Desert Car Kings: Behind the Scenes of Discovery's Newest Junkyard Reality Show

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photos by Claire Lawton
Jason McClure (center) and just a few of the 10,000 cars that are owned by Desert Valley Auto Parts. McClure and his father star in Discovery Channel's new reality show, Desert Car Kings.
Jason McClure and his father, Ron, own and operate Desert Valley Auto Parts, one of the largest auto salvage companies in the Southwest. Their lots in Casa Grande and North Phoenix are one acre (combined) and are home to more than 10,000 vehicles in a variety of conditions.

Blame the numbers on the two men's new-found fame -- a representative of Discovery Channel found Desert Valley Auto Parts online and made a phone call with a proposal: The McClures would find, save, and restore classic cars, and Discovery would roll the cameras.

The result, Desert Car Kings, will premiere on Discovery Channel the week of January 24. Jason McClure gave us a tour of his garage, his North Phoenix lot, and a whole lot of cars. Check out the details (and the slideshow) after the jump ...     

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photo by Claire Lawton
Jason McClure with a vehicle he restored on the set of Desert Car Kings.
Jason McClure's worked at Desert Valley Auto Parts (or DVAP, as he calls it) ever since he can remember, he loves working on classic vehicles, and he's lived in the same 5-mile radius, close to the North Phoenix location his entire life.

He admits to avoiding the Discovery Channel's phone calls at first, mostly because he thought it sounded too good to be true, but says he can't imagine a better phone call.

Since the Discovery crews arrived, the garage's schedule has been pressed. Each episode features the story of one car -- from when the McClures find it online, in another yard, or in an alley, through the restoration process, and finally to the DVAP auction house. Jason says each episode takes about three weeks to film, which means he and his crew have three weeks to do what would normally take them a few months, mostly because the business has never solely been restoring classic cars.

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photo by Claire Lawton
Merchandise at Desert Valley Auto Parts.
The McClures specialize in shipping restored, rust-free auto parts to the rest of the world. Large shipping containers arrive at the lots weekly, are filled (or sometimes emptied), and are sent off to collectors or other restoration yards. In short, the McClures have had to hire a few extra hands and adjust their planners to accommodate the episode deadlines.

But having the film crew around has also been an adventure, Jason says. Two weeks ago, the DVAP crew held a demolition derby (footage from which he excitedly shows us on his phone), and they also held a photo shoot for a pin-up style calendar to be released this month. Plus, more time in the shop oddly translates to more family time in the McClure family.

"I love working with cars, and I love working with my dad," Jason says. "Having the cameras around doesn't change that."

Check out our slideshow of the set and McClures right here.

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45 comments
hedrickja
hedrickja

Their idea of a two tone paint job is turquoise and rust.  How do you call a hide job a restoration when you place head liners, door panels, floor coverings, vinyl roofs over rust.  They conveniently skip covering the prep part of a paint job.  One can assume they  have left a mess underneath that will cause the paint to fall off in a couple years.

Yenko69chevelle
Yenko69chevelle

These are the biggest yahoo's to the restoration industry. Came across the show on the so called "restorstion" of the yellow 66 Chevelle. I love that the "restoration" showed the MSD box, the rhino undercoating, the motor that had no oil in it when then found it so they cleaned it up and just stuck back in the car. Better yet the so "restoration" with the Centerline rims. I can only imagine what other short cuts that was done to the car that we did not see on the show. The bidders that are looking at this car must e high to even buy thgis car. Jason the son just said it was restored with a 454 motor, are you fricking kidding me these no NOTHING ABOUT CARS! Please do us a favor and take these smucks off the air!

Joseph Lopez
Joseph Lopez

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bowe blackwell
bowe blackwell

you guys got a 1967 galixe 2door looking for frame

Sharon Mauro
Sharon Mauro

 Love the show, like to ask if you have any 1957 Stairchief Pontiacs???

RALPH
RALPH

anyway you slice it you get to see some cool old cars.

Larry Fink
Larry Fink

Can I get a 1965 Ford thunderbird restored?? and what will it cost me... Larry Fink 951-757-1085 please let me know It can be any year of the square t-birds......

Sybarite2
Sybarite2

Thanks to editing you don't know what has or has not been done to the engine and tranny. So please don't try to say they did nothing with the engine and tranny other than painting them. As for those that hate the show, STFU and don't watch it then.

yosemiteSam
yosemiteSam

You give a car a paint job and you call it a "restoration". That's NOT a restoration!!!!

