Netflix’s Car Masters: Rust to Riches | Review

Recently I got caught in the nightmarish trap of binge-watching a new Netflix show. For anyone unfamiliar with this trap it’s when a show suck’s you in hard. You start with one episode which captivates your attention. The end result is watching multiple episodes back to back with no stopping. It can be both entertaining and exhausting. You want to stop but you also want to see what happens next. If you are feeling a bit under the weather as I was feeling recently this trap becomes easy to fall into. As I was sick today I came home from work and rested my ill body in bed. I slept for a couple hours then searched for something to watch on Netflix. Low and behold I found a show that I typically wouldn’t find interesting. Due to my recent new hobby of automotive repair, modification, and speed. I decided to check it out. This new Netflix show is called Car Masters: Rust to Riches.

Car Masters: Rust to Riches.

Normally reality shows like this don’t interest me. They seem fake and staged. Which might be needed in order to produce high-quality content for Netflix. For the skeptical person like me, id rather sees custom build videos on youtube. However, the first episode sucked me in. I soon found myself watching all 8 episodes in one night.

The premise is quite simple. It follows a custom fabrication shop Called Gotham Garage. There are 5 main characters on the show. The colorful crew at Gotham Garage overhauls an eclectic collection of cars and trucks, trading up to a showstopper they can sell for big bucks. In pursuit of the highly coveted “six-figure car,” this good-natured garage crew lives by three words: “upgrade and trade.”

The Netflix actors

The colorful cast left me entertained and confused. Is this a real shop and crew? Or are they actors with some common interests in cars? Some quick google searches made the answers to these questions even more uncertain and ambiguous. I guess regardless the entertainment and creation value was interesting. Surely the producers at Netflix know how to create a captivating and interesting show.

Mark and Mike dropping in an engine

Mark Towle

Mark is the main character and owner of Gotham. He calls all the shot’s and seems to know the most in the show.  A google search only returned The Gotham garage website, his Facebook page and a couple articles about a lawsuit for making a replica Batmobile.

According to the Gotham garage website

Mark Towle is the Owner of “Gotham Garage”. Born in 1962, one of four children of a single Mom, the Towles had very little money growing up. Mark used to “Dumpster Dive” with his best friend, grabbing broken gadgets and toys, so he could re-design them, rebuild them, and turn them into cooler toys. That’s when it all started, that’s when Mark realized what his calling was. That’s when Mark Towle knew exactly what God created him to do.

After years of building Props for Movie Studios as well as Movie and Television Cars, Mark decided that he wanted to use his “God Given Talent”, so he started Gotham Garage. Mark builds unusual creations that are both automotive and non-automotive related. From small to large, from easy to difficult, from ordinary to bizarre. Mark has built many incredible, custom one of cars, boats, motorcycles and even a helicopter. “If You Can Dream It, I Can Build It”.


According to a lawsuit, Mark Towel lost a lawsuit pertaining to a replica of the original 1966 Batmobile. An article by Hollywood Reporter goes into more detail.

Warner Bros. has scored a big win in a lawsuit against Mark Towle, a California resident who operates Gotham Garage, which specializes in customizing replicas of automobiles featured in various films and TV shows. Towle was taken to court for violating trademarks and copyrights on replicas of the Batmobile, which set off a furious dispute over whether a car is entitled to copyright protection. The defendant objected to the contention, saying in court papers in December that a ruling that afforded the studio the ability to stop reproduction and distribution of a famous car would have “a significant impact on automobile makers and manufacturers.”In an unreal 54-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lew writes that “it is clear that the Batmobile is a copyrighted character.”

“The Batmobile is a character and exists in both two- and three-dimensional forms,” Lew wrote. “Its existence in three-dimensional form is the consequence of the Batmobile’s portrayal in the 1989 live-motion film and 1966 television series. The defendant did not copy the design of a mere car; he copied the Batmobile character. The fact that the unauthorized Batmobile replicas that Defendant manufactured — which are derivative works — may be ‘useful articles’ is irrelevant. A derivative work can still infringe the underlying copyrighted work even if the derivative work is not independently entitled to copyright protection.”

That seems so ridiculous to me, but I guess that’s the just how some things work.

Shawn Pilot

Shawn is the second main character of the show. He seems to be the main salesperson for the shop/show. He is the one who finds the deals on new project cars. He also will find the buyers for the finished products and close the deals. Shawn is usually at odds with Mark and the rest of the crew. They seem to constantly pick on him and poke fun of him within the season.  I do like the dynamic and his negotiation skills but I can’t help the feeling of it being so fake and staged. In one show Mark says “Shawn is always tucked away in the office and he usually doesn’t work on cars, but Shawn knows cars and he has a knack for details.”

My google search leads me to believe he is an actor first, car enthusiast maybe second if at all. His bio on says this:

Shawn Pilot is an actor, known for Three Kings (1999) and Car Masters: Rust to Riches(2018).

