With so much emphasis on image here in Southern California, it's no wonder it's such a hotbed of performance automotive enthusiasts. When surrounded by Mercedes Benzes and BMWs all day, with a smattering of Ferraris and Lamborghinis intertwined between soccer moms and their SUVs, what's it going to take to stand out in a crowd? Go higher young man, go higher.
Steve Vanderhoof of Huntington Beach, California, felt that between his Lamborghini Diablo and his Corvette Z06 he just wasn't garnishing the right kind of attention. With friends in the right places, though, he was able to make a decision that would make all his desires come true. After speaking with Jim Iiams of IMZZ Industries in Brea, California, the decision was made to go big-huge actually. Steve picked up an '00 Ford Excursion, which was big, that had a V-10, so the motor was big too, but it wasn't huge. After being dropped into the faithful hands at IMZZ Industries, the boys there went crazy with the suspension. Eighteen-inch lift springs from Atlas Springs replaced the meager OE parts, and the lift made enough opening to clear 44x21-inch trXus tires and 17x12-inch Weld Dakar wheels. To support all that rolling mass, IMZZ filled the front and rear differentials with US Gear 5.13 cogs and added additional fluid capacity with CSI aluminum diff covers. OC Driveline lengthened the front and rear driveshafts to reach the new gears, and each corner is damped by dual Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks with IMZZ billet reservoir clamps. One additional Fox 2.0 shock does steering-damper duties on an IMZZ-built chrome steering bar. To keep the rearend from trying to spin on its mounts from all the torque twist, IMZZ custom-fabricated a set of traction bars, and they saw chrome before finding final rest. Bringing the beast down from speed are EBC cross-drilled rotors squeezed with EBC pads. You won't find much in the way of additional performance on this rig, but what is there is just enough to suit Steve. Air into the V-10 is smoother now thanks to an aFe cold-air intake kit, while exhaust moves through Gibson headers and a Gibson after-cat system.
With the big Blue Oval in the sky, it was time to move on to the exterior appeal. Steve Deman of the Kolor Kings laid down a smooth set of PPG blue flames over the stark white surface of the Excursion and pinstriped them to perfection. IMZZ then added a T-Rex billet grille insert to the factory chrome grille shell and a drizzle of aftermarket lighting. Up front, APC projector-beam headlights and clear corners clean up the look, while TYC clear taillights are in place out back. That massive front chrome bumper is also an IMZZ in-house part. Fabricated specifically for this truck, it was dipped in shininess, bolted in place, and supplied with Rally 4000 night-piercing lighting from Hella. An IMZZ signature skidplate was powdercoated to match the flames and slid underneath the bumper to keep import cars out of the Ford's core support. It is a daunting appearance from the front. Providing backup for the flame theme, Deak'n Built pinch-weld flames run from wheelwell to wheelwell. Making it easier to pull Steve's boat is a monster drop hitch welded up and chromed by IMZZ.
The inside array of multimedia is just the ticket for those boring drives to the desert oasis. A Kenwood 915 DVD flip-face head unit is up front and center. Rear passengers lounge to the soothing visuals provided by the Savv 7-inch headrest and 7.8-inch flip-down monitors. Background noise from Kicker separates emits from the four doors, while serious bang is hiding out in back. Tim Hess of IMZZ did the multimedia install and laid in place a wood and fiberglass subwoofer enclosure worthy of envy. Filled with four 12-inch Kicker subs, Tim also placed the Kicker SX900.2 amps smack in the center of the paint-matched box. Keeping with the blue theme, Enduratex Innovative Vinyls filled all the seat centers, door armrests, and the huge-by-wide headliner.
As if the finished Excursion wasn't enough to snap necks, Steve also has a water-boogie machine to ride behind the V-10. High atop a triple-axle trailer is an Excursion-matching '89 Eliminator 28 Daytona. For motor-vation, Harman Marine in Anaheim, California, rigged the Eliminator with dual Bow Tie 502s turning water-churning horsepower down Merc outdrives and out the Bravo 22-inch props. Steve's "Misfit Toy" is easily capable of running in the 70s with a full bevy of beauties on board. Tabs are kept on all the functions of the engine and drives with the aid of Auto Meter C2 gauges. During the day, they don't do much, but come sunset, those gauges look amazing with their-what else-blue glow. The blue-flamed themed continues up the deck of this beast thanks to The Paint Department in Chino, California. They put down a matching set of licks and covered the aging aqua rod with a fresh white gleam as well. The entire interior in the boat was but a year old, so it was left as it was, but Dana Marine was tapped for all-new powdercoated blue grab handles to update the safety factor. Hess employed a Kenwood/Kicker mix in the boat again. For the entertainment of the sandbar locals, a Kenwood head with Sirius radio dumps maddening vocals through Kicker amps and four sets of 5-1/4-inch coaxial speakers strewn about the cockpit. Filling in the deep grooves are Kicker 10-inch L5 subwoofers mounted amidships under the rear bench seat. Steve steers with the help of a B.A.D. billet half-wrap steering wheel and signals the dual 502s with Eddy Marine controls. Hold on tight if you decide to play with this guy because he believes the boat can fly.
With the boat in tow, Steve has decidedly shown that you can stand out in the sea of evil money here in SoCal. When Steve rolls his package out on the streets and the necks start snapping, that guy on his phone next to him in his SL-55 somehow just can't seem to feel that important anymore. Welcome to the big leagues. Steve couldn't have made it happen without the right people in the industry, and all fingers point to Jim Iiams and his band of merry men at IMZZ Industries. Let the jealousy fly if you must, but when it comes to standing out in any situation, a monster Excursion with a monster motor pulling a monster boat is, well, a monster amount of fun.