When you take your team on the road, it’s important to make a proper entrance. Any road warrior who claims not to have considered this aspect of the game is lying–or just embarrassed of their team Aerostar. Whether you’re a hired gun swooping into the venue on a private jet or an Opti mom dragging a gaggle of boats to Indianapolis, the manner in which you arrive makes a irrevocable statement to the competition. It’s up to you to decide what that statement will be.
Pull into the regatta parking lot behind the wheel of a Stretch Truck and your statement will be unequivocal: “I’m here to kick butt. When I’m through with that, I’ll retire to this here Stretch Truck to watch footage of my awesomeness on the headrest video montitors.”
At its facility in Oklahoma City, the Stretch Truck Company transforms already massive crew-cab pickups and full-size SUVs into purpose-built behemoths capable of carrying up to 11 passengers. The company can modify a customer’s existing vehicle for about $20,000, or start from scratch, as was the case with a recently stretched 2006 Ford F-350. This six-door, nine-passenger, turbo diesel dually pickup could be yours for $49,995.
Marketing manager Damon Carson described how the company goes about putting an addition on a truck. “We start by cutting the frame and installing an extended drive line,” he said. “There’s some sheet metal work, then we put in the new doors and additional seats. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?”
Because the company began as (and continues to run) a salvage operation, access to affordable, factory-quality parts is fundamental. “With the 2006 [F-350], instead of buying brand new doors, we took the doors off a wrecked 2006,” said Carson. “The truck we modified had leather seats, so we dropped in a couple of those, too.”
Aside from increasing the turning radius, stretching a truck has very little effect on the vehicle’s performance characteristics. “As far as the towing capacity goes, that doesn’t change,” said Carson. “We’re only adding about 400 or 500 pounds to the rig, so that doesn’t have much of an effect.”
Carson was careful to draw the distinction between Stretch Trucks and some of the other customized trucks on the road. “Our trucks are utilitarian vehicles,” he said. “They’re not limousines, and they’re not the big, tricked-out trucks your see rappers, rock stars, and athletes driving around in. It’s not about the rims and all that–these trucks are designed to perform a function.”
For sailors, what might that function be? “With a stretch truck, you and your team can get where you’re going in one vehicle instead of two or three,” said Carson. “If you’re traveling hundreds of miles, that can make a big difference.”
And if you’re working on your intimidation tactics, it could make all the difference in the world.