On Sunday afternoon, a buddy and I hopped in to the E9 and blasted down the interstate, headed for down town Los Angeles. Waiting off of the 7th street bridge was Ryan Worthington and his 2007 Audi A4, and underneath it, one of the best sets of wheels we’ve seen in some time. Rotiform, infamous for their lets-make-these-little-wheels-in-to-big-wheels shenanigans, has paired a classic set of 16″ BBS E50s with custom rim halves, transforming Ryan’s A4 into something entirely unique.
Ryan, notoriously handsome in certain unmentionable circles, has been putting his Audi through the paces for some time now. After picking it up in 2009 with 45,000 miles on it, he finds himself just shy of 3 years later with more than 100,000 miles on the car. To reiterate, that’s a lot of driving. Over the course of the 60,000 miles he’s racked up since buying the car, he’s gone through 5 sets of wheels, two suspension setups, and has even upgraded his way to a Revo Stage2+ driveline and assorted other go-fast goodies.
It’s only now, however, than Ryan sounds truly content with his car. That’s not to say it’s complete by any means, but he’s reached a point of satisfaction. The turning point came with his latest set of wheels.
One of the notable wheels in racing history is the BBS E50, a magnesium-centered modular wheel engineered and built for the racetrack. There was a time when it represented the pinnacle of the wheel industry. However, when Heinrich Baumgartner and Klaus Brand created the masterpiece nearly 40 years ago, there’s little doubt that they didn’t expect the wheels to find their way on to cars built 4 decades later.
I recall when Ryan began his quest for E50s, when he began scouring the edges of the internet in hopes of finding what many consider to be the holy grail. Fortunately for Ryan, there happens to be a company out there that specializes in such oddities and jobs. Rotiform, just down the street from Ryan’s LA stomping grounds, happened to have the perfect solution. With E50 centers on their shelves and the ability to resize them to Ryan’s liking, it was seemingly a match made in heaven. From 16″ to 18″, Rotiform upsized the BBSs from historic to modern while keeping the aesthetics of the wheel in tact; and at 9 and 10 inches wide, they sit under the car perfectly.
Fitting the wheels to the car, however, was a not-so-easy task. For a car meant for 18″ and larger wheels, the tiny centers and their outer bolt circle disagreed with the A4’s brake calipers. A full 15mm had to be shaved down from the brakes in order to clear; and that’s just for the front. In order to attain the rear fitment he was dreaming of, the fenders had to be massaged, and they had to be just right. The edge of the fender rests perfectly between the lip of the wheel and the edge of the 215/40/18 tire. Thanks to AirLift bags and AccuAir management, the car’s fenders pop in and out of place with each fill and dump.
The popping and clicking is a constant reminder to Ryan; a reminder of where he’s finally taken his car. A perfect mesh of new and old, with the right modifications in both the show and go departments. He’s built a practical car he can continue to stack mile upon mile on, yet from any angle inspires a bit of excitement among any car enthusiast. Ryan seems content, saying “it’s the best my car has ever been.”, and we agree. Job well done.
But “content” is never a reason to stop, and I know there’s more on the horizon for Ryan and his A4.
Our photo shoots and features introduce us to countless quality people, but I can say Ryan has been one of the best. In a scene and community that are constantly growing, it’s always gratifying to find not only people trying new things, but quality people who support everything we do. There’s no question we’ll be eagerly awaiting whatever move he and his car decide to pull next.