Take a fascination for Left Coast surf culture and all things tiki. Now add in a genuine appreciation for Nomads and woodies. Toss them into a blender and hit the puree button, then pour the odd amalgamation into an unsuspecting 1965 Chevy Suburban. The result? A wagon that makes most folks scratch their heads and wonder if they got bonked on the noggin by a falling coconut.
It all began innocently enough, as these things so often seem to, when I set out to create a cool wagon to help promote my online business, HouseOSpeed.com. Locating a '65 Chevy Suburban, I lit the proverbial tiki torch. I'll never forget my wife's reaction upon seeing it pull into our driveway. Giving the brown and gold hulk a once-around, she unenthusiastically christened my new project "The Turd," a nickname that seemed to follow me around like a bad smell. Determined to prove her wrong, I asked concept artist Brian Stupski to render my thoughts for the HouseOSpeed.com tiki truck. Seeing my ideas brought to life on paper was all the inspiration I needed. I quickly yanked the truck's entire drivetrain, as well as its wiring, glass, and interior.
Stripped of all its trimmings, the truck was ushered to True Grit on a flatbed, where it was liberated of all paint and body fillers by way of plastic media blasting. Reduced to bare metal, its next stop was Twomey's Auto Body, where it was straightened before Don Twomey shot the '56 Nomad-inspired Apple Green and Pearl White paint scheme, squirting the truck's fresh 383 stroker engine, Wheel Vintiques Solids, and '63 Cadillac steering wheel as well.
Dave's Automotive Perfection was the 'Burb's next port of call, where Ronnie Whitehead installed the stout 383 stroker engine, beefed-up 700-R4, and new 3:73 posi unit; rewired the entire truck; and installed front disc brakes with 2-inch dropped spindles, power steering, A/C, and a hydro-electric brake assist system. Then it was off to DB Rods and Miniz for an altitude adjustment. John Henson installed the rear C-notch kit, extreme drop crossmember, and an Air Ride Technologies airbag suspension, stashing the valve controls under the captain's seat.
In the interior department, Mario's Upholstery added subtle bolsters and re-covered the stock rear benches in period-correct pearl white vinyl, while '90s front buckets were pillaged from a wrecked Honda, then stripped, chopped 2 inches, and refoamed to look like '60s low-backs. Fat Lucky's subsequently worked up the vintage Hawaiian bark cloth front door panels and the custom sea grass floor mats to dial up the tiki factor.