Rust Valley Restorers has returned for a second season on History. Filmed primarily in Tappen, the show also features several Shuswap locales and characters, including Mike Hall, the shop’s owner, and Avery Shoaf.
With the show’s renewal and premiere happening this week, KTW caught up with the two to see what’s in the coming episodes.
KTW: What should viewers expect in season two?
Mike: More of the same s—-show as last time.
Avery: They can expect to see me cleaning up after my messes and upsetting Mike.
M: Basically it’s just a continuation of last year. We had some really great builds and told some really great stories. If you enjoyed season one you will enjoy season two.
KTW: Mike. You started last season with about 400 cars. After all of this publicity from the first season, have you managed to sell some of them off?
A: He’s got about 550 now! What happens is he sells one and he gets a little bit more money and he goes and buys three. It’s working out not bad for him. They are kind of like rabbits. They are populating quite well.
M: I have a problem.
KTW: Has the show attracted more sellers or buyers?
M: Now that we have this exposure, I’ve got people from all over the planet trying to sell me stuff.
A: And the thing about that is he buys it! Now, instead of buying stuff within a 200-mile radius, he’s got about an 8,000-mile radius.
M: Oh, it’s not that bad. Well, a couple thousand… Saskatchewan is the farthest I’ve gone so far.
KTW: Avery. In season one we see you get on Mike’s nerves a little and even fight. Has there ever been a point you pushed him too far? How do you two remain friends?
M: Well, because we are friends. Boys will be boys. All girls become women. Guys can get mad at each other, flip out, wig out, even get to punches, but the next day you’re still friends.
A: Yeah. It is what it is. You’ll see a little bit this season of me getting upset with Mike and me starting to do some things in my own shop, giving us a little breathing room for each other. But my son is introduced to the show and you can see me argue with him and take the role I have with Mike.
M: Friends are friends. I’m sure you’ve flipped out on some of your friends. But what do you do? You know what they say. If you take your thumb and your finger and squish them together really tight — that’s the difference between love and hate, that distance.
KTW: How much has putting cameras in front of you guys amped things up between you? Do you push each other a little further?
A: I don’t think it’s changed anything, do you, Mike?
A: If it’s done anything, it’s increased our patience.
M: Yeah. You’ve got to have the patience of Job if you want to be on TV. They always say the first time is the best, but once you’ve done it three or four times, you wonder if the quality is improving. A lot of our show is totally spontaneous, but it is TV, so. People meet us and say, ‘Gee, you guys are just the same on TV as you are in real life,’ and there’s a reason for that — we’re not actors.
KTW: Mike. You and your son Connor come off as a father/son duo where you’ve got the passion and the money and he’s got the business sense. How accurate is that in reality and off-camera?
M: He gives me s—- all the time for spending his inheritance. Let’s put it that way. He has way more common sense than me. I’ve done my 40 years. This is basically my retirement gig. My construction company is still going strong, but Connor runs it for me. What you see on TV is him flipping on me whenever I buy another car. But whatever. I have a problem.
KTW: We have seen father/son conflict on a shop reality show before, as if that is something that just happens in those kinds of environments. But how much are your real fights like what we see on the show?
M: It’s exactly… It’s the same. When I lose it on him, I lose it on him. Nobody can push you to the brink like your wife and your kids.
A: I thought I got pretty close that one time.
M: But you know what I mean. I expect a lot out of him. Maybe too much. It’s give and take. But when I lose it on him, it’s because I’m actually losing it on him. You’ll see some footage coming up that I’m not too proud of, but that’s the way it happened.
A: I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about this or not, but when we started the show back in the day, there was a memo sent that said, ‘Hey, please tell these guys to stop acting. They shouldn’t be acting for the show.’ And a message was sent back to the powers that be that said, ‘Uh, no, that’s who these guys are.’ And they came out to see if we are who we are. One hundred per cent we are real.
KTW: You tend to feature a lot of Canadian cars on the show, like the 1966 Beaumont Sport Deluxe and the 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger. What is it about classic Canadian cars that appeals to you guys?
M: It’s Canadian and it’s rare. When you build an Acadian sport coupe, like in ‘66 or ‘67, they made 557 of them. In the States, they might have made 20,000 of the Nova SS [super sport].
A: There’s enough American stuff out there. Some of the Canadian stuff should be showcased and shown to the rest of the world.
M: The Beaumont SC [sport coupe], that was pretty cool. We have a lot of stuff up here nobody else has. I like all of the American muscle cars, as well, but if we can get a Canadian one… even that pink Swinger we did in season one, it was built in Canada and exported to California, but it was built in Canada.
KTW: It’s quite a notable show for the area. Tappen hasn’t exactly featured much in the reality TV scene. Has the fame gone to your heads at all?
M: I’m not letting it change who I am. I hope I never become a TV star. That’s not who I am. Some people when we first started airing, people said, ‘Don’t tell them where you’re from, Mike. You’ll ruin the Shuswap!’
A: To answer that question a little bit differently. We’re dealing with the same people we’ve always dealt with for the past, probably, 20 or 30 years. We stay in our same circle. We go to the same coffee shops, we see the same people we’ve always seen. We still talk about what our kids are doing or what aggravates us. It really hasn’t changed that much.
M: We’re not jet-setters yet. We’re not travelling around the world polluting the planet. We’re just doing our own little gig here and people get to watch it. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to watch, right? We’re doing our best. I know we don’t meet everybody’s expectations. You know what they say, if you can’t please everybody you might as well please yourself.