summer has been quite an experience! Mike Maier and the boys
to appear on TLC's hit show "Overhaulin". For those whom are not familiar,
"Overhaulin" rebuilds and restores selectively chosen cars or trucks
into custom, show winning rides, but the owner doesn't even have a
clue. Friends or family members submit their loved ones pride and
joy, or shall it be junk, without him or her knowing. After a lengthy
selection process, a final decision is made. The producers meet with
the friends and family of the unsuspecting car owner and plan to have
the car hi-jacked, then act as if the car has been stolen. For one
week it's up to the Build Team led by legendary car designer Chip
Foose and his two accomplices Courtney Hansen and Chris Jacobs to
completely overhaul the car. As the slogan says, "The owner
gets tricked, the car gets tricked-out."
| Just a
few weeks before things got rolling down in the secret So Cal build
location; Mike Maier was contacted by Kevin Byrd of Ford Motor Company
to brainstorm ideas about the show. Maier Racing agreed to bring full
line of suspension products and a crew made up of Jerry Lacastas,
Jason Fletcher and me Joel Villarreal. A checklist
was created, and off we went first thing Monday morning excited and
eager to be apart of something that none of us had ever participated
|| We arrived
mid afternoon at Chicane Sport Tuning in Torrance, Ca. and started
work immediately. The car was a basket case to say the least, but
we have seen worse. All four of us grabbed some tools and began the
extensive and mind-numbing task of prepping the car by scraping and
cleaning. As you can see, the car needed some good TLC. Roughly two
hours later the car adorned its first Maier Racing modification, subframe
| Preparation on the
front end, and the rest of the car, continued late into Monday night.
Bryan Fuller of Fuller Hot Rods was wrangling the rear fenders, doors
and rear window molding. Assisting him was Sam Foose, the one responsible
for letting his son, Chip, run ramped with car design at such a young
age and also a renowned custom body man of 40 plus years. Kevin Byrd
and Greg Coleman, our resident engineers for the show and representing
Ford Motor Company, donated a 347 cubic inch stroker motor and G-Force
T-5 Transmission. Joe Gosinski, owner of Chicane Sport Tuning became
a Jack-of-all-Trades and worked wherever worked needed to be done.
Every crew had a specific job to do and by the end of the first day
the build team began to mold into a well-oiled machine.
| Day Two: Work began
9:00am Tuesday morning exactly where we left off from the previous
night. Front-end prep work. More and more prep work, but this was
all about to change. As the hot morning sun began to bake the Chicanes
brick building, Chip Foose had some of his own ideas cooking. He called
a meeting and it was decided that the entire front clip should be
cut off and replaced! That's right, cut the car in half, well a third
anyhow. All the previous prep work that we had done was going to get
Shit canned. Trouble? Oh no, a blessing. After one look at the donated
front clip, the Maier Racing crew were quite relieved. This new clip
was virtually rust free, unlike the original pony. Besides, our infamous
crewmember, Jerry, had done this task numerous of times throughout
Jerry, Sam, Chip and Joe plotted out some reference points on both
clips. Mike Maier was assigned the task to cut this poor rusto-mustang.
This was no easy task and it took all members of the entire build
team to help, but by mid afternoon the transplant was complete, no
sweat. However, Mike's first successful surgery was short lived, we
had backtracked an entire day and the car was still far from completion.
The rest of the crew quickly began prepping the new clip while Mike
tackled the back half by welding in the Pan hard Rod kit. Time for
some grub, its dinnertime!
meal was much-needed breather. Maier Racing had a group powwow in the parking
lot/dinning hall; we decided that we were satisfied with all the tedious
prepping. It was time to switch gears and bring out some suspension parts
for a little test fit session. Our energy was up, maybe it was the food
we ate or the relief of not prepping, but the rest of the night went as
smooth as silk.
| Tuesday night
ended early and there was one vital question flying around the shop. "Who's
going to Patty O's?" Ah, Patty O's. The local pub with cable TV. It was
nine O'clock, which meant that "Overhaulin'" was scheduled to air, followed
by "Rides." The entire build team was headed over to our local tavern to
take production notes and coincidentally knock a few back. Hey, when in
Rome do as the Romans right, besides who are we to go against the grain.
So after we put a few pitchers down and mingled with the locals, the four
of us decided to meet tomorrow morning downstairs for breakfast.
| Day Three: As
we sat down for a morning buffet in our hotel restaurant, other cast members
of the Overhaulin' build team began to trickle down with similar intensions,
Breakfast please! Our table of four eventually grew to a table of seven.
Joining us were our methodical engineers Greg and Kevin plus Sam Foose.
I think we sipped a few dozen cups of coffee while chatting about cars from
our past, particularly highs school cars, however, the real treat was sharing
a table with Sam and listening to stories of how he began custom automotive
work. He's a legend in the making or O.G. Sam shared just a small window
of his accomplished and personal life with us. He has a humble yet entertaining
personality. He would fit well as an Uncle in anyone of our families. "Uncle
Sam" well maybe not the Uncle Sam the rest of us tax paying American knows,
but at least a member of the family.
we fitted the bill, "Uncle Sam" came to realize he was stranded and needed
a ride to the shop. Who would have thought a man with such automotive
recognition would be left without a ride or a car of his own, ironic?
Needless to say, he climbed into the Maier Racing Ford Excursion and off
we went. It was a rough night for some build team members, but the shop
was alive and a car was to be built no matter what the case maybe. It
was as if we were members of the Black Pearl. We continued to test fit
suspension pieces to the car and finish up any other tid bits of prep
work. The Front clip of the car was ready for paint; so during lunch Bryan
Fuller decided to spray the engine bay with a coat of primer while the
shop was empty.
| The final coat
of flat black was laid down and soon after that we began bolting on
the suspension. No test fitting this time, it was on for good! We
worked feverishly; no bolt untouched, no spring uncoiled, no mountain
untamable, we were a team that wouldn't look back, except for some
pesky steering issues, but we were on a roll and there was a dead
line to be made. First; the upper control arms went on, then the lowers,
the tie rod ends followed after that. We quickly moved to the rear
of the car. The Leaf springs went in then the sway bar got mounted,
we were on pace to install the complete suspension kit in just under
two hours. After a few last minutes adjustments the car's suspension
was ready. We had done it! Maier Racing had overhauled this pony with
a custom suspension set-up. It was mid afternoon and we had done what
we came to do.
were still some preparations on the car before it could sit on the ground.
Preparation beyond our control. Mike left Chip, Joe and the rest of the
crew with some final instructions. We handed out some Maier Racing swag
and said our goodbyes. It was almost sad in a chick flick kind of way,
but we are men. We don't cry, we argue about having shot gun for the ride
Story by: Joel Villarreal