Stories like these make our jobs the greatest in the world. Jay Prather of Norwood, Ohio, is passionate about custom trucks and cars because at the ripe old age of seven his dad built him a pedal car to match his dad's show Camaro. Just like fine wine, Jay's love and understanding of the custom scene has matured and evolved to such a level that trophies follow him from venue to venue. His affinity for automotive customization is fueled even more now that his daily 9-5 is doing custom bodywork. So, what does a bodywork master drive?
After helping his dad, Rod Prather, with several customs, Jay decided to sell his tricked-out Camaro and focus on something more truck-oriented. Scoping out several prospects, Jay couldn't pass up on a bone-stock '99 GMC Safari ready for the full custom treatment. Starting with getting the van closer to the Cincinnati tarmac, Jay had his friends Jed Seibert and Jason Jones install an Air Ride Technologies airbag setup consisting of Firestone 'bags, Viair 450 compressor, Big Red valves, and 3/8-inch line. Belltech drop spindles, KYB shocks, and a C-notch in the rear completed the suspension modifications. Filling each fender void are 20x8-inch Billet Specialties Vintec wheels wrapped in Kumho 245/35R20 tires.
Moving to the exterior, Jay felt the need to really mix things up and shaved the door handles, rear wiper, license plate, gas door, and roof rack. Going beyond the typical body mods, Jay also scrapped the old GMC front end and fabricated the front fenders and core support to accept 2002 Cadillac Escalade parts, including headlights, grille, front bumper, and a modified hood. Out back, '96 DeVille taillights reside in the stock locations. Jason Jones also had a hand in the bodywork, along with Jay's dad, Rod. Jay loaded his paint gun with R&M, House of Kolor, and PPG pigments and then sprayed the Spicy Orange Mica, Hot Pink Pearl, Passion Pearl Stripes, and Crystal Pearl White paint with PPG Flamboyant flake in the clear. Clean and elegant, the paint asserts class with a "pass the Grey Poupon" whisper.
Opening the doors allows onlookers to check out the Buckskin painted dash and interior plastics with recovered factory seats in tan vinyl and ultra-suede inserts. Spade Kreations in Cincinnati performed the interior magic and also installed new tan carpet with billet shift knobs, a billet rearview mirror, and a Billet Specialties Vintec steering wheel. Finishing off the Safari is an audio system consisting of an Alpine head unit, JL Audio amps, and JL Audio subs in the color-matched rear barn doors. The team at Spade Kreations performed the subtle and effective sound system.
Built by his family and friends, Jay continues the tradition of showing custom rides that show innovation and a genuine love of the hobby. Simple and clean, Jay's Safari turns as many heads as people it hauls.