All kids love to play with toys, and most have played with plastic or die-cast versions of our rapid transit units at one time or another. Often you'll find kids who want to tear apart their toys, but you'll find fewer who will want to put them back together. Even rarer are those who will put them together with different parts and make them custom. Those who do are usually highly accelerated in mechanical sense, but there is a rare breed that not only possesses the mechanically related commons, they also have an artistic eye for design. This is where you will find the crme de la crme custom vehicle builder.

Steve Platt of Torrance, California, is one of those distinct builders with an exquisite eye for detail. None of his talents were lost on the Kaotic Kustom Sonoma. With help from his wife "Coke Can" Kendra (we call her that because she tried to put her coke can in every shot), Steve transformed his bone-stock '99 Sonoma into this flawless Picasso. The total time it took to go from moment of inception to completion of execution was eight months. Steve's love for his toy was turned full circle when Hot Wheels released the die-cast edition of his mini.

On approach, the molten steel flames glide over the base blue paint in a rearward direction, giving the illusion of forward motion. House Of Kolors Fabulous Blue and Orion Silver were specially mixed for the custom mini. The steel style flames pop with the green pinstripe atop the dark blue background. A closer inspection reviles hidden ghost skulls buried in the chrome and shadow shading of the graphics. The hood has a large painted chrome area that holds the Hot Wheels logo. It's a knockout on the molten metal, and it's graded from black to its dark blue backdrop. The rear half of the truck tells the paintjob story; Kaotic Kustoms logo stretches over the tonneau and tailgate of the GMC. The tailgate logo was shot over the last C-note Steve swore he'd spend on the fullsize Hot Wheel. Slammed on a set of billets and low-profile tires, it's obvious this custom is a complete work of art.

Steve had a look in mind, and to obtain that look would mean 20s would need to fit under the Sonoma with the framerails on the ground. A set of Belltech knuckles combined with a 2-inch drop spindle mounted to one-off powdercoated upper control arms and some Firestone airbags get the frontend ground slapping with no problems. Unlike a lot of mini-truckers, Steve knew a fist full of zip ties wasn't going to eliminate the issues that arise when running no fenderwells. Pro street wheeltubs were heavily modified to shape the front and rear fenderwells. Out back, the rear frame was step-notched 6 inches to clear the elevated axle. Another set of Firestone airbags control the bed movement. Airing-up the system is done by way of a Firestone 100 percent duty cycle compressor, 1/2-inch airline, a 6-gallon storage tank, a CO2 tank, and a set of 3/8-inch SMC air valves.

With the suspension fully functional, fitting the Sonoma with new street beaters was in order. The freshly fabbed wheeltubs were fitted with Colorado Customs Paradox billet blings wrapped with a set of Nitto NT 555 skins. The 20x8.5-inch alloys with 245/35 tires completely fill the 'tubs and allows the Sonoma's body to tuck wheels hard at all four corners. A set of Stainless Steel Brake Corporation slotted rotors fits the 20s nicely.

Steve prepped the Sonoma by ousting the stock bumper and lights. A GMC Envoy front bumper with foglights and Trenz billet inserts mount to the stock location, blending perfectly with the truck's bodylines. A set of Envoy HIDs fills the Sonoma's sockets, bringing frontal projection up to standards. Steve used some billet and acrylic to form the taillamps. Flames etched over the scratch-built lenses show the fine detail Steve put into every part of his pickup. A Sprint tonneau cover mounts flush to the bedrails, as does Steve's custom-built, electric flush-mount pop-up license plate. A Sir Michaels all-metal roll pan and Street Scene LED side-mount mirrors were used to streamline the hull.

