Tony Gonzalez' Chevy Express - Tight End Transporter
A Limo's Luxury With Silver Subtlety
After 60 minutes of bone-jarring hits, high-flying acrobatics, and scoring touchdowns with ease, Kansas City Chief Pro Bowl tight-end Tony Gonzalez needed to escape the gridiron and head toward some rest and relaxation. Getting away for a weekend-or maybe longer if he's lucky-was as easy as leaving his Los Angeles home and heading towards Las Vegas. Tony's biggest problem was finding the right mode of transportation to take him around. For this solution, Tony contacted Max Gilmore of South County Customs, who is in Lake Forest, California. Max listened to Tony's ideas and went to work to create a one-of-a-kind Chevy Express van that now resembles more of a subtle limo than a family hauler.
After writing down all of the ideas on the South County to-do list, the team quickly got to work doing what they do best: paint and body. Starting with a blank white canvas, the Express van's front grille was removed, along with the front and rear bumpers, and every piece of glass was pulled from the Chevy. After the van was prepped for paint, it was pulled into the paint booth, where it received several coats of PPG Brilliant Silver, and then endless coats of clear were applied. A trick stainless mesh grille was added to the chromed grille, along with a silver-painted Bow Tie. Next, the front turn signal and marker lights were smoked, as were the rear taillights. Before going back into the van, each piece of side and rear glass received two coats of limo black window tint for the ultimate privacy. Looking more like a Stealth bomber than a van, the Chevy was now ready for some other custom goodies.
Mike Hight, of Hight Fabrication, used custom drop shackles out back to drop the van down 4 inches and Eibach lowering coils were used to drop the front 3 inches. To fill each fenderwell, Max selected beautiful 22x9-1/2-inch Milano Motoring M722 chrome wheels. Trying to emulate Tony's BMW 7-Series with the big and little wheel look, the South County Customs' team added 265/35R22 Nitto 420S tires up front and 305/40R22 Nitto tires out back. A lowered van not only looks incredibly better, but it also brings the center of gravity down and adds stability and better handling, as well. With the 22-inch Milano Motoring wheels bolted on, the next logical step was to move to the interior.
To say the South County crew started from scratch would be a gross understatement. The van was gutted bare by, literally, ripping out everything but the dash. Bare wood planks exposed themselves from the roof, while bare metal was the starting point for the floor, too. Each seat was removed and stripped down to the metal frame. Gray leather and gray ostrich leather inserts were used to recover each seat. M&I Upholstery of Lake Forest handled each piece of interior perfection in the van. Every piece that could be removed on the inside of the van was covered in gray suede, which included the door panels, headliner, side panels, armrests, door pulls, and underneath the seat coverings. Speaking of seats, the front seats were moved back 8 inches to accommodate Tony's 6'5" frame. The back seats were removed and Hight Fabrication built a custom J-seat out of welded steel and foam padding for an additional limo-like upholstery. A mini bar was also fabbed up by using more suede with blue Streetglow neon, which provided the mood lighting for the bar area. Other limo accoutrements include: LED lighting found in the headliner, a custom-built fridge, and a champagne holder-for those special occasions.
Audio Video and Navigation Systems was called in for the additional audio for Tony's van, and they did not disappoint us. Installing a Pioneer AVIC-D1 head unit for navigation and DVD chores, the system plays movies through four Gryphon Video 9-inch monitors that are found in each of the headrests. The tunes are provided by MB Quartz, with mids and highs set in the doors, Panasonic separates were mounted in the headliner, and three 10-inch low-profile Pioneer subs were mounted underneath the J-seat. Powering all of this audio mayhem are two Sony 2100 amplifiers. Now, Tony can cruise in limo-luxury while jamming to his favorite tunes.
Can you think of a more perfect Vegas cruiser? It's subtle yet luxurious, and private yet very VIP. We think custom vans are cool, and this one doesn't need shag carpet or gullwing doors.