Overhaulin' ran for five seasons on TLC and then another four on Velocity before ending in 2015. The premise of the show was that someone had been down on their luck, and their friends and family would contact Chip Foose to modify their cars for them.
Of course, they needed some extra drama as well - because no car show can rely on just cars - so they would prank their mark, making them believe their car had been stolen. That would give the team just about enough time to get the car torn down and rebuilt. However, as with every reality TV show, what the audience sees is not the entire story. The Overhaulin' cast did have to deal with some shady things, some of which were shown to us, other things emerged in interviews much later.
The Overhaulin' crew was told that the cars were off-limits outside of the work. But it's totally understandable that the temptation to take a cool classic car for a joyride can be too much to resist at times. Whether they were long drives around town or just some donuts in the parking lot, we can't really fault them for enjoying their work.
19. Scamming People
Chip Foose told the crew to go as wild as they dared with the setups, and they really seemed to enjoy messing with people. In fact, the crazier the con, the more the mark bought into it, whether it was telling someone that their car had been towed, stolen, or vandalized. We don't really feel sorry for the marks though - they did end up with a Foose designed car.
Fixing up cars for celebs went against everything the show stood for, at least that's how the show's audience felt about these episodes. Most of the fans watched Overhaulin' because they fixed up cars for people who had been suffering or making sacrifices, they couldn't care less about people who could easily afford to have cars built without the help of a TV show.
17. The Right Tool For The Job?
The crew loved to talk about how they always go all-out to make these cars look great. As a viewer, it's easy to interpret that as they would always use the best parts and tools available. The reality is that in order to shave production costs, the producers would make deals with suppliers and tool makers where they would get free stuff in exchange for some free advertising.
16. Working Through The Night
While some things about the show may be fake, the hours of work they put in were very real. The crew often had to do overtime to get builds completed, working through the night, with little to no sleep, in order to get the overhauls done on time. The series would actually downplay how the lack of sleep could've led to dangerous situations.
15. Dealing With People Who Didn't Appreciate The Work
It's impossible to satisfy everyone, it doesn't matter how talented and visionary you might be - there will always be people who just can't be satisfied. There were a few complaints about the finished products, but way less than one would expect considering they basically built a show car in a week.
14. Dealing With Gas Monkey's Marketer
Richard Rawlings and the Gas Monkeys actually appeared on Overhaulin' as part of the crew. However, a marketing firm they had hired ended up spamming car forums in order to promote their appearance, and it backfired badly. The episode got pulled and was never aired again, and Discovery Communications wouldn't even confirm or deny they had contact with Rawlings afterward.
13. The 8 Days Or Less Took Its Toll
Foose told Car and Driver, "I really enjoyed doing that for people. The first five years that we filmed, we did every one of those cars in eight days or less. We did 29 cars in nine months. That was me not sleeping for an average of 24 days a month. It was a complete burnout by the end of the third season."
12. Some Cars Are Actually Devalued
It might seem kind of odd at first, but in some instances, the cars are actually worth less after having parts, labor, and money sunk into them. The thing is, rare classic cars won't necessarily increase in value if they're modified. One might argue that these cars were goners anyway, but in the eyes of collectors and purists, that doesn't really matter.
11. They Really Tried To Make The Marks Mad
The viewers always knew that the owner would have the car returned to them in better than new condition, but the poor owners never knew that, and the host would always try to get them as riled up as possible. Apparently, a lot of people don't appreciate a good practical joke, because the show eventually stopped pranking people due to negative feedback.
10. More Fake Drama
It’s a well-known fact that “reality” TV is very heavily scripted. Overhaulin’ was no exception. In the beginning, they did actually mess around with the marks, but as time went by, things were amped up and staged to the point where it was totally unrealistic - all for the sake of adding more drama since a realistic reality show clearly doesn't cut it.
9. Cars Were Put Up For Auction
For the most part, the cars on the show belonged to someone who had been down on their luck and gone through some rough times. We could all see how happy they were when they got their cars back - however, some of them realized the car was now worth a lot more than its sentimental value and auctioned it off. And there was nothing the crew could do about that.
8. The Taxes Were Left For The Mark To Pay
Sometimes the changes to a car would be so great that they'd massively affect the vehicle's value. That means the car owner must report these changes to the authorities, and we all know how much the government enjoys collecting taxes - which the car owner, who was often broke to begin with, would have to pay. While the overhaulin' was free, it could still hit them hard in the wallet.
7. Foose Struggled With A Bad Business Relationship
Chip Foose had a business arrangement with a company called "Unique Performance." Foose told Car and Driver; "That was a nightmare. All I did was a drawing, and I was supposed to collect a royalty when he sold or delivered a car. When he didn’t deliver cars, people came after me. I can say that just about everything I made on Overhaulin’ was spent there. Just protecting us. Legal bills."
6. Many Cars Needed A Tune-Up After Completion
There have been a few cases where owners would find minor problems with the cars they get back. Things such as a loose door handle, a mirror that was a bit crooked, a suspension setup that's not right... The most common problem cited with finished products was the paint jobs. While good quality and workmanship, there would often be blemishes and scratches that needed a touch-up.
5. Turning Down Most Of The Submissions
Most of the audition videos had some sad story attached to them, someone who had been sick, lost their job, selflessly helped out in the community even if they were broke... Now imagine looking through all these sad videos and relating to their sad stories, and then having to turn them down because their car isn't right for the show or because the owner lacks charisma.
4. Dealing With Fame
Foose told Car and Driver; "The biggest downfall about the Overhaulin’ success is that I can’t take my son and enjoy a car show. It’s not fun for him when everyone wants to get a picture or an autograph, which I don’t mind. It breaks my heart. Some of my favorite memories with my dad are walking around shows and looking at different cars and talking about them."
3. Not Exactly Environmentally Conscious
A lot of the cars featured on the show had large gas-guzzling V8 engines, which, more often than not, would be fitted with as many performance parts as possible - or sometimes get swapped for an even bigger, more powerful, and thirstier crate engine. The idea was to turn it into the mark's dream car, and that didn't leave much room for the environment. We're guessing the EPA wasn't too happy?!
2. Having To Deal With Foose And Follow His Vision
Chip Foose's hosting of the show was fun yet he could sometimes come off as rather annoying - especially his "dad-jokes". He also seemed to leave the majority of the real work to others. Seeing as he's one of the greatest hot rod designers of all time, we're sure it must've been both an honor and a pain in the rear to work with him and perform to his standards.
1. Keyboard Warriors
Pleasing the "customers" is one thing, but the viewers have to be pleased as well. The Overhaulin' crew are car guys after the cameras are turned off as well, which means they surf the web and read forum posts - just like the rest of us. Having to read keyboard warriors' opinions on how their workmanship isn't up to their standard and how they ruined a classic doesn't sound like fun.
Sources: Car & Driver, Jalopnik, Reddit