Yesterday, we showed you sketches of the Hyundai Tucson zombie survival machine that Atoy Customs was putting together. Today, we can officially confirm it: Hyundai Asia Resources has commissioned the aftermarket fabricator to modify a Tucson and transform it into the ultimate zombie-fighting vehicle.
Built for a new promo that HARI will be rolling out very, very soon, the zombie-proof Tucson comes out just as the fourth season of the popular zombie-centric TV series The Walking Dead goes on air. As fans of the TV show know, a Kiwi Green Tucson serves as one of the main vehicles of the show's protagonists.
First conceived by HARI's marketing department, the idea for the zombie-proof Tucson quickly gained traction within the company and was soon greenlit for production. With full confidence in Atoy Customs proprietor Atoy Llave and his company's capabilities, Hyundai gave Llave three weeks to conceptualize the vehicle's design and mold it into this metal-and-fiberglass masterpiece.
"HARI has so much faith in me that they didn't even ask if I could do it," Llave told TopGear.com.ph. "They just turned over the Tucson to me and asked me to create a zombie survival machine using their theme."
Llave admitted that he doesn't watch the TV show, so he initially sought some ideas from his employees who do watch the series. Using their input and adding some of his own ideas, Llave came up with a concept design and remained faithful to it.
Immediately evident is the spiked zombie plow that incorporates a winch and a rotating saw in the middle. Even the top of the hood is protected with spikes. At the back, a series of rotating saws will see to it that the undead can't climb up the hatch. If the Tucson is in motion, even zombies that try to steer clear of it don't stand a chance as all four wheels have been fitted with rotating blades.
To protect the Tucson's occupants, Llave fitted steel bars on all the windows. According to him, of all the modifications done to the car, this was the most time-consuming, but to expedite the process, he assigned three of his welders to do the job.
"You can't just lay the bars flat," explained Llave. "Since the front and rear windshields are curved, the bars also have to follow the curvature. And most importantly, we made sure that there's enough space in between to keep the windshield wipers functional."
The zombie-proof Tucson isn't all about defense. For its offensive weaponry, Llave fitted machine guns on the front doors, which can be operated from the inside. On the roof rack, a minigun serves as a formidable backup, while a chainsaw is perfect for close-quarters amputation and decapitation.
Unlike the very first zombie-proof Hyundai--an Elantra Coupe that was commissioned by the Korean carmaker's US subsidiary for the 2012 San Diego Comic Convention--HARI and Llave made sure that the Tucson showcased in the TV series would be well represented by their creation, and that it could go anywhere by fitting it with off-road tires.
Of course, this is all for show because the most impressive part of the modification is this: Llave can easily bring the Tucson back to showroom condition. The front bumper, including the zombie plow, is rendered in fiberglass so it's a simple case of swapping it with the stock bumper. For the steel bars on the windows and the door-mounted machine guns, they're attached by industrial-strength double-sided tape and glue. The Tucson's body, meanwhile, is fitted with a vinyl wrap that can easily be taken off.
The Tucson zombie survival machine isn't just a styling exercise. According to Rich Manalad of HARI's PR and brand activation department, the vehicle will soon go around Metro Manila unannounced and, come Halloween, may even swing by some of the metro's memorial parks.
Atoy Customs' popular tag line is, "You Imagine. We Create." For this zombie-fighting Tucson, HARI imagined it and Llave created it. Like he always does.
Photos by Alfred Mendoza