Inside View

 The fast and reliable 

The relation between car-tuning enthusiasts and TÜV SÜD could be complicated. But TÜV SÜD inspector Heinrich Manthey knows the scene well. Even with the craziest projects, he ensures security as a strict, independent and reliable partner.

Text Thomas Schmelzer  Photos Alex Dietrich

Sascha Arnold, 38

„I fell in love immediately when I saw the Toyota GT 86 at the dealer’s for the first time. Over the past five years I’ve mechanically optimized it—I’ve always been fascinated by sporty, fast and straightforward driving. In the engine, there’s a Vortech compressor for extra torque. There’s also an exhaust flap, coilover suspension, some tweaks to the engine and some other adaptations. The car handles really well and just tears around the corners now. The exhaust flap doesn’t make it any louder than normal cars, but when I open the flap at car tuning shows, the exhaust really roars.“


Alina Ritsert, 23

„I grew up with five boys in the neighborhood. It was almost impossible not to become interested in cars. Even as a child I had to make do with miniature cars instead of dolls. I bought my Seat Leon two years ago. The first thing I did was to paint it a matte purple. Next, I worked on the suspension. Front and back there are coilovers to ensure that the car rides beautifully low. I also tinkered with the engine: it now has more horsepower than the original 170 and has better performance on the road. As a woman I’m still an exception in the car tuning scene, but when I tell them that I built everything on the car by myself, most guys can’t get over their astonishment.“


Daniel Wagner, 31

„I bought my BMW E28 about ten years ago, when I was twenty-one and a college student living near Wuppertal, and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted. At the time the car already had more than 200,000 kilometers on the odometer, but it was still in very good condition. Over the years I’ve improved it a bit here and there, especially updating a lot of the technology. It rides lower now, I’ve put on different rims and completely overhauled the chassis. I’d never sell the car, although I’ve gotten a lot of offers. Someone even asked me when we were stopped at a red light—but selling is out of the question.“


Michael Modrzenski, 30

„We’ve often gone on family vacations by car. A few years ago, we bought a Ranger, and then it started: we stuck a roof tent on the top, put in a second battery, mounted off-road tires, bought newer and sturdier rims. That gave us better ground clearance and we can more easily drive over roots and stones. Next we’ll be raising the truck even higher so that we can go even further out into nature. My dream is to take the family on a vacation drive through Africa, from north to south. It’s not so important to me if the conversions look good. The main thing is that everything works.“


Sven Chybiak, 34

“It feels like I’ve held every screw and every last piece of my Opel Vectra in my hand countless times. I bought the car as an original production model, but little by little my ambitions got the better of me. First I installed the Audi R8 full LED headlights at the front. The challenge here was connecting the electronics of the Opel headlight range-adjustment system with the electronics of the R8 headlights. Over time, I added for example a custom-made G.A.S. air suspension, as well as a taillight connected to an air cylinder that extends it outward and turns it to the side to expose the gas cap. I also installed a spoiler I designed and built myself as well as an extendable 26-inch screen in the trunk. Above all, I have to thank my father, who’s always supported me in both word and deed.“


Playing It Safe

Heinrich Manthey

A lowered chassis doesn’t scare TÜV SÜD vehicle inspector Heinrich Manthey at all. On the contrary: cars in his grandfath­er’s workshop fascinated him when he was just a schoolboy. After getting his driver’s license, he started tuning cars himself and began his dual vocational studies at TÜV SÜD. Manthey has been working as an expert inspector since 2016. The first time he showed up at a car tuner meeting with the TÜV SÜD insignia on his clothes, he was met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Today his expertise is greatly appreciated in the scene, and tuning enthusiasts from all over Germany make pilgrimages to him.


Sascha Arnold

„Sascha has turned his Toyota GT 86 into a racing machine. Not only does he drive the car in regular street traffic, he also drives slalom races. With so much extra power under the hood, there are naturally a number of things that must be considered: Does the speedometer even display such high speeds? Is there sufficient braking power? Will the chassis hold up to it all? Sascha has always kept strictly to the appropriate TÜV data sheets. He even installed new brakes so the car can stop as quickly as it takes off.“

Alina Ritsert

„Alina wanted to get her car as low as possible. That’s not so easy with her Seat Leon because the chassis is generally installed very high. So we thought about this and that, and then found a solution that met all the requirements. We even got approval from the manufacturer that we could lower the chassis that much at all. Alina installed a roll bar over the back seat, which had to be installed there so it wouldn’t interfere with airbag deployment during an accident and wouldn’t cause any bruising. The matte purple paint doesn’t really play a big role from a safety perspective.“

Daniel Wagner

„Daniel is a traditional young classic car guy. He takes BMWs that are at least twenty years old and pimps up the ol’ jalopy. For his E28, for instance, he changed a lot on the chassis and lowered the car. For the conversion, Daniel had to research all the data about the chassis and check in advance if it’s even allowed for his E28. Not only that, but the license plate must remain at least twenty centimeters above the ground, even for a lowered car. That’s mandatory in Germany. Daniel’s work is extremely meticulous and clean, which is why his car inspection was as easy as pie.“

Michael Modrzenski

„In contrast to the majority of tuning enthusiasts, Michael wants to raise his car. Important points for such conversions are the drive shafts and brake pads. They have to be long enough that they don’t break if the shock absorbers on the car take a big jolt. For Michael’s pickup motorhome, we also had to make sure that the threshold values for the tires weren’t exceeded because the steering gets wobblier for every upward centimeter. Finally, Michael wasn’t allowed to exceed the maximum entry height.“

Sven Chybiak

„When you do as much work on a car as Sven has, it’s particularly important to work as precisely as possible, down to the last millimeter. You need perfect spacing between every little part! Sven’s work is exemplary. Even the big manufacturers could take a page from his book for attention to detail. One of the biggest challenges on the car was the headlights from the Audi R8. They had to be installed just right, so that the headlight wipers and height adjustment still worked. A tremendous effort that paid off in the end.“