Las Vegas is known for its glitz and glamour, but hidden among the neon lights and bustling streets is a ground-breaking masterpiece turning heads in the local car scene and EV modification world. Meet “Karma,” a 2020 Tesla Model Y brought to life by the visionary builder Brett Hunsaker.
Brett has always been drawn to pushing the limits of automotive customization. So, with a background in mini-trucks and lifted rigs, he set out to infuse that unique style into an electric vehicle. And from the moment he laid eyes on a Tesla Model Y, he knew it would be the perfect canvas for his project.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same can be said about Brett’s remarkable build. The project began before the Tesla even arrived, albeit initially on a way less extreme level of modifications. With a few parts patiently waiting at home, Brett eagerly anticipated the moment he would be united with his ride. Little did he know at the time just how much this project would snowball.
Originally intended to be a slightly modified practical work car, it quickly became apparent that driving a close-to-stock vehicle was not in Brett’s DNA. Instead, the desire to transform the car into something unique and reflective of his style took hold. So, less than a 1,000 miles after taking delivery, the Las Vegan decided to go “all-in,” including dropping the Y to the ground with a never-seen-before air-ride setup.
Some might question why Brett chose a Model Y for his ambitious build, given the perception that SUVs inherently differ from more road-focused counterparts such as the Model S Plaid or Model 3 Performance. However, Brett is quick to dispel this notion. In his eyes, the Y is not fundamentally different from the 3; it does share a majority of parts—yet the Model Y, in general, had then been significantly less modified, especially in the air-ride department.
Karma is based on the Performance version of the Model Y, sporting a dual-motor setup; it delivers an insane 393kW/527hp and 660Nm/487 lb-ft. With a lightning-fast acceleration time of just 3.5 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, it merges the worlds of electrification, cool family wagon capabilities, and exhilarating performance.
From the moment you see Karma, you’re captivated by its brushed black steel wrap, meticulously applied by the talented hands of Mario Baratta at Madhouse Customs.
Every element of Karma’s exterior has been carefully curated to perfection, including the tinted headlights, Hansshow taillights, sleek carbon-fiber hood, and unique one-off honeycomb vinyl design on the glass roof—stunning from the inside and slightly reducing sunlight exposure—perfect for the Nevada desert climate.
But Karma’s beauty isn’t just skin-deep. Brett turned to the skilled team at Shawn Robinson’s Old Man Customs for the chassis and suspension modifications to ensure the perfect balance between style and functionality. They worked tirelessly to create a unique setup, allowing Karma to be the first Model Y to lay its body on the ground. It consists of an Air Lift Performance air-ride system paired with Air Lift shocks, MPP upper control arms, and a custom sway bar—they guarantee an unrivaled smooth ride and superb control on twisty roads just outside Sin City. Last, hidden in the frunk, we find a custom-painted FLO air tank to match the wheels. It sits on custom fabricated mounts and is coupled to two Viair 480 air compressors, wrapped in the same vinyl as the car’s exterior.
To visually slam the Y even more, Brett opted for bumper lips and extensions, all wrapped in body color with a bright copper strip adorning the rear spoiler and side camera covers. Of course, a genuinely great car deserves equally impressive wheels, and Brett didn’t disappoint. Karma proudly rolls on custom-made, two-tone, 21-inch Electric Performance rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, which provide excellent grip. The stock Brembo performance brakes have been meticulously painted in the striking copper hue. They are highlighted by BlamfLED off-road lighting wheel rings. For good measure, Brett coupled the latter with Lighting Trendz underglow and lights.
Stepping inside Karma reveals an interior that seamlessly blends luxury and innovation. Andrew Evens, Mike Rios at Fabricated LV, and Mario at Madhouse Customs worked their magic to transform the interior into an ultra-bright cocoon. The stock front seats received additional white leather back panels for a monochromatic finish, perfectly matching the center armrest, dashboard finisher, and the plethora of painted plastic trims. Door card inserts, ceiling, and pillar trims were elegantly wrapped in white suede. Then comes the piece de resistance: the custom-made steering wheel from Unleashed Customs. It sports white perforated leather and forged carbon and perfectly complements the interior’s flashy-yet-classy ambiance.
Karma’s interior isn’t just about comfort; it’s a symphony of sound. Brett spared no expense in creating an audio system that surpassed expectations. Two 10-inch Wolfram Audio subs, housed in a custom-tuned box, deliver chest-thumping bass, accompanied by a Wolfram 3500.1 sub amp and two Arc Audio 4-channel amps. In addition, the Audio Control DSP 810, housed in a custom-lit, molded amp rack, ensures precise control over every note, even when cranked to 11.
Karma has already left an indelible mark on the modified OEM EV scene. Unforgettable experiences and numerous appearances at prestigious events have marked the journey of this unique EV build. Brett has showcased his creation at the Tesla Takeover twice in California, the Lone Star Throwdown in Texas, and multiple shows in Utah. However, it is in Las Vegas where his masterpiece has left an enduring mark, racking up an impressive collection of awards, including the coveted “Best of Show.” This build has also garnered recognition at Mint Truck style shows, securing multiple top 50 and 30 medals.
Coming from a background rooted in mini-trucks, Brett aimed to infuse that distinct style into a Tesla, creating a one-of-a-kind fusion. However, as with any ambitious project, challenges were bound to arise. Brett’s passion, dedication, and the support of his club affiliation, Relaxed Atmosphere, became his best allies in overcoming these obstacles. The audio system design and installation were particularly tricky.
Along the way, Brett discovered some invaluable tips. Planning and anticipating potential issues proved instrumental in avoiding costly and time-consuming rework. The importance of doing things right the first time, even if it meant a slightly higher initial investment, became evident as he encountered the complexities of redoing certain aspects—then again, haven’t we all over the years?
Brett emphasizes the significance of having a clear end-goal in mind. Undertaking substantial modifications as a collective effort, rather than piecemeal changes, helps streamline the process and ensures a cohesive final product. In addition, it is crucial to pay attention to how each modification affects the overall functionality of the vehicle. He has certainly perfected the art of modifying a Tesla.
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