FLIPPED-OUT RANGE ROVER
by Matt Stone
Reprinted from Motor Trend Magazine, August 2000
Movie stars and world-class athletes can afford to drive any vehicle(s) they want. So it’s interesting to see what they choose, given that price isn’t usually one of their criteria. Tennis star Mark Philippoussis can afford as many Ferraris and Bentleys as he fancies, but opted instead for this no-holds-barred Range Rover 4.6 HSE. And seeking something “a bit more” than stock, he turned his new HSE over to Becker Automotive Design, whose client list includes a singer named Barbara and a golfer called Tiger.
No area of this Range Rover was left untouched. For more punch from the somewhat sluggish 4.6, on went a Cameron Concepts supercharger system and a stainless steel, cat-back exhaust system. With something like 350 horsepower, it’s now as quick as on of “Flip’s” power-serves. Colorado Custom 18-inch alloy wheels are wrapped by top-of-the-line Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires (285/55HR18s); cross- drilled rotors, carbon metallic brake pads, and stainless-steel brake lines complete the performance package.
The HSE’s interior was stripped virtually bare, and nearly everything you can see or touch was redesigned. What isn’t covered with superb Garrett leather is wrapped in a rich suede or blanketed by the same wool carpeting used in Bentleys. The wood trim was refinished with an aluminized paint material. Becker’s strongest suit is the conception, engineering, and installation of top-of-the-market entertainment systems. We don’t have enough space to list it all: Sony provides the 10-disc CD changer, 7-inch LCD video screens, DVD, Play Station, and a control unit that alone runs $8000. Don’t forget the Philips Carin nav system, Nokia phones, fax machine, VCR, multimode seat massagers built into the front buckets, and enough woofers, tweeters, crossovers, and amplifiers to allow one to address the crowd at Dodger Stadium.
Given the home theater treatment inside, the exterior makeover is subtle: a custom-fabbed hood, a bit of body-color paint, tinted windows, and a few solid-billet pieces fashioned after the owner’s personal logo (you mean you don’t have one?). For all the hardware packed on and into this rig, the result is amazingly tasteful, and a ball to drive. It goes, it handles, entertains each and every occupant, and everything you touch feels wonderful. How much for all this power, exclusivity, and entertainment value? Let’s just say it’s on the strong side of $100,000-plus the cost of the Range Rover.