There are probably a few things cooler than a series centering on a father and son manufacturing chopper-style motorcycles. Discovery Channel’s American Chopper steadily brought us into that fascinating side of the automotive industry.
After six full seasons of following all the drama, amazing engineering, and hilarious jokes of Paul Teutul Sr., Paul Jr., and their crew, we just couldn’t help but want to reminisce some of the juiciest moments made on the show! Read on to find out some entertaining behind-the-scenes facts!
American Chopper: First Of Its Kind
You’ve probably heard of all kinds of reality shows- some absolutely entertaining and some downright ridiculous. American Chopper, however, was definitely one of the first of its kind. Up until its airing, there weren’t any reality shows that followed family drama and heated moments around a world of motorcycles.
What made things even engaging for the audience was that none of it was scripted!
Among some of the show’s secrets was the ongoing battle that Paul Sr. had with his substance abuse.
He was so in deep into the addiction, leading his wife to urge him to go to rehab. But what’s alarming is that both his sons were dealing with the same issues! In fact, at the young age of 16, Paul Jr. already experienced going to rehab.
The Pauls At Odds
One of the defining moments of the show was Paul Sr.’s decision to fire Paul Jr. This whole altercation ac of legal problems as their contract required both of the men’s show participation.
As stubborn as he was, Paul Sr. decided to ignore these warnings, up until TLC filed a notice that production would be canceled. It was only then that Paul Sr. started to cooperate, and filming eventually resumed.
After this defining moment came yet another highlight in the Sr. vs. Jr. feud. Apparently, Paul Jr.’s contract stated that he could be bought out of Orange County Choppers by his father.
This loophole added a whole new dimension to their feud, entailing that Paul Jr. could lose all his rights to appear on the show.
Obviously, with all the chaos that his son was bringing into his, Paul Sr. decided to take advantage of the loophole. This led to Paul Sr. taking over the whole company, with a shocking attempt of pushing his son out.
What’s even more alarming is that Paul Sr. even sued him for a crazy $1 million dollars! Now that’s some serious family beef right there! Fortunately for Paul Jr., he ended up winning that case.
Though the lawsuit eventually came to a close, their personal problems went nowhere. The strain that both father and son had on their relationship led to Paul Jr. leaving the show.
They came to a decision that two of them couldn’t continue working together, which was probably for the best.
A Sad Accident
Shortly after leaving the OCC crew, Paul Jr. decided to pave his own path and open his own shop. However, no one could have possibly imagined what misfortune would come next. Upon calling a repair company to fix his garage leak, Paul Jr. was faced with a horrifying situation.
While repairing the roof, the repairmen fell through and instantaneously died upon landing on the garage floor. All Paul Jr. could do was offer his condolences and support to the man’s family.
Wedding Without Dad
Amid all this drama though, there was still some charm to the show. On the American Chopper set, Paul Jr. actually developed a relationship with the dashing model, now his lovely wife, Rachel Biester.
After dating for two years, the pair tied the knot in 2010. However, because of the ongoing heat of the father-son lawsuit battle, Paul Sr. didn’t show up to the ceremony.
The series of unfortunate events doesn’t stop there! When the Orange County Choppers decided to collaborate with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation in creating handicapped-accessible motorcycles, they ended up facing another lawsuit by Christ Tavantzis.
Apparently, Tavantzis claimed that he disclosed this idea with the team already two years prior!
Mikey Walks Away
We may already know a number of things about Paul Jr., particularly him being the Teutul son on American Chopper but let’s not disregard Mikey, Paul Sr.’s other son. Fans loved him even though his initial tasks were somewhat futile such as taking out the garbage, cleaning the floors, and receiving the phone calls.
But aside from these, what’s noteworthy is his role as a peacemaker between his father and brother. This wasn’t an easy task at all and growing tired of always being caught in the middle, he exited the OCC crew.
