Custom cars and bikes TV shows

There are many TV shows about customizing cars and bikes these days. Some do really good jobs, and others are really questionable. But they are all entertaining to watch at the end.

My favorite show currently is Overhauling on TLC. Chip Foose is the leader among the customizers, and you can definately see clear design goals he has from the begining to the end. I believe he is an Art Center grad. Although I am usually floored with the results, it seems they only focus on muscle cars, (except for one Ford Explore). I wish they would mix it up just a little, as I am more of a Euro fanboy ( VW, Audi, BMW, etc). Good show, non the less.

My least fovorite show is American Choppers on the Discovery channel. Orange County Chopper crews are completely disfunctional, I get frustrated just watching them. Also, Jr, their lead designer has absolutely no design skills what so ever.

You guys watch any of these shows?

If kids watch those shows and tell themselves that they want to become designers, out future will be in doubt.

Show wise, some are entertaining, but I miss the old wildlife documentaries and science/tech programs discovery channel used to show. Now it’s just a macho version of MTV channel.

It bothers me when they just go round picking up prefab parts, put them together and call it their own design. It’s like you don’t even need a paper or even any conceptualization. It’s merely a hit or miss kind of approach. To say it in a bad way, it’s trial and error.

Overhauling is different. They are not trying to create a new statement, but to restore the old spirit that lies within. It’s more technical than style. I find MTV’s Pimp my ride quite interesting, but I want to know more about the work done to make the rusted panels like new again. I’m sure there are way more people involved than those dudes on the show.

Pimp My Ride is funny but very scary at the same time. They spend $10,000 on AV gadgets and don’t even touch the engine most of the time. At the end, they have a shiney car that probably runs as crappy as when it first rolled into the garage…

Overhaulin’ rocks, I watched the marathon yesterday. I like that they’re in high spirits, unlike the OCC guys, (I’m sure it’s clever editing though). The only thing I have to complain about is the huge sound systems, There is and will never be a need for three 12" subs in the trunk of a car, a 12 or a couple of 8’s or 10’s would do fine I know it. And those Kicker Amps are horrible, they should hide them. I guess this is just my opinion but, as designers, what do you guys think? Maybe overkill or at least a waste of space?

Yo man, it is all about playing the video games in the car!

Yo, good point, maybe they could hook up Gran Tourismo, and you could use the car’s steering wheel and pedals to play the game. Like driving when you’re not driving. Maybe it would pick up the beautiful parking lot babies :sunglasses:

Too bad there aint any real manual clutch for the system, or else that will be an excellent idea. Perhaps instead of using a screen, why not project the image from the dash so that the entire windshield becomes the screen? I don’t think this is too far fetched isn’t?

once all the new cars are drive by wire, that could work maybe, it wouldn’t be hard to project the image on the windscreen. once in park you could switch your car to entertainment mode. Maybe this will all be in place in time for Gran Tourismo 9. Can’t wait for the release of GT 4, I’ve got to get working on my arcade setup, I’m running out of time :open_mouth:

Also, Jr, their lead designer has absolutely no design skills what so ever.

How many bikes have you designed and built? What the f*** are you talking about.

If kids watch those shows and tell themselves that they want to become designers, out future will be in doubt.

Flat out f****** stupidest thing I have ever heard.

The only thing I have to complain about is the huge sound systems, There is and will never be a need for three 12" subs in the trunk of a car, a 12 or a couple of 8’s or 10’s would do fine I know it.

Check that, this is even dumber. I bet you have 1 bazooka tube and still live with your parents. If you think 3 12s is the biggest stereo anyone would ever need, you probably think a 4X50 is a big amp and sony stuff kicks ass.

How many bikes have you designed and built? What the f*** are you talking about.

None, I’m not a bike designer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t design, nor I don’t understand the process of designing products. The show displays extremely chaotic process that lacks any sort of inspiration. Almost all the design desicions are made on the fly, which only resorts to lucky accidents if anything. I’m sure there are many people who appreciates the end result, but then, there are people who put 2 feet tall spoiler on the trunk of their Civic and think it’s cool, so to each his own.

That is what I’m talking about.

The problems I have with Jr.'s designs on OCC are that 1. he is too slavish and 2. he over-designs.

  1. Too slavish. The details on many of the bikes are obvious rather than inspired. Like the fire fighting bike. He tries to make the tank look like a truck and puts that F.D. logo on the wheel. I’m not saying it has to be subtle, but good design isn’t cut & paste.

  2. Over design. Sometimes less is more. It seems at the end of the day that his designs come down to “how many times can I bash it in someone’s head that I was thinking of a fighter plane”. I think a few of the designs would be more timeless with just a few less of his magnificent details.

I prefer overhaulin’ too. As a designer, it seems like he thinks of alternatives, although they probably don’t show his thought process well enough. I think Overhaulin’ isn’t just rebuilding a car, but designing one. Chip takes and smooths out bad details of the stock cars, and emphasizes others. Also his paint jobs are truly inspired.

