…

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As the queue to get in became longer, and the halls started to fill up, it was clear to see that the asanine rants over the winter about “everything inside being the same” couldn’t be further from the truth. This was going to be an exciting weekend…

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This year, as well as having the honour of being asked to provide the Official Media again, we’d teamed up with Reflex Auto Design, purveyors of the best resprays known to man, along with Rich and the guys from Fifteen52 UK. As well as having RAD’s amazing wide arched Caddy on our stand for the weekend, we had one of each of Fifteen52’s incredible wheels, giving most people their first opportunity to see the unbelievable quality first hand. With the help of the WCS Tame Girlfriend Brigade, we quickly had our range of merchandise (it’s all on the shop, just have a look now, we’ll wait) on display, along with hundreds of RAD stickers to give away. With the Caddy and our very own Matt’s sublime BMW 8-Series rocking it’s new look in public for the first time, we were ready.

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As the day went on, it became obvious that those naysayers predicting the same things inside as last year, with no progression, couldn’t have been more wrong. We firmly believe, and we’re not alone in this, that the UK scene is one of the biggest boundary pushers right now. The standard of build is world class, and Ultimate Dubs is our place to showcase that. It’s no accident that some of the biggest names in vehicular modifying make the trip over from the US and Europe every year, to spend a weekend in a small British town 30 miles west of Birmingham. Make no mistake, UD is important!

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Having said that, no UD would be complete without two stalwarts of the UK scene showcasing their new builds. This year, as every year, they didn’t disappoint…

Fish’s S3 Saloon is looking fresh this year, rolling on black Rotiform OZTs with gold hardware, and a trick carbon splitter, diffuser and lip spoiler combo.

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Kats’ Q3 “Karen” was something a few of us had seen within the week leading up to the show, but surprised more than a few others. Running full V3, an American spec SQ3 front end and angry 20″ BLQ-2 DDTs,  this is one to watch this year.

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One thing that stood out more this year than previous efforts was the innovation in the boot installs. From the simple and subtle…

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…through the funky and themed…

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…to the outlandish and intricate…

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…the fit and finish in nearly all were second to none. The imagination, design and skill involved in producing some of the awe inspiring things we saw over the weekend just reinforces the fact that the UK is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to World class cars. Some of which (as you can see above) were built by none other than…

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…WCS’ Affiliate Only Charged Dubs. The work put out by Matt and the team up in Doncaster consistently blows us away, and we’re proud to be associated with them. We’ll be running a full workshop feature within the next few months, showcasing their work on everything from forced induction conversions and tuning, to one off retrims and air setups. In the mean time, keep your eyes peeled for the low down on Danny’s amazing DarkSide Developments TT on totally custom 3SDMs (above), which we’ll be dropping soon.

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As the evening drew to a close, and with a long day looming ahead of us, the unanimous decision was made that steak and beer was a legitimate must. As we looked back on the walk to the restaurant, we spotted something that we’d all completely forgotten about; The Carpet Room. In all the excitement, we’d totally missed it! Seeing the standard of cars in there through the window, along with the trademark pink carpet of the Wheel Whores guys, we made a mental note to visit first thing tomorrow. Best laid plans and all that…

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For those of you that have done Ultimate Dubs, Ultimate Stance, Players etc but never “done” the evening, you’re missing out. Big time. It’s an integral part of the whole experience, and catching up with friends after so long is one of the reasons this show in particular is such an integral part of not just the British, but the Worldwide car scene. The Holiday Inn bar at 11pm is a particular delight.

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Sunday morning saw everyone (well, nearly everyone. Gabby) up bright and early, and ready for the day ahead. The weather couldn’t have been much better, with nary a cloud in the sky and a warm breeze blowing in. With the car parks full by 7am, and queues out of the door and up the steps by 8am, it was obvious from the beginning that that it was going to be rammed!

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With the imminent flow of thousands of showgoers looming, and last minute cleaning and prep going on all around us, we took the opportunity to have a good look at the creations adorning the carpet next door. A couple of rather special machines caught our eye:

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Paul Bird’s brilliant little Mk2 Shorty is nothing short of genius. I’m sure most of you by now have seen the build pictures, but if you haven’t, this is so much more than just cutting a few feet out of the middle. It’s well deserving of it’s “Highly Commended” award, and we’ll be doing a full and in depth feature of it very soon.

