After Jason Morabito finished his Porsche 964, he knew that the car deserved a better garage roommate than the V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee it shared its space with. And with the Jeep only reeling in a minimal 8 miles-per-gallon, Jason had more than one reason to part ways with the American SUV. With his sights set on an “all wheel drive commuter” to deal with the northern winter months, Jason logically found himself browsing for Audi A5s, the perfect amalgam of sports coupe styling and Audi’s famed Quattro drive system. It was while browsing online classifieds that a particular ad caught his attention – but it wasn’t due to the car.
For the observant readers, there’s a certain obvious sense of continuity amongst the 4 features Jason has amassed here on StanceWorks, and it goes past the style, cars, and crafstmanship: it’s the photography. Winding back to 2011, Jason’s first feature went live: “The Mark V on RSs,” and at the same time, Evano Gucciardo made his photographic debut here too. Ever since, the pair have done their part in ensuring that Jason’s articles always pack a punch with impressive cars and beautiful imagery.
Evano spends his days shooting for Garber Audi & Porsche, capturing much of the inventory as it comes through. Of the countless cars that fill online classifieds, Evano’s are typically easy to spot, and that’s when Evano and Jason unexpectedly crossed paths once more. If the Deep Sea Blue Pearl paint and the Cinnamon interior weren’t enough to sell the A5 on its merits alone, Evano’s photography did the job. “I fell in love. I made my way to the dealership, and the rest is history,” Jason tells me.
From there, the story should end. Man needs commuter. Man buys commuter. The end. But that’s not the way Jason works – it never has been. The top of the steep, slippery slope was the car’s first detail – As an A5 originally purchased in Manhattan, it’s 3 years of life so far had been moderately abusive. After the full treatment from Areté Auto Salon, the exterior was brought back to a “livable” shine for its winter commuting duties.
A few months later, Jason made the call to part ways with his beloved Porsche 964, which made room for a new project. Jason kept his eyes open for the right project, but each new potential love fell through; geographically undesirable, too far gone, or simply too expensive. After six weeks of no Porsche and an abundance of garage space, Jason grew anxious to turn wrenches, and with a long upstate New York winter ahead of him, (from real upstate, he scoffs – Lake Ontario, not Poughkeepsie) he needed to keep his hands busy.
“As the winter started making me stir crazy, turning my attention to the A5 became my escape. I mean, it was there, it was stock, and the way my brain is wired… that was destined to change.” The bug was bound to bite – he could feel its presence, and his response was the only reasonable option: he hopped online and began to research what others had done with the platform, with Matt Carter’s overseas A5 build catching his attention above all others.
After reading his build thread on the StanceWorks forums, inspiration had finally struck Jason. Beginning with the obvious, he called his trusty friends at Rotiform, and not long after, a set TMBs were en route to the northeast. Jason insists that those familiar with the A5 chassis know first-hand that they’re known for “swallowing” wheels, with most owners opting for 20″ or 21″ wheels to make use of the large arches. In his typical fashion, Jason parted ways with the norm, opting for 19″ wheels, and small tires. Fellow A5 owners insisted it was a poor move, but Jason was confident that, paired with FK Coilovers turned all the way down, the A5 would sit perfectly when completed. The confidence was well-warranted; with everything said-and-done, the car fails to rub, lock to lock. “That is what I like to call ‘getting the math right'” he says.
With the ride height and wheel package sorted, Jason turned to the engine. John at Roc-Euro was called up, and through him, Jason sourced a Eurocode turbo inlet pipe and catless turbo-back dual-exit exhaust from Milltek. The rear mufflers were pitched in the dumpster, leaving only a resonator to contain the raspy howl. A Eurocode pulley was fitted for improved response, power, and torque, and to pull it all together, the A5 was given an APR Stage 2 tune.
Jason’s speed down the slope was rapidly increasing: the front bumper was tossed with the mufflers, and an OEM S-line counterpart was fitted, as was a stone-grey grill, plate filler, and matching splitter in place of the factory black units. To finish up the front end, OEM European e-code headlights were installed. The downside to such an exterior overhaul was that the new parts made the bodywork show its age, despite the detail work. Scratches, dings, dents, creases – the A5 had it all. Without hesitation, Jason made the commitment to repsray the car in its original blue hue, giving the car a completely fresh start. Justin Raymer, whom Jason has used before on his on StanceWorks debut MKV build, handled the bodywork, and the outcome was an A5 that was all but brand new. Work on the car was finished with some tweaks to the interior, including trading out the Bang & Olufsen sound system for Polk components and a free-air sub mounted to the rear deck.
“The car was just a fun way to kill time and put my personality on something I use everyday,” Jason says. It seems rare that “daily drivers” ever remain stock amongst the StanceWorks community, and Jason isn’t alone in diving, head first, into the deep end. However, if this is the way he treats his commuter, we’re anxious to see his next full-on build.