A princess poised to run or a Blue Diamond resting in the rough? Low-key, well-executed st
If Cinderella had been a baller, she would have made her getaway in this. Sliding into a hand-cut glass seat, she would have dropped-not a slipper-but a flat-screen monitor gleaming like a silver salver. As she sped away at midnight's final stroke, her Caddy would have shed its crystal casements for boxes of wood, plastic, and wire.
Cheryl Mendoza is no indentured servant, but still she broke free from the twin sisters Mediocrity and Monotony. Not satisfied with the assembly line baubles belched from the automakers' factories, she and her husband, Victor, crafted a Blue Diamond from an '03 Escalade.
They didn't spin this project like gold thread from a seamstress' wheel. Neither did a handsome prince deliver a miraculously completed truck with a parade of knights and courtiers. Cheryl and Victor, who work under the name of Pimp-N-It Auto, cast hard work, time, and money to make their fairy tale come true. The project took seven months, $180,000 (on top of the Escalade's original $68,000 price), and lots of knuckle nicks on Victor's part (and a little help from their son and some friends) to build.
They call their SUV "Blue Diamond," but, in a way, it's more like amethyst turned inside out. JT Evo's Tony Yip in Rosemead, California, marbleized the body's stock elements and Lexani body kit with a blurply blend of blue paint spiced by raspberry pearl, and buried it under six coats of clear. Ichiban lamps in front and Crystal Eyes brake lights in back punctuate the blue neon that illuminates the Escalade's custom grille and underbody. Sliding up the Lamborghini doors and peering inside the Escalade is like jumping down the rabbit hole into a world of music and video suspended in sheets of quartz. Amplifiers, monitors, cables, and blue neon were sandwiched between sheets of glass. Meanwhile, the walls, pillars, doors, and ceiling are lined with Louie Vuitton's signature logo, making the Escalade's interior look like an inverted bowl of blue-gray designer stars atop a glittering frozen sea.
Let's cover some specifics. Three technicians-Carlos Llanos, Robert Lopez, and Eddy Pattillo-from Advanced Car Creations in Garden Grove, California, teamed with Victor on the mobile electronics portion of this install, as well as the neon and strobes.
Audiobahn provided the bulk of the audio equipment: Eight Eternal AWES12P 12-inch subwoofers bristle from two enclosures that can be removed from the Escalade. Eight A5100T amplifiers power the subwoofers, that's one amp dedicated to each woofer, and are each bridged to push 1,200 watts at a 1-ohm load. Two A3201T amplifiers deliver 800 watts each at a 2-ohm load into the Diamond Audio speakers. So, what do you get when you lay 10 subwoofers in a bottomless Escalade? The equivalent of 15 horsepower (11,200 watts). Six 1-farad capacitors harness the power of five Optima Yellow Tops built into a custom rack underneath the vehicle, providing power when it's needed for high-peak performance. Wiring the system together is 0-gauge cable going from the batteries to the caps, 4-gauge going from the caps to the amps, and 12-gauge to the speakers.
Clarion's VRX-935VD multimedia source unit coordinates the audio/video experience. It plays DVD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, is Sirius-enabled, and boasts a 7-inch, retractable monitor. Three Clarion VA700 video amplifiers pump up the video volume. Diamond Audio S600 speakers launch mid and high frequencies from modified factory locations in the Escalade's doors. Tweeters from the same company were mounted in custom locations in the rear and A-pillars for more high-freq fill. AudioControl's 3.1 sound processor massages the frequency ranges into a contented purr.
Eleven monitors in the visors, center console, floor, ceiling, and a rear from NESA and Audiobahn dazzle onlookers with video entertainment, while a rear-view camera makes backing up a breeze. Viper's 791XV two-way security and remote start system with Responder technology guards the Escalade from lions, tigers, and bears. The twin jesters Xbox and PS2 entertain passengers and passersby.
The Escalade's 27-inch Johnson wheels by Lexani are wrapped in Nitto NT 501 Select tires, courtesy of HW Motorsports in Garden Grove, which sold these to Cheryl at cost. Six-piston, two-piece, 18-inch Baer brakes check the vehicle's rolling mass. A Vortech supercharger, dual alternators, Eibach rearend, suspension upgrades, and Borla 3-inch exhaust wrap up the mods on this ride.
Cheryl is president of the Rollerz Only Car Club's Orange County/Inland Empire chapter, where she's been a member for 14 years. Victor's been building lowriders since he was knee-high to an airbag. Their commitment to the art of automotive customization is as clear as the floor in their Escalade. And when it comes to competitive spirit, they aren't exactly titling at windmills here. The Escalade has won First Place at the Lowrider Supershow and other events, no doubt in large part to the wizardry at play inside it. Cheryl says that "everywhere the car is presented, people stop, stare, and drop their jaws in amazement at the glass interior." We'll take her enchanted caddy over fairy-tale fancy any day. Cinderella, eat your heart out.