Yet Another Lawsuit
Did you know that the family had a motorcycle made in secrecy just for Cody Connelly? I mean he was the shop hand, there’s no wonder they considered him as a member of the family. But Cody wasn’t actually able to receive this motorcycle when the family suddenly changed their minds in the end about giving it to him.
And because of this, Cody not only exited the show but even filed a lawsuit demanding $250k from the Teutuls. Thankfully though they didn’t have to go to court and arrived at a fair settlement on their own.
Did you ever come across news of the OCC shutting down completely due to huge financial problems? Yeah, it was a pretty big rumor that quickly caught on especially when fans saw the shop being put up for sale.
So it was such a huge relief when Paul Sr. revealed that OCC was just moving to another location. Everything turned out to be fine!
Celebrity death hoaxes are so common even Paul Sr. had one thanks to a fake news website. They used the story of a Paul Sr. lookalike who tragically died in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana.
News of this spread like wildfire so much that Paul Sr. took it upon himself to assure people through Facebook that it was just a hoax.
How does a really, even oddly, huge man get onto a regularly sized motorcycle if he wanted to? This was a question meant for by the huge man himself, Shaquille O'Neal of which who would provide him an answer other than of course, American Chopper.
Their 2014 reunion episode was actually dedicated to building a chopper made just especially for the NBA legend.
Paul Jr. Can’t Get Away From TLC
There’s no way that TLC would ever let go of Paul Jr., not even with his life-changing marriage.
In order to keep him, the network gladly offered the soon-to-be-married couple, Paul Jr. and Rachel Biester, their own TV shows, which revolved around two wedding themes – Say Yes to the Dress and Cake Boss.
Mikey The Artist
Though Mikey, with his undeniable humor, contributed enormously to the show’s entertainment, he still reached a breaking point when it came to all the heated arguments and drama.
This eventually led him to leave the show and instead, put up his own art gallery. He even sold some of his own paintings there!
Fortunately, we’ve still found some good news! Some recent pictures actually show that father and son could be working on fixing their distraught relationship. The heartwarming photograph showed Paul Sr. with Paul Jr.’s son, Hudson, at just three weeks old.
This lovely baby might just be the saving grace and will hopefully lead the Teutul family to their happy ending!
Paul Jr.’s Success
Paul Jr. professionally created huge success out of his life even after his exit from the family business.
Some of the noteworthy opportunities offered to him were from video game empire, Blizzard, who was interested in the creation of World of Warcraft-themed bikes as well other topnotch film companies who need choppers for their movies.
Vincent Breaks Out
Apparently, Vincent DiMartino was completely oblivious that he’d be featured on a Discovery Channel reality show. In fact, he had only been working at OCC for just a month! After staying on for a few seasons, he decided to leave and start his own company called V-Force customs.
Fortunately, he still remained in good relations with the family, even constantly seeking consultations on business from Paul Jr.
Though Vincent’s bike shop turned out to be a huge success, he still decided to collaborate with his former co-worker and friend, Paul Jr., with Paul’s garage for the show.
This was definitely a generous move for Vincent who even got the opportunity to appear on other shows on Throttle Junkies TV, Untamed Sports TV, and Cox Sports Network. Despite this, he continues to run V-Force.
Mikey doesn’t just have humor and artistic talent, he’s also, surprisingly, into cooking! In fact, he got into another business venture in a gourmet pasta sauce company, FarQueue Products.
They produce a homemade sauce that Mikey makes himself! What a versatile man!
Paul Sr. Didn’t Know His Name
Apparently, Paul Sr. never knew what his full name was all throughout his childhood! Nor did he know what his middle name was until he was 30 years old.
And to top it all off, he didn’t even know he was sharing a name with his father. Why isn’t this guy being informed at all?
Paul Sr.’s TV Career
Paul Sr. was actually pretty experienced when it came to television.
In fact, he’s made appearances on shows that include Like My Name Is Earl, King of the Hill, and also in the music video for “Rock Star” by Nickleback!
Although the show is called American Chopper, it actually has a crazy international fan base! Paul and the OCC crew, therefore, have the opportunity to travel around the world to create choppers for fans!
