2003 Chevy Avalanche - Crimson Cadillanche
A Head Turner From T&T Motorsports
What does a former NBA player do upon retiring from basketball? Well, unlike an old soldier, he sure doesn't fade away. Take Henry Turner, for instance. This 6-foot 7-inch guard, who played for Seattle in'88 and the Sacramento Kings in the'90s, teamed up with fellow player LaSalle Thompson to form T&T Motorsports, a high-profile customizer of cars and trucks. This firm is known for some unusual double-fake moves such as creating the Humm de Ville, an H2 with an Escalade body conversion.
Taking its game plan to another level, T&T's next venture used some of those lessons learned on the Humm de Ville to create the Cadillanche (that's our nickname-he calls it the Big Baller EXT, a reference to high rollers and the company's wheel division, not basketball). The rig started life as a 2003 Chevy Avalanche, but it clearly has gone through a serious workout.
Why didn't Turner simply start with a Cadillac Escalade to begin with? "I liked the cleaner, smoother lines of the '03 Avalanche body," he explains. "I didn't want all that long cladding that goes down the sides. Sleek and sexy was what I was aiming for, basically an Escalade with a trimmed-down figure. And I love the Escalade front end; it's the sexiest in the SUV line."
Four months later, with some help from Seatworks, Creations Audio, ICE, and S&S Thompsons Auto Body, the transformation from raw rookie to a totally toned MVP was complete.
The process began at T&T with the front end conversion, swapping out the bumper, grille, lights, and hood. The fenders required some substantial fabrication, welding on sheetmetal and new mounts. Also, the frame had to be shortened up front a couple of inches, which then required changing the mounting holes for the core support. With the body mods complete, T&T fitted a heavy-weave mesh grille from Grille Craft at the leading edge.
Next, a 2/4 suspension drop was handled by Jeff Remington of T&T. The lowered chassis rides on huge hoops that measure 26 inches in diameter, and these Big Baller Wheels are wrapped with rubber bands from Kumho sized 305/35ZR26.
Exterior trim pieces include chromed door handles and a Pro-Fit fuel door that's custom engraved with the Big Baller logo. There are also engraved logos on the sides from Fender Bender International.
After prepping the body and smoothing the rear bumper, S&S Thompsons sprayed on a Chevy shade of red normally seen on the Tahoe and Corvette. Other than the obvious attention-getting aspect, why did Turner choose the crimson color? "The reason is that the Escalade doesn't come in red," he says. "That's another eye-opener."
As if Turner's ride needed any more head-turners, inside the cockpit red is the word-as in red suede upholstery, red snakeskin inserts, and red granite trim on the dash, doors, console, and wheel. Even the headliner has red suede and snakeskin. This combination of materials is really unusual, but the shared hue ties them all together into a lavish treatment.
What prompted the distinctive design of the interior trim? "I was really tired of wood grain and wanted something different," Turner recalls. "I found that Phoenix Imaging in Texas can put any pattern on a hard plastic surface. It had a sample of some black granite, and I asked if they could change it to red. It's a one-of-a-kind treatment, but it can be duplicated."
Nobody ever said NBA players are subtle in their style. And they don't go quietly, either. In the rear of the cockpit are four 12-inch Audiobahn Eternals with more thump than a team of NBA players pounding down the court. The mids and tweets are also Audiobahn components. Feeding juice to the speakers are two DUB 1800-watt 1800D amps and a pair of DUB 6002 amps, 600 watts each. They're mounted in the cargo area in custom fiberglass enclosures fabricated by Dave Fonts of Creations Audio West. Added to the sounds are sights from five video monitors, one in each headrest and visor, and one in the dash. Audiobahn supplied the A3451 head unit, along with the A1451CD/DVD changer.
The one thing Turner didn't touch was the engine. "I like to cruise. I prefer it smooth," he says. "I just wanna go two miles per hour so everybody can see me."