Feature Car: Papaya Hearththrob

words: Louli Kourkounakis, photos: Peter Parker

Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Q3_2023 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, please join Audi Club here.

Emmalene Rebecca (@bagged_cheeztt) first gained an interest in the car community when her then boyfriend took her to VAG Fair in York, PA. Walking around, checking out the cars and talking with others, she fell in love with enthusiast car culture.

She had an Audi A6 and wanted another Audi. What she really liked was the TT, so her journey to find one began. Emmalene didn’t really have specific requirements but came across a Mk1 Papaya Orange TT 3.2 with VR6. At the time she had no idea how rare the car was. For those that know, the Papaya is an exceptionally rare color in the U.S. – just 25 examples were sold, to be precise. The owner of the car just knew this was the one for Emmalene and brought it to her house for purchase.

Now dubbed the CheezTT for obvious reasons, the car began a process of evolution fitting of the enthusiast scene Emmaleane first embraced at VAG Fair. It sits much lower, on airbags with camber plates. In order to help achieve her ultra-low stance, she even added motor mount spacers and a sectioned subframe, as well as having the frame notched to lift the 3.2 VR6. A custom air intake was also added, enhancing the 3.2’s “wookie” growl when on throttle.

From a styling standpoint, the car wears iconic BBS RS wheels in a 17”/18” stepped fitment. Emmalene replaced the factory bumper with a more stylish Votex piece. She added an exhaust with heart-shaped tips, and those tips are sparked her love theme for the interior. Her seats, OEM pieces from a Golf R32, have a custom heart stitch pattern, a purple heart steering wheel, as well as hearts on the arm rest, headliner and a bar adorned with hearts in the rear.

It was Josh Benton and his own lowered build who inspired her to lower her TT so aggressively. She would scour the internet looking for photos and trying to learn how to achieve her desired stance. Josh finally sold the car to someone local to Emmalene, where she was able to see it in person. That car is also where her wheels came from, giving her a little part of the car she looked up to and that inspired her when she built her own ride.

As a woman, she’s come across a lot of men who haven’t exactly been supportive, or don’t think modding cars is something women can do. She has found that other women are much more supportive in the community. Overall, though, she has found most people to be helpful and has even found a “chosen family” through the car community.

Thinking back to when she first got the car eight years ago, Emmalene never would have thought she’d be where she is with it now. She feels like she’s made it, and is so honored to be an inspiration for others and to be looked up to for all she has achieved.  Parting words from Emmalene to encourage other women, “Don’t let the dream die.”