This month’s classic car feature is not just another pretty motorcar. It’s also a television star.
Yes, that’s right – the magnificently restored 1955 Buick V8 Special appearing here has its own television series.
Never mind that it’s gathered a trophy case full of awards – including the Buick Nationals prestigious Top Ten Award and winner in the American Luxury Class at Concours d’Elegance of Texas – it has ushered in a whole new genre on Discovery’s Velocity Channel.
The restoration of the Buick kicked off the Reality Rides series, where viewers got to see a detailed, step-by-step meticulous process of rebuilding this beauty during 13 weekly episodes resulting in what you see here. Instead of posting rapid fire pictures flashing by much too fast to see what’s happening, this program takes viewers through the entire process – from finding the rusted hulk to producing a better-than-showroom-quality classic that turns heads wherever it’s seen.
Another welcome departure from today’s “reality” shows: There’s no trumped-up drama, no rehearsed reactions to faked crises, and no pushing or shoving that’s manufactured to spice up the action. As one viewer summed up the kind of response the show has garnered: “I think this is the best car show on TV. The lack of guys getting ‘bleeped’ every other second is refreshing. The guys seem to all work well together, and no one is belittling the other or playing childish pranks on each other.
“The shop does not have tons of new tools and equipment that all us normal guys could never afford and is not just a half-hour infomercial. When they are disassembling the vehicle they are not throwing parts all over the place. You guys did a great job on this show, and I for one will be watching every week.”
His compliments are directed at Carl Meredith’s “build team,” working over a six-month period in his Red Oak garage – now much better known as Carl’s Custom Cars Automotive Shop.
It actually took two old 1955 Buicks to produce this one. There was the less-rusted-out production vehicle and the more deteriorated “parts car” that was used to provide some missing member or un-fixable part needed for the resurrected masterpiece.
Some may see Carl as a mechanic, but he’s much more than that. He’s an artist in every sense. At the early age of eight he began working on cars with his uncle. Forty-two years later he still arrives at the shop seven mornings each week before anyone else is there.
On Sundays, cowboy church is conducted among the bays and perfectly organized tools.
To say he is passionate about what he does is an understatement. And it’s reflected in his craftsmanship. I saw him hand a tiny piece of trim chrome back to one of the members of his team, saying it needed more work.
“Where?” I asked. The defect was almost invisible – I couldn’t see it, but Carl could, and he wouldn’t be happy with it until it was perfect.
One of the most interesting “finds” when it came to the interior work was to locate a full bolt of original, unused seat cover material that was the factory match for the Titian Red exterior.
Arlington filmmaker – and my son – Brian Greene and his staff at Greene HDTV produced the television series. Brian, along with executive producer Mike Ames – himself with a major classic car collection housed at his Arlington estate – arranged the deal with Discovery.