2000 Chevy Astro Van
For those of you with a full custom vehicle or those with a project in the shop, a daily driver usually becomes the vehicle of choice when it comes to running errands or hauling the kids around town.
Running outside and hoping in a beater or a completely stock vehicle to pick up a few groceries is generally par for the course. Taking out the show vehicle is usually reserved for sunny days, trips to the local cruise strip or to a major show. Well, for Jerry Lewis from Memphis, Tennessee, the basic daily driver just wouldn't cut it anymore. With a slew of previous custom vehicles parked in his driveway throughout the years, keeping something stock was a hard pill for Jerry to swallow. He bought this 2000 Chevy Astro van to haul the kids to and from school and acted as the main family mode of transportation, but the itch soon struck and the mild- mannered kid hauler got a much needed make over. We sat down with Jerry, who has been a major figure in the minitruck scene for many years, to ask him a few questions as to how he got involved in the scene and how this van came about.
MT: How long have you been into minitrucks and how did you get started?
"Are you kidding me? Over two decades... I'm Old!"
MT: What made you decide to build this vehicle?
"The kids needed some room."
MT: What previous custom vehicles have you owned?
"The dualie known as Tow Pig and was one of the first bagged dualies around, a couple of fullsize Chevys, 2001 Super Duty, several minitrucks, 1961 Ford County Sedan wagon, 1952 Master Deluxe, and a 1967 Toyota Stout. Only some of them were truly finished."
MT: Is there anyone in the scene that you really look up to, or someone in particular that motivates you and why?
"All the guys and girls that have kept the scene alive by staying dedicated to the minitruck scene."
MT: Is there anything else you want to add to this article?
"Yeah, Chico Shaw did the paint and bodywork in two weeks flat!"
Now that you have a little insight into Jerry's old and twisted mind, let's get you up to date on the things he did to the van. Getting the van to sit low was the first thing planned. This was achieved with the use of Air Lift bags and an Air-Zenith compressor. Of course a C-notch and some other minor trimming had to be done in order to get the stance he wanted. This was the perfect time to bolt on the 20/22 wheel combo which gave the van a much meaner stance. With the stance handled it was time to get the tunes rockin' to help make the daily commute more enjoyable, and also help those long trips to shows become a little shorter. With Polk Audio components in hand, Stereo 1 dialed in the system in no time. While several of the interior panels were out getting all of the wiring needs handled, Jerry took this time to have the rest of the interior revamped with the help of Katzkin seat coverings and a few other panels wrapped in matching suede.
This satisfied Jerry for a bit as it served the purpose as a cool kid hauler, but being so involved in the custom vehicle scene, he knew this would only hold him over for so long before he had to complete the package and throw a little paint on the van. Soon enough Jerry broke down and headed to St. Louis for Chico Shaw to do his thing and help bring some life to the Kid Hauler. Chico has an impeccable reputation and has personally built several cover vehicles, so Jerry knew his van was in good hands. In only two weeks time Chico shaved, smoothed, and painted Jerry's Van a clean two-tone to finish off the look he was after. With the van complete and living up to Jerry's custom tastes, he can now haul his kids around in style without missing out on his custom roots. We're sure we'll see more from Jerry and maybe even his kids quite often. For more information, check out the Lowdown.