How about the Lance Armstrong bike, I thought it wasn’t too overly done until I saw the belt drive cover and mirror…wow !!!


Does Jesse James even make bikes anymore or just stuff with his name and face on it?

Also love the American Chopper episode where they introduced the aquajet, and how they explained how they wanted to be careful not to overuse it.


On motorcycle mania 2 Jesse made it sound like the copper bike was the last one he was gonna do (atleast for awhile)…

Great example of my points. It would have been inspired to grab the feel of the speed and motion of a bicycle helmet and use that to design a nice mirror. Instead they took the low road and just painted Lance on them.

Having said that, I have seen some growth in Jr’s designs.

was just thinking that but it looked like they put a new engine in an episode on the 1960 Baja Beetle…also, many times it seems so impractical (amongst many others) to have 15" screens mounted inches away from your face…

I’m definately most impressed with Monster Garage, but I’m afraid that it’s only a matter of time before Jesse James decides that he’s sick of it. The man is getting (rightfully) more and more pissed off with the media attention and stardom he has gotten, and in his heart all he wants to do is pound out a gas tank with a hammer and smooth it on the english wheel.

My 2nd favorite is DEFINATELY Overhaulin’ though. They do a GREAT job with that show, although I find myself really dissapointed at times with the fact that sometimes at the start of “DAY 7” the car rolls into the shop after heaving returned from the painter, and then “ta-da” it’s completely finished and being delivered to the owner in 7 min. of the show’s airtime. I WOULD LOVE to see unedited showings of these car builds though. Perhaps the customizing industry will encourage TLC enough to where they release unedited DVDs of the tapings. That would be an amazing resource to anyone working on building the same body style car!

Overall, I’m sincerely impressed with the range and quality of these new car focused shows. I am however scared of the fact that this “Renaissance” of the Muscle Car and vehicle customization passion in general will be the first victims of a future energy conscious society. What looks like “Satan” rolling down the street in comparison to a hydrogen fuel cell powered car? A 70 Chevelle SS with a backhalved frame rolling on 30" wide tires and a blown 450 cid. motor sticking out the hood. It’s bad enough that a show car like that or a drag car can be as bad as 4 mpg, it’ll be MUCH WORSE for the owners when gas is about $10 a gallon because we are “penalizing” and restricting gasoline powered cars. Then again, “Hot Rodding” and customizing cars will always find a way to reinvent itself. There WILL come a day when an electric motor vehicle can be “fast” and “cool” as well.

I just watched the a couple newer episodes of American Chopper. I see what you guys meant about that aqua jet cutting machine. What a waste…

JL Design: Good thing about muscle cars is that they stopped making them. There are alot less Chevelles today than in 1976. Therefore, there are alot less to turn into 8 mpg beasts.

Hot rodding. What surprises me is that no one used the Honda Insight for a drag car. Civics weigh 2400-2800 lbs. Insight weighs 1800 lbs, even with all those Ni-MH batteries. Stick a turbo B18 in that!

I think the fascination with these so called "design "shows is the fact that they appeal to the cognative, emotional craft that most people can relate to. when it boils down to the bottom line these shows highlight the craftsman, his tools and the final object. Someone said it above; the allure is its Jesse James, a piece of sheet metal, his tattoos and an English wheel.

We will get to the stage where efficient vehicles are much faster than the primitive big blocks with glass packed mufflers. in fact we may even find newer technology to replace, mimic and exceed these predecessors; but we are doomed as designers if we cannot regognize the visceral appeal of a '70 short body in the 1/4 mile with a 476 Heavy and a blower to the “purist” or “Chevy guy”. Whats the saying: “there is no replacement for displacement”

side story: I took a Swiss friend to a NASCAR race once simply because he was making fun of it in comparison to F1. We got to Fontana and from the moment the race started to the 500th lap he had a huge shit eatin’ grin (while sipping Budlight and picking rubber out of his eyebrows). After that he was too drunk to care, babbling with a tattooed redneck from Riverside. when asked how he enjoyed it said he loved it and now understood the appeal. Its not about the race or the cars, its about the experience; the sound of the engines, the smells, the crowd. Its the holistic package, the want the desire, the need (from Top gun: for speed).

you shouldn’t be scared, you should be willing to understand and apply the visceral aspects these shows, of the Big block, of the chopper culture to the future engines and objects you will design.

these shows are a wonderful slice of the American Experience, in all its fu*ked up glory.

Yes it’s the experience I agree. However I tend to look at it as a program supported by Discovery Channel, which in many ways serves as an educational channel. If there’s just one or two similar shows, it’s fine, but this trend is sweeping across the air like hip-hop.

Now, Asian Discovery Channel is going to air American Choppers too. I don’t think the impact will be as great as that in the US since this is, afterall, not a part of Asian culture. Audience will view it as something new. I just hope that it won’t shape the “still intact” Discovery Channel here.