Quick Stats: Gabriel Iglesias, comedian
Daily Driver: 2013 Ford Flex (Gabriel's rating: 7 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: to Northern California
Car he learned to drive in: 1988 Ford Escort
First car bought: 1968 VW Transporter
If you're doing a double take because while driving in Los Angeles you see a 2013 Ford Flex with the word "Fluffy" on the hood where "Flex" should be, don't worry, you're not seeing things -- just comedian Gabriel Iglesias' tricked-out daily driver.
Iglesias, who was a contestant on "Last Comic Standing," is known for his stand-up specials "I'm not Fat…I'm Fluffy" and "Hot and Fluffy." With the help of more than 5 million Facebook fans, 2.4 million Google+ followers, and millions of views of his YouTube clips, he sells out venues around the country.
His success affords him the ability to buy new rides on a whim. While Iglesias can pick any supercar he fancies, most of the rides in his garage come out of Detroit. It wasn't a matter of supporting American automakers. He just likes these cars.
2013 Ford Flex
The Ford Flex is Fluffy-friendly. The minute he sat in one, he loved that it was super-spacious. "The Ford Flex is a really, really cool car. You get inside and you have so much headroom and it's really comfortable to drive and it's real techy inside. You look at the screen and it's blue and you've got all kinds of controls. Everything is digital. I'm trying to get used to certain features like voice command, I don't use it as much as I should," he says. "It's harder to use. I'd rather just get my phone and pick a song out."
Fluffy Guy fans on social media have recently seen his Fluffy edition Flex, which he proudly posted on Instagram when he first brought it home. He chuckles when describing how he changed the "Flex" badge to "Fluffy." "It's pretty pimped-out. The wheels, the engine, the interior -- it's very custom," he says. "There are so many things you can do to it. The interior was not offered in black, so I had my car guy change the entire color scheme inside the Flex, so it's black on black inside. Looks really cool."
While he loves the Flex and drives it most often, this is his third-favorite car in the garage, and that's why he gives it a 7 out of 10 rating. There was one small thing he didn't like on the Flex.
"This going to sound stupid -- the license plate thing in the back, it looks a little funky, so I put a toe hitch to try to cover it up because I didn't like it and the toe hitch has an outline of my logo," he says. "Visually that was it. It looked like it was missing something. As far as everything else, it's got great power. We put some dual exhausts on it, so it sounds real beefy now. Before, it sounded like a four-cylinder."
Iglesias goes to Madness Autoworks in Signal Hill, California for all his custom work. "They do really great work. I actually met the owners at Subway," he says. "It was one of those things. I was eating, they saw me and like, 'Hey! We noticed that you were driving this.' We started talking and they invited me to come down. The next thing I know, I'm putting Lambo doors on my Chrysler 300. I mean, they souped this car up, ugly! I was really, really excited and every car that I've got now, I've taken to them."
2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8
While the Flex is the family car, the brand-new, pimped-out Dodge Challenger SRT8 serves a different purpose. "The Challenger is definitely going to be the, 'I'll see you later, I gotta go' car," he says. "It's a comfortable car. It doesn't have all the techy stuff inside of it like the Ford Flex. This car's a lot more basic. I almost got the standard model, but the guy talked me into it. He said, 'Dude, don't worry about it, it's going to have the same power, it's going to be just as good."
Even though it's a sports car, it has to be comfortable for a Fluffy Guy. "That was the No. 1 thing when I got into the car -- 'How am I going to feel when I'm in it?' And it's very, very comfortable," he says.
2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8
This isn't your average 300 SRT8. "That one's a 10 all the way," he says, rating it and then starts to laugh. "The things they did to that car - you can hear it from two blocks away. It rumbles. The windows are tinted. It's a smooth car; it just picks up. I'll go to 60 in about 3 seconds. It's insane. It's got so much power. It was already a fast car and they did stuff to the exhaust. It's definitely a beast."
The Lamborghini doors make it stand out. Iglesias can't help but break out into a boisterous laugh when talking about them. "It looks really, really cool. If you're a car guy or car girl, you can appreciate it," he says. "My girl was not so happy about that. She hates it. She goes, 'This is so stupid, why do you need Lambo doors on a frickin' Chrysler?'" he says, with a laugh. "I went, 'Because I can!' The guy showed it to me. He goes, 'Dude you could get Lambo doors if you want.' 'Yeah, go for it!'"
Iglesias traded a 2012 Infiniti QX56 for the 300 because he just didn't feel right in the Infiniti. "I went back there to go visit a buddy of mine who sold it to me and I saw the Challenger and I'm like, 'Oooh! I want that car!'"
