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From Rust to Riches

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Netflix has become a reliable, if infrequent, destination for quality car shows. Their most recent offering,Car Masters: Rust to Riches, is a love letter to classic car fans and restoration enthusiasts and a fine addition to the queue.

Towle is most well-known for his original Gotham Garage series on cable. He also generated a bit of infamy back in 2013 for replicating George Barris’ 1963 Batmobile. But that should give viewers a great idea of the kinds of projects that he likes to tackle.

The central conceit of the new series is that Mark Towle and his crew of lovable misfits at Gotham Garage buy a rusted classic junker to chop, fabricate, and trick out into a dream machine, then trade it up for another more-valuable junker which can then be restored, customized, and sold for a higher price. They plot out a daisy chain of trade-ups, beginning with a 1964 Thunderbird bought for under a thousand dollars and ending up with a Ford Zephyr that can be sold for six figures.

Throughout the process, the team adds layers of custom touches, from engine modifications, to massive wheels, to wild color schemes and tons of chrome. A 1939 Vicky replica with a haunted house spiderweb theme even got a clear tequila bottle for the antifreeze receptacle to show the color of the fluid against a copper and green color scheme.

Each episode also features a side project custom build for a paying customer, the profits of which go into the cost of upgrading the main project cars. For example, in the first episode, the team turns their original 1964 T-bird into an entirely chrome, rocket-themed cruiser while also transforming a SMART car into an off-road buggy for traversing the customer’s family vineyard.

There are quite a few surprises in the short, 8-episode series, so blow the dust off that barn find, and grab your WD-40, because Car Master’s: Rust to Riches is sure to get your motor running.

-Trey Fennell


Smart Car #52 Black & Yellow





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