Just to illustrate further just how big the show became, Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, former Brazilian Prime Minister, is a big fan of the show, too!
Bike Building Competition
The Orange County Choppers team decided to go head to head with two other competing bike builders in a contest. This event involved the building of a bike inspired by the look of the T-51 inspired Mustang, a well-known plane known for being flown in WWII.
Unfortunately, they ended up placing third after Paul Junior Designs and Jesse James.
The OCC boys didn’t back down, though! This rematch instead involved Paul Junior Designs competing against Jesse James and Gas Money Garage in the creation of a chopper inspired by muscle cars.
Yet another blow to the OCC team, Paul Jr. Designs ended up winning again with their creation of an actual grill from a 1939 Chevrolet. Bummer!
Paul Jr.’s Generosity
Paul Jr. has always dedicated his time and effort towards charities, but he’s especially into ones that involve dogs! In fact, he owns two adopted dogs of his own! He even went as far as constructing a new dog park for his community in Montgomery, New York.
His crew was in full support of his cause and donated more than $50,000 to his cause.
Paul Jr. is a pretty skillful man himself. Aside from building choppers, he actually delves into business and even entrepreneurship.
Paul Junior Designs was actually the company behind the new branch of Paul Junior Studios, a studio designing logos and marketing services.
Net Worth: Paul Sr.
Paul Sr. was actually a man who came from humble beginnings, growing up in the rough area of New York. Since then, his tireless work has brought himself above the poverty line.
Now, Paul Sr. has a net worth of a staggering $15 million! Absolutely inspiring!
Net Worth: Paul Jr.
Paul Jr. has also solidified himself as a successful businessman. Aside from co-founding the Orange County Choppers, he also owns and manages the Orange County Iron Works. He’s also the founder and owner of Paul Jr. Designs.
And just as a bonus, he still makes money from being on the show! All in all, this makes him have a net worth of $17 million. Crazy!
Paul Jr. apparently isn’t the only entrepreneur in the family! Rachael, his wife of six years, has also worked tirelessly in creating her personal clothing brand and accessories boutique located in Montgomery, New York!
What a power couple!
Business Advice from Paul Jr.
As a successful entrepreneur, Paul Jr. is always willing to share some of his wisdom and knowledge.
His advice for starters is to always begin with small moves and to take things slowly. In that way, you’d be able to dodge huge debt, allowing you to easily accumulate customers whilst growing the business.
Paul Jr.’s Video Game Mini-Series
A computer game company called Blizzard made an exceptionally unique scaled-down series a couple of years ago called Azeroth Choppers.
The show focuses on how specialized choppers are created. The driving force behind this cool name is the unparalleled Paul Jr.! It didn’t just turn out to be a huge hit, their success even got them the opportunity to create their own in-game bike!
It Started With Pilgrim Studios
It all started when Paul Sr. was spotted while at the Daytona Beach Biketober with True Blue (his first bike) when Pilgrim Studios offered him his own special reality TV drama. The production company, who is partnered with Discovery Channel, aimed to create a series on Paul, his family, and obviously, Orange County Choppers.
As you probably are aware, he agreed to this, and the rest, as it's been said, is history!
Paul vs. Paul
In 2010, American Choppers got the ax, however, it still wasn’t the end for OCC. TLC settled on the choice to make a spin-off show, American Chopper: Senior versus Junior which, as the name gives away, pursues the father-son rivalry.
Surprisingly, the premise kept the show running for four seasons. During the season finale, Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey are seen standing in front of their brand new family custom chopper. Too sweet!
Before he earned his massive fortune, Paul Sr. actually came from very humble beginnings working in the steel industry. Before getting into bikes, he was fabricating steel and iron.
In fact, he launched his own ironworks shop in Rock Tavern, New York in 1973 and it’s still open today!
Not A Fan
Though American Chopper has tons of fans around the world, Mikey is actually not one of them. When he was asked by an interviewer if he watches the show, Mikey responded with a firm “no way.”