Judy5560
Judy5560

one car should be at least 2 wks.. and show more of there craft and not just a glimest now and then...get it ?

Frank
Frank

This show is a joke!!! This is the second show Discovery has aired with the same theme. The other show was Wrecks to Riches. Both shows have (had) the same concept, find an old car, restore it and auction it off. The first show was a failure because people saw how poorly the cars were rebuilt and the short cuts taken during the so called restoration. This show does the same thing, and will end up the same way as Wrecks to Riches.

The cars are not properly restored. People who know or restore cars will see all the faults during the restorations. I've seen shows where the engine or transmission is not taken apart to check for internal damage, they just power wash, paint it then put it back into the car, along with chrome valve covers and air filter.

The short time lines are as fake as the restored cars themselves. This show filmed and edited so it looks like the builds are built just before the dead line time approaches. Most "reality" shows that have to do with car or motorcycle builds have the same fake short time lines.

The auctions are conducted by a second rate or local auction house. I would be impressed to see one of these cars at a real auction, like Barrett-Jackson, and sell for $50000 or more.

The people who bid or buy the cars know nothing about cars. They think they are getting a properly restored car at a value, when in fact they are getting ripped off by a cheap, wanna be, know nothings car restores.

Duke
Duke

Looking for 69 Camaro drivers side fender!

Arrrhhhhhh
Arrrhhhhhh

I attempted to watch this show and wanted to get into it because of History of American Cars and then the owner drove up in a Toyota Tundra! Dumb #$% You own "100 acres of classic american cars and you drive a Toyota. Shame on you.....I will never watch this show again!

biscuit-mustard
biscuit-mustard

Very interesting and enjoyable show that could really hit on many different interests within the car community, but this weeks show (3/18/11) made me decide to never watch it again. The show featured a Cadillac being restored as close to original as possible, but the viewers and the people who showed up at the auction were scammed. The car is to be sold at auction at the end of the show, they even interviewed a number of people who came to the auction just to bid on this car. But the car is yanked from the auction so the father can give it to his wife as a anniversary gift. What a scam to all who watched and to the poor people that went to the auction. I can only guess it was an attempt to show that the father has more to him than just making money for himself, but it made him look like the jerk he comes off to be. The show strung along everyone until the last minute where the father gives the car to her as a way of showing his love..... It was a bad attempt and bad enough to call it quits on this show. What will be pulled next? One thing that it showed though... The Cadillac was not all original as it had a newer engine, sort of like the wife that had a poor example of a newer face.... Time to move on.

Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis

I would like those guys to build something for me!

SS
SS

what a joke this show is. I’ve been in hack shacks like this. its a disgrace to the classic car world. now I’m not saying a large crew of the best of the best with every possible tool, part and resource couldn’t do a nice full restore in 4 weeks. but i am saying these jokers and 10 of there friends couldn’t do one in 4 years. the things I’ve seen on this show make me want to puke. I’ve turned many a wrench over the years and even as a teenager didn’t do the stupid things these so called restorers do. they should do jail time for the things they have done to these cars and the poor fools who buy them. and just to make it clear, when you restore anything, you need to count in the overhead and the starting investment. like the 50 stude they butchered, they put $9200 into it. wrong, it was 3k for the car, them 4 monkeys with the hammers must get paid right? figure at least $500 a week. 4 weeks, thats 8k. someone is paying for the lights and supplies in that dump and the fuel to run around and spend the $9200 right? lets call that $500. so were at $20,700. so if they sell that stude as a parts car to someone (thats what it is now) for the $3500 its worth, there only down $17,200. thats in one episode. and there all the same way. they loose thousands on every show. its a joke and makes mechanics, body guys, painters, fabricators, restorers and just car guys in general look like a bunch of stupid wingnuts. take it off the air now. ~SS

hawkeye
hawkeye

I've been restoring cars for about 30 years now and let me tell you one fact. There is no and I mean no way to restore a car in 3 weeks. What these shows tell is complete BS. They slap these cars together and try to fool everybody. No Quality at all in a restoration in that time frame. That's why they can't even get their investment back at those auctions. Those "fast Restorations" are a dime a dozen. NO quality here, just trying for the fast Buck.