"Before that, I used to have a Hummer. I was big on the big cars for a while," he says. "I had two Hummers. I had a GMC Denali truck. It was all big cars in the driveway for a while. I think what helped too is I dropped about 80 pounds, so I was a lot more car-friendly again."
Iglesias admits he's become spontaneous with his car purchases. "I almost bought a DeLorean the other day just because. If I see something that I think is cool and I like it, I'll go for it," he says.
Iglesias is a big fan of the "Back to the Future" movies and says he just had a 12-year-old moment. "The car itself is not very Fluffy-friendly. It's not big guy-friendly," he says. "I wouldn't be as comfortable driving it. It would just be like, 'Oh, look, I have a DeLorean!' The whole idea is for me to be able to drive the cars and enjoy the cars. If I can't do it, then it's pointless. When I tried getting into it, it was like, 'Yeah, not going to happen.' It's like being a XXL T-shirt and you're trying to force a medium on yourself. You can get it on, but it's not going to be comfortable."
Iglesias has a warehouse for his cars, like other funnyman car enthusiasts Jay Leno and former Celeb Drive Adam Carolla.
"I recently purchased a building in Signal Hill, so I have room to buy cars now. I got the idea from comedian Jeff Dunham. We both have the same accountant and my accountant was telling me, 'Yeah, man, Jeff bought a building.' I go, 'Really? He just bought a building?' 'Yeah, to keep his toys.' I go, 'I want a building to keep my toys!'" he laughs. "So we went out and found a building in Signal Hill. I'm storing my cars and operating my clothing company out of there."
2005 Infiniti QX56
Although Iglesias probably will buy more cool rides in the future, he won't let this car go.
"It's my baby and I've redone it a few times. It's had multiple paint jobs, interior changes. That's the car that I'm never going to get rid of," he says firmly.
When this 2005 came out, it was a perfect 10. For a while he had two Infiniti QX56s in his garage, so he knows this model pretty well. "Over the years, the technology inside the car itself has changed," he says. "It still rides really smooth and it's super comfortable to drive, but the tilt steering on it, it's a lot better on the new model because it can go any direction and up or down, versus this one is just up and down. The pedals are adjustable on the new model. The onboard navigational system, the screen is really, really small on the '05 and the new one, the screen is like an iPad."
He's had multiple paint jobs on this 2005 Infiniti, always keeping it in the original color. "I've always kept it silver. But anybody that sees it, they go, 'Wow man! When did you get that?' I go, 'I've had that a long time.' They think it looks brand-new. I'm like, 'Well because it has brand-new paint on it!'" he says with a laugh. "It's been in I don't know how many car accidents, banged up every single corner on it. Every year it gets a new paint job. I changed the rims out so it has 2012 rims on an '05, so it makes it look pretty cool."
The Infiniti is symbolic. "The emotional attachment to this car is because my girl and I picked it out. It's as close to a wedding ring as we have," he says. "When I did try to trade the car in, my girl lost it. Her whole thing is, 'That was us making our decision together, this was our connection.' It's like, 'Oh God!' So that's why. I tell people that the car is like a big-ass wedding ring or promise ring, because it symbolizes our relationship."
Car he learned to drive in
Iglesias grew up in Long Beach, California, and learned to drive in a manual 1988 Ford Escort. "It was a Lakewood mall parking lot at freaking 1 o'clock in the morning while there was nobody around except for a security guard," he recounts. "So my sister let me grind the freaking gears for about two weeks till I got it down." But they stayed in the mall parking lot. "That was basically it, that's as much as she trusted me."
He says it was fun to drive, but that was when he was 14. "The first time I got to really drive a car, where I was going to get my license, was a [Ford] Thunderbird. Oh yeah! It was my sister's boyfriend's car. He really wanted to make an impression," he says, adding that the Thunderbird was probably several years old at the time.
First car bought
The first car that Iglesias bought, right out of high school, was a 1968 Volkswagen Transporter. "I had a job working at the mall and to buy the Volkswagen bus cost me $700 and an engine was another $500," he says.
He liked the Transporter because his brother he had one. "I saw his and I got to drive it and I thought it was pretty cool," he says.
None of his friends made fun of him or gave him grief for his choice of cars. "If they did make fun of me, I never heard them. They were usually at the bus stop," he says. "I was one of the first guys to have a car, so you didn't make fun of the guy that has the car while you're taking the bus."
