Chasing Classic Cars is a series that follows Wayne Carini, an expert restorer and Ferrari enthusiast, as he seeks out the world’s most interesting, unique, rare cars. It has run for nine seasons on the Velocity network, an offshoot of the Discovery Channel.
It has garnered quite a few fans over the years and has proven to be one of the network’s biggest successes. Fans have taken to Carini’s straight-laced, but personable attitude and have enjoyed the impressive discoveries, restorations and guest stars that the show has to offer.
Of course, nothing is ever exactly as it appears on the screen. Everything suffers its share of hardships and things are often played up for the cameras.
In the case of Chasing Classic Cars it also happens that the world of restorations and car auctions have a lot of gray area that the show can’t help but be intertwined with, let alone the average trials, tribulations and behind-the-scenes drama of reality television.
Because of this, we’ll be looking at everything from the truth behind the show itself, as well as guest stars and the world behind car auctions and pricing in general.
Here are the 15 Dark Secrets Behind Chasing Classic Cars.
15. Auction Prices Aren’t What They Appear to Be
On the surface, all of the deals sound great. People get exceptional amounts of money for their cars. But it’s not always as it appears to be depicted on shows like Chasing Classic Cars.
There are always other factors, and when it comes to car auctions—even the ones on this series—customers can wind up paying way more than promised, with fees and additional costs that can balloon into the thousands of dollars range.
Cars are also often unsalable, which is how they wind up at auctions in the first place. That’s not always the case, of course, but it’s a danger at every auction and forces every car to be closely inspected before being auctioned or sold. There may be some diamonds in the rough, but plenty of lemons surrounding them, too.
14. Wayne Carini Plays Up Interest in Certain Cars For Show
To be fair, this is simply the reality of reality television. There’s a need to make the experts at the center of the show look like experts on everything, no matter what.
However, the guys on Pawn Stars don’t actually know everything about every item that comes through their store, the Secret Stash gang of Comic Book Men haven’t read every comic book ever written. Also, Wayne Carini isn’t in love with every single car he sees and doesn’t always know exactly what he’s looking at.
These things have to be set up way ahead of time in order to meet shooting schedules, in order to be approved to be shown on television and so many other things that suck the reality out of reality TV little by little.
13. Buyers End Up Paying Way More Than They Should
Buyers need to be careful when it comes to these kinds of auctions, because they can wind up paying way more than they expect.
Some costs aren’t so shocking and are things that people should probably be prepared for before they go to an auction, like titles and registration fees that are standard practice when purchasing any kind of car. But there are all sorts of other costs that buyers might not expect going into it that could really knock them for a loop.
Details such as premium percentages, reserve/non-reserve cars, and other things can all factor into people spending way more than they initially thought they were going to. It’s one of the trickiest things to navigate in any auction and definitely affects the auctions on the show.
12. Other Network Stars Have Left Velocity Due to Too Much Interference
Earlier this year, Wheeler Dealers star Edd China left the show because he claimed that Velocity was interfering too heavily with the production and effectively wanted to make changes that he felt would make the show much, much worse.
Velocity took over production of the show this year, as opposed to just distributing it, but when they did that they found it “too difficult to make,” in their own words. In its current format, it would cost them way too much to produce and so they wanted to enforce changes that would make for a much more cost-effective series.
There’s no way that network drama like that would not impact Velocity’s other shows, like Chasing Classic Cars. In this case, China knew that cutting the workshop sequences as the network planned to do, would kill what made the show special and many fans agreed.
11. Guest Dario Franchitti Lost His Racing Career in a 2013 Crash
Racecar driver Dario Franchitti, who appeared as a guest in an episode of Chasing Classic Cars, wound up losing his racing career in a tragic 2013 crash. The crash was so severe that viewers immediately worried that he had died—and he very nearly did.
After the accident, Franchitti has suffered some longterm damage that he deems relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. He has a five week gap in his memory that he simply does not remember and will sometimes blank on words and phrases. But the former driver is happy to be alive.
Though he will never race again, Franchitti seems to consider that a minor inconvenience as long as he gets to keep on living his life. Even if the circumstances are tragic, Franchitti’s outlook remains positive.
10. David Gooding Sold $20 Million Worth of Seinfeld’s Cars
David Gooding has auctioned several cars for the show through his business, Gooding & Company. But as a professional, Wayne Carini and Chasing Classic Cars aren’t the only people he’s done business with.
In March of last year, he set a record by selling a single Ferrari for $17 million, and then he made over $20 million selling a collection owned by none other than comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Of course, Seinfeld’s love of classic cars is no secret and is probably something that most people who know of him are aware of, but it’s an impressive achievement to be able to sell them for so much all at once.
Gooding has pointed out that the cars have a tendency to make more money when owned by a celebrity, as Seinfeld had a VW Beetle sell for $120,000, but it’s an interesting piece of information, nonetheless, and one that shows a capacity for the sheer business side of car auctions.
9. Two-Time Guest Jay Leno Caused Controversy for His Tonight Show Exit
Another comedian who is known for his love of cars, Jay Leno has appeared on Chasing Classic Cars twice. However, he caused a controversy that might go down in the annals of comedy history when he announced his exit from The Tonight Show.
His departure allowed Conan O’Brien to take over hosting the show, something that had been his lifelong dream. But it was a dream he only had the chance to fulfill for a single year before Leno decided he wanted it back. The network caved and gave it to him, as he had been with them for so long.
