Reprinted from The Robb Report Collection, April 2003
Howard Becker of Becker Automotive Design can be considered the forerunner of the urban SUV scene with the stunning sound systems and luminescent interiors he built into customized SUVs for Will Smith and other music industry heavyweights in the mid-1990s. Becker still has his star-studded clientele, but he is now leading the evolution of SUV tuning into luxurious, high-tech mobile offices. Becker started out by turning Ford Excursions into luxuriously appointed limousines that would make a Maybach owner envious. Wireless Internet, onboard PCs with printers, surround-sound DVD systems with 20-inch screens, folding tables, and aircraft-style reclining seating are ready to serve for business or pleasure. Never one to stand pat, Becker has now turned his attention to converting Ford vans into sumptuously equipped land-bound equivalents of executive jets. He also sees a growing trend among his customers to armor their vehicles.