2008 Chevy Avalanche - Dream Police
Cheap Trick's Rolling Bandstand
Jhan Dolphin and the people at Real Wheels Corporation (RWC) in Gurnee, Illinois, are known for building full-tilt custom vehicles, several of which have been featured right here in Truckin'. Many of their builds revolve around a theme that dictates the overall feel of the vehicle, like Criss Angel's Mindfreak magic-themed H2 SUT. For this build, Jhan Dolphin was inspired by his children while they were playing Rockband. Jhan noticed that his children were playing and singing along to the same songs that he listened to when he was growing up. Seeing the chance to build the music-themed vehicle the team had been waiting for, Jhan had to look no further than nearby Rockford, Illinois, birthplace of legendary rock band Cheap Trick. After brainstorming with fellow RWC employees, Jhan contacted the band to get their feedback. What you see here is the result of their collaboration.
Jhan assembled the team that would work on the project: Ron Tushner, Mike Jucius, Roberto Carbajal, and Cory, Greg, and Eric Polka. The same team has worked together on several projects, so they are able to interact seamlessly to build show-quality vehicles, even when facing nearly impossible deadlines while still attending to their everyday customers. Their usual schedule involves conception and planning for the project early in the year, beginning the actual build early in the summer, and debuting the vehicle at the SEMA show at the end of October or early in November. This kind of forethought makes for a less stressful build. That wasn't the case this time, as Jhan explains, "We did get started on the concept very early in the year, but did not buy the stock '08 Avalanche until the first week in September. Thankfully, most of the aftermarket parts and components had already arrived and were ready to install." One of the first components to be installed was the 6-inch Superlift suspension that raised the Avalanche to a commanding presence once the GWG 20x91/2-inch wheels and matching 35-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires were mounted. The wheels feature a Hydro Graphics checkerboard print by Southern Comfort Conversions that you'll see throughout the truck, as it's a favorite pattern of the band that can be seen on guitars and album art.
Under the hood, the 5.3L V-8 is force-fed 11 psi of boost from a Procharger supercharger. The exhaust is helped along by a 3-inch Corsa exhaust system that terminates in a one-off Zonda-like quad tip that's made of 4-inch Corsa tips and exits through the center of a Sir Michael's roll pan. The result: 550 hp and a smile from ear-to-ear for anyone fortunate enough to be behind the wheel.
Besides the roll pan, the truck was fitted with SLP lower rockers and trim, RWC door handle surrounds, an RBP grille, and a Keystone hood to tune-up the looks of the exterior before a burly prototype guard by RWC was installed in front of the bumper and over the hood. The guard is assisted by gas-filled shocks and pivots forward on hinges located just below the KC Hilites driving lights. Due to tremendous response, RWC plans to build a production version of the piece, nicknamed "monster guard" by the build team. SLP trim replaced most of the textured plastic trim normally found on an Avalanche and sped up the process of smoothing the body for paint. Custom Painted Vehicles in Racine, Wisconsin, handled the bodywork and paint, as Jay Wright sprayed a basecoat of black BASF paint. The rear quarters were painted with the band's name, while the band members were painted on each side of the Avalanche: as they look today on one side, and how they appeared when their Dream Police album was released 30 years ago.
What would a music-themed vehicle be without some serious audio power? Fear not, the guys at Real Wheels stepped up and used MB Quart audio and Monster cables throughout the interior and bed. Aided by a trio of Odyssey batteries, two MB Quart DSC4125 amps, and three DSC500.1 amps, four DWI304 12-inch MB Quart subs thump in the bed while two DWI254 subs rock the interior. Mids and highs are channeled through two DKH116, two DSH216, and two DKH113 component speakers mounted in the doors. That's four 61/2-inch speakers, two 51/4-inch speakers, and four tweeters for those unfamiliar with MB Quart part numbers. All of those components might as well be paperweights without a source, and in the case of the Avalanche it's got two, a Fahrenheit 6.5-inch touch-screen head unit and an Xbox 360 mounted in the bed, ready to fire up a game of Rockband 2. Incidentally, the intro video of the game features Cheap Trick's "Hello There", a coincidence that the team didn't realize until midway through the build when they got their copy of the game. Drop the tailgate and you'll have the best seat in the house, as the Rockband drum set is ready for action. Two guitars are stowed in compartments under the fiberglass sub enclosure, and a 32-inch Fahrenheit monitor deploys from the midgate area to display the game. For the full concert effect, a fog machine pumps out some atmosphere and gives the SLV laser lights some contrast. Finally, fitting of the Dream Police, a roof-mounted emergency light bar from Tomar Electronics finishes the mood.
When it's time to hang up the guitars, the players can return to the cab where they're treated to the aforementioned audio as well as Katzkin black leather and suede seat covers on all four bucket seats. The passenger who calls, "shotgun" gets the seat next to a custom Hamer guitar built by Jol Dantzig especially for the Dream Police Avalanche, while the driver grips a Grant steering wheel with an original Dream Police badge in the center. Several pieces of the interior, as well as the Hamer guitar, feature the characteristic checkerboard pattern that serve to liven up the cabin along with billet pedals and grab handles from RWC. There's no doubt that Jhan Dolphin and the rest of his team are already working on their next project, as their reputation for custom vehicles continues to grow. As long as they keep cranking out fun vehicles, we'll be glad to help show them off.