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Car TV’s Reality Show Stars: Where Are They Now?

Cameron EittreimApril 27, 2021

Reality TV changed the way that automotive enthusiasts lived. Auto fans got to see custom car and motorcycle builders in action in real life. This brought a much more personal approach to the automotive industry that hadn’t been seen before.

The early 2000s were the heyday of reality TV-based centered on the auto world. But, a lot of people are wondering what these car stars of reality TV are up to today. We decided to look into it. Let’s jump into what the reality TV stars of the car world are up to today right here.

Photo Credit: MTV

20: Xzibit – Pimp My Ride

Before Xzibit was putting rims on a toaster, he was a star rapper. But MTV reality TV show “Pimp My Ride” took Xzibit’s fame to the next level. Sadly, Xzibit didn’t stick around past the sixth season and slowly fell out of the limelight. The rapper did appear on the cast of Empire, and acting is his sole focus now. Xzibit released a new music video in 2020, and it seems he is back in the studio for a new album release.

Photo Credit: Esquire

“Pimp My Ride” had phenomenal success, although it has recently come to light that a lot of the work done on the show wasn’t authentic. The rapper has an extensive car collection himself, with a 1963 Impala being the pinnacle of his rides. Needless to say, Xzibit is still in the limelight, albeit in a less noticeable role than he was before.

Photo Credit: GQ

19: Danny Koker – Counting Cars

The “Kount” as Koker is called rose to fame fairly quickly on the hit show “Pawn Stars.” He eventually landed his own TV show which still airs a new episode now and again. Koker has been up to several different things these days. First and foremost is being the lead singer in the rock band Counts 77. Koker’s focus has shifted toward doing music and YouTube appearances these days.

Photo Credit: TLC

With his current situation, the production of “Counting Cars” has been paused for the time being. This means that Kount will focus on his music career more than just cars. Counts 77 is a rock band and features a classic rock flare. Nevertheless, Koker’s love will always be automobiles.

Photo Credit: MTV

18: Ryan Friedlinghaus – Pimp My Ride

West Coast Customs was instrumental in the success of the “Pimp My Ride” TV show. Ryan Friedlinghaus was at the helm of the company and a focal point of the show. After “Pimp My Ride” went off the air, Ryan has focused on continuing to make the brand viable. WCC was prominently featured in the video game L.A. Rush and on diecast car models as well. One of Ryan’s most recent projects is a West Coast Customs rollercoaster in development at Six Flags.

Photo Credit: MTV

Ryan was also sued by the California Labor board on April 23, 2014, for not complying with labor codes. Needless to say, this TV star has been quite busy after the success “Pimp My Ride” brought to him.

Photo Credit: Speed

17: Wayne Carini – Chasing Classic Cars

Chasing Classic Cars has been on the airwaves for almost 20 years now, so Carini knows a thing or two. He specializes in restoring classic Ferrari models and he’ll scour pretty much the entire U.S. in his search. Nowadays Carini has exited the limelight to enjoy his estimated 20 million-dollar net worth. He has recently guest-starred on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ and also has a couple of other projects in the works.

Photo Credit: Speed

Wayne has been heavily involved with the YouTube scene as of lately. But he’s still taking the time to continue restoring classic Ferrari models. Ferrari restoration pros are few and far between. Carini stands to be one of the few experts left.

Photo Credit: Foose

16: Chip Foose – Overhaulin’

For a short period of time, The Learning Channel and Discovery Channel were vying for the attention of automotive aficionados. Chip Foose rose to fame on his show “Overhaulin’,” which was similar to “Pimp My Ride.” The only difference of course is that Chip Foose goes for a classic approach to most vehicles. Foose has specialized in hot rods and muscle car conversions for decades. His work has been featured in all of the most prominent car publications.

Photo Credit: Foose

Nowadays, Foose has taken a back seat to the reality TV scene, although he’s still shooting new “Overhaulin'” episodes. A new series of Foose wheels have been released across the nation and he is an advisor to multiple video game franchises. He’s also been a spectacle at the Sema shows a few times since then.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

15: James May – Top Gear

Few TV shows have taken the world by storm as ‘Top Gear’ did. There was something refreshingly different about Top Gear as opposed to Motor Week as similar offerings. James May had a memorable personality many thoughts were reminiscent of “Doc” from the back to the future franchise. His love for automobiles is evident in every review that he does. He strives to lend a more personable approach to the show than his co-hosts did at the time.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

Now he’s also a regular on multiple YouTube channels, in addition to getting his line of automotive care products. It May quite possibly could be the most popular host that the show has seen in its 22-season run.

