An Okanagan custom car builder is one of the stars of new Canadian docu-series on Discovery Channel, featuring restoration work on antique trucks and vans abandoned in backwoods and farmers' fields.
Bill Desrosier of Wreckless Restorations and Car Craft Automotive spent the last year filming Bush Wreck Rescue. The show description says it differs from scripted car programs as a documentary showing the characters in action with their successes and their failures.
The documentary follows “wreck hunters, auto restorers, hot rod and custom car builders and would-be entrepreneurs in their work dragging out run-down cars and turning them into valuable pieces of automotive art.”
Desrosier was approached by a good friend of his to do the show, and it took some convincing to get back into the industry after taking a break. He has been in the automotive industry, building hot rods and working on motorcycles for most of his life.
“Since I was four years old, I loved hanging out in the garage with my dad. I started doing cars when I was 15. Working with him, built my own project car at that time, and put it on the road when I was 16. This is pretty much all I've done,” he said.
Even with all of his extensive experience and expertise, the show challenged Desrosier and his team in new ways.
“It was a learning curve. I mean, it was a ton of fun doing it, and it was frustrating at times. A lot of the timelines, the build schedules, we were building stuff that should have taken over a year. We were doing it in months, so it was a lot of overtime for my guys and for myself, but pretty proud of my guys,” he added.
The show follows the ragtag team turning old trucks and specialty vehicles into custom gems.
“We haul crap that people don't want and build them into something cool,” Desrosier said.
“I think you're gonna find a difference in the way we did this and the way it was filmed. I was pretty adamant that I didn't want to do a reality TV show. Pretty much what they filmed is what goes on.”
The team would drive around and find old cars sitting out, before approaching the owners and taking on the job to repair them.
“Sometimes people are happy to get them out of their yard. Other times people have great ideas that they're going to fix them up one day. And then it’s pretty much the logistics of where you're getting it from and getting into the shop and tearing it apart to see what kind of headache you've adopted yourself.”
The best part for Desrosier seeing the reactions from clients when their car is completed.
“It's when you give it back to the client, or when you're showing him your ideas. seeing the look on his face, the happiness. Yeah, it kind of makes it all worthwhile doing it.”
During the show, Desrosier still ran his full-time automotive repair shop in Kelowna, which proved overwhelming.
Luckily a space opened up in Summerland where Desrosier moved his Wreckless Restorations shop.
“It was pretty hectic. It was pretty disruptive during the filming, but as I said, it was a ton of fun. So at the end of the day, hopefully, what people see on TV, they can see that we were having fun. There were definitely some moments of frustration. But for the most part, it was pretty cool.”
Desrosier said he’s most excited about having a national audience see that there are a lot of Canadian companies doing full-scale intensive custom repair work.
“Everybody thinks that the big companies down in the States are doing it .. Summerland here is a pretty small little community, and hopefully it brings some notoriety to it right.”
He also hopes everyone will just enjoy the show and the work they all put in.
“I hope they like the projects that we built. Hopefully, it makes them laugh. Hopefully, they can get a little more knowledge of what we do. And just all in all, just entertain people,” he added.
“Cars, for me, are a passion. So I don't know, maybe some younger kids watching the show, maybe it'll give them a path that they want to take.”
Canadian viewers will be able to get their first taste of the show, produced by Omnifilm Entertainment, on Discovery Channel when the series premieres with two episodes airing back-to-back on May 17 at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.