Andrews Avenue is a major artery in Oakland Park, it is lined with different small businesses and a few homes. It’s a major surface street which many of us locals use to go north or south in Oakland Park. If you ever drive this route, you may have noticed, on the corner of Andrews and NW 43rd street, behind a chain link fence and American flags waving in the breeze a collection of trucks and vintage vehicles for sale.
The dealership that sits on that corner, Big Boy Rides, is unlike any other. Big Boy, also known as Florida Diesel Headquarters, doesn’t just sell any car, they specialize in big trucks, specifically 2nd Generation Dodge Ram Diesel trucks and custom cars.
Big Boy acquires trucks from around the country, revamps them and then resells them. While they have been in business for a number years and are know throughout the country, they only made their home in Oakland Park about 5 years after before relocating from Pompano.
Paul Gutierrez, the shop manager, shared that “I would say that about 90% of our clientele are customers online though Ebay”. When asked about why the lot is always full Gutierrez explained that some of the trucks on property are ready to be taken home by a client, while others are up for sale and others are waiting to be repaired.
Big Boy Rides’ business is simple with the motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, which bears irony because that’s precisely what they do: fix trucks to sell. And when trucks arrive at Big Boy, there is plenty of fixing to do. They give new life and new breath into these trucks to give them a second chance on the road.
The collection of trucks comes through a combination of processes. Several venues are used, like auctions and private sellers. Gutierrez spends a lot of time looking through online forums such as Offer Up and Facebook Marketplace.
The team at Big Boy Rides look for specific trucks. There is a certain year frame and specific type of trucks within those specific years and time frame. Gutierrez says, “I’m only interested in certain kinds of trucks, that we would sell, not just your everyday kinds of trucks that you see on a daily basis.”
The customers that purchase directly from Big Boy Rides can bring back their trucks for certain parts or basic maintenance. If there are people who have the same kinds of trucks that they sell, they can certainly bring them in. “We can either sell them certain parts, help them diagnose problems they might be having, or even direct them to find the right part over the internet or through networking that we have” Gutierrez explains.
However, Big Boy Rides is not a full-service shop open to the general public. The custom work they do on the trucks includes lifts- even a 21-and-a-half-inch lift with 50 inch tires to name one example. Other custom work that may be done is wheels tires, package, air horns, train horns, tints, upgraded motor specifications and turbos. “People don’t necessarily have to buy from us for custom work. They just need to contact us”, Gutierrez shares. The most popular truck motor requested is 5.9 Cummins Turbo Diesel. And the reason it is highly requested is because that is a motor that Cummins built that will give you a million miles.
During the holidays Big Boy collects toys during the to make sure local children have a nice Holiday season. According to Gutierrez “a lot of us are Dads here so we like to make sure to help kids as much as possible”. Within the surrounding blocks, Big Boy Rides is always willing to lend a helping hand to kids in need of bike repair, air in their tires, or help fixing their bike chains, or anything else they may need.
Having established themselves a a friends of the community, the local kids know have a friend in Big Boy Rides! This is just one more thing that makes Big Boy a truck dealership unlike any other in Oakland Park.
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.