Photo Credit: Maxim

14: Richard Rawlings – Fast N’ Loud

Even though ‘Fast N’ Loud’ is no longer prominently on the air, Rawlings made a name for himself. The show was instrumental in introducing us to the Gas Monkey brand from T-Shirts to toy cars. Likewise, Rawlings has moved on from just doing reality TV to being part owner of an NHRA drag racing team. These days the TV star has also been focused on expanding the Gas Monkey clothing brand with its new designs.

Rawlings has also been a spokesperson for Dodge recently. He appeared in commercials for the Dodge Challenger and the Dodge Charger cars. All of these appearances have helped to increase the TV star’s notoriety massively.

Photo Credit: TLC

13: Richard Hammond – Top Gear

Another well-known host from the hit show ‘Top Gear’ has been doing a lot of moving around lately. Richard has been on several other TV shows lately including The Great Escapists. The reality star has recently been a fixture of a couple of YouTube channels in addition to his social media platforms. Hammond was never an integral part of a reality TV show but his personality made him extremely popular.

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

‘Top Gear’ went on to become one of the most popular automotive TV shows of all-time. Hammond built on the success of that series to increase his notoriety and fame. These days, the auto star has still been known to tool around with a wrench.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

12: Jeremy Clarkson – Top Gear

The senior star on ‘Top Gear’ is Jeremy Clarkson. There’s no doubt he has been around the block a time or two. With an outgoing personality, there is no denying his success when it comes to the ‘Top Gear’ TV show. Recently Clarkson has been out of the limelight, for the most part, he hosted a new TV show that didn’t do quite as well as he had hoped. Clarkson also worked with Ferrari on designing a new vehicle that had a more sedate design.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

Another thing to notice about Clarkson is the fact that he has been instrumental in the design of “Top Gear” merchandise. Almost every piece of merchandise that you’ll see from this TV show was at some point designed in part by Clarkson.

Photo Credit: West Coast Choppers

11: Jesse James – Motorcycle Mania, Monster Garage

James has been on a rollercoaster ride over the past 20 years. He got his start on-screen with the documentary Motorcycle Mania. He made his way to becoming a household name. James left the hustle and bustle of the L.A. scene and made a new life in Austin, Texas, where he currently resides. He’s the owner of the Austin Speed Shop which specializes in custom-designed hot rods and motorcycles.

Photo Credit: West Coast Choppers

On top of being a world-renowned fabricator, James has also gotten into the arms business. As the owner of Jesse James Firearms, he designs handguns as well. He’s also scheduled to return to Discovery Channel in an all-new season of “Monster Garage” 14 years later. James’ new ventures just go to show that a talented business person can always adapt.

Photo Credit: Chopper Magazine

10: Paul Teutul, Jr. – American Chopper

Teutul Jr. was instrumental in growing the New York-based Orange County Choppers to extraordinary heights. It’s no mystery that Jr. and his dad Paul Sr. would fight a lot on the set of the TV show and eventually went their separate ways. Teutul has been out of the limelight in recent years and has been focusing on his personal custom bike design business. Paul Jr. Designs is based out of New York and he focuses on consulting work for choppers.

Photo Credit: Chopper Magazine

Teutul Jr. is one of the most well-respected custom fabricators in the world. This is largely because of his eye for design and the stellar bikes he built on ‘American Chopper.’ It will be interesting to see what Teutul does in the coming future.

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

9: Jay Leno – Jay Leno’s Garage

Leno wasn’t always in the spotlight of the automotive industry. He made his fame as one of the top comedians on screen. But thanks to a lifelong love affair with cars, Leno has become one of the most well-known faces in the auto world as well. Recently the comedian has been focused on his ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ show. The popular web show has gained more viewers than ever before. Leno has also managed to expand on his hosting resume by appearing as a guest host on ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.’

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

When it comes to being able to pivot his career from comedy to cars, Leno has been able to do it better than anyone else. The comedian and TV star has a passion for cars both classic and new that most people don’t generally share with the world.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

8: Bill Goldberg – WWE Champion

Few people have a car collection that can match wrestling megastar Bill Goldberg’s. The professional wrestler has everything from a Boss 302 Mustang to the Judge. In recent years, Goldberg has gotten back into the squared circle and made a successful title run. When the professional wrestler isn’t making people squeal in the ring, he is participating in NHRA drag racing. Goldberg and his wife both share a love for cars that runs deep.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

In addition to his hosting duties on multiple automotive TV shows, Goldberg also recently restored a Mercury pickup truck. With these interesting and unique vehicles, it will be amazing to see what Goldberg does in the car world in the future.