He probably doesn’t want to be re-watching all the drama that he moved on from already!
No Cameras, Please
Though he’s probably used to all the cameras on him now, Paul Sr. was actually camera shy back then! As a child, he found it particularly difficult to be comfortable with the idea of being around cameras.
We couldn’t even find pictures of the elder Teutul!
When American Chopper became a huge hit, the Teutul family instantly went from total unknowns to actual celebrities!
Imagine just receiving love and messages from people all around the world hoping to meet them, see their choppers, and get autographs!
Paul Sr. Said No
After the father-son relationship fell, Paul Jr. decided to open up his own shop. This eventually became the spark and beginning of the network’s new show.
They initially approached Paul Sr. but he wasn’t too keen on the idea. He obviously eventually agreed and the show American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior was born!
But Then…He Said Yes
Apparently, Paul Sr.’s shop was going through some major financial issues and his show wasn’t even on air. He, therefore, had to make a decision right away.
It was actually his staff that begged him to agree to the deal and participate in the challenge show. When he realized how much money they’d make, he agreed!
Hey, Big Spenders
But we’ve come to the core of all the financial issues that the entire OCC crew was going through- they were spending way too much.
They obviously had plenty of money running in when the show was on air but even when the money stream slowed down, they continued with their insane expenses.
Was It The Moolah?
Apparently, the OCC crew grew at an alarming rate with 100 workers all the way until the end of the show! Unfortunately, no one knew how to handle such a large bunch of new kids and some ended up getting underpaid.
In fact, Mikey was paid just $10 an hour while Paul Sr. was making a crazy $80,000 per year!
It pretty understood by all that Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. had their own set of personal issues.
Paul Sr. even mentioned once in an interview that these issues were due to their “conflicting sense of entitlement”. Like father and son, they say!
Mikey, The Middleman
Although it was particularly difficult, Mikey ended up becoming the peacemaker between his father and brother.
He even admitted in an interview that he felt guilty for not being able to successfully help his family reach an agreement and that he had “failed in his mission.”
Done With Fighting
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Mikey eventually reached his breaking point. Before the final season of American Chopper kicked off, Mikey decided to leave and let his father and brother deal with their own issues.
He had enough of the drama and ended up cutting ties with the show. We can only imagine the frustration he had to go through!
Although Mikey was totally over all the drama and family issues, he couldn’t let go of all the money. He even humorously remarked that he should have just put up with the family drama for a little while more so he could still earn all that dough.
Would it really be worth it though?
Producers Fanned The Flames
Though it was a problem for Mikey, the producers absolutely loved and condoned just how much Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. fought. It obviously brought them more views and good ratings at the end of the day!
Unfortunately, this led them to encourage the fights and not putting an end to them. Paul Sr. even claims that the producers would cut some scenes just to portray him as the worst person ever.
It’s great to hear that Paul Sr. is inching towards rebuilding his relationship with Paul Jr. - but only on a personal level.
As for their professional relationship, Paul Sr. stated that the two don’t ever want to work together again since this would just put more strain on them and that family matters more than the work and money.
PaAs we’ve mentioned, Paul Jr. actually has a beautiful two-year-old son.
Since the little boy can’t ride their custom choppers just yet, Paul Sr. gave his grandson a to-die-for model of the Statue of Liberty chopper, which was actually built by Paul Jr.!
Since the American Choppers brand was so well received in their first few seasons, they ended up creating two spin-off video games in the process!
The first game was called American Chopper was created by Activision and was released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and even had a PC version! The second game called American Chopper 2: Full Throttle was created by Creat and was released for Xbox, Gamecube, and PlayStation 2!
Another Set Of Financial Woes
Though everybody pretty much adores the special custom-made bikes that are on the show, they probably would have to think twice after finding out the prices.
The prices of these bikes actually range between $150K – $250K! Crazy! The crew doesn’t really make any of these fancy, high-end choppers anymore, though.
