There are few more iconic shoes than the infamous checkerboard slip-on and high-top Vans. The shape and pattern of the shoe are instantly recognizable, and one could easily argue it’s now most synonymous with that brand than any other. You might be thinking, “that’s very nice, but what does this have to do with UTVs?”
Well, in an ever-expanding search for forms of expression, shoes and vehicles similarly become outlets for people. And this RZR Turbo R from DRT Motorsports certainly expresses itself. I first became aware of this RZR while walking down a vendor row at this year’s Trail Hero. And it was clear that a shoe-themed SXS generates some buzz – from vendors and participants alike.
While a checkerboard pattern has a lot of different connotations, perhaps most famously as a finish flag in racing, in the shoe world, it is undoubtedly iconic to the Vans brand. With this RZR sporting this iconic livery in a slightly more interesting beige on brown color patterned wrap, courtesy of Proline, compared to the more typical black and white, it draws plenty of attention to what most might consider boring colors on their own. This more unique take on the palette also lets this RZR fly under the radar a bit, as it takes a few steps closer to begin to see the strong attention to detail taken in this build.
With the same subtle browns and cream whites accenting the interior courtesy of a set of custom heated PRP Alpha race seats, the interior took the idea of a “Vans RZR” and delivered. Sporting a Rockford Fosgate stage 5 audio system, there’s even more reason to love sitting inside this Old Skool-styled interior. Everything inside this cockpit was carefully chosen to show a strong resemblance to the shoe it was imitating, down to the waffle-textured door handles in that instantly recognizable tone of brown.
Squarely in the center of this cockpit was the DRT Shift Knob in the appropriate color scheme again. Right above it is the Switchworks control panel, which provides an attractive central control for the wide array of lights this RZR has mounted on it. Featuring a full rack of Baja Designs Lighting, of course, with covers to match the car’s livery, provides more than ample lighting to keep things rolling after the sun goes down as well. For some added safety, a pair of 2’ quick-release white Buggy Whips match the livery and ensure this beige homage doesn’t go unnoticed.
Built off the RZR Turbo R, this throwback-inspired build doesn’t need any help in the power department either, leaving more room to focus on inspiring waves of nostalgia for an iconic piece of footwear. The addition of an Evo Turbo R Exhaust system and plate serve to add some improvement to the soundtrack provided by the RZR’s 925cc powerplant.
Accompanying the Turbo R’s already beefy 181 horsepower are a set of 35” GBC Parralax Dirt Tires wrapped in a set of Metal FX Beadlock Hitman Wheels, keeping everything as gripped up as it can be. With aggressive tread and power working in unison to throw up some massive rooster tails in the dunes, this beige blur made its presence apparent in Sand Hollow.
Such a gamut of DRT aftermarket bumpers and body panels on this RZR makes for a clean shape and just further accents the rest of the effort that has gone into making this Turbo R Old Skool. Underneath, to make this a fully capable SXS and not just a looker, are the DRT Radius rod kit, accompanying reinforcement plates and sway bar links.
Complimenting these reinforcements is an assortment of HCR goodies for the suspension, and they are all powder-coated to match the colors of the rest of the RZR. With a laser focus on the handling and durability of the suspension paired with an already healthy powerplant, it makes for a formidable terrain-eating machine.
Watching this Old Skool RZR chew up the dunes in Sand Hollow was truly impressive. On a day when I was trying to hone my extremely novice dune driving skills, witnessing a purpose-built machine just absolutely rip through the red-orange hills, throwing up tails of earth in its wake, inspired lofty goals which I had to keep in check. With its combination of GBC Parallax tires and HCR Suspension, this Turbo R was more than capable of pounding around anything Sand Hollow had to throw at it.
As impressive as the action shots were, the real star of the show was just the sheer attention to detail on display with this build. Even the little touches that a regular guy who wears Vans like me took a moment to notice, such as odes to the red tag on the back of the sole, the waffle grip textured handles, and of course the ever-iconic checkerboard pattern on display, this RZR exponentially draws your attention into it. With a variety of precisely targeted performance upgrades added to an already formidable OEM Turbo R, this RZR makes a strong statement that it is not, in fact, “all show no go” but rather a mix of the two.