Dad Van

When life hands you a child, get an ’00 GMC En­voy


The one event that changes ev­ery man’s di­rec­tion in life is the birth of a child. Some re­fo­cus their dreams and pas­sion, and oth­ers sim­ply work harder to pro­vide a good life for their new­borns. For Pa­trick Rapin of Sag­i­naw, Michi­gan, the news of his wife be­com­ing preg­nant set in mo­tion a new chap­ter of his life and re­fo­cused his dreams. As a young boy, Pa­trick re­mem­bers be­ing fas­ci­nated with au­to­mo­biles. “I would sit on my front porch and guess the year, make, and model of ev­ery ve­hi­cle that drove by,” Pa­trick tells Truckin. “I didn’t re­al­ize how much that pas­sion would ig­nite some­thing even big­ger in me.”

The very first cus­tom truck show Pa­trick at­tended was in In­di­anapo­lis. At 16, he and some friends piled into a truck, booked a ho­tel, and made the drive. While at the event, Pa­trick saw a GMC En­voy that stood out as be­ing the best ve­hi­cle at the show, and he bragged to all his friends back home how cool it looked. Dur­ing his high school years, Pa­trick be­came in­ter­ested in car and truck stereo in­stal­la­tion, and he loved it so much that he took an elec­tri­cal tech­ni­cian job at a lo­cal deal­er­ship through on­the-job train­ing. He pur­chased his first ve­hi­cle, a Chevy S-10, and put his ex­per­tise to work in the stereo de­part­ment.

Af­ter years of com­pet­ing in stereo com­pe­ti­tions, the truck was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent, which forced Pa­trick to go in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. He pur­chased an im­port and once again worked on mak­ing the stereo por­tion the hero of the build. His love for trucks reemerged, and he even­tu­ally re­placed the im­port with an­other truck. Af­ter meet­ing his wife, Liz, the two en­joyed the truck life­style to­gether for the next few years. Good news ar­rived when Liz found out they were preg­nant with their first child.

Pa­trick had only ever owned a sin­gle-cab truck or a twodoor sports car, so it was time to change his di­rec­tion. His rec­ol­lec­tion of the best four-door ve­hi­cle he’d ever seen was that GMC En­voy back in In­di­anapo­lis. Pa­trick was on a mis­sion to find the owner, even though it had been close to 10 years since he’d seen the truck, and he didn’t even know if it was still in one piece. The power of so­cial me­dia worked its magic, and he found the orig­i­nal owner, Matt Long, who was ea­ger to help. The un­for­tu­nate news for Pa­trick was that Matt no longer owned it. In fact, it had changed own­ers three times since Matt orig­i­nally sold it. The good news was, the cur­rent owner had the En­voy in Mary­land and was in con­tact with Matt.

The owner in Mary­land ac­tu­ally had an ad­ver­tise­ment lo­cally to sell the En­voy and when Pa­trick con­tacted him, he asked for much more than the ad­ver­tised price. As a good wheeler and dealer, Pa­trick showed him the ad he found with a lower price and the owner agreed to part ways for the listed amount. Pa­trick and his brother bor­rowed a trailer and headed out on the 25-hour drive to pick up the En­voy. Once he ar­rived back home, he con­tacted Matt and was able to get all the paint codes, part names, and num­bers for the SUV. Pa­trick im­me­di­ately went to work tear­ing out the sus­pen­sion and re­plac­ing it with new parts and mak­ing it more re­li­able and safe for a new child. The biggest change was the ex­te­rior, as Pa­trick wanted to give the En­voy a unique and per­sonal touch. The paint was still in great con­di­tion, but he en­listed a highly tal­ented painter, Kevin Bur­dick at Psy­cho Cus­toms, to add a sen­ti­men­tal touch. For their hon­ey­moon, Pa­trick and Liz went to Belize and were amazed and over­whelmed by the beauty of the Mayan ru­ins. Pa­trick took hun­dreds of pic­tures and re­layed them all to Kevin to add to the En­voy.

The in­te­rior and light­ing sys­tem ex­hib­ited signs of wear and tear, so Pa­trick up­dated the cabin and made it fit his style a lit­tle more with cus­tom front and rear lights and a com­plete over­haul of the in­side. Pa­trick went back to his roots and added a ground-shat­ter­ing stereo sys­tem. The GMC had a set of Boyd Cod­ding­ton wheels, but they had been painted black to hide the pit­ting through­out the long years of driv­ing. They were taken off and me­dia blasted while Jared at Psy­cho Cus­toms hand-brushed the faces to achieve the grain look and then pow­der­coated the rest of the wheels black. Pa­trick lives just a cou­ple of hours from the bor­der of Canada, and through­out the years he has built a great rep­u­ta­tion with the truck com­mu­nity there. “I prob­a­bly make the trip into the Great White North once a month,” Pa­trick adds. “I make it a fam­ily trip with Liz and my new son Tyler in the SUV.” At the time of this ar­ti­cle, news was that Liz and Pa­trick were ex­pect­ing their sec­ond child, Mad­dox. The way things are go­ing, Pa­trick’s next “Dad Van” might need to be a bus.

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