Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Peter Lee
It is no secret that I adore pink cars, especially if the shade of pink is like that of this Toyota Estima. The Toyota Estima is known for being a reliable, comfortable and safe family car, but this is obviously no ordinary Estima – but one that has gone from something straight out of a Sunday family picnic at the beach right onto the set of Lil Scrappy’s ‘Money in the Bank’ music video.
Owned by Lorenzo Lee, a 23-year-old self-employed entrepreneur who runs his own decal startup and helps out with the family’s soya milk business, he decided on getting the Estima as his first car back in 2008, in consideration of his father’s request. Since Lorenzo was a boy, his father has always wanted an Estima for the family that they could use other than the two company vans.
Originally coming in champagne gold, Lorenzo felt that the colour was too “uncle” for him so he went about on an experimental voyage. Being in the decal line, his Estima became a guinea pig as he tried different colours on it as a moving showroom for his work. From matte black, he jumped over to hot pink after realising that not many people dared to use this colour, especially not on a Multi-Purpose Van (MPV)! Bucking the trend, Lorenzo braved the odds and boldly worked on turning his car hot pink, following up with an inside-out ‘bling’ job.
Just when some people (not me) think that it cannot get any worse than pink, the cabin of the car is a display of shimmer and shine, with collective reflections bright enough to blind. The rationale behind Lorenzo’s ‘bling’ job was simple – Aesthetics over performance.
According to Lorenzo, he felt there was no point upgrading the performance of his MPV, so he chose to go Barbie-Doll-goes-ghetto-bling VIP style instead. From the dashboard to the centre console, steering wheel, pedals and other interior panels, the cabin of this Estima is filled with goodies from DAD Accessories and Junction Produce Accessories.
To balance some of the sparkle, 42-piece black marble panels and a set of luxury design black leather seats were added.
Ensuring that his presence on the road is felt, Lorenzo changed the headlights and fog lights to HID. He also added an LED arrow indicator in his side mirror. Spending approximately S$10,000 on the whole luxury VIP concept, Lorenzo got most of the accessories from MasterQ as well as through online forums.
Passengers of Lorenzo’s Estima will never be bored on the ride. In-car entertainment ratings for this Estima are pretty solid – thanks to the stock audio system replaced by a 3-way Rockford audio system with inbuilt centre console, a Pioneer head unit and a roof-mounted DVD player. To top it off, there is also a mini bar (only for passengers and not the driver) above the glove compartment up front, a little storage shelf of miniature Vodka bottles in the middle row, and a mini fridge in the boot. I wonder how many chicks Lorenzo has picked up with this car! *glances at the curtains on the side windows*
Looking pretty at a standstill, I had to take the car out for a spin, to see the kind of attention it draws on the drive. Driving the Estima was quite an experience, not because of how it drives per se, but everything else unrelated to the technicalities of the car. For one, I felt that the reflections of the ‘bling’, especially the ones on the windscreen, were quite distracting. Lorenzo disagrees with me however, stating that the attention he gets from the crowds actually affect him more than the glitz from within his car. It could be a matter of getting used to, but Lorenzo is cool with the stares of the streets; seeking satisfaction in having his car being noticed and seeing it as a form of appreciation.
Besides feeling like the closets of Busta Rhymes, Gucci Mane and Missy Elliott exploded in there, I must say this car is one I would remember, bloody bright though. Unfortunately, unlike a Christmas tree, these ‘lights’ cannot be turned off. Hey, then you get Christmas all year round!
Besides this editorial, I also did a video review I did of the pink Estima with DrivingAsia.tv: