By Joe Roberts @jrobertsjourno
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Videographer / director: Aakash Bakshi
Producer: Joe Roberts, Ruby Coote
Editor: Ed Rius
Rafael Capone has modified cars all his life, but his ‘Soul Asylum H2’ Hummer, built to promote his recording studio of the same name, has taken things to a new level.
The speaker-packed behemoth has been dominating car show competitions around Rafael’s native Atlanta, wowing crowds with its all-custom interior and LED light set-up.
Rafael told Barcroft Media: “No piece of this car was left factory. The reaction when we pull up is always a, ‘Wow, I love your car’.
“We love people to sit in it. People always say, ‘My God, this sounds like the recording studio, it sounds like I’m actually at a concert’.
“We have also won world titles for our LED lighting interior and exterior. I am a very humble person but we make people change up their lighting game.
“It’s ambient lighting, it’s back lighting, it’s offset lighting, it’s like you would do in a home.”
Beyond the incredible sound system and light set-up, the Hummer’s standout features include a fibre-optic illuminated head liner on the interior roof and a full PA system with microphones.
The ‘red chrome’-wrapped truck took a year to modify, with the help of custom shop, Traffic Jams Motorsports.
But it wasn’t the first car the entrepreneur has modified. His inaugural show-vehicle project was built in 1991 and he has been producing custom cars ever since.
To bring the Soul Asylum Hummer to life, Rafael bought a second hand H2 for $40,000 and set about modifying every aspect of the truck.
The main aim was sound quality, and while the Hummer’s 86 speakers can reach deafening decibel levels, the studio-owner wanted people to experience something more refined.
“We want sound quality at loud natural volumes, versus just blaring, hurt-your-ears-loud,” said Rafael.
“I wanted it to be loud but I wanted sound quality. I wanted to hear what I hear in the studio on the road.”
The iPad-controlled sound set-up includes eight sub woofers, 34 mid-range speakers, 28 tweeters, and 16 horns, and has reached up to 151 decibels in Rafael’s tests.
He claims the car can be heard up to three miles away, partly due to the custom “top hat” rack on the top.
The speaker-adorned rack is motorised and raises from the top of the Hummer’s roof to provide a 360-degree onslaught of sound.
Rafael recalled building the innovative design: “So many people told me it couldn’t be done – that I put so many speakers in too small an area and then motorised it.
“The day we hit the switch and it came up and the music played, it was the most exciting.”
The ‘top hat’ combined with the wireless microphone system installed in the truck, and the mixer installed in the dash, means the Soul Asylum H2 brings the party to any car show it attends.
“We love to give demos,” said Rafael. “We start with sound quality, let them hear the depth. The reaction on people faces usually at first is the bass is just too much.
“They just jump out saying, ‘Oh this is too loud’.”
Elsewhere Rafael added a wide body kit, custom grills, and 28-inch red chrome rims – all of which has resulted in a 10,000-pound beast.
A six-litre V8 engine hauls all that weight between car shows, helped by a modified cold air intake and some custom brakes. That results in a surprisingly nippy top speed of 105mph.
There’s even a custom steering wheel made of stone with a full LED light setup integrated into the wheel itself.
And while Rafael won’t reveal how much money he has invested in the custom H2, he has a definite idea of how much he’d have to be offered to sell.
He said: “Dollar-wise, it’s a major rebuild with no factory components or parts left in the build. I will let you guys just think about what it could possibly cost.
“But people always ask me, ‘Will I sell the H2?“ and a great businessman will tell you everything is for sale.
“Without hesitation it will be a quarter million dollars.”