The Volkswagen had a big sound system and he had to turn down the music to shift. "With a bus, you listen for it," he says while making a rumbling noise. "So you couldn't hear it, that's how freaking crazy that stereo system was that I had in it. It rattled the car, so you couldn't feel when to shift."
Although he grew up driving cars with manual transmissions, they're not conducive to where Iglesias lives now. "Whenever I get to drive a car that is stick, I'm really cool with it, but I live on a hill and hills suck when you're driving stick. Especially at stop signs."
For his second car, Iglesias got a sedan. "After that, I got a gold 1988 [Oldsmobile] Delta 88, an old man's car. It was nice," he says. "Then I got a Delta 98, which was the newer model of that. It looked really, really nice."
After the Delta 98, he switched to a Ford Expedition and then a Volkswagen New Beetle. By this time, he was an established comedian, and while he was driving the new Beetle, he got his first special on Comedy Central. "That was my everything car. I drove that sucker around everywhere. It's funny, because the year that I was driving the VW bug, I had done my special and I got a real nice fat check given to me and I wound up buying a Hummer. So at one point I had a bug and Hummer. You can tell I'm very extreme," he says with a laugh.
Favorite road trip
If you've seen Iglesias' act on the road, you know he brings his own support acts and has done so since the beginning of his career. While he travels on a tour bus now, in the early days he would drive to gigs. He's even talked about his road trips in animated detail in his act, such as the time he got pulled over for speeding.
Some of the best road trip memories are those earlier drives to gigs in Northern California. "Just taking the whole drive up the 5 or the 99, depending on which way we were going. A car full of comics. And then making a pit stops at In-N-Out, making pit stops at the truck stop. Everybody always had to pee, so we'd have to stop every 45 minutes," he says. "It was a regular trip. We'd go to Sacramento, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Fresno. We were always making the drive north. We'd do it five or six times a year."
The car full of comics drove themselves up north like that for years. "We never took Highway 1, 1 is if you had a million years to kill on the drive up," he says. "I never go perform somewhere alone. I've done that since day one. I've always taken other comics with me. Even now, we're on a tour bus, it's an extension of everything we've been doing. Now we go global. A lot of times we're at airports."
They still enjoy the drive north, but there are some luxuries now. "The difference is, now we don't have to stop to pee -- we've got a bathroom on the bus!"
"Aloha Fluffy" on Comedy Central
Iglesias' latest special on Comedy Central aired earlier this month in two parts. It will re-air tomorrow, April 27, in its entirety, with never before seen footage. It's also available on DVD and to download, and will also go into a rotation on Comedy Central.
In an unusual move for a comedy special, Iglesias opted to film this one in Hawaii. "That was a no-brainer, come on!" he says. "When we researched it, we found out that no comic has ever done a special there, so that was cool as well. Plus the fact that I always wear Hawaiian shirts and I've made a lot of jokes about people thinking that I'm Hawaiian. It was nice to go there and do the show there. People were super excited about it."
He tells a lot of stories about Hawaii and covers some of the local customs and slang.
"It's an excuse to go and party and a paid vacation. It's funny because the production company is the same company I've been using for all my specials and the first one was shot in Bakersfield. They were like, 'OK.' The second was shot in El Paso; they were like, 'OK.' So when I decided on Hawaii, they were like, 'Yay! Finally!' Somewhere that they want to go," he says. "Most of the time, it's New York or L.A., Chicago, but I found I've had more success by picking smaller cities that don't get as much love because when you do that, the people are excited. They're like, 'Wow, he could be anywhere, but he's here.' They appreciate that. That was definitely apparent in Hawaii, that crowd just gave it up."
While the Fluffy Guy theme was the basis for much of his early act, it has broadened quite a bit beyond that topic. "It's a whole different kind of show. I talk about traveling all around the world and hanging out with these guys and trying to raise a family at the same time," he says. "The things that I'm talking about now are way different than the other specials."
Iglesias may have lost a lot of weight but he's still a Fluffy Guy. "When you're 450 pounds and you lose 80 pounds, guess what? You're still over 300 pounds! I think I'd have to drop another 120 before I fall into a different category. I'm a still a big dude."
He lost the weight by drinking a lot of water, going-gluten free for the first month, and then carb-free. For exercise, he went with a combination of yoga, cardio, and weight training.
He still tries to be conscious about his diet, except recently when the special aired. "This last week I feel off the wagon ugly, mainly because I've been over here partying in New York and the special came out and every night's been a party."
Iglesias is also in movies. He voiced one of the planes in Disney's "Planes," slated to be in theaters August 9.
For more information, please follow him on Twitter @fluffyguy.