Steve took the project to Ryan Eveans in Las Vegas to apply the Kaotic Kustom paintwork. Ryan only works under the Kaotic name for special occasions, so unless you're part of the unique grape vine, you'll need to hire a PI to find him. To finish smoothing things over, Eveans shaved the hood, wiper cowl, door handles, cab brake light, gas door, and tailgate handle and fitted Steve's custom-built tail lenses to the bed. It took about three weeks of shaving and prepping before the mini was ready for spray, and then the work began. It took two more weeks of paint and block to finish the background and lay down the basic flame designs. The airbrushing encompassed a day and a half of intense painting, but when all was done the finish was bitchin'. A total of six layers were laid over the Steel Flame Sonoma, but about two of them were blocked and polished off. All in all, the finish product speaks for itself; pictures don't do it justice.

Wanting this hauler to haul ass, Steve decided to bolt on a Vortech supercharger. To enhance the superchargers performance, a boost-sensitive ignition sits piggyback on the stock ECM, and a 200 LPH fuel pump was installed. Vortech estimates this conversion brings the Sonoma up to 243 hp and 304 lb-ft of torque. Three-inch chromed tubing was custom-bent to form the truck's high-flow intake, which replaced the stock airbox for increased breathing. A stainless steel after-cat exhaust system from Gibson supplies 2-1/2 inches of resistant free flow. MSD plug wires and a Hypertech programmer finish off the high-performance goodies.

Pulling out the driveline was essential for cleaning and spraying the engine compartment to perfection. The leftover plastic that wasn't removed was striped and dipped to match the blue base paint. All the accessories were removed from the front of the engine, and the brackets, bolts, pulleys, and accessories were given the chrome treatment. The bed was sprayed with a bedliner, and the air compressor was shot with the blue pigment; an airbrush was used for the final detail in the bed. Transparent plastic covers encapsulate the two tub-mounted batteries, and a CO2 tank sits close to the tailgate for easy refill capability.

Inside The Two Lock Box
The Steel Flamed mini's paint scheme was incorporated throughout the fully customized Sonoma interior. Steve hand-molded the fiberglass dash, door panels, and swoopy center console, all of which was prepped and shot to match the blue and molten chrome steel appeal. An indiglo APC flame gauge overlay sits inside the custom dash and is topped off with a Colorado Customs "Fire" billet steering wheel. A set of 6-inch midbass couplers with 1-inch tweeters flush inside the hand-crafted dash. The dash work continues to the right and down, housing a flush-mounted Panasonic 7-inch monitor. Further down, a Stitchcraft leather bezel encompasses the Panasonic CQ-DVR909U head unit.

The swoopy fiberglass console expends below the head unit, contours to the floor, and then goes back between the bucket seats. On the floor, the console houses four Nordskogg Performance gauges that monitor engine vitals, boost pressure, and a Coke can cubby hole (just for Kendra). Steve crafted an armrest that encloses a pop-up Crossfire Audio CFQ-20.2, a 20-band EQ with a two-way electronic crossover. The fiberglass work shoots up and back, filling the majority of the extra cab. The smooth upper surface holds four Car Audio BMFW10DDVC 10-inch sub frequency projectors and a molded skull that rests between the seats. Down the front of the reverberation chamber and behind the seats are slotted openings that display the driver power supply units. A Crossfire 400-watt BMF200.2 and 1000D provides the sound chamber with a whopping 1,400 skull-splitting watts. Being wired up with Scosche spiral core and high-amp circuit breakers allows the sound system to breathe plenty of amp deliverance through the drivers. Keeping a steady stream of juice supplied to the mega-draw power drivers are three batteries and two high-amp alternators.

Gray leather and black suede accents the dark shadows and ghost skulls. The fine Stitchcraft needlework stretches over the seats, door panels, center console, headliner, and backside of the tonneau cover. The liquid chrome flame job on the hood was duplicated in stitch work on the headliner. The same crafted stichwork was performed on the tonneau's bottom side to match the paint scheme on top. Black Mercedes-Benz carpet lines the floor with extra-plush base comfort that deadens refracted noise to help balance sound. Just above the floor is a set of billet pedals that compliments the billet shift lever and window cranks. There isn't a section of this truck that hasn't been inflected with Steve's touch. We see on the back window the Steel Flame Sonoma is up for dibs. We hope this is an indication that another exotic build sits in the midst of Platt's gray mater.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article