Owner: Brad Spencer
Ride: '90 Chevrolet Astro Van
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Mini-truckers are notorious for cutting up the unusual, and many of us have contemplated one day cutting up mom's grocery getter. When Brad Spencer of Beaumont, Texas, decided to do just that, he was serious - so serious, in fact, that at age 16 he bought his parents' 1990 Astro van and took it on his own adventure. He took it down the road very familiar to most of us, a very expensive yet worthwhile road. Along the road to vanning perfection he's met many friends, won many trophies, and completed what some might consider one of the coolest vans in a long time.
You see, to Brad this is more than just a van; this is his childhood wrapped up in sheetmetal. "I can remember the day we test-drove it and then brought it home. We used to write on the windows on game days to promote our team or accomplishments." This van saw many trips - trips to baseball games, trips to school, trips to Baton Rouge for family vacations, and even trips to work. After many years of family use and abuse Brad couldn't let his parents get rid of it, so he took it upon himself to keep it in the family, but this would require a much-needed makeover.
Brad started by bringing the family beast to Mike Liley at Erratic Trends in Beaumont, Texas. It would be Mike's task to take it down to the ground, where it was destined to be. They did this by installing a two-link rear setup on a custom rear subframe and then painted it black and undercoated the carriage to ensure a long and happy life. Contitech 2,500-pound bags help raise and lower the Lo Stro to clear road hazards. In the front, 2-inch DJM drop spindles help achieve the slammed stance that was desired. To top it all off, 18x8 Budnik Raptors are stuffed into all four corners and wrapped in 215/35R18 tires provided by Sonar Sport.
Even though the van was intentionally built to give the stock appearance, don't be fooled. It sports an assortment of body modifications. For starters, the hood was custom-built using several Astro hoods to get the desired look and functionality. The rear bumper has been smoothed, and LED lights have been added for taillights. After all the mods were smooth and ready for paint, Brad's brother's buddy, Eric Davis, sprayed the PPG Bahama Blue base and then Brad layed out the flames, which would be painted with Honda Silver flames, which would then be covered in House of Kolor flake. To finish it off, the flames were stripped using PPG products by Eric Davis, who also added some black shadows and a white starburst effect to give it that realistic look.
Now that the outside was banging, the inside would need some touch-up. Again, the stock look was utilized by keeping the interior almost factory. However, stock is not good enough, so it was wrapped in royal blue tweed and sapphire optimal leather by Anthony Vaughn of Beaumont, Texas. The steering wheel was replaced with a Billet Specialties unit to clean up the overall look. A Sony head unit was implanted along with Pioneer components, which brought this build to what you see today.
Wheels: 18x8-inch Budnik Raptors
Tires: 215/35R18 tires from Sonar Sport
Suspension type: Air
Front suspension: 2-inch DJM drop spindles
Rear suspension: Two-link rear setup on a custom rear subframe
Airbag type: Contitech 'bags
Frame mods: Custom rear subframe
Detail work: Undercoated
Performed by: Erratic Trends
City/state: Beaumont, Texas
Shaved: Taillights, sliding door handle, emblems
Front end: Custom hood built out of several Astro van hoods, custom grille, smoothed bumpers
Back end: Smoothed bumper, flush LEDs
Exterior bolt-ons: Street Scene mirrors
Brand and colors: PPG Bahama Blue base sprayed by Eric Davis and flames then layed out by Brad, Honda Silver flames, House of Kolor flake
Material: Everything was either painted or wrapped in royal blue tweed and sapphire optimal leather by Anthony Vaughn of Beaumont, Texas
Misc: Billet Specialties steering wheel
Head unit: Sony CD player
Mids & highs: Pioneer components
All who helped, especially his mom and dad, his brother Jeff, and all his friends who helped bring his ideas to life. "Also, I want to dedicate this to my dad, Gilbert, who was my biggest fan. He passed away earlier this year, but his memory will live on through this van and me."