Papa-customize? Atoy is the key

After making a name for customizing interiors of vehicles, Atoy Llave diversifies into the specialized transport of People With Disabilities (PWDs)

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. However, if I may add, “Compassion is the father of innovation”.

At least, I’d like to apply the latter to car guy Victor “Atoy” Lim Llave, 50, who has been going about all these years not inventing, but innovating upon what has been created; repurposing, redesigning, adding new functional dimensions into everyday things—in his case—motorized transport.

Atoy has been called the “customization king” for good reason. Brimming with vehicle design ideas for 25 years (the bulk of these ideas are shown in the YouTube channel Atoy Customs, now with over 70,000 subscribers), his A-Toy Customs 4×4 and Bodykits company—formerly A-Toy Bodykits—has customized interiors of vehicles. And when we say vehicles, you name it, Atoy has redone it—cars, food trucks, mobile truck lounges, activation trucks, the lot.

Atoy’s clients have included prominent personalities: Manny Pacquiao, Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Coco Martin, Julia Barreto, Julia Montes, Lorna Tolentino, and Ivana Alawi. Corporate giants such as Smart, PLDT, Sun Cellular, and Tanduay have approached him for a number of projects. Atoy Customs has also been recognized far and wide, winning awards from TransSportShow and being generally acknowledged as among the leaders in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) industry.

Now, Atoy focuses his efforts on the transport of persons with disabilities (PWDs). Just recently, Atoy unveiled two customization options for this sector: Service vans for rent, and customization services for private individuals.

Managed by the company We Lift (operated by Atoy’s sister-in-law), the PWD service vans for rent integrate entry/exit wheelchair lifts at the rear door and at the side, with controller button to operate the lifts, floor locks to keep the wheelchair in place, partition walls (to prevent occupants from infecting each other with airborne diseases), intercom for communication between rear occupants and driver, swivel seats, oxygen tank, 220-volt socket, and rear light switch.

“I wish local government units would opt for dedicated service vans for their PWD constituents who are stuck inside their homes or depressed because of immobility. I hope LGUs would allot the budget for PWDs to be taken to places where they can improve their disposition or mood,” urged Atoy. He said these dedicated service vans could be well suited for PWDs who would need to go to therapy or dialysis centers or to doctors’ appointments. Atoy added that ambulances are often not a perfect fit for PWD transport. “The PWD transport service is not an ambulance,” he stressed.

The idea of a PWD service van is long overdue, Atoy stresses. But now that We Lift offers such a service, it would now be easier to partner with other health service entities. In fact, Atoy revealed that the company is collaborating with emergency rescue service Lifeline.

The PWD service van costs P5,500 to rent. For those who can afford customizing their vans for their PWD family members, the cost would range between P350,000 and P500,000. We Lift’s contact number is 0951-5555535.

You can check out Atoy’s customized PWD transport vehicles, along with his other customized food trucks on display at the Manila Food and Beverages Expo (MAFBEX) at the World Trade Center Metro Manila. Mafbex runs only until today.

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My ‘nuclear reactor’

Atoy is a proud father to two college-level daughters Mika and Kimi (yes, both named after the world-famous racers), and acknowledges that his wife (who refuses to be named) is his “secret weapon”, his “nuclear reactor”.

Atoy grew up with seven siblings. “Eight Llaves. Llave is Spanish for ‘key’. So, my dad gave each of his kids key pendants. We were the keys to his success,” Atoy explained.

“My dad taught us two things: Siblings should love each other and not fight, as you are the only ones who would be left when things go tough. Whatever happens, you will have each other’s backs. So we took that to heart. Each of us siblings are our best friends; Second, anyone can do business, but the bottom-line is it doesn’t matter if you’ll be fooled, but never fool anyone. If you have those two qualities, you will survive. I’ve passed on this advice to my two daughters.”

Atoy adds, “Now that I’m in my golden years, I realize there’s God in everything. I always put Christ in the center of my life. Whatever talent or skills I was gifted with, I always give the glory to Him because I know in a snap, I could lose everything, or in a snap, I’ll be blessed with more ideas.”