When it comes to custom Teslas, what you see the most at car events and magazines are Model 3 builds. In fact, this is the first full feature of a modified Tesla Model Y on my blog.
The reality is that most Model Y owners don’t go much further than paint protection, window tints, and wheel covers when personalizing their EVs. That’s not the case with Sturgis Griffin III.
The ex-military member from Clearwater, FL, has transformed his Tesla Model Y into a real show stopper. The name “UNIQUE Y” is a perfect fit for Griff’s ride, and I feel privileged to write his build story.
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Griff’s Cars Before the Modified Tesla Model Y
Being in the military for 20+ years, Griff had to move all over the world. As you can imagine, he didn’t have enough time to get attached to a car project. Back in the day, they weren’t paying a great deal of money either, he says.
My first vehicle was in Germany. I remember picking up the floor mats and seeing the road underneath. Nothing, a little plate of sheet metal and spot welding couldn’t fix.
Shortly after he got promoted, Griff bought himself a BMW 5-series in much better shape. He customized it mildly, and the vehicle served him well for thousands of miles on the European autobahns.
A Nissan Maxima, BMW 750iL and Audi S5 fitted with V8s were his next cars, which Griff dressed with body mods, custom wheels, and exhaust systems. In March of 2021, Sturgis Griffin III becomes the owner of a brand new Tesla Model Y Performance.
From Stock Tesla to “UNIQUE Y”
Griff didn’t keep the 2021 Model Y Performance stock for too long. Trying to set the EV apart from all the boring Model Ys on the road, he started with 22″ Lamborghini Urus rims and lowered the Tesla with coilovers. A front splitter and rear spoiler upgrade were added, and Griff went to his first show.
A friend of his and a member of the RUINED EV, Preston Davis, told Griff he needed to get the Model Y on bags in order to get attention. After attending a few more shows and looking at all the modified cars, Griff realized he needed a bagged Tesla to compete.
Shortly after, Griff and his modified Tesla Model Y became part of the RUINED crew. A group of people trying to break the stereotype that nothing can be done to Teslas just because they are EVs.
I can’t be any happier for the opportunity to work with such great guys. You can see more of their one-of-a-kind custom builds featured on my blog here.
Griff’s Tesla Model Y Performance Mods
Griff tells me the wide body Model Y is still a work in progress. He looks forward to partnering with Status Racing seats, doing a few more custom touches to the interior, and enhancing the trunk in the near future.
However, there are plenty of modifications installed, with his favorite being the Yoke steering wheel and the custom “UNIQUE Y” badge. Let’s look at the full list.
Carbon Fiber hood
Custom Carbon Fiber Wide Body Kit
Adro Carbon Fiber Front Splitter
Carbon Fiber Fog Light Covers
Carbon Fiber Side marker Covers
Carbon Fiber Door Handle Covers
Carbon Fiber Mirror Covers
Wheels & Tires
Strasse V10 – 21×9.5 +38 F / 21×10.5 +42 R
Michelin Z1 – 255/30/21 F / 285/30/21 R
Don Marconi Brembo BBK
Drilled & Slotted Rotors
Papaya Orange Calipers
Air Lift Performance 3P System ¼” lines
Air Lift Performance series struts with double bellow air springs
4 Gallon Air Tank (Custom wrapped – Panasonic Battery)
Air Lift Manifold with custom Unique Y plate
Auto frunk lift kit
Dual Viair 444C Compressors
Teslux Innovations Lighting and Underglow
Teslux Front Fog Lights Sequential Turn Signals
Rear Fog Lights Sequential Turn Signals
Custom LED Door Projector Puddle Lights
Rear Eagle Eye Taillights with Sequential Turn Signals
Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel
Carbon Fiber Steering Column
Carbon Fiber Seat Backs
Carbon Fiber Center Console
Carbon Fiber Dashboard
Carbon Fiber Door Panel Overlays front/rear
Carbon Fiber Door Control Covers
Carbon Fiber Turn Signal Cover
Carbon Fiber Drive/Park Cover
Upgraded Lighted Tesla Door Sill Entry Plate
LED Ambient lighting Under Seats
Alpine-USA Carbon Fiber Series (First to market)
PXE-X121-2EV – 6 CH 100W Amplifier
EV40MR-T (x2) – 40W – 160W Tweeters
EV65CF-T – (x6)- 50W – 200W 6in Speakers
EV40M-T – (x3) – 40W – 160W Mid Speakers
EV100SWY-(x1) – 100W – 500W Sub
The recently installed Alpine system replaced the original Tesla speakers. The amplifier with a Digital Sound Processor is something you can only hear. Thus, there are no photos in this section.
Griff’s Advice for Successful Tesla Modding
Without a doubt, Griff owns one of the world’s hottest Tesla Model Y builds. In 2023, he racked up quite a few awards, like the Best SUV Electrify Expo (Miami), Best EV Import Evolution (Tampa), and Best EV Elite Tuner (Orlando). I’m sure there will be many more to come.
That said, I think Griff’s experience with the wide range of aftermarket products involved in his build will be helpful to anyone modifying their Tesla. Here are some words of wisdom he shared with me.
I have people come to me all the time and say I want all the modifications you have. Where can I get them? How fast can I get it?
Be patient! It took me two years to get my Model Y to where it is today because I mixed parts and didn’t go with just one company.
Speaking of companies, Griff wanted to give a shoutout to Alpine Stereo, CoaterZ, Teslux Innovations, Adro, Airlift Performance, Don Marconi Brake Systems, and KarbonWorkz for working with him.
Here is what he said when I asked him for some advice for those trying to get a car sponsorship:
You must put the work into your vehicle first to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Then, before you reach out to the marketing department of a company, you must’ve developed some sort of business plan.
In other words, how will you display their products? What will your vehicle do for them? Partnering with you will be in their best interest; how?
These are things that will separate you from all the “Hey, can you sponsor my car?” guys.
I hope you enjoyed the story and can appreciate the efforts that went into this custom Tesla Model Y. If you want to follow the build progress, check out Griff’s Instagram @g3unique_y.