Hobby Finds Its Way to Hollywood
Ron McClure and Jason McClure took their auto-recycling business national with a reality show on the Discovery Channel
PHOTO: DISCOVERY CHANNEL
June into the Discovery Channel (DSC.Discovery.com) on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET and you can watch two auto recyclers who have turned a hobby into a hit show.
The program, Desert Car Kings, features father and son team Ron McClure and Jason McClure and their businesses, primarily Desert Valley Auto Parts in North Phoenix, Ariz. (DVAP.com). Each week focuses on finding a classic vehicle, restoring it within three weeks and selling it at auction.
"That is one of the things original about our show," said Jason. "You see the art of the deal, us getting the build done, then selling the vehicle."
The producers approached Ron and Jason with the premise. Although Ron, who's been in the automotive recycling business for 42 years, restores vehicles, it was just a hobby. Jason had only restored one vehicle for personal use. But, over the years, the two amassed a slew of auto industry businesses that fit the bill for the reality program.
"They looked us up," admitted Ron. "They wanted to find a company that could restore old cars and have body shops, wrecking yards and their own auction to sell them. We have all those."
The two are partners in at least six businesses within the McClure Ventures family of Arizona companies: Desert Valley Auto Parts, which also has a second location in Casa Grande, Fred's Used Auto Parts in Phoenix, Kwik Tow Towing & Impounds and Unique Heavy Recovery, both based in Phoenix, and DV Towing, which has multiple locations in the Phoenix area. Jason manages the auto recycling facilities and Ron manages the towing companies. They both oversee Five Star Auto Auction in Phoenix, which is where they sell the restored vehicles featured on Desert Car Kings.
Determining which vehicles would make a better investment restored or parted is something Jason has picked up along the way.
"We've done 10 cars now. What we've learned is instead of picking the car that is easiest to do, you really have to pick cars that are either first runs, like a first-generation Camaro, or any type of auction-out vehicle - a GTO, SS or convertible," he explained. "Doing something just because it looks like it's simple to do is not a good idea because the buyers are not there for those vehicles."
Ron concedes the producers have a hand in what is restored, based on their interest. Those vehicles fetch around $5,000 - $10,000 at auction.
"If it were up to us, we would restore very valuable cars, like muscle car convertibles that go for $20,000 - $25,000 on the street," Ron added.
The show has had a positive effect on the businesses, especially Desert Valley Auto Parts and Five Star Auto Auction.
"It's really increased the business," said Ron. "We can hardly handle the used parts business because of the demand from the public. People see the show and call up with orders."
While Desert Car Kings has been positive, Jason said they have received criticism on how the builds are done.
"We're not building show cars," he explained. "A lot of them are built on a Friday afternoon. Those cars, when they hit our yard, that's the last step to the graveyard. We're breathing the last breath into them and getting them back on the road."