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Have you ever owned a Swiss Army Knife?

They’re the original multi-tool, they’re known for their quality and are good-looking, as good-looking goes for multi-generational pocket tools. You might be thinking, why are we talking about Swiss Army Knives? Well, the Volkswagen Golf is the Swiss Army Knife of the automotive industry from its most basic form to the more elaborated GTI and R models, and today we’re talking about one of Sydney’s wildest Swiss Army Knives – [SLEP3R] Charlie’s Volkswagen Golf R.

A car that can truly do it all – from daily driving, to 10 second quarter miles and even UBER!

That all might seem a bit far-fetched, surely a 10-second Golf is so highly strung that it would no longer be able to do the daily duties, let alone Uber. But what you may not realise is Charlie is what you’d call a die-hard car guy, his whole life has rotated around octane fuelled fun and when your tuner is EuroWerke – 10 seconds isn’t as highly strung as you think. Before we dive deep into what makes [SLEP3R] Golf R so special, let’s take a step back in time and introduce the man behind the smile and our 6th customer feature: Charlie.

Charlie can always remember being into cars.

As a child his favourite toys were the four-wheel kind and going into school all his friends seemed to share the interest. Growing up in Sydney’s west during the peak of Australia’s Show-Car era meant he didn’t have to go far for inspiration. Back then every corner had another custom car with a stereo and blow-off-valve making more racket than a 747. Good times. When Charlie was old enough to start driving the style of tuning had become slightly more international with JDM, DTM and other ‘international trends’ becoming more prevalent here. JDM really peaked Charlies interests.

Being a car-guy, he understood things were going to cost money, so even at a young age Charlie began working and saving. Hospitality is where he ‘cut his teeth’ and is the industry he still works in today (running a pub!).  With some coins saved Charlie purchased his first car; a Torino Red (almost Burgundy) CRX ED9. ‘This was it – a ticket to freedom’, Charlie remembered thinking. The CRX served him for many years, many budget modifications and more importantly – many late-night national park drives. With-out a doubt, he was hooked and not long after he upgraded to a Milano Red Honda Civic VTI-R.

Falling for tuning.

The VTI-R is where Charlie really began to fall in love with tuning and the potential of a vehicle with the right parts fitted. He fell in love with the ‘sleeper’ style car, which is generally defined as: “Sleeper cars,” also known as “sleepers,” refer to cars that appear ordinary or unassuming on the outside but have high-performance capabilities under the hood. These vehicles are designed to look like regular commuter cars or sedans, often lacking the flashy appearance or distinguishing features typically associated with high-performance cars. Over the next few years, he built his Honda Civic VTI-R into quite the ‘togue’ (mountain-road) monster.

Eventually the time came for an upgrade, by now Charlie was well and truly Honda-addicted. As Honda says, “The Power of Dreams”. Wanting to take their motto one step further, Charlie wanted power. And Honda power in its best form is a ‘K20A motor. At the time the Honda EP3R was the top-dog for Japanese hot hatches, commonly described as Japan’s GTI. A Nighthawk black car was found, secured and the tuning journey began.

The keen eye will notice…

‘EP3R’ – that’s a lot like his number plate, well that’s where it came from! Charlie’s EP3R was freedom, speed and fun all wrapped up into one tiny black car. It didn’t take long for modifications to begin. First was all the ‘bolt on’ parts, then came its best form which was building the naturally aspirated 2L to space-ship levels. How? Charlie opted for a completely rebuilt headwork which included titanium internals allowing his 2L to rev beyond 9000rpm, redlining at 9300RPM. At this point in the build, it made 163fwkw and was a riot to drive. A while later, Charlie decided to go ‘next level’ with a turbo kit including a HKS GT2835R Turbo. Power increased to a conservative 225fwkw and a heap more torque. In the end, this power overcame the front wheel drive system and eventually wasn’t the drive Charlie wanted. By the end of his ownership, it was one of the most modified EP3R’s in Australia.