Ironically, Leno proved to be an acquired taste when he took over The Tonight Show in the first place. He was not a hit in the ratings at first and fellow comedians and late night hosts David Letterman and Arsenio Hall had notorious, long-lasting feuds with Leno.
8. David Gooding Couldn’t Let Jonny Lieberman Test Drive a Ferrari for Insurance Purposes
This is another occurrence that will happen frequently with shows of this nature. When he appeared with expert Jonny Lieberman, who seems to have free reign to drive pretty much any car he wants, met his match with this extremely rare 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB.
Lieberman was not allowed to take the car for a test drive due to the insane insurance costs, plus the fact that it was expected to sell anywhere between 2 and 4 million and was in perfect factory condition.
Even the experts on shows like Chasing Classic Cars don’t always have the keys to the castle when it comes to driving any car they want. Moments like this are unexpected in the world of classic car restoration, making them all the more surprising when they happen.
7. Ron Morehead is Obsessed With Bigfoot
Ron Morehead has appeared on two episodes of Chasing Classic Cars. He is an adventurer, considers himself someone who lives life on the edge and he also happens to be completely obsessed with Bigfoot.
He has written extensively about the possibility of Sasquatch’s existence and has contributed his own trademark to Bigfoot lore with what have come to be known as the “Sierra Sounds.” He believes that Bigfoot have their own language and that it is something that, like any language, can be deciphered.
Many Sasquatch enthusiasts and cryptozoologists believe that Morehead’s Sierra Sounds recordings are actually the best audio recordings of Bigfoot activity ever recorded. Morehead does not keep these interests secret by any means and clearly takes his Bigfoot research very seriously, having frequently written about it.
6. Dale Walksler Disrupted a Town Meeting Over a Museum/Bar Dispute
Dale Walksler, who has made appearances on Chasing Classic Cars, also owns the Wheels Through Time museum.
When a notorious bar attempted to reopen across the street from his establishment, having had to deal with it in the past, he stepped up to basically take over a town meeting to make his point clear that the bar should not reopen as it would just attract the same seedy crowd as it had before. While some agreed with his point, many found his tone to be completely disruptive during the meeting.
5. Car Auctions Are Still Largely Unregulated and Risky
When car auctions started taking off and gaining a ton of traction through the late ‘90s, there was a lot of debate as to how exactly they could or should be regulated.
Almost twenty years later, there’s only a very loose system in place that does not seem to protect everyone all of the time. Auctions are interesting in that they lack both the impersonality of a dealer and the one-on-one directness of an individual seller.
Most general auction laws do not appear to be specifically tied to car auctions. Even now, buyers and sellers are often getting less than what they expected out of many auctions, even—sometimes especially—for those of rare or one-of-a-kind cars.
4. Several Other Discovery-Owned Shows Have Pled Guilty to Fraud
Velocity is owned by the much larger reality-TV giant Discovery. This channel, a longtime titan of cable, has been at the forefront of the changing landscape of documentary shows.
However, its sheer output has come with a cost, as given by something that might at best be astronomical oversight, and what could at worst be an intention on the network’s part to release content that knowingly skews or ignores the facts for the sake of good TV.
Stars of American Guns, Alaskan Bush People and Highway to Sell have all been arrested for fraud. Even for a huge TV network with such a massive output, that’s a lot. Only a few years ago, the network also sparked controversy when Will Hayden, star of Sons of Guns, was arrested on charges of child molestation.
3. Guest Star Tim Allen Notoriously Compared Hollywood to 1930s Germany
Once-legendary comedian and titan of the 1990s, Tim Allen made a guest appearance in an episode of Chasing Classic Cars. A very outspoken conservative, Allen made a comment earlier this year comparing Hollywood’s liberal attitude to 1930s Germany.
He has spoken quite a bit about how he believes Hollywood is quick to bully anyone who supports Donald Trump, and his comment—particularly comparing the current climate to Nazi Germany—have not sat well with virtually everyone.
Allen has been a controversial figure for a few years now, so for many this comment was simply the icing on the cake, but even some fans of the comedian and actor were disheartened to hear what he said. Allen also blamed this politically correct climate for the cancellation of his show, Last Man Standing.
2. Wayne Carini Has Been Accused of Flipping
Host of Chasing Classic Cars Wayne Carini certainly has his fans. There are some who believe that everything going on within the show is completely above board, but many have had less than stellar experiences.
Many have said that it’s clear in his demeanor that he is a businessman first and foremost and that his interest lies much more in the money than in the car itself. Others still insist that Carini has been proven to be a flipper and that he goes into many of these sales solely thinking of the money he’ll make when he resells that rare or exotic car.
The debate as to whether Carini is a flipper or simply a shrewd businessman continues, but the accusations are definitely there and are passionately strong.
Whether Carini is making money off the resell or not, there’s no doubt that the show is as popular as it has ever been. Clearly, any accusations that have come forward have not had the sway to put a dent in the show’s success.
1. It Only Just Started to Hit Velocity’s Highest Ratings
Although Chasing Classic Cars has been on the air for nearly ten years, it has only broken through as one of the network’s most successful shows within the past two years, shattering its previous ratings and proving itself as a standout show for Velocity.
Still, the fact that it took it this long to see that kind of success is in and of itself surprising, considering some of the guest stars and talent that have taken part of the series in the past.
As its ratings continue to appear to soar, it’s pretty fair to say that the show will likely not be going anywhere any time soon. It may even continue this uphill trend and shatter ratings in the coming year, something that’s extremely uncommon for a show in its tenth season.
Do you know of any other secrets about Chasing Classic Cars? Sound off in the comments!
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