A Modern-Day Woodie Wagon
Back in the '60s, adolescent teens spent their days soaking up rays, surfing, and just plain having fun on the beaches of Southern California. Hot spots such as the shores of Malibu, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach were flooded with enthusiastic high school students ready to make the most of the summer sun and surf. Girls in bikinis soaked up the sun's rays, while the guys would hang ten on classic longboards, surfing some of the most killer tubes to collapse on the West Coast shoreline. The Beach Boys sang tunes that reflected the activities of the time, while carefree youngsters acted them out. Being a surf bum was a way of life, and these die-hard wave sliders never passed up the chance to paddle out and wait for a killer set to come in. Along with the relaxed surf and sand environment of that day and age came a surfer's unique transportation. A lot of surfers depended on the good old Volkswagen bus for their ride to the waves, but the really cool guys drove woodie wagons. These super-cool people movers had all the right ingredients for a surfer's trip to the beach, including plenty of space for boards, buddies, and babes. Toss a little Beach Boys into the old eight track, and Good Vibrations poured through the speakers, setting the scene for one of the most relaxing and entertaining decades in history. American Products Corporation, located in Corona, California, was faced with the yearly task most automotive aftermarket companies face, which is building a vehicle for the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Desiring to build something trendy yet different, APC created this modern-day woodie surf wagon using the popular Plymouth PT Cruiser as its custom platform. Having only eight short weeks to construct the masterpiece, APC's marketing and project vehicle coordinator Larry Ashley got cracking on building one of the most intense PT Cruisers to hit the streets since Plymouth introduced them to the public.
The original Ford woodies that roamed the streets in the '60s were usually original and worn from the beach weather. Today's intense custom demands forced APC to perform some radical modifications on the PT, giving it a modern and retro look all at once. The custom journey began by upgrading the factory suspension to a completely adjustable Fast Bag air-ride system. Josh Lucas of Customs Unlimited took the PT in and installed the air suspension, which allows the modernized woodie to plummet a total of 5 inches toward the sand. Bringing the drop to life and adding a dose of hot rod flare are Colorado Custom Slotted Lazear billet wheels. A set of 18-inch slotted Lazears was mounted on BFGoodrich P245/40ZR18 tires and stuffed under the nose of the beach cruiser. The rear fenders house 20-inch slotted Lazears mounted on BFGoodrich P255/35ZR20 tires producing a retro big and little look. Now that the contemporary custom was sitting pretty with a hammered stance and a bold set of billets, it was time to throw in some body modifications followed by a radical paint scheme.
In order to transform the PT into an automotive work of art, Larry Ashley turned it over to Dan Malkovic and Prox Garcia at Starbucks Custom in Riverside, California, to perform the body alterations and to lay the base color. First, Dan widened the rear fenders by 3 inches for an aggressive look while suiciding the rear doors to emulate the characteristics of a '32 or '34 Ford roadster. Unlike the woodies of the '60s, you won't find any longboards strapped to the roof of this cruiser. A rag-top sunroof was installed by Inalfa Sunroofs, allowing clear and sunny skies in while cruising the boulevard. An APC custom roll pan, a chrome racing style gas door, and Euro taillights were all pulled from the company's shelves and fit onto the PT's reconfigured shell. Up front, a Xenon front bumper mask and a lower lip spoiler spice up the factory picture, while Precision Design billet upper and lower grilles add a dose of shine. Resembling running boards on the old surf woodies are California Cruiser side skirts that allow the smooth surf and sand style to flow from front to back. After the body modifications were completed, Prox Garcia of Starbucks sprayed the House of Kolor Candy Apple Red with PPG Sparkle Aluminum basecoat/clearcoat. A dose of classic spice was handled by the addition of woodgrain flame graphics layed and sprayed by Van Demon and Blake Weaver of APC. The finished product successfully blends the coolest elements of hot rod, custom, and modern-truck styling.
A walk on the inside reveals Cerullo seats covered in creme leather accented by taupe inserts sewn up by L's upholstery. Polished billet inserts from APC adorn the spokes of the factory steering wheel, while APC polished eyebrows cover the tops of the APC Speed-Glo gauges. A complete audio system featuring Tsunami, Zapco, Crystal Mobile Sounds, and Kenwood components was installed by Unleashed Audio Designs. Getting anxious surfers to the waves in a hurry is a Whipple Supercharger placed on top of the factory four-cylinder. A CGS dual exhaust was added to give eager wave riders a wake-up call on the way to the early morning surf session.
American Products, with the help and orchestrated direction of Larry Ashley, created the baddest PT Cruiser to scrape the roads of Southern California. A tasteful blend of timeless woodie styling, modern rolling apparel, and classic street rod modifications make this contemporary custom a winner. American Products thanks all who contributed either their product or labor to make this futuristic woodie a runaway hit. We want to borrow the PT sometime for a weekend surf excursion. All we need is some classic tunes and a couple of longboards, and we are set. Surf's up, dude.
The most unique feature of APC's late-model surfmobile is the woodgrain flames strategically laid out and artfully sprayed by the skilled hands of Van Demon and Blake Weaver. This bold graphic treatment lends itself favorably to street rod and classic woodie styling. The finished look screams custom with a strong hint of surf-mobile thrown in to snag your eyeballs. All of the elements combined take you back to a time when the smell of Hawaiian tropic permeated the air, beach babes flocked to the California shores, and surfers spent their days in the water until the sun went down. The ragtop resembles those found in early model oval window Volkswagens, while the modern Colorado Custom billet wheels bring you back to the present day. In any event, the whole look is cutting-edge from nose to tail. So slide back the rag, deflate the airbags, pop in some tunes, and prepare to go cruising. All that's missing is a couple of boards and a few babes, and it's Surf City, here we come.