Terry1
Terry1

Great show love the old cars and the history

FTW
FTW

I DONT SEE WHY EVERYONE HAS TO TALK SHIT ITS JUST A SHOW AND EVERYONE IS MAKING IT WORSE THEN IT IS I LIKE THE SHOW I WATCH IT EVERY WEDNESDAY I GO THERE ALL THE TIME AND EVERYONE WORKS WITH ME FROM WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IM SURE MOST YOU DUMB ASS PEOPLE JUST WISH IT COULD BE YOU BUT SORRY SITTING ON A COMPUTER ALL DAY TALKING SHIT DONT HELP SO GET A LIFE!!

Billyt1
Billyt1

Is there a way to bid on line during your auctions? The Ford F-150 went pretty cheap.

Johnny Fontane
Johnny Fontane

Last night they sold a restored 1966 SS 396 Chevelle convertible (138 code) for just over $21K. There is one on eBay right now for twice that price. Other cars have sold for less than they anticipated which makes me wonder why they don't attract the right buyers at their own auctions.

Lorenzo014
Lorenzo014

I love the show. I like to see the old cars come back to life. and i love to look arould in junk yards.

Steve
Steve

I have know Ron and Jason and for over 25 years. I have yet to meet anyone that knows more about the technical aspect and value of cars than Ron - and a close second is Jason. Ron and Jason's combined knowledge of the car industry and overall business expertise has made them very successful. They both own and operate two of the largest towing companies in the Southwest, a large used auto parts operation, as well as maintaining other commercial interests. Their success is due in large part from the support of Linda, Ron's wife and Jason's mother. Is the McClure family perfect? Of course not. What family is? The have their "ups and downs", just like you and I. The McClure's dedication to hard work and their accomplishments speaks for itself.

sandbox10101@hotmail.com
sandbox10101@hotmail.com

This program has so much incorrect info , wrong identification of cars guess editors are too young to know anything about 60's era cars. This week they fixed a 62 ford 500 , in the "picture history" portion at the start of the show , they had pics of 64 and 65 chevells mixed in! Dont confuse CHEVELLES with fords!!! In the first show they bought a 4 door 65 CHEVELLE that the caption said was a 64 , who is the tech advisor !!!! GET IT CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reality showes suck!

Rocky34
Rocky34

So the old man said he wanted to make sure the car was original yet they go and get a shifter that the car didn't come with OK #1 mess up. #2 Loved the shot of them putting the top on and they just painted over the massive pit marks in the roof BAD JOB. #3 their budget was 10k and they sold it for 14k saying they made a 4k profit so you mean to tell me the car itself was free does anyone else see how stupid this show is ? If they put 10,1??.00 into the car then sold the car for nothing? The car in its original state was worth good money why would they say they made a 4k profit. Come on I bet that car is sitting in their yard as we speak. This is no reality show this is a show about some hacks trying to make a show for their over priced business.

lovenit
lovenit

last nights show was great the 442 looked amazing, I'm hooked! I have bought parts from DVAP and have never had any issues...Congrats on the show.

Cjones_70427
Cjones_70427

anything that shows classic cars in a good light and promotes the hobby is a good thing.

JP
JP

I thought it interesting as I have had one recently restored in Atlanta. If looking for another in the future, I would check them out.

Johnny33
Johnny33

Is this really a show !!! Come on Discovery I couldn't even watch 15 min of it.

Atc350
Atc350

King ? if they only had a brain

Litlsins47
Litlsins47

Wonder what Discovers competitors would give for the true "reality" of their king?

Judy
Judy

these people that pay $25000,$50,000 $100000 for a car dont know anything about ol car eather just rich people hording 50's & 60's cars...People can buy these cars on the cheep and take them to the next step if they want too or not.. get it?

Judy5560
Judy5560

there not fooling every body...some body gets a good deal.. whats wrong with that,dude

Judy5560
Judy5560

So whats wrong with not so rich people getting a good deal, bumski...

Billybob
Billybob

unfortunately this is not a numbers matching car is has a newer 454 in it you here him say so at the start of the auction if it was a true ss396--- 396 motor it would be worth 3-5 times more money

Collierjarrod
Collierjarrod

I am a huge car nut but this show is crap more horrible dialogue.Just like american choppers the same stupid moronic rehearsed dribble.Shame on the Discovery network for putting another terrible show on.

hedrickja
hedrickja

@Rocky34  The dickweed calling the 442 a four-forty-two totally turned me off on the show before they even started their hillbilly restoration.  Clearly had no idea where the name came from.

Crap Show
Crap Show

Just drove by and yes it is still in the bays.

western1
western1

ive known these people for a long time back when they owned western! what a joke!

Chevy6585
Chevy6585

total joke! what a bunch of losers

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