Charlie amassed years of fond memories in his Hondas. It was ‘the good old days’ when everyone built their cars with friends, shared the real struggles of DIY backyard tuning with no tools and the never-ending slow grind to save more money. There was very little ego back then. All the late-night cheeky drives down Heathcote Road & Royal National Park were always fun. But as life does, things changed and for Charlie he had met someone, fallen in love and was about to begin a family… a few more doors might be needed.

Life was progressing – in a positive way.

In 2018 life changed and when life changes, the change is happening whether you’re ready or not – Charlie knew this and was raised to prepare. So how does a die-hard car guy prepare for one of life’s biggest changes? First, we think about what car would be ideal for such change and secondly, we obtain such car. The word ideal would imply best suited for the change on hand but ideal also as a car enthusiasts’ sole car, hobby, and racer. Ideally the car needed more doors, more space, pinch of luxury, splash of extra safety and a whole lot of aftermarket support. The line was drawn in the sand, the Honda was put up for sale and a target set on a brand-new Volkswagen Golf R Mk 7.5.

Queue: [SLEP3R] Version 2.

Now Charlie wasn’t going to get just any Golf R, he hoped that the standard car could be that little bit different to most. Now this wasn’t going to be easy, for example: Right now, there’s 244 Volkswagen Golf R mk7.5 for sale on Carsales.105 of these are white, 59 blue, 35 black, 6 in gold and just 2 in Red – meaning only 0.82% of cars available for sale right now are available in red. You could imagine his excitement when he found a brand-new car in red. (Always having a soft spot for Red!)

With the Golf R purchased the age-old internal battle of leaving it stock whilst under warranty began. Endless nights google searching new parts, eventually reminding himself he promised he would ‘wait until after warranty’ (Most of us have been there…). After a month of this cycle of late nights and promise reminders, the itch became all too much, and this is where our story and Charlies unite. After a literal single month of ownership, the Golf R was booked in at Eurowerke for a Stage 1 tune.

Three days into lock-downs.

Exactly three days into lock-downs Charlie’s wife gave birth to their beautiful first child, a baby boy – Kayson. As any car guy – many things were going through his mind, like ‘what baby seat should I buy?’, ‘how old does he need to be to start working on cars?’ and ‘what will I do if he doesn’t like cars…’. Jokes aside there were a few things to organise, and Charlie couldn’t wait. First purchase was a NUNA baby-seat, they’re basically Recaro’s for babies and of course it just so happened that another year had passed, so it was time for another stage to be added… It’s for the baby!

Stage 3 – let it be.

Stage 3 is this red Golf R’s ‘final form’. By this point, there wasn’t an element not improved by Charlie. The modifications are the same till this day and they are:

Performances Enhancements

  • EUROWERKE TUNE+ Custom ECU tune
  • REVO ETR V2 HYBRID TURBO
  • REVO Downpipe
  • REVO Intercooler
  • REVO Charge pipes
  • REVO TMD
  • REVO LPFP
  • Autotech HPFP
  • IPE Valvetronic exhaust
  • Eventuri Carbon intake
  • Turbotechnics Intake pipe
  • SnowPerformance Stage 2.5 WMI

Handling & Braking

  • HPA Dog-bone mount
  • HPA Rear sway bar
  • Racingline Lowered springs
  • Racingline 4pot brake caliper
  • Racingline 345mm front rotors
  • DBA T3 rear rotors

In Car Upgrades

  • FOCAL IS165 components F&R
  • FOCAL BAM XL 2 layers sound deadening
  • FOCAL FPX 5.1200 Amplifier
  • AUDISON Bit Ten DSP
  • AUDISON APX10 Subwoofer
  • NUNA baby seats x2

Aesthetics

  • Flow Design front lip splitter
  • Maxton side skirt extension
  • Maxton rear diffuser extension
  • Oettinger rear wing spoiler
  • Oettinger rear wing extension
  • RAYS CE28CR 18×8.5 +44
  • ESC titanium lug bolts
  • Racingline engine oil cap
  • Racingline engine dip stick
  • Racingline oil filter housing
  • Racingline coolant tank cap
  • Racingline brake fluid cap

Into the 10’s!

