Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 6, 2007
Photos By: Courtesy of Brentwood Communications International Inc.

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Soon to begin its fifth season, Overhaulin' is one of the most popular automotive-themed shows on network television. Hosted by world-famous, award-winning car designer Chip Foose, the extremely funny Chris Jacobs, and the talented and beautiful Adrienne Janic (aka AJ), the threesome can be seen every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST on cable's TLC. Each week the team takes some poor, unsuspecting person's broken-down hulk and turns it into the dream wheels they've always wanted to build, but didn't have the time, money, or skills to do so. There are no favorites on Overhaulin' (though we know Chip likes Fords and Chris is a Mopar guy), and each week there's something different on the show. Everything from old vans to SUVs to musclecars get the Overhaulin' treatment, and there's plenty more to come.

Just another fun day on the set of Overhaulin'. With about six pairs of legs sticking out from under the Mustang, another three people inside the car, and the crowd around the engine compartment, it's amazing how well everyone works together and gets their respective jobs done.

Each episode takes a lot of planning. First the team of hosts and producers mull over the thousands (yes, thousands) of submissions from wishful hopefuls. They look for a good story and a deserving person and then set the wheels in motion. The "mark" is usually set up in some way by an insider, often the one who submitted the application, or a family member, who helps the team get the car to the set at Quantum-Tecstar in Southern California. This usually starts with a ruse of a stolen vehicle, police interaction, or a repair-shop-gone-bad scenario. Meanwhile, the Overhaulin' crew is busy taking possession of the mark's car and getting information from the insiders on what the mark always wanted to do to his or her car.

The show may be only an hour long, but the build happens over the course of eight days. Yes, they really rebuild a whole car in a week's time. We were there and saw the madness and late nights with our own cameras. Some builds are easier than others, but there's always a lot of work to do. It helps that the show's major sponsors, such as Summit Racing, Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP), and YearOne ship parts in advance of the build week once the project has been chosen and scheduled. Other sponsors, including MSD, K&N, Royal Purple, BFGoodrich, and others have provided a small on-site inventory to help in the build as well. This way, air-filter housings, tire sizes, and so on can be test fit without having to wait for shipments.

As luck would have it, while interviewing Bud Brutsman of Brentwood Communications International Inc. (BCII) for the article on his personal Mustang, "Blackened," that was featured in the December '06 issue of Mustang & Fords, he suggested we come out and see with our own eyes how Overhaulin' works. He even had the perfect episode coming up for us. Episode 414, "The BOSS is Back," would be about Hector Perez, a Southern California teacher who always wanted a Mustang of his own. After saving what money he could, he purchased a '70 SportsRoof, but the car wasn't getting much closer to his musclecar dream. The insiders, his cousin Marcelo Obregon and Hector's wife, Marina, wanted to change that and lobbied Overhaulin' for help. The plan was to give the car a muscular makeover using Ford Racing Performance Parts' brand-new Boss 302 crate engine, hence the Boss theme of the show and the car itself.

We came back from our week in California with a lot more respect for what the Overhaulin' crew does several times a month to put out a season's worth of shows that allow us everyday Joes to dream about what our own projects may be someday. Who knows? If you have the right story and the right car, you just might get "overhauled" yourself someday. Check out our behind-the-scenes photos and see what really happens when a car gets the Overhaulin' treatment by Chip and his crew, and check out our Web site for even more photos that we just don't have room for here.

Day 1: The Deconstruction