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.
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.
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.
Wayne has been heavily involved with the YouTube scene 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.
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.
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.
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.
Now he’s also a regular on multiple YouTube channels, in addition to getting his line of automotive care products. It May quite possibly be the most popular host that the show has seen in its 22-season run.
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.
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.
‘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.
The senior star of ‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teutul Jr. is one of the most well-respected custom fabricators in the world. This is large 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.
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.’
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 have a passion for cars both classic and new that most people don’t generally share with the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 had a special place in the heart of the young Teutul.
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 to 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 quietly moved on to 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.
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.