The Orange County Choppers apparently don’t just work on plain old choppers, they even customize snowmobiles and cars!
hough their specialty is bikes, of course, they still can create these with junkyard parts for just $12,000!
OCC didn’t use to deal with a ton of financial problems. It was only until they decided to move to a giant, new garage that an influx of financial problems came flushing in.
It also was due to the fact that all of this was happening after the financial crash in 2008, meaning that most people just didn’t care to spend on such expensive, custom choppers.
Mikey has always been the fan favorite, most probably of all the comedic relief he provides amid all the drama.
In fact, he was so favored that he was able to represent American Chopper on hit shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Late Show with David Letterman!
Started From The Bottom
One can only imagine how much love Paul Sr. has had for choppers. In fact, in 1999, he had so much love for it that he decided to go and ahead and make his dreams come true.
He and his son immediately built their very first bike in their own basement named True Blue! They then showed the custom chopper at Biketoberfest down in Daytona Beach.
Network After Network
American Chopper was actually originally signed by Pilgrim Studios. They then went on to sell the rights to the show to Discovery Channel. The rights were once again sold to Discovery’s sister channel, TLC, after a few years.
The show was then broadcast on Country Music Television. What a journey!
Competition: Win An Orange County Chopper
Upon its premiere, Discovery Channel decided to promote the show through a contest.
The network even sponsored the competition in order to get their own custom chopper! Four winners were chosen and were given an episode that was devoted entirely to their custom bike!
Time On The Air
American Chopper was truly a hit show, lasting on air for a crazy ten years! You could tell that their audience was absolutely hooked.
You can watch this show and its 165 episodes as they have re-runs available!
Mike Rowe, Narrator
The Dirty Jobs extraordinaire, Mike Rowe, was actually the voice behind American Chopper while it was still on the Discovery Channel and TLC.
He’s currently hosting a series produced for Facebook called Returning the Favor.
Paul Sr. The Marine
Did you know that Paul Sr. actually served in the US army? He was even involved in Vietnam!
He was a part of the United States Merchant Marines, a privately owned vessel that is allowed to be government-controlled during wartime.
It’s already pretty obvious but Paul Sr. has always had a reputation for getting tatted up. There was even an entire episode dedicated to his special ink addiction! Additionally, he was even featured on Miami Ink.
According to him, he gets tattoos when he’s feeling emotional. It makes sense considering the amount of drama he’s been through!
The Chopper Live: The Revenge
In 2012, with 12 seasons in, Discovery Channel eventually announced the show would go off air with a special called “The Chopper Live: The Revenge”.
This entire special featured a competition with Paul Jr. up against his father, Jesse James, and the Team Fast ‘n Loud, Teutel. Paul Jr. ended up winning again with his New York inspired bike, while Paul Sr. finished in fourth place.
American Body Shop
You know a show has reached its popularity when there are parodies made about it! American Body Shop was one of the improvisational comedies on Comedy Central that parodied the show.
Unfortunately, it was canceled after one season, but the laughs were undeniable!
It was pretty shocking to find out that Paul Sr. was actually a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice 5!
Unfortunately, he ended up being fired by Donald Trump during their April episode. That must have been a blow!
Though Paul Sr. has been married and divorced twice already, he was still able to find love with Joan Kay.
He has been in this serious and successful relationship for quite some time now. You can even find them riding their choppers around Florida and New York every now and then.
The success that the show brought Paul Jr. was immense as he was given the opportunity to create undeniably cool bikes the hit flick, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Movie starring Megan Fox and Arrow star Stephen Amell, in 2016!
I’m Jim Pratt
When Mike Rowe decided to leave the show, Jim Pratt, an actor known for Flying Wild Alaska and Airplane Repo, eventually took over as the show’s narrator.
He was specially featured on American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior!
Aside from the video games mentioned earlier, it turns out that there was also a video pinball arcade game, too!
This game was created by Incredible Technologies, Inc. and though they reached an on-site playtest, they actually never released it.