Wild Blue Yonder
Tonka Meets Lambo
Turning heads is a regular occurrence for this '03 Hummer H2 lifted to the clouds, showered in bright paint, and expressing enough attitude for the wildest of SUVs. This H2, however, seems to have an identity crisis. Built rock solid with almost 20 inches of extra height under its frame, opening the doors is an admirable task, but when the doors go up instead of out, you have to think, is this a Tonka truck or a mixed-up Lamborghini luxury hauler? Whichever the case may be, when Manny de Encio arrives and opens the doors, people just lose their minds.
We witnessed it first-hand, as we drove to our ultra-secret photo location for the cover shoot and saw people literally lose the ability to operate their automobiles. Pointing, gawking, and slowing down to admire the Hummer are everyday situations for Manny; even if it is just a trip to the grocery store. It's no wonder, when he told us his plans for the H2, we were very interested in the blue one.
Manny is no stranger to the Hummer H2. He is responsible for a majority of the highest, sickest, and cleanest Hummers roaming the West Coast, including our Dec. '03 cover H2. His plan for this project was to build a higher, stronger, and faster Hummer than any of his previous builds. Beginning with a black '03 H2, the entire suspension was removed at his shop, CTL Motorsports in Westminster, California. In place of the stock hardware now resides a complete 14-inch Bulletproof Suspension kit with dual Fox Racing 2.0 shocks with reservoirs and billet clamps. Each component was either chrome-plated by Anaheim Plating or painted to match the exterior. To raise the H2 high enough to accommodate the wheels Manny envisioned, a 3-inch body kit was installed.
Now, entry and egress was a real challenge, and to make things even more difficult, a new set of Interco 49-inch-tall tires were mounted on custom Weld 17x14-inch Mountain Crusher wheels and bolted to the H2. Stopping the huge monster is not easy, and that responsibility was placed in the hands of Power Slot rotors and Hawk brake pads. Now that he had the H2 at the height he wanted, Manny moved to the interior for improved looks and sounds.
Inside the H2, a host of audio and video products makes the trips to shows, the river, or work a joy. Eiger Vision supplied the DVD player, 7-inch motorized screen in the dash, and four 7-inch monitors in each headrest. Plenty of decibels can be heard coming from the H2, thanks to Crossfire Audio that supplied the two 15-inch subs in the rear and two 8-inch subs in the front doors. Powering the speakers are a total of six Crossfire amps, and just in case the low frequencies are too much, the H2 is also equipped with four sets of Crossfire components providing plenty of highs and mids. The system was built and installed by the crew at CTL, and is wired with audio cables from EFX by Scosche. An Optima Yellow Top battery handles the starting power, and a quick connect 110V power supply is wired in for show demonstrations. Manny's stock H2 seats were upholstered by the talented guys at 714 Motorsports, who added baby ostrich leather, giving the H2 a luxurious look and feel.
For body modifications, Manny looked no further than the CTL catalog and ordered a Xenon body kit, a Clear Gearz diff cover, Toucan neon lighting, a polished Sport Rack, and dozens of Supreme Legends billet pieces from top to bottom. While each of these was on order, the Xenon kit was installed, and the H2 went into the paint booth. Painted House of Kolor Kandy Cobalt Blue, the H2 was stunning as it soared into the blue yonder. Even the frame was painted to match, with several interior pieces also receiving the vibrant color. Finally, the H2 received the most custom and attention-grabbing modification -- the CTL Lambo door conversion. Now it was time to add horses to the heavily modified Hummer.
Under the tilt hood, the 6.0L received a polished and intercooled Vortech supercharger, Nology wires, Beru spark plugs, and Gibson headers and exhaust. Some 500 hp later, the H2 moves with a much brisker pace, despite the tractor-size rolling stock.
During our time with Manny, one thing was consistent: He is always looking to the future, and if you can believe it, he already has plans for his next H2 project. Believe us, we will be there for every step and when asked if it would be more Tonka or more Lambo, he smiled and said, "Just wait and see." Stay tuned -- this story is far from over.