Words: Melissa J Knight Photos: Hassan Iddrisu
It’s one of three gold R8s in the world, and the only one in the U.S. I wasn’t aware of these details when it flashed past me on Pacific Coast Highway, but I knew it was something special, so I did what any automotive journalist would do: I followed it to see who was driving. It wasn’t long before the R8 stopped to refuel, and I was able to pull up next to it. You can imagine my surprise to see a chick behind the wheel. “Who did your paint?” I asked the young blond. “Roadstarr,” she smiled. Indeed, during a walk-around the vehicle I saw the Roadstarr Motorsport logo on the windshield, and the tags. With that info, I let the R8 zoom up the coast, and went on my way to Malibu.
Researching further, I read that Roadstarr customized and sold the R8 to the blond’s boyfriend— hip-hop rap star Tyga. His name, in case you didn’t know, is an acronym for Thank You God Always. Tyga’s brand is money, sex, and God; the gold R8 is a match to that, don’t cha think?
After heading over to Roadstarr, the owners, Hassan and Hussein, greeted me warmly. Originally from Ghana, the brothers began customizing cars as a hobby: the business evolved, and they set up shop in 2003. “We love it, and it pays pretty well, so at that point it became a no-brainier,“ Hassan relayed.
Roadstarr’s clients range from heads of state, to NBA players, baseball players, Robert De Niro, doctors, lawyers. . . people who have a lot of disposable income. When I asked what the most outrageous car they’ve done was, Hassan didn’t hesitate,“The Audi.”
They started with a black 2010 R8 V8. “Basically we tore down the whole car and rebuilt it from scratch. This is the first gold one we did, and the project was extensive.”
“Tell her how we did the paint,” Hussein piped in.
Hassan continued, “We painted the base with liquid silver, which as you know is expensive. That’s what gives it that mirror chrome look. In a special process we added a gold tint. The car was a shell, and everything was done a piece at a time. The work took about sixty days. There were some obstacles but we worked through them, and the client was happy and excited about the final product.”
Color was not the only modification. Roadstarr reupholstered the whole interior in Connolly leather, the same buttery grade used by Bentley and Rolls Royce. For the gold R8 they selected tan suede with contrasting brown. The concept of the interior was Versace, since Tyga is a Versace fan, and the designer’s lion logo can be seen embroidered on the headrests. The new interior was designed to flow with the body design, and also to retain a German feel to it.
Forged aluminum wheels were added along with a tuned ECU and titanium exhaust. I was told the R8 handles even smoother and has an additional sixty horses.
“Since Tyga drives it every day, we kept the mods to a minimum ‘cause we didn’t want to turn the R8 into a race car, We didn’t enhance it so it only ran on jet fuel: It’s still powered by regular gas.”
While the brothers won’t reveal the invoice price of the gold R8, Hassan said the cost of these modifications might run about $75,000. That’s on top of the vehicle base price of $115K.
For a hip-hop star like Tyga who takes his car on tour, this might be a deduction.