A sneak peek at Pacquiao’s customized Hyundai CountyBy Alvin Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
How do you knock out the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer? It seems only the wife knows.
When Manny Pacquiao celebrated his 33rd birthday last December 17, his lovely wife, Jinkee, had one big surprise: she gave him a highly modified Hyundai County.
Jinkee had secretly commissioned popular and multi-awarded car customizer Atoy Llave of Atoy Customs for the Hyundai County van project. The Hyundai County is the newest addition to the Pacman’s fleet of pricey vehicles.
The Hyundai County is a minibus designed by Hyundai Motor Co.’s Jeonju Design center primarily as a tourist and inner city transport that competes with Toyota’s Coaster minibus. Its round sleek features make it more appealing than other commercial vehicles and most of the customization cannot be seen because of heavily tinted glass windows and sunshades.
Privacy is very important to big-name celebrities and Manny Pacquiao is not exempted from controversies. The van is designed as a local transport to get him around town where he can feel secure and with enough room for his security detail to fit in. It is equipped with a large-screen LCD TV and mobile entertainment system, a washroom complete with a toilet watercloset, folding bed and a mini private chamber which can also serve as his resting area.
The whole van was stripped of its interior and re-laid out to accommodate creature comforts one can only find in bigger motorhomes and custom trailer vans.
Llave’s reputation as a customizer remains undisputed with a wall full of trophies and awards. Atoy has over a decade of experience in building award-winning custom cars and SUVs earned from auto show competitions and has recently ventured into customizing vans for celebrities and VIP corporate clients including Kris Aquino, Kim Chiu and Diether Ocampo.
His list of VIP clients also includes a number of businessmen and politicians who do a lot of road traveling and need to work on a mobile office while on the road.
Besides the Hyundai County, Atoy was also commissioned to customize Pacquiao’s other two vans—a Ford E-150 van and a Dodge Ram El Capitan, both of which had undergone extensive interior refurbishment and customizations including new color-coordinated leather interiors, mobile entertainment setup, and instead of the usual carpet treatments, Hornitex laminated wooden floors were used to give it a clean and practically maintenance-free finish.
Premium materials, which according to Atoy, is sourced out from just one company.
“I shopped most if not all of my interior finishing materials from CW Home Depot in Ortigas and Balintawak, where it is conveniently located near my home and office. From the sidewalls, flooring and even the toilet fixtures, I bought them all from Home Depot,” said Llave.
“I like the clean and warm feeling you get as if you are stepping inside your house when you get into the van,” added Atoy.
Aside from customizing cars and celebrity vans, he recently ventured into customizing “rolling stores,” in form of vans and pickup trucks being converted into mobile kiosks and retail stores.
“One can just drive up to an event or an open lot to display their merchandise whether for promotions or to do actual retailing. I have corporate clients who asked me to customize their minibuses or vans into mobile office and even showrooms and customer lounges,” added Atoy.
Llave was referring to real estate companies that use his mobile showroom van concept every time there are new construction sites being put up where there are no offices or showrooms to service their sales agents.