Rump Shaker Racing Extreme SPL Astro
This is Auto Sound & Security Magazine's write up on my van.
They call him the Rump Shaker for good reason - his SPL machines are known throughout the competition circuit for their ass-jiggling prowess. Now get down with Aaron Cole's latest, a melting pot of Orion-powered ferocity and SQ-styled attention to detail.
The tale of Aaron Cole and his love affair with creating astronomical amounts of sound pressure is not unlike many SPL stories. The 28-year-old engineer from Akron, Ohio, began as an installer hobbyist in high school, rolling a pair of tens in his '95 Sahara. Over time he built bigger, badder vehicles, each system more potent and prolific than the previous. He was earning a rep around the community for his deafening ways when, after a couple ladies sat in one of his rides and related how the massive SPLs rattled their rears, he was dubbed the Rump Shaker.
Eight years removed and Cole is still at it, competing in all the major organizations with a heavily fortified 1991 Chevy Astro that he picked up used at an auction. Where he departs from his dB-chasing cohorts is in the delivery. A self-proclaimed showoff, Cole believes looks are just as important as loud, and to that end has come up with a simple set of goals for the van: "To make everyone go 'wow' and maybe take a world record."
Lofty aims, true, but fully in line with Cole's hands-on work ethic. Indeed every part of the Astro, with the exception of the actual components, has been either altered or manufactured by Cole.
"The van was built from the ground up, and everything on it was hand built or fabricated," he explains. "The only parts you can get from GM are the hood and gas door."
You can really appreciate his DIY approach while examining the cargo area of the Chevy. In it, eight Orion amplifiers supported by milled aluminum racks flow juice to the eight drivers, each running at 1 ohm and pumping 4,800 watts into a single channel. A ninth Orion power plant is tucked out of sight behind one of the side walls, powering the system's three sets of show-only coaxes.
Covering the floor are 40 specialty batteries, displayed underneath sheets of transparent Lexan. Fat 4/0 gauge industrial cables handle power and ground chores, with the amps protected by 150-amp breakers, two amps per breaker. Several solid-copper buss bars link the batteries and extend the length of the rear cabin. The entire area is accented by strategically placed tubes of blue neon.
The rear doors also suggest a master craftsman behind the van. Outside, Cole replaced the windows with sculpted, painted fiberglass panels. Set into the panels is an array of digital gauges - 22 total - monitoring voltage and engine performance. Along the lower lip of the left window is one of two Kenwood decks and above that is an AudioControl EQ/line driver.
A second handheld Kenwood receiver plugs into the molded trim via RCA jacks, and spread along the bottom edges of both windows are toggle switches controlling the alternators and "burp" function. Inside, the doors received three pairs of 5 1/4" coaxial speakers molded into the fiberglass panels. One of the panels also conceals an AudioControl electronic crossover.
The Astro's cab looks something like a bank safe, with sheets of machined solid aluminum covering nearly every surface. The aluminum is backed by plenty of steel reinforcement, necessary since the area is essentially a common chamber for eight Orion 15" subwoofers. The windows also needed fortification, which Cole resolved by creating 40-mm billet aluminum braces to keep the molded Lexan panes from exploding during competition.
Other features that typically remain unseen include a cache of alternators mounted underneath the van, essential for keeping the batteries at full strength. Additionally, Cole fashioned a custom 14-channel remote to run the air ride suspension, lighting, gauges, and door pop functions.
It's tough to look at an SPL vehicle and not think it an exercise in excess but this psycho Astro employs equal parts brute force and finesse - a finesse that we don't normally see in a ride that hits over 170dB (as Cole claims. He hasn't run the van through the lanes, but says he plans to next season).
As you can guess, something like this doesn't come cheap. Cole isn't 100 percent sure how much he's dropped on the system, nor does he know what he'll do when he's finished with the van, but he's assured us that "it WILL be wild."
This vault-looking thing may appear to be the driver/passenger area, but in fact it's a common chamber for the subs made out of machined aluminum panels backed by steel supports. Each 12"-thick door weighs around 500 lbs. and is kept sealed with 11 toggle clamps
And here we see what, in fact, is making rumps shake: an octet of Orion 15s held in place with custom cast speaker clamps that maintain the heavy aluminum motif.
Alternator Infestation: Up under the Astro, 16 custom 400-amp alternators do their best to keep the 40 batteries juiced and ready for action.
Yikes! A multitude of system switches and Nodskog gauges are set into the molded fiberglass that replaces the rear windows, giving Cole full monitoring and control capabilities from behind the van. Hmm, which one of these tells the time?
Wild, Sweet, and Cool: The cavernous cargo bay of the Astro is home to eight Orion power plants, set up on custom 1/2"-thick aluminum racks, four to each side. The arrangement facilitates airflow to keep the amps chill. In the doors, three sets of coaxials, used only for show, sing from molded and painted fiberglass panels.
Put 'Em on the Glass: In a display case that covers the floor of the van, 40 custom, 2,600-amp batteries power the SPL machine from behind 3/8" sheets of Lexan. The RS branding is the creation of a friend of Cole's. Sir Mix-A-Lot would be proud...
For more info please visit RumpShakerEnterprises.com or myspace.com/rumpshakerenterprises