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Similarly, the Mk5 Jetta Coupe on I Love Bass’ stand is an engineering marvel. No, Volkswagen never made one, and judging by the quality of work you’d be hard pushed to tell. It’s millimetre perfect, and really does look absolutely incredible.

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Last, but by no means least, is Matt Woodgate’s 997, looking insane on Rotiform LHRs. With a full Air-Lift setup and sublime Bride interior, this is the prime example of how the UK scene is setting the bar. Stunning.

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Ballsd’s VW 181 was nuts. Proper, balls out, put your cat in a washing machine nuts. Laying frame on a bespoke air setup and rolling on Nothelles, we’ve certainly never seen anything like it.

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As the crowds filtered in and the trade stands got busier, we braved the manic main halls, to see what else the first show of the year had to offer.

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Of course, Auto Finesse were there en masse. With the ever present Caddy now supplemented by the frankly fantastic Auto Finesse girls, along with their ever innovative and in demand products, the stand didn’t have a quiet moment all day. We managed to catch up with Simon, and you can see some of his comments about the weekend on the Official Video.

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Over the course of the weekend, we managed to spend some time with WCS’ Affiliate Car Audio Security. As the UK’s largest independent car electronics retailer, and official importer of Air-Lift products, these guys really know their stuff. And it shows, when you look at some of their cars, which you’ll be able to see more of when we drop the full feature on the CAS team soon;

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Parm’s RS4 is a seriously impressive piece of machinery. Sitting on Rotiform KPSs and running an Air-Lift V3 setup, with the accompiment of a full Rockford Fosgate entertainment system, this thing is a pure Autobahn stormer.

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It’s a similar story with Raj’s M4, again with a bespoke V3 build and Rockford audio, but this time rolling on those ludicrous ceramic polished RSEs. In the flesh, this thing is possibly the most terrifying looking car we’ve come across, but the juxtaposition with the stunning build is sublime. Love it!

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With the show in full swing, we decided to check out the Show ‘n Shine. With thousands of the best VAG cars from across Europe applying for a spot on the prestigious red carpet, Dean and the team certainly had their work cut out whittling it down to the lucky 40.

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This was evident in the standard of car outside too, which gets higher every year. There were a few non VAG cars mixed up out there, just like inside, which made it all the more interesting.

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Back inside, Dan Taylor, the genius behind Wheel Unique, had brought along the “Race Vert”, which had tongues wagging all weekend. Can’t think why.

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The boys from Route 32 had their amazing R32 transplanted Caddy and Mk1 on the KleenFreaks stand, which drew admiring looks all day.

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Tucked away on the Slam Sanctuary stand was Muttley Racing’s mind bending K70. Pipey McGraw is the madman behind the Rotary powered Mk1 Golf on a Beetle chassis that we all know and love, and obviously topping that would be no easy task. I’m not quite sure where the idea for a K70 body on Passat W8 running gear came from, but it’s inspired. It sounds (and goes!) like nothing we’ve ever heard, and genuinely looks like it’s meant to be. Other than those giant steels, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a pretty stock car. Whatever he has on his cereal, we want some…

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With the wheel game more competitive than ever, we’re seeing people becoming more and more innovative. From new designs and bespoke builds, through rimmage removed from high end exotica, to custom splits made from original monoblocks and even steels, it doesn’t look like it shows any signs of slowing.

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Never has the term “innovate don’t immitate” been taken more to heart than it is right now, which is just driving the scene further and further forward, creating new challenges and ideas for us to work around. With engineering marvels like the Jetta Coupe and Pipey’s W8 K70 in the same room as a stunning Cayman on air, alongside timeless classics like Lee Scott’s superb Mk1 and a fully carbon fronted RS6, whoever says the scene is dead and buried needs to open their eyes. It’s more exciting than it’s ever been, and it’s only going to get better…

Photography by Mathew Bedworth & Rick Wade. You can check out the full albums here.

Album 1 

Album 2

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