Born in the heart of Los Angeles, Mando Estrada grew up with Lowrider cars constantly cruising in his neighborhood. At the age of 15, he followed suit, often cruising Whittier Blvd with his friends, Reni and Nacho. They used to cruise in Reni’s ’64 Chevy Impala that was stock green, and had a hydraulic set up that only lifted the front. In ’78, Mando joined the Military, much like many young Chicanos who wanted to get out of their neighborhoods. He was deployed to North Carolina, where he spent four years of his life as a Paratrooper in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne division.
After serving his time in the U.S Army, Mando moved back to Los Angeles and began attending Lowrider car shows. That is where he met Jose Martinez, from Klique Car Club, back in 1980. Mando started to hang around Klique Car Club, and inevitably, he became a full member of the club. In 1983, he purchased what would ultimately become a legendary ’78 Cadillac Coupe De Ville from a dealership in Los Angeles, CA. Mando modified his Caddy, leaving it lifted and sitting on custom rims. He cruised it this way for a few years, until he had saved up enough money to paint it. This paint job came in the form of an elegant Candy Brandy Wine in ’85, thanks to a creative 18 year-old named “Jr.” from M & M Paint and Body. Mando’s newly painted Caddy was sitting pretty for a few months, until it got hit on a rainy day while it was parked in the street.
At that point, Mando decided to not only to fix the damage, he was going to go all out on the car and make it a full custom show Lowrider! The first step was taken when the car was delivered back to Jr., where he straightened the body out and repainted it. Mando took the car to the next level by painting the belly and the frame in the same Candy Brandy Wine. Mando wanted the car to look one color, until you got close to it and saw it in a different light. This vision gave the Caddy its ghost patterns, and this incredible paint job made a big impact in the Lowrider circuit. The car was then sent out to get the upholstery done, before being delivered back to Los Angeles. That’s when the engine was taken out, the block was painted candy, and every aspect of the engine was chromed out. Back in those days, it was more typical that only a few parts were chromed on the undercarriage, but Mando went all out and chromed out everything under his, including the nuts and bolts. After a couple of years of construction, the car was given the name “Brandy Madness,” due to its color scheme. The car’s debut came at a Phoenix, Arizona car show where it took home first place in its category, and then it was headed back to Los Angeles to go head-to-head against the big boys.
In ’88, Mando attended the Lowrider Car Show in the Los Angeles sports arena. His car was on full display, showing off the incredible painted belly, and fully chromed undercarriage and engine compartment. Causing a major scene at the show, his car was the talk of that event, especially with its modified front end and custom made grill. It even beat out the legendary “Pandemonium” at the Super Show. After that day, Brandy Madness was given the very first Lowrider Car of the Year title by Al at a Dukes event. When we asked Mando about the car’s induction into the Lowrider Hall Of Fame, he had this to say: “When Al announced that my car was named Lowrider of the Year, I felt so happy and proud. It’s one of those things that when you are young, all you want is a clean ride to cruise in with your friends; being inducted into the Lowrider Hall Of Fame feels just as good.”
Mando is happy to share his knowledge of Lowriding, and is glad to know that people still remember his car. Unfortunately, the car is not around anymore, but Mando has moved on to other projects. He is still an honorary member of the Klique Car Club, and vows that he will be representing them to the end. We at Lowrider would like to congratulate Mando and his car, “Brandy Madness,” for being the first Lowrider Car of the Year, and for being inducted into the Lowrider Hall Of Fame.