(Originally written to be edited and translated into Spanish for the Super PickUps publication)
Exiting the 8 freeway off of Hotel Circle Road, one could hear the war chants, “Raaaiiiiiiiders, Raaaiiiiiiiders.”
The day before, the Oakland Raiders lost against the Green Bay Packers, 21 to 31. On August 23, that did not stop the fans from making the Handlery Hotel the ‘Black Hole’ of San Diego.
“We call this the Raider Fan Convention South,” said Michael Sommers, the founder of the gathering, “win or lose, we love our team.”
Raider fans are super-fanatical about their team, and much of their support is transmitted through mass-gatherings, elaborate costumes – and their automobiles.
Oakland Raider flags, banners and decals were decorated on the majority of the cars in the parking lot. Then there was a 2002 Ford Excursion.
“Hey Mike,” Sommers said, “before you shoot the truck for Super PickUps, come inside and drink a beer with me and my friends.”
After my complimentary beer, I proceeded to the enormous truck parked in the front.
“The whole suspension was custom made and if you look underneath my chassis,” Guitierrez said, “everything has been either painted, chromed or powder-coated.”
He said that his people installed a 16″ lift with airbags in the rear, and at a flip of the switch, he can lower the backend to connect his trailer.
“You will never see another suspension like this,” Guitierrez said, “this was a one of a kind suspension designed by an engineer on a computer.”
Guitierrez added that besides his various sponsorships, he spent over $50,000 on the suspension and the undercarriage.
The custom paint job by DSG Graphics took six weeks of freehand painting. Over 150 skulls were painted on the inside and the outside of the Ford.
“The paintjob is dedicated to my friends at the Raider Nation,” Guitierrez said, “and here comes another one now.” A man dressed in a pirate costume, long black leather coat, and a silver contact lens – walked up. “His name is Oaktown Pirate.”
Inside the lips of the four 22″ Monster wheels, were paintings of other Raider Nation characters.
“It’s a gas motor, not diesel,” Guitierrez said as he popped the hood, “I get about six miles per gallon.”
The motor is a 6.8L V-10 with a couple of modifications: a Hyperchip chip and a Volant air-intake system.
If the 4″ exhaust pipe wasn’t loud enough, the in-car-electronics made up for that.
Guitierrez installed 17 TV monitors throughout the vehicle. They are connected to a Pioneer and Clarion unit in the dashboard, then the signals are sent to the array of amplifiers in the rear. There are four JL 300-4 amplifiers and three JL 1000-1 amplifiers which power the three 13-inch W7 subwoofers and the fill speakers.
Five Optima batteries and two alternators were installed to ensure that the truck will remain powered throughout the football games.
“I do appreciate all of the love and respect my truck gets from Raider fans around the world.”
Author: Mike Madriaga
Photography: Ian Bogan and Mike Madriaga
Featured in Super Pickups Magazine (11/2014)