So he definitely is an actor starting in one movie from 1999. In the show, it’s said his dad had a body shop and he uses to work there. Can you see how ambiguous this seems?

Mark and Shawn


Constance is the tough girl in the show. She is one of the main workers or appears to be. Honestly as nice as she is to look at she seems out of place most of the season. She is definitely the eye candy of the show. A google search of her will reveals a large selection of erotic photos that would make most men and some women get excited. She’s been in sports illustrated and has a huge following on Instagram. Her website bio claims she is “Spending her days building muscle cars.”  To me, it appears she spends her days modeling and throwing blows to the modern feminists that claim women shouldn’t be objects. She is definitely a very beautiful lady and portrays herself as more an object of sexual desire than a car builder. I really don’t mind one bit. However, I have my doubts that she is a car builder employed at Gotham garage.

 According to IMDb .com:

Constance Nunes is an American model and Reality TV personality of Portuguese descent. Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles California, she is most commonly known for her extensive experience in the automotive industry and starring on the Netflix series “Car Masters: Rust to Riches”. Her print work includes clients such as Wrangler, Jockey, and Jlux Label.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Constance Nunes

According to her website:

Constance Nunes is an American born model of Portuguese descent. Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she is anything but a typical California model. Known for her outspoken personality, rough around the edges demeanor, and get things done attitude, clients find her a refreshingly honest changeup in the world of fashion modeling.  Spending her days building muscle cars, like her 1964.5 Ford Mustang, and doing photo shoots for clients such as Wrangler, Jockey, and Jlux Label, she brings a unique mix of tomboy personality with girlish charm to everything she does. With extensive experience in the print world, she has recently branched into TV with a starring role on the new Netflix series “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” airing this September.

Tony Quinones

On the show, Tony appears to be one of the main mechanics for Marks visions. He and Mike appear to do most of the work. I wasn’t able to find anything about him with google but he seems to be given some creative leeway in some of the creations. If he is the real deal then Id say I really like his design ideas. Unfortunately, l wasn’t able to find anything else about him.

Mike ‘caveman’ Pyle

Mike is a hard character to gauge. Nothing was found about him with a google search. He plays the Idiodic bruit of the show. Hence the nickname caveman. He along with Tony is one of the main mechanics for Mark. He appears to be very creative and knowledgeable all while playing a dumb caveman character. With some of the others in the show already being identified at actors with some car knowledge, it’s really hard to know if this is his craft or if he’s just another actor.

The cars

The main premise of the show is something I really related to.  Buy a cheap car, fix it up, sell it for a profit. In my own experience, I’ve made some decent money flipping cars. However, I don’t have this level of experience doing custom fabrication and modifications. It’s something I’m interested in. As seen in my current 1985 BMW 325E project I really would like to get up to the level of custom car building.

In Netflix’s Car Masters: Rust to Riches. The goal as stated by the main character Mark is:

‘The game here is to start with something that costs $500-1000 and turn it into a cool car. Then you take that cool car and trade it for a badass car. Put the Gotham garage stamp on it. Then take that badass car and turn it into a ride that can be sold for six figures. Then go all the way back to the beginning and start again.’

In season 1 of Car Masters, they take a 1964 Ford Thunderbird that they get for $1000 and fix it up with a chrome wrap. They end up selling trading it for a 1970 Chevy Fleetside pickup truck. The chevy fleetside is in parts and needs a lot of work but they appear to make it look awesome. This Chevy fleetside is then traded for a rare 1939 Zephyr. This is the basic pattern for all the seasons. It gets repetitive but the cars and subsequent modifications are neat.

Some of the other cars include

1956 Chevy truck

Vintage VW microbus turned into a Frankin bus

A rare 1955 Lincoln Futura

One of my favorite cars of the season was the smart car they turned into a mini monster truck for a vineyard. It looked so cool. Lifted with custom suspension, and big tires.

Awesome smart car build


Overall I liked the Netflix show Car Masters: Rust to Riches. The suttle adult jokes were funny and the cars were cool. It was entertaining for the afternoon. Even though It was entertaining I could not help but feel deceived. It was overly staged for a reality show. It was a formula overly produced by shows like American Pickers and American Chopper. This show even more than those.

My own curiosity to google search the characters of the show made me believe it’s possibly all fake. I had a really hard time believing Constance has ever turned a wrench or lost a 10mm socket. The number of photos she has posing half naked are not difficult to find. Photos of her car builds or working on a car are. This is not a complaint. I really enjoyed looking at her photos.

Is Car Masters fake? I don’t know. Maybe there is some truth to the show. The cars are certainly neat. The process is definitely legit and interesting. It’s definitely worth watching a couple of episodes. For me, though I would rather hunt down some build videos on youtube, or better yet some more photos of Constance.