Matthew Crouch of Shelbyville, Kentucky, owns the ultra-clean 1991 Toyota Hilux you see above. Matthew is one of the installers at Xtreme Autosound & Marine in Louisville. I called the store and spoke with owner Tony Zagata and jack-of-all-trades Michael Humphrey, who helps with sales, installations and social media. I learned that Matthew is a huge Toyota fan, and his dad had given him the Hilux. Matthew had always planned to install an extensive sound system in the truck.
In the fall of 2022, Sony announced they were hosting a contest with their dealers to see who could build the most incredible shop demo vehicle using Mobile ES car audio gear. Tony, Michael and Matthew decided that the Hilux would be the perfect platform for the contest and an ideal project to represent the store. With the help of their impressive installation team, which includes Michael Cockerell, Bryan Eckenroth and David Coleman, the team put their noses to the grindstone to meet the project deadline. We can say without hesitation that the results are stunning! Let’s dig into some finer details of what the Xtreme Autosound team created.
Sony High-Resolution Source Unit
Matthew kicked the project off by removing everything but the dash from the interior of the Hilux so he could line the entire vehicle with Ballistic sound-deadening material. Next, he ran Stinger speaker wire from the center of the cab into each door, and Stinger interconnects from the dash to the center console and rear of the vehicle.
The heart of any high-end car audio system is an amazing radio. The Xtreme team chose the Sony Mobile ES XAV-9500ES 10.1-inch floating-face radio for the Hilux. In its stock configuration, the radio in the dash of the Hilux is at the bottom near the center console. Matthew moved the heater controls and vents down to that location so the new radio would sit up high in the dash as it does in new vehicles from Mercedes-Benz or Mazda. New mounting brackets hold the XAV-9500ES in place securely. Finally, new background wallpaper was uploaded to the Sony radio to personalize the installation.
Custom Toyota Hilux Door Panels
Michael Cockerell began creating custom door panels. The foundation for the panels and their speaker pods is expanded PVC. Decades ago, these would have been constructed from wood. Using plastics and composites ensures that the panels won’t swell, deform or rot if they get wet. Michael layered the material to create the door handle and the pod for the woofers from a pair of Sony Mobile ES XS-162ES 6.5-inch component speaker sets.
Michael used two vinyl colors to wrap the different panels for a two-tone approach. He also left a gap above the top of the woofer pod and added LED lighting to make the door panels pop. Note the subtle gold inserts on the door handle that match the tweeters’ gold-color ring. The door card and a small trim piece at the bottom of the door are finished in Alcantara for a classy look.
Center Console with Integrated Amp Rack
Bryan was tasked with building the new center console for the truck. The console is home to four Sony Mobile ES XM-1ES 1,000-watt monoblock amplifiers. Two amplifiers are mounted on either side of the console. Windows in the vinyl-wrapped trim pieces show the blue LED lighting between the amplifiers.
On the front of the console are two remote level control knobs for the Sony subwoofer amplifiers. The subwoofer system is divided into two parts. While each amp powers a pair of drivers, one of the level controls is dedicated to a single amp, while the other controls the three remaining amplifiers. If clients want to hear what having a pair of subwoofers in their vehicle will sound like, they can turn up the level control on the single amp. If they want to unleash all eight of the subwoofers, then the second knob adds in the other six drivers. Frankly, being able to tailor the demonstration to a client’s budget and expectations is pure genius!
Wall of Bass!
Bryan was also responsible for the truck’s subwoofer enclosures and rear amp rack. He started by building six different subwoofer enclosures. The upper and lower center enclosures each house a pair of Mobile ES XS-W104ES in shared common airspace. The lower enclosure is the one dedicated to the single-amplifier subwoofer system. The four outer enclosures have mounting faces angled downward and inward. I don’t envy Bryan for having to do the math on all those compound angles. The faces of the enclosures were wrapped in Alcantara before being installed in the vehicle.
Bryan created a floating amp rack for three Sony Mobile ES XM-4ES amplifiers. One of the amplifiers powers the pair of component sets in one door. The second amplifier powers the other door. Finally, the third amp runs a set of Mobile ES XS-160ES 6.5-inch coaxial drivers that are mounted on either side of the subwoofer enclosure between the outer drivers.
Bryan constructed a two-piece trim panel to surround the subwoofers and wrapped it in vinyl. He added a Sony logo to the top for some extra style. Michael Cockerell installed and programmed the addressable LED lighting.
The team installed two XS Power batteries behind the driver’s seat just under the subwoofer enclosure and mounted a third in the stock battery location under the hood. Installer and resident mechanic David Coleman installed a high-output alternator on the engine to keep those batteries topped up when the system is cranked.
Sony Demo Vehicle Winners
Tony mentioned that the team spent a lot of evenings, weekends and late nights working on the Toyota to ensure that it would be complete and looking great by the submission deadline. Tony hired Ryne Conn from RJX Speed & Media to help them create their submission video for the Sony contest.
They brought in Kamdon Shaw from Dream Photography to capture the magnificent photos you see here.
In all, just over 70 Sony Mobile ES dealers from across the United States and Canada created demo cars for their stores using Sony products. Now that you’ve seen the design creativity and craftsmanship of the Xtreme Autosound team, it should come as no surprise that the Hilux won first place in the contest. Everyone here at BestCarAudio.com magazine agrees – the result is an absolute masterpiece.
If you’re in the Louisville, Kentucky, area and are looking for a great shop to upgrade the audio system in your car, truck, SUV or boat, drop by Xtreme Autosound & Marine and talk to Tony or Michael about your goals. You can learn more about the company by visiting its website, Facebook page or TikTok.