To most people, beige is a color. To those in the automotive world, Big Beige is the nickname the media has christened Toyota Motor Co. The reason? Beige is boring. Toyota is turning into the new Buick, some say. They make safe, reliable, dependable, and almost always, predictable cars and trucks.

Epic sky is Epic.

SUV’s are also part of that mold. Boring, gas guzzling, grocery getting, no frills SUV’s litter the streets, and after living in Houston for pretty much my entire adult life, these SUV’s have become so boring to look at, I hardly bat an eyelash when I see these monstrosities driving 4 feet above me.

What happened to the “Sport” in Sport Utility Vehicle?? What’s so sporty about another Escalade on 24’s? Am I missing something?

King of the Hill. (Not the propane kind)

When JohnP mentioned doing a feature about a SUV here in Houston, I told him immediately I wasn’t interested. But then he had reminded me that there was one SUV that was worthy of a full out photoshoot from Khiem, our photographer.

Goiiiing upp. Second floor: housewares, lacy brasseries and alarm clocks...

Enter Kevin Tran from Team IKON in his super clean Lexus RX330.

Can you guess which part of Africa we're in?

As me and JohnP brainstormed where to shoot Kevin’s Lexus, I wanted to shoot it somewhere where we don’t and can’t shoot any normal car. A huge dirt hill. If my memory served me correctly, I distinctly remember seeing Kevin’s RX sitting pretty low for an SUV, and wondered if it would be able to clear the steep incline.

“Oh, it’s bagged.”

Got a hill to climb? No problem. Kevin puts the U in SUV!

Words by Kevin Tran:
“It all started back in the late 90s. I saw a fixed up Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T, and it looked nice, and also sounded good. At time all I could do was play video games and fantasizing about what cars I wanted when I grew up. It wasn’t until the movie Fast and Furious that it sparked my interest in cars further. In July of 2001 I bought my first car magazine, “Super Street”,and even bought a 5-year subscription! What caught my attention was the twin Jun Civic hatchbacks, I thought the yellow paint with the green graphics were cool.

Kevin prepares to do a nasty burnout. Or not.

To this day I have only built 2 vehicles, both still under construction. First is a 1998 Honda Prelude that was in the show scene from 2004-2008 and now a 2004 Lexus RX330. While fixing up the Prelude, I got my hands dirty and learned a lot about every aspect of what makes a car work.

We actually photoshopped Kevin in the pic. The original has him leaving a port-o-potty.

What inspires my builds are simple: to stand out from the rest, to get those “ooohs and ahhs”, and getting that good feeling inside to know I’m driving something I created in my mind and turned it into real life. What I have in store next for the RX330 is a Big Brake Kit, projector retrofits, some gold plating, luxury brand interior change, and a design on the roof (painted). Once I am done with the RX the Prelude will get the loving she deserves, hopefully the spotlight in a magazine feature. Future cars will be an Acura NSX, and a 1985 Toyota Celica GT-S.”

JDM Harrier emblem. I never did understand the names

Kind of funny to see a guy that was introduced by TF&TF now driving a nicely executed Lexus! Definitely the nicest RX330 i’ve ever seen stateside, Kevin Tran has singlehandedly managed to put the SPORT back in SUV.

Whether it's the dirt or the open road, this RX rules them all

As for the term Big Beige, I now refer to that as what was left in my underwear after seeing this immaculate example of how to modify a Luxury SUV properly.

The RX fights not only tigers on safari, but also that wonderful Houston traffic

Kevin Tran’s official Mod list:
– Ings +1 lip kit
– Thundercloud edition grill
– JDM Harrier emblem
– Pandora headlight covers
– Air Runner kit, with digital dakota gauge, chrome tank
– 20″ AME Shallen WX
– Nitto NT420s tires

Shout Outs:
Jason Herrera @ Stoopidfast, Team IKON, Empire Autosports, HoustonPreludeClub, Auto Tech Collision, and to all the friends who helped me work on my cars.

All photos were taken exclusively for MaydayGarage by Khiem Pham. for more info.

For all of Kevin’s High Res pictures, click HERE as always.


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