This H2 Is Steppin' Out and Lookin' Good
We did a double-take at this double-fake, eye-popping HummDeVille conceived by former NBA players LaSalle Thompson and Henry Turner. They now own T&T Motorsports. This converted Escalade-ish H2 is as attention-getting as these two Hummvee-sized pro basketball stars. They gave the Hummer a whole new persona by transforming it into an uptown urban-assault rig with enough bling to blind you.
What prompted this hybrid of the Hummer and Escalade? "Well, we've always thought the stock H2 looked unfinished and tried several different treatments," says 6-foot, 7-inch LaSalle Thompson, nicknamed "Tank" for obvious reasons. "We thought, well, if we can look anyway we want, we'd go upscale with the Escalade front end." T&T also does Escalade nose jobs on Silverado pickups, so the H2 conversion was a natural progression of that concept.
Even though the Escalade grille and headlights are OE components,the rest of the nose is actually a custom-molded piece splashed from the hood of a production vehicle that was widened 4 inches to fit the Hummer's broader dimensions. The HummDeVille's hood also has a steeper slope than the Escalade's, and the piece surrounding the grille is 2 inches wider than stock. The fender flares are standard H2 pieces.
LaSalle claims the installation is pretty much a bolt-on deal with only a couple of subframe modifications required. The price of the nose job runs $8,000. For that figure, the HummDeVille kit includes the hood, bumpers, grille, brackets, headlights, and wiring harness for the lights. Painting is extra, which in this case was handled by Mark Marilao and Randy Pratt on this particular vehicle. A rear bumper cap and tailgate skin are options as well, for what Thompson estimates a cost of about $1,000 each.
Not included in those dollar figures is a set of 26-inch wheels. Those Big Baller 360 rims are 2 feet, 2 inches in diameter, which is almost big enough for a stagecoach. Finding large enough rubber bands to wrap those wagon wheels is a job in itself, and currently Kumho is the only company making tires that measure a whopping P305/35R26. This humongous rolling stock adds another $15,000 to the price.
Adding even more excess, but in a different direction, the airbag suspension drops a full 9 inches to tuck the rims and rubber under the fenders. Don't even think about going off-road at that setting, much less clambering over a speed bump, until you pump those bags back up to stock ride height. The HummDeVille still looks cool all hunkered down and ready for a night on the town. It's sort of like the Hulk in a tux.
The lowering kit is a combination of an Air Ride compressor, lines, and valves, along with airbags from Slam Specialties. Developed specifically for T&T Motorsports by Dave Lewis, the $7,000 system can maintain the stock height or lay the body right down on the tires.
On this particular vehicle, LaSalle admits the customer went a bit overboard in glitzing up the interior. In addition to a chromed dash and center console, there is two-tone embroidered leather finished by Acme Tops and Tunes. Acme also installed a JL sound system with a top-of-the-line Pioneer DVD head unit. A pair of JL amps thumps out the beat through a pair of 10-inch W7 subwoofers set in a custom enclosure with neon backlighting with the mids and tweeters installed in the cabin.
Interest in these unusual body mods is running surprisingly strong. After all, according to industry research, the H2 is the number one vehicle for personalization, so T&T just might have a styling explosion on its hands. The firm is already thinking about giving the custom Cadillac treatment to an Avalanche as well, however, it has yet to be named. The Avalade or Escalanche are possibilities, or maybe even the Cadillanche. Whatever you call it, it doesn't really matter, because when you roll up to the curb, you're bound to get a Cadillac reception.