Sarasota, Fla. — Only in the south is late winter appropriate for the grand opening of a tuning shop, but the mere mention of 1552 has historically been enough to draw a crowd.
That’s right, 1552 is back. Though technically it’s now “version 2,” the spirit that put 1552 Design on the map is alive and well in Sarasota, FL. After a couple of false starts, Brad Beardow (along with new partner Shawn Grawunde) decided to take another shot, and fifteen52 v.2 was launched January 1 of this year. The shop’s open house was held March 16, and over 100 guests showed up to catch a glimpse of the new space and show off their cars. The presence of a Performance VW photographer, as promised, certainly didn’t hurt.
More than 70 cars made an appearance, including Anthony Dowd’s HPA TT R32. A black MKV GTI slammed on bright orange 3-spokes was an outrageous complement to other eye candy, such as an aggressive army green Cabriolet and a blue New Beetle Convertible suitably updated with a set of Audi wheels. Overall, the atmosphere was family-friendly, relaxed, and laid-back. “[It] really made me glad to be back in the scene again,” says Brad. “I really like our Florida folks.”
A few lucky guests got thrill rides in C2motorsport’s stage 2 turbo Rabbit. This 250 whp beast was on site as part of C2 and fifteen52’s partnership to develop applications for VW’s 2.5 inline-5, a surefire sign of exciting things to come. The plan is to develop C2’s Rabbit into a track monster; look for it later this year at the Eurotuner GP.
Although those in the know are remarkably tight-lipped about the shop’s other new projects, fifteen52 is decidedly more performance-oriented this time around. They aren’t totally eschewing the cosmetic enhancements and imported OEM+ goodies that contributed to past infamy, but fifteen52 has decided to focus their efforts on forced induction. Lead technician Adrian Gordon brings loads of experience to the table, particularly in the disciplines of challenging installations and custom fabrication. Adrian’s personal vehicle, a 2004 R32 fitted with his own custom turbo setup, is approaching the 700 hp mark and runs a quarter mile of 11.2 seconds at 128 mph.
Brad says Fifteen52 is also preparing to launch its own line of performance products that will include items such as Alcon-based 4-wheel BBKs, clutches and flywheels, exhaust systems, short shifters, and camber kits. Given Brad’s past dedication to pushing the limits of all things VAG, we can’t help but share his enthusiasm. Keep an eye on VWvortex and on fifteen52’s site for more news of the latest and greatest tuning innovations in the VW world.
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