October '19

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14 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 W hen Shaquille Shaq Hodge walked into Atlanta Custom Wraps (ACW) earlier this year to place a special order, the shop associates thought it would be another custom color change job—something they'd done for him in the past. But, as Hodge laid out the specifics of his request, the team quickly realized this would be no simple, everyday project. While on vacation shortly after the birth of the couple's third child, Hodge's wife, Percilla, fell ill. It took one hospital visit to learn that she had contracted meningitis—an inflamma- tion of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The infec- tion was aggressive, and Percilla passed away just after her diagnosis at the age of 27, leaving behind a husband and three young children. Hodge, a car enthusiast, came to the Georgia-based shop with his vision for how he could keep his wife's memory alive in a unique way—through his vehicles. The project was to design and wrap not just one, but three vehicles in her honor. Hodge's Dodge Durango, Dodge Charger and Rolls-Royce would all be uniformly customized to remember Percilla. Hodge and Justin Norton, ACW owner, shared their thoughts on the special project and how a custom wrap can be used for a cause. What inspired the vision and design for all three vehicles? Shaquille Hodge: The marble design was intended to mirror my wife's tombstone. Each vehicle has specific customizations, in addition to the wrap, that represent things about her and things that she enjoyed. For instance, the blue accents on the Dodge Charger represent the sky, and we added rose gold accents on the Durango because it was her favorite color of jew- elry. The scissor doors on the Charger are her angel wings and a mural of her on the interior hood represents that she's always in my heart. The additional customization of gloss black on all the vehicles was a special touch added by ACW to ensure everything was flowing smoothly, design-wise. It's evident there was a lot of thought put into this. Now that all three vehicles are complete, how do you feel when you see them? SH: I'm very pleased, as always, by the work done by ACW. I trust Justin and the team to use the best materials that not only provide the look I had envisioned, but also protect my vehicle at the same time. Of all three vehicles, the Charger is the one that best represents my wife, and every time I look at it, I see her. She motivated me to customize cars and take it a step beyond a hobby, so, to me, this is the ulti- mate honor in her memory. It's a constant reminder that she lives on. What came to mind when Shaquille came to you with this custom project? Justin Norton: Shaq is a repeat customer and always has an interesting project in mind when he comes to us. This is the third time we've done a custom wrap for his Dodge Charger, but when he came to me with this idea, I had a feeling this wrap will be a lasting one. It's not typical for a request like this to come into the shop, and it really resonated with me. I knew we could bring his vision to life, and I was just excited to get started. Shaq and his family have been both friends and customers of ours for years. When I was initially told about what hap- ACW helps a young father honor his late wife with a special project. CUSTOM WRAPS Keep a Memory Alive 14 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019

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