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2002 GMC Envoy- Dad Van

When Life Hands You a Child, Get a Bigger Truck

Phil Gordon
Feb 23, 2018
Photographers: Phil Gordon
The one event that changes every man’s direction in life is the birth of a child. Some refocus their dreams and passion, and others simply work harder to provide a good life for their newborns. For Patrick Rapin of Saginaw, Michigan, the news of his wife becoming pregnant set in motion a new chapter of his life and refocused his dreams. As a young boy, Patrick remembers being fascinated with automobiles. “I would sit on my front porch and guess the year, make, and model of every vehicle that drove by,” Patrick tells Truckin. “I didn’t realize how much that passion would ignite something even bigger in me.”
Photo 2/13   |   2002 GMC Envoy Dad Van
The very first custom truck show Patrick attended was in Indianapolis. At 16, he and some friends piled into a truck, booked a hotel, and made the drive. While at the event, Patrick saw a GMC Envoy that stood out as being the best vehicle at the show, and he bragged to all his friends back home how cool it looked. During his high school years, Patrick became interested in car and truck stereo installation, and he loved it so much that he took an electrical technician job at a local dealership through on-the-job training. He purchased his first vehicle, a Chevy S-10, and put his expertise to work in the stereo department.
Photo 3/13   |   2002 GMC Envoy Dad Van Engine
After years of competing in stereo competitions, the truck was involved in an accident, which forced Patrick to go in a different direction. He purchased an import and once again worked on making the stereo portion the hero of the build. His love for trucks reemerged, and he eventually replaced the import with another truck. After meeting his wife, Liz, the two enjoyed the truck lifestyle together for the next few years. Good news arrived when Liz found out they were pregnant with their first child.
Patrick had only ever owned a single-cab truck or a two-door sports car, so it was time to change his direction. His recollection of the best four-door vehicle he’d ever seen was that GMC Envoy back in Indianapolis. Patrick was on a mission to find the owner, even though it had been close to 10 years since he’d seen the truck, and he didn’t even know if it was still in one piece. The power of social media worked its magic, and he found the original owner, Matt Long, who was eager to help. The unfortunate news for Patrick was that Matt no longer owned it. In fact, it had changed owners three times since Matt originally sold it. The good news was, the current owner had the Envoy in Maryland and was in contact with Matt.
Photo 4/13   |   2002 GMC Envoy Dad Van Hood
The owner in Maryland actually had an advertisement locally to sell the Envoy and when Patrick contacted him, he asked for much more than the advertised price. As a good wheeler and dealer, Patrick showed him the ad he found with a lower price and the owner agreed to part ways for the listed amount. Patrick and his brother borrowed a trailer and headed out on the 25-hour drive to pick up the Envoy. Once he arrived back home, he contacted Matt and was able to get all the paint codes, part names, and numbers for the SUV.
Patrick immediately went to work tearing out the suspension and replacing it with new parts and making it more reliable and safe for a new child. The biggest change was the exterior, as Patrick wanted to give the Envoy a unique and personal touch. The paint was still in great condition, but he enlisted a highly talented painter, Kevin Burdick at Psycho Customs, to add a sentimental touch. For their honeymoon, Patrick and Liz went to Belize and were amazed and overwhelmed by the beauty of the Mayan ruins. Patrick took hundreds of pictures and relayed them all to Kevin to add to the Envoy.
Photo 5/13   |   2002 GMC Envoy Dad Van Interior
The interior and lighting system exhibited signs of wear and tear, so Patrick updated the cabin and made it fit his style a little more with custom front and rear lights and a complete overhaul of the inside. Patrick went back to his roots and added a ground-shattering stereo system. The GMC had a set of Boyd Coddington wheels, but they had been painted black to hide the pitting throughout the long years of driving. They were taken off and media blasted while Jared at Psycho Customs hand-brushed the faces to achieve the grain look and then powdercoated the rest of the wheels black.
Patrick lives just a couple of hours from the border of Canada, and throughout the years he has built a great reputation with the truck community there. “I probably make the trip into the Great White North once a month,” Patrick adds. “I make it a family trip with Liz and my new son Tyler in the SUV.” At the time of this article, news was that Liz and Patrick were expecting their second child, Maddox. The way things are going, Patrick’s next “Dad Van” might need to be a bus.

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: ’02 GMC Envoy
Owner and City/State: Patrick Rapin; Saginaw, Michigan
Front Suspension: Widened Art Morrison Mustang II IFS with Michigan Metal Works lower arms, steering rack through the middle of the oil pan, dual-port Slam Specialties XS-6, dual ½-inch lift valves, DJM shocks
Rear Suspension: Narrowed Thunderbird Super Coupe 8.8-inch rear end, Slam Specialties single-port RE-7, single ½-inch lift, ½-inch dump with mufflers, adjustable slowdowns at all four corners, custom-mounted AVS 7 switchbox, fully adjustable tubular upper and lowers from Kustomwerks and modified by Michigan Metal Works, Doetsch rear shocks, suspension powdercoated by Psycho Customs, narrowed CV shafts
Engine: 4.2L inline-six, custom cold-air intake with K&N filter, all wiring relocated, custom exhaust, custom air-conditioning lines, billet radiator overflow catch can, Spal electric fan—all done by Matt, Eric, and Derrick at Kustomwerks
Body/Paint: Shaved handles, gas door, rear liftgate, and roof rack; PPG Corona Gold metallic pearl; Matrix Systems airbrush in Mayan ruin theme by Psycho Customs and Kevin Burdick; stock floor body drop; rear door modified latches and strikers; ’09 Envoy Denali front bumper cover; billet grille; full HID lighting; tinted taillights smoothed clear and buffed; one-off airbrushed headlights by Kevin Burdick; Plain an Simple Oracle Concept strip lighting and blinkers
Interior: Katzkin leather seats, panels, and door inserts; painted interior pieces; fiberglass’d air gauges; cupholders shaved for switches; rear seats narrowed from 60/40 to 40/40 to accommodate rear wheel tubs; rear seatbelts removed—all done by Matt, Eric, and Derrick at Kustomwerks
Stereo: Pioneer AVIC-F900BT, Memphis Audio components, four 10-inch Memphis Audio M-Class subwoofers, Memphis Belle 16-MC1300D and Memphis M-Class 16 MC3004 amplifiers, Optima RedTop battery custom mounted in bumper, Kinetik KHC2400 battery under rear seats done by Matt, Eric, and Derrick at Kustomwerks
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 20x8.5, 22x10.5 Hot Rods by Boyd Shadow
Tires: 255/35R20 & 285/30R22; Continental Extreme Contact
Special Thanks: My wife, Liz, and son, Tyler—without them, none of this would have ever happened. Matt Long, Eric Arrington, and Derrick Bawcum for building a legit truck years ago back at the old Kustomwerks. And thanks to Jared Wilson and the whole crew at Psycho Customs, Airbrush artist Kevin Burdick of Scraps Designs, Nick Mclanahan at US Speedo, Robert Davis at Plain an Simple, Taylor Jardas at MMW, Steve Brondstetter at Altimate, Jake Clark, Andrew Rapin, Andy Jestis, and anyone else who has ever come over to drink beer while I was wrenchin’ under the truck.



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