This is the story of how one person's automotive artistry led him to big breaks beyond his wildest imagination. At the recently held Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) automotive aftermarket trade show at Las Vegas, Tommy Zondervan of Hudsonville displayed his Superlux version of the 2010 Ford Taurus.
In his early 20s, Zondervan began creating exterior paint designs and personalized interiors for friends who were building hot rods and custom cars and trucks.
This is how Tommy Z Design started. Initially, it had shops in Troy and Western Michigan but it has now consolidated into a 4,000-square-foot facility in Hudsonville. Even with no formal automotive design education, Zondervan got his big break in 2004 when he made sketches of how he'd tweak the styling and showed them to several Chrysler dealers.
A Chicago dealer was impressed enough to offer a car, which Zondervan used as a full-scale canvas for a customized 300C he displayed at the 2004 SEMA Show.
He soon found himself not only designing grille and body kits for vehicles such as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, but also in the aftermarket manufacturing business. No less than Ford approached him earlier this year to apply his style to a Taurus, which was set to be showcased at its corporate stand at the 2009 SEMA Show.
Ford already had its sporty, aggressive, twin-turbocharged Taurus SHO but Ford wanted him to illustrate how the Taurus might look as a luxury car. With a mid-grade Taurus SEL, he shunned the overly aggressively aerodynamic body kit and handsome mesh grilles and instead went for a tasteful, more subtle look.
He added light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps, some chrome trim and Vibrance by PPG aspen white custom paint. To emphasize the stance, he installed Pedders Suspensions XA springs and bolted on 22-inch OZ Racing wheels. For its interior, Zondervan placed special perforated leather and suede seating and trim -- black with white double-stitching. He also installed an enhanced audio/video system using Audiovox and Jensen components.
Surely, he heightened the car's performance by adding air filter and exhaust hardware and by supercharging the car's 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which now pumps out 430 horsepower. Now, this new package will be available and the body kit will cost around $1,200; the leather package around $1,000; and the supercharger $2,500-$3,000.