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

Day 2: Off to Paint

Day 3: Back at the Set

Day 4: More Set Work

Day 5: Back From Paint

Day 6: Drivetrain Installation

Day 7: Interior and Wiring

D Day: The BOSS is Completed

D Day: Cont'd

California Driving

Typically, when hitting the West Coast for business, it's a one- or two-day business trip with no need for our own ground transportation. Since we would be spending a solid week in California and needed a set of wheels, we called upon Ford's media fleet for something fun to drive. It was a no-brainer to pick the '07 Mustang GT/CS. The California Special features custom touches like exterior graphics, and different wheels and interior trim. We spent a solid week in the Mustang driving the Pacific Coast Highway, hitting the Bob's Big Boy cruise night in Burbank, and more. Even in car-jaded Southern California, the car received plenty of attention. The GT/CS is one nice option group, that's for sure.

As mentioned in January's editorial column, during this trip we had the opportunity to try out Pioneer's new AVIC-S1 portable navigation system. Whether we were trying to find a local restaurant or the best route from Huntington Beach up to Burbank, the AVIC-S1 never let us down. The AVIC-S1 features the continental U.S. maps built right in, so there's no need to download or insert any memory into the unit. It simply plugs right into your power port for charging (its onboard battery is great for taking the AVIC-S1 handheld, which we did several times during our walking tour of downtown Hollywood). The screen was easy to read, day or night, and the voice-prompted directions gave us plenty of time for upcoming turns, lane merges, and more. You've got to try one of these.

Here are some more images we couldn't fit into the magazine.

We'd like to thank Bud Brutsman and Misty Gray with BCII; Chip Foose, Chris Jacobs, AJ, and the whole Overhaulin' crew for allowing us to be on the set for the magic of TV production. We hope we didn't get in the way too much, guys!