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Motorcycle rockstar Paul Teutul Sr. unveils choppers for Okada

When it comes to custom motorcycles, there’s only one man Hollywood celebrities and enthusiasts trust: Paul Teutul Sr. of Orange County Choppers.

The tattooed, gray-haired hunk who inspired millions of motorcycle enthusiasts by sharing his passion for custom bike building and riding in his show, American Chopper, on Discovery Channel has built bikes for the likes of Russell Crowe, Steven Tyler, Jay Leno and Will Smith.

And so it didn’t come as a surprise when Okada Manila, the biggest and most lavish resort development in the country, commissioned Paul Sr. to build two bespoke choppers for Okada, which lucky customers can win for the third installation of its Wheels and Fortune grand raffle promo slated in June.

“On Okada Manila’s first year (in 2016), we raffled off an Aston Martin,” recalled Teo Trevor, AVP casino marketing, Okada Manila. “At that time, nobody knew Okada. So we needed to create an impact, we needed to create awareness. That’s why we went big on our first Wheels and Fortune raffle draw.”

The response was overwhelming. “After Aston Martin, we had to go big or go home,” said Trevor. So Okada Manila chief marketing officer Andy Chang thought of giving away a Ferrari.

“But Ferrari doesn’t do raffles. Still, we managed to find a car, talked to Ferrari, and got it for P26.5 million,” shared Trevor. The brand-new car was raffled off during Okada Manila’s New Year’s Eve festivities last year.

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But the same question remains: How does Okada Manila top a Ferrari?

“By giving away custom-built bikes! And Orange County Choppers (OCC) was our top and only choice,” enthused Trevor.

Meet the man behind OCC

Clad in a black shirt, jeans and boots, Paul Sr. looked every inch a (motorcycle) rock star during our one-on-one interview at the Cigar Lounge prior to the unveiling of the bespoke choppers.

With him was his son Mikey, the heir to his throne.

“When I retire (God knows when), Mikey’s going to take over the business — sell and squander it. That’s what the COO (child of the owner) usually does,” Paul Sr. said with a hearty laugh.

Although still reeling from jetlag, Paul Sr. said what makes OCC and Okada’s partnership interesting and challenging is that both parties have high expectations of each other.

“We’re both perfectionists and we only want the best,” he added. “Okada recognized the quality and craftsmanship of our products. They spent a lot of money for these custom-built choppers and that’s what we gave them.”

So how do you deal with difficult clients? I asked.

“We choke them,” Paul Sr. said, laughing.

“That’s stated in the contract,” added Mikey, also laughing.

“Seriously, people are difficult because they don’t know what they want. It’s just a long, drawn-out process. And from a business perspective, customers are always right. There are times when the partnership didn’t work out, but for the most part we work through it,” Paul Sr. said.

It took Paul Sr. and his team less than a month, working ’round-the-clock, to finish the two choppers — The Okada Chopper and The Cove — which will be raffled off to lucky members of Okada’s Reward Circle cardholders this June.

The OCC bikes were inspired by how Okada Manila was built — meticulously conceptualized and made to represent an integrated resort like no other. They also embody Okada Manila’s own brand of luxury stemming from its iconic interiors and distinct architecture.

“The Okada Chopper and The Cove are totally different,” explained Paul Sr. “The former represents the casino, while the latter represents the resort.”

The Okada Chopper’s design is rich with complex details that echo the casino grounds. The plum purple and deep cream colors reflect the Okada brand. The chrome structures represent the Okada Manila’s architecture.

The Cove Chopper, on the other hand, is a long and low motorcycle that has several “Cove” attributes found throughout. The wheels mirror the giant dome structure found at the Cove. The detailed paint scheme reflects the simplicity of the Cove’s dome structure.

“OCC’s collaboration with Okada Manila highlights how our products create an impact, not just for the company we partner with but most importantly to the people who patronize them,” said Paul Sr.

For the grand reveal, Paul Sr. and his son Mikey drove the The Okada Chopper and The Cove onstage at Cove Manila on New Year’s Eve.

44 years and counting

Though he’s been into custom-building choppers for the past 44 years, Paul Sr. said he never gets tired of coming up with new builds.

“I never stop conceptualizing. There’s never enough bikes to build. Motorcycles are my passion. Custom-building has its headaches, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

As of last count, Paul Sr. owns about 30 bikes, which are stored in his huge garage, while some are on display in his shop.

Aside from bike building, he enjoys working out (there’s a full gym in the OCC shop), loves fishing, and getting inked once in a while.

“I don’t just put anything on my arms. It has to mean something to me. It may be two years before I get another tattoo — could be one of my dogs, or something meaningful to me,” he said.

When asked if he has plans of retiring, Paul Sr. hastily replies, “Why should I? I love what I’m doing so every day is a kind of vacation.”

* * *

The OCC Okada Chopper and Cove Chopper were revealed to the public to introduce “Wheels & Fortune 3: American Graffiti” this 2018 where they will be raffled off in the grand draw in June 2018.

Ten Harley Davidson bikes will also be up for grabs during the campaign period.

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