The story of Twins Custom Coaches really begins in western Wisconsin where twin brothers Mickey and Todd Larson grew up building custom cars, drag cars, and truck projects with their dad, Glenn. Custom cars and trucking were always a part of life as they grew up. After several years of working in other lines of work, the brothers decided it was time to step out on their own and return to their roots.
In 1998, the twin brothers opened Twins Custom Concepts in Orange, California. They soon developed a loyal customer base and did custom corporate projects for Kenwood, GMC, Oakley, and many others. They also did 'one off' projects for people on the show circuit and won many awards including 'Best of Show'. It was during this time of building custom rods that the idea of a custom truck was conceived.
With the help of their father, Glenn, the boys developed a unique floor plan that was different than anything else on the market. Glenn and his wife, Shirley, had logged millions of miles in a truck over the years, living and making their living in the cramped cab of a Century class Freightliner. This understanding of a trucker's life led to many of the features found in their new design. With a new vision and lots of enthusiasm, work on a prototype was begun.
The twins started with a used Freightliner Argosy, from the JB Hunt fleet. It was a short wheel based, Cummins powered beauty. The first order of business was to figure a way to pull their dad off the road and out of custom building retirement long enough to get this project off the ground. Building a hot little coupe is a bit different than cutting a semi truck in half and being sure that it can handle 80,000 lbs. when you put all the pieces back together. With the years of equipment and fabricating experience behind him, the boys knew that Glenn would be the one to head up the engineering.
With the plans completed, it was time to cut and stretch the frame rails to a 325 inch wheel base. The next task was to move the drive train back to the diffs and couple them with a 22 inch driveshaft. Moving the engine and trans to mid-ship allowed the Argosy's cab to be locked down permanently. An insulated hatch in the floor of the coach and removable side panels allow for easy engine access and service. Included in this mid-ship design was a method of removing the power plant by easily dropping it out the bottom of the frame rails. After working out the logistics of the components, the crew started building the body of the cab extension. Once the frame work of the cab was completed, aluminum skins were formed and attached to the walls. A giant one-piece roof cap was built out of fiberglass and box tubing to seal the entire top side.
While all of this construction was taking place, the brothers brought in Dmitriy Shakhmatov, a graduate of the Art Center of Pasadena, CA. Dmitriy quickly put his design skills to work, coming up with a Euro flavored face lift for the newly stretched and affectionately nicknamed "KONG". As modelers set out to re-shape the face of this monster, Dmitriy and the brothers took a walk to the rear of the rig. They knew that with all of the attention that had been given to the rest of the project, they couldn't stop at the back of the cab. With saws in hand, the guys started carving big slabs of foam and plywood to come up with a look that would complement the new face of the Argosy. In true hot rod tradition, the boys couldn't resist running some big pipes out the back of this giant street rod.
Growing up around trucks their whole lives, the twins knew that cabovers were considered the underdogs of the road. "In the U.S., if it's not a long nosed Pete, then you get no respect." Well, don't count this underdog out! This bad boy has some tricks that Pete owners will never have. Starting with a 25 ft. integrated cab and a multi-level floor plan, this long haul live aboard offers all of the comforts of home. It carries 100 gal. of fresh water, a 12KW diesel generator, a queen size bed in the state room, granite countertops and a home theater system that includes two LCD monitors with surround sound. This land yacht even has an exterior stainless steel water bay which features a foldout faucet. Let's not overlook the full service galley and luxurious bathroom with tiled shower. By configuring the floor plan as they did, the team was able to achieve the square footage of a standard 32' single level coach in a 25' cab. As the first truck neared completion, the word was out. People from everywhere were excited and interested in this crazy new concept.
The twins made a decision to put aside the hot rod building which they had enjoyed for several years and focus on the new division of their company. The plant was moved to Central Oregon and named Twins Custom Coaches to reflect their new product line. Oregon has a proud history of being home to several luxury coach builders and conversion companies. Along with a skilled talent pool, came the opportunity to work closely with the good people at Freightliner Trucks North America, who are based in nearby Portland, Oregon.
In addition to the 35' custom tow coach, Twins Custom Coaches has also unveiled several new and innovative floor plans for the motorcoach market. These are also based on the Freightliner Argosy chassis and offer all of the amenities expected in a premium motorcoach as well as some custom options that are truly exciting. These are offered in 36', 40', and 42' versions with floorplans for many applications. TCC also offers body conversion kits, which includes the front facia with bumper and lights, as well as the stylish rear fender and bumper assemblies.
If you have any comments or questions, the boys at Twins Custom Coaches would like to hear from you.