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Car Masters: Rust to Riches Season 5 Review

Car Masters: Rust to Riches (2018-)
Season 5 – 8 episodes (2023)

Watch Car Masters on Netflix
Starring: Mark Towle, Constance Nunes, Shawn Pilot, Tony Quinones, Michael ‘Caveman’ Pyle
Rated: TV-PG
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Mark Towle and his team at Gotham Garage restore vehicles starting with a thousand dollar car and trading their way up to a pay day.

Like a lot of car reality shows, it focuses on drama instead of car building. It’s superficial. This show skips almost everything technical in favor of manufactured deadlines, negotiations, and disagreements. These builders aren’t actors and it shows. I would like this show so much more if this talked specifically about how they create these cars. Instead we see a rust bucket and then see it painted and done. This show doesn’t talk about the how and why. One of their cars built this season doesn’t have headlights, but has a paint line of flip out lights without the actual lights. The show never even mentions it, and it’s that example as to why I don’t like this show more.
Skip it.

I’ve watched this show from the beginning, but I’m always wondering how true this is. Their buyer Shawn was described as being in a shop his whole life, but he’s a former actor. Constance is a huge social media star and model. Their lives outside this show, which seem to be bigger, aren’t mentioned. Both Constance and Tony have their own shops. How do they seemingly work for Gotham Garage full time and run their own shops?

I also don’t like how much manufactured drama this show contains. I’ve never believed that Mark doesn’t pay his employees and that they wait on a payout at the end. This show removes anything that could be actually interesting and replaces it with pointless talk and drama. I want to see work, I want them to explain what, how, and why they do modifications.

Gotham Garage has a certain style. It’s a lot of water jet cut metal
parts, at least a a couple spider webs, skulls, and their name all over
the car. This never shows us actually cutting these metal parts. It seems like an easy thing to show.

I like cars and building, but this doesn’t show much building. This is a take what you can get show. It’s surface level that thinks people interested in cars would rather see drama about prices, deadlines, and other irrelevant disagreements. I would prefer less drama and more technical. With their Dodger Charger build, Mark talks about the expensive glass, but I want to know how pricey. Did he got to a glass fabricator? I wish they would talk about the how and why of what they’re doing instead of I did this and that. This skips the nuts and bolts to showcase drama. It feels so fake when they try to create drama.

Dodge Charger

The episode two Dodge Charger build is meant to replicate a Dodge Daytona. The pop up headlights are drawn on. The car has no headlights! They don’t mention any of that. I don’t know why they even drew them on. It’s too mimic the Daytona, but why not build headlights or just leave the wedge shape? They go to the trouble to lengthen the doors, and we only get details because the doors were structurally unsound.

Tesla Model S

In episode three the show states with the Tesla V8 that Gotham Garage is the first to do it, but Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds did that in 2021 with a Model S “ICE-T” and took it to SEMA in 2022. Rich even addresses this on his latest video.

Squarebody Crew Cab Chevrolet

They retrofit a 60’s truck grille onto an 80’s squarebody in episode five. There are zero details, but I see a lot of wide gaps. The headlight bezels are rounded, but the opening in the truck is square. I’d like to know how they did it, what kind of supports they built, and how they modified the core support. Is the design decision for gaps intentional?

We get a glimpse of the engine of the Chevelle in episode seven with a mention that they’re going to freshen it up. There is no mention of what they actually did. It’s also odd that they don’t seem to have a paint booth. Mark seems to put plastic around the shop and paint in one of the bays.

Ferrari 360

The goal this season is to obtain and modify a Ferrari. I would guess the reason is because that’s more interesting to a casual car fan. I watch this show because it claims to be about cars. I keep watching because there aren’t that many car building shows. If you edit out the drama, episodes would probably be a third as long. I would get just as much from a before and after reel of their builds.


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