Once in a while a truck that we have come to know and love makes us do a double take all over again. That was the overall effect James DeMouy's Explorer Sport Trac had on us when we saw it at the 2006 Gator Drag show. Laid out on its rockers like always, James' truck looked like the same from the outside, but it was when we peeked inside the four doors that our jaws fell to the ground. Craftsmanship that truly must be seen to be fully appreciated, the interior and bed of the Sport Trac is in a category all its own. Getting there took hundreds of hours of labor and every last second was worth it. Feel free at the end of this story to bust out your own tiki torches, as the party is on James' tab.
After shooting the bull one day at a show with Heath Moore, the owner of Kingpin Kustomz of Pearland, Texas, about making his Sport Trac more tiki-themed, James openly said, "Sure. Let's go for it." After dropping off the Ford at the Kingpin shop, Heath, Mike, and Dustin began the tear-down process and prepped the interior for a makeover no one expected. With the seats, dash, and panels out of the truck, ideas were thrown out about how to transform James' pride and joy. Once agreed upon, measurements were taken and foam was ordered. Using very dense, 10-pound foam, a structure was created using the dash's dimensions. Once hardened, the foam was carved out and fiberglassed over. With the fiberglass cured, it was now time to sand, sand, and sand some more. Heath says the sanding was vitally important because of the intricate carving and shapes created. Shapes included wood-like textures, tribal figures, and an angry tiki protruding out of the center. Two 7-inch screens are also located in the custom dash, and the rear window was fitted with a 20-inch Pyle screen for fortunate onlookers.
Moving from the front to the back, the Kingpin team created one of the most unique subwoofer enclosures ever. By using the same technique as the dash, foam and fiberglass was once again used to support three 15-inch JBL GTI subwoofers. Holding up the massive structure is a beautifully crafted tiki statue built by the Kingpin crew. Custom door panels and a center console were built and shaped to match the wooden tiki theme. The front doors house a set of JBL GTI 6-1/4-inch components, and the large tiki head protruding from the dash houses a drive & play iPod system. A JL Audio Clean Sweep equalizer cleans up the signals be-fore sending them to a total of four JBL GTI amplifiers uniquely mounted in the bed. Kingpin Kustomz again out-did themselves by building bamboo-like mounts in the fully sheetmetal bed for three 600.1 JBL amps and one huge 3000.1 amp. Beneath the amp mounts lie all of the Hooker audio cables, fuse holders, and connectors that tie the audio together with the four Optima Yellow Top batteries housed in a matching wood-like structure. Taking another look inside the cab also reveals custom steel seats that were individually weld-ed by the crew at Kingpin and designed to look like old-school wicker seats. Other sick interior modifications include the use of a greatly modified 1965 Ford Mustang steering column, converting the column shifter to a super-tall floor shifter with hand-carved tiki shift knob, and the leopard-skin headliner, Bentley carpet, and tan suede throughout. The final piece of the interior puzzle was having the talented team at Chaotic Customs in Tomball, Texas, spray each custom piece using an old-school wood-appearance technique.
Speaking of Chaotic Customs, they are also responsible for the multi-color paint scheme on the truck. Before applying the House of Kolors hues, however, Chaotic shaved the door handles and tailgate handle and built the bed out of sheetmetal. Mad Max, of Chaotic, took over from there and sprayed the Harvest Gold basecoat with the blue, purple, green, and orange graphics. A custom cowl-style hood was built and sprayed with the rainbow of colors and also incorporates a leopard and pinstriping to finish off the look. The graphics run from the hood, over the hood, down onto the bed, and conclude on the back of the tailgate, a touch that was well worth the effort.
To get the Sport Trac on the ground, James had Rocky Foxx, of Tomball, Texas, perform a 4-inch body drop, and because of the limited aftermarket support of the Explorer, Rocky also had to build several pieces himself. On the custom list are hand-built spindles, airbag mounts, custom coils in the rear for the four-link, and custom front A-arms. Rocky used Firestone 'bags, 1/2-inch Herion valves, and Toxic shocks to complete the air-ride system. One of the most custom touches to the exterior of the truck is the awesome one-off wheels supplied by Deneen Designs. Deneen followed the tiki theme and cut gorgeous 22-inch wheels that have a wood-like finish and polished lips. Completing the tiki theme perfectly, the wheels are wrapped in Nitto 555 tires sized 255/30R22. Performance accessories were limited, but the Sport Trac is equipped with Ford Motorsports headers, a K&N intake, and a Flowmaster exhaust system. Two 300-amp alternators provide enough power to hear all 4,800 watts of audio thunder.
James is quick to thank the uber-talented group of people who transformed his already-custom truck into a world-class example of automotive artistry. Special thanks to Heath; Mike; Dustin; Mad Max; Rocky; his wife, Cathy; his truck club, Erratic; and of course, his sponsors, Nitto, JBL, Deneen Designs, Hooker Audio, Optima Batteries, and Kingpin Kustomz.
Mounted on bamboo-looking steel, the JBL amps power over 4,000 watts of audio thunder.
In the rear of the cab, a little tiki sculpture holds up the massive sub enclosure that ho