Photo Credit: Speed Network

7: Will Castro – Unique Whips

At its height, the Speed Channel was a popular destination for automotive enthusiasts. “Unique Whips” was a pioneering reality show that centered around a custom shop. Castro was the owner of Unique Autosports out of New York. The company was known for creating customized vehicles for celebrity clientele that included NBA players and more. Nowadays Will has taken a back seat to reality TV life, although his business is still thriving.

Photo Credit: Speed Network

In 2020, Castro filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and many thought that his iconic run was over. However, he later released a novel titled “Unique Hustle” and continues to customize cars for clients such as DJ Khaled and more.

Photo Credit: Unique Autosports

6: Keith “Reme” Rowland – Unique Whips

Another well-known face from the storied run of ‘Unique Whips’ is Keith “Reme” Rowland. After the show took a nosedive and went off of the air so did Reme. But don’t fret, because Rowland went on to start his automotive shop in New York. These days Reme is a regular in the auto show circuit such as the Sema show and more. His work can still be seen in various automotive publications. Rowland still specializes in total overhauls.

Photo Credit: Wise

Interior fabrication is still Reme’s specialty and you can check out various YouTube videos where he illustrates how to do it. Few fabricators have managed to achieve the level of notoriety that Reme has been able to in this short amount of time.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

5: Paul Teutul Sr. – American Chopper

Even after Paul Jr. hit the road, Sr. managed to keep the shop growing and the TV show ‘American Chopper’ on the air. He did a biker build-off against Jesse James on the Discovery Channel and has spent the recent years rebuilding his image. Teutul recently appeared in a commercial for an Arkansas Lawfirm and he spends the majority of his time on his ranch. American Chopper was a very profitable venture for the Teutuls. He also still owns an ironworks business.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

There aren’t a lot of businessmen who could make it through all of the trials and tribulations that Teutul Sr. managed to. In the world of custom motorcycles, his creations are still among the best in the industry.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

4: Michael Teutul – American Chopper

Mikey, as he was affectionately called on the show was never involved in the day-to-day operations with his family. But he has parlayed his involvement into some very successful business ventures. The first of which was his comic book series which has done very well.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Michael Teutul always had a knack for art and even designed his very own motorcycle in an episode of ‘American Chopper.’ Interestingly enough, Teutul also became the product manager of FarQueue Products LLC. Specializing in unique pasta sauces and more, cooking was always a special place in the heart of the young Teutul.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

3: Vincent DiMartino – American Chopper

Here we have another ‘American Chopper’ cast member who has managed to do quite well for himself. Vinny was one of the first to leave the staff during the show and he went on do his ventures. Originally starting a motorcycle shop with Cody who was also on the show. That partnership went sideways but Vinny still has a shop in Rock Tavern.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

DiMartino Motorsports specializes in several unique offerings but the company centers around custom motorcycles. Vinny always managed to add a special touch to his bikes and they aren’t something you’ll find too often.

Photo Credit: Biker

2: Billy Lane – The Great Biker Build-Off

Perhaps no bike builder has had as tough of a run as Billy Lane did. He started with much fanfare and popularity only to be involved in a vehicular manslaughter case in 2006. The popular bike builder managed to build a custom bike for the U.S. military in 2014 during his incarceration. A lot of motorcycle fans have wondered what lane is up to these days. Recently, the chopper builder has relocated to Florida.

Photo Credit: Biker

Lane is in the process of reopening his shop and looks to be still heavily involved in the bike scene. With a can-do personality and a winning spirit, Lane will undoubtedly continue to be a fixture in the custom chopper community for years to come.

Photo Credit: Discovery

1: Dave Sparks – Diesel Brothers

“Diesel Dave,” as he’s called, is one of the most popular diesel truck builders in the country. His work was featured on the hit TV show ‘The Diesel Brothers’ alongside Dave Kiley. After the show was canceled, the two have quietly moved onto other ventures. Most recently Sparks authored a line of custom diesel truck accessories. He was also part of a diesel truck giveaway with the Ford motor company and continues to be a fixture at automotive shows.

Photo Credit: Discovery

Throughout his success, he has always managed to give back in some sort of way. His company Diesel Power Gear offers a wide range of diesel truck parts to increase performance. So without being on reality TV anymore, Sparks manages to continue his legacy.

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