Houston Texan star combines business with pleasure
Thursday, February 14, 2008
San Jose Mercury News
Houston Texan star combines business with pleasure
It's late August and the sky over Houston, Tex., is torched, the air sticky and humid after days of steady rain.
The sweltering heat is not lost on Ahman Green, one of the city s most heralded transplants, who for six seasons in Green Bay, Wisc., was more likely to suffer from frostbite than heat exhaustion. It is within the confines of suburban Sugarland that the pro football player has settled with his family after signing a multi-million dollar contract with the Houston Texans.
And it is here where he takes delivery of his newest toy: a 2007 Shelby Cobra Mustang GT 500. While bringing home a new auto with 500 horses galloping under the hood is certainly cause for celebration for this car aficionado, it also means Green has to make space in a garage already teeming with other rides.
I ve always been a big fan of cars, says Green, who rushed for more yards, and gained more total yards from scrimmage, than any other running back in the National Football League (NFL) between the 2000 and 2004 seasons.
Now that I can afford to toy around with cars and get the ones that I ve always wanted, it s even better.
This car (the Mustang) will be my everyday driver, says the Omaha, Neb., native who helped the Cornhuskers win two national titles.
And while the new Shelby Mustang is nothing to sneeze at, it is former race driver (and Texan) Carroll Shelby s earlier work that collectors covet. To that end, Green owns a version of the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 that got its star-car turn in the high-octane movie Gone in 60 Seconds. In the film, the heavily reworked Mustang was nicknamed Eleanor, and Green s car remains true to the theme.
I ve always liked Mustangs, so when I found the Shelby GT500, I had to have it. Of course, when I got it, I had the Batman pedals and symbols put in because I m obsessed with Batman, and I put in the air ride (suspension), rims, and (stereo speakers). But basically, I left it alone as far as customization.
Problem is, whenever Green rides out in his beloved Mustang (roughly once a week), onlookers can t seem to stay focused on driving.
The summer that I bought it, I took it for a spin with my kids and fiancée and there was this high school kid who was driving by, saw the car and immediately made a U-turn and started following me, nearly riding my bumper. Finally, he pulled up next to me and said it was a great car and I m like, Thank you, but back up . Every time I drive that car, people nearly get in accidents from trying to look at it.
The Mustangs run in contrast to his sleek, blacked-out 2006 BMW 7-Series with 22-inch rims. Additionally, Green has a black 2006 Range Rover Supercharged sitting on 24-inch rims.
The BMW and the Range are two of my favorites. I probably drive those two the most right now.
But Green s interests in automobiles goes beyond merely driving them.
I started R Series Innovations in 2003 with my business partner . . . in Omaha.
We wanted to create a way that people can get the aftermarket look right from the dealership. You can get the latest in custom interior, audio/visual and rim and tire upgrades. Now you can pick the vehicle s features you want and have them factored into your car payment.
Green s business card of sorts is the one-of-a-kind alumni car, which allows owners to customize their car with their college s colors. Most notable is Green s own 2006 Dodge Charger in Cornhusker red and white with his autograph emblazoned on the hood and his collegiate stats imprinted on the floor mats, engine covers and child booster seat.
The idea behind the alumni edition is for other athletes to follow suit by paying homage to their school. To that end, R Series Innovations completed a University of Texas edition with Rose Bowl stats and championship trophy in the trunk. Their hope was to market the vehicle to some prominent Longhorns.
We did the UT edition hoping to get it to a guy like Matthew McConaughey, who is a huge UT fan, says Green.
With a new team, new home, new rides and a burgeoning customization business, Green seems poised to continue his successful life.
For me, this is definitely a big change, he says. The majority of my career was in Green Bay, and I did a lot for them and the organization and the state and the city. Personally, it was a tough decision (to sign with the Texans), but from being in this profession and being a fan of it, I know that changes happen. For the most part, what I ve learned growing up as a kid: most change is good. The changes in my life that I have experienced moving back from California and Los Angeles and being a Cornhusker and making that decision and leaving college early to get drafted and end up in Seattle to Green Bay all of this has been a blessing.
n Celebrity Car is produced by Wheelbase Communications in conjunction with quarterly publication Celebrity Car Magazine (celebritycarmagazine.com) and the duPont Registry (dupontregistry.com).
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