For the next year Charlie’s focus was his son and wife. His GOLF R was still used for daily-duties, getting him to work and also getting his family where they needed to be. The only thing outside of this was the occasional quarter mile. At this point Charlie was chasing a 10-second pass, which is truly supercar fast. On the 25th of September 2022 Charlie tagged us in a facebook post – it read:

“Soo in 2001 – The Fast & The Furious movie was released. I was barely 10 years old and wondered, what are they talking about… 10 second car?

Fast forward two decades later I finally understand the struggles it mentally & financially takes to build one. Yes I could’ve just bought a Tesla or Porsche and be done but no fulfilment there.

Thank you to EuroWerke & Performance Brands for everything from friendly advice, servicing, supplying hardware modifications and an unmatched family feeling business relationship Road & Race Performance Pty Ltd where Peter’s 30years experience in suspension geometry knowledge keeps the car aligned like an arrow Carbon Autohaus for my TCU software & DSG maintenance utilising top shelf products Revo Australia ETR V2, unopened motor on 98 petrol and a bit of methanol injection.

Now most importantly, have to thank the wife for listening to daddy’s car talks when I know you DGAF about owning a fast piece of metal. Love you for your patience and supporting my passion.”

Charlie N

That’s right, Charlie was into the 10s.

We remember that day clearly because it didn’t just happen overnight. We had his Golf R running consistent low 11second passes, but it wasn’t enough. We ended up having Charlie bring his car back in where Ozzy and TUNE+ completed a custom ECU tune incorporating water-methanol injection (no longer a generic off-the-shelf map from REVO) and just like that – Charlie got his 10.85 @ 127mph.

Charlie had reached his goal to build a 10-second daily driver, a sleeper. Something he could use every day, be taken anywhere and be used for multiple motorsports. What started as a brand-new car in 2018, he had now reached his goal 4 years later. It just so happened, this milestone was surpassed even quicker…with the birth of his second child, a baby girl – Mia.

Stage UBERX.

Today Charlie is still in hospitality, he’s managed some of the most successful pubs, bars, and bistros in Sydney. It’s a career he loves but with additional goals in the pipeline he’s also picked up a second income, Ubering in his SLEP3R Golf R. Yes, you read that correctly – you could book an Uber and be picked up in a 10second Golf R… I guess it goes without saying, Charlies Uber rating is 5-star. Every Friday & Saturday out come the NUNA baby seats and in go the water bottles and mints. The stories Charlie has using such a modified car for Uber is hilarious, and why not. They say all cars have a story, but this Golf… its story is wild. His goals currently aren’t to run 9’s or to change up his current build with new wheels or more carbon fibre. His goal today is to buy him and his family their first home and in Sydney with no help it will be more taxing than any car-build in the past, but one we’re sure Charlie will knock out in no-time at all. He’s just that kind of guy, he is the hardest working, biggest smiling, most giving and grateful person in the room… no matter the room.

Thanks are in order!

We wanted to share Charlie’s story because he’s truly apart of ours. Every now and then in life you meet people who are so positive, welcoming, and warm that they can’t help but make your day and your life that little bit better. That’s what Charlie does to us. He’s not normal and he’s willing to do what most aren’t whether that be work multiple jobs and insane hours or be there for a friend going through a hard time. He’s always present and because of his ridiculously fast Golf R – he’s also always on time.

We’ll end things like we do with every customer feature, with their favourite quote:

“Having a goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish.”

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Charlie’s Swiss Army Knife: 10-second [SLEP3R] Golf R – Galleries: