22 Untold Facts About American Choppers
1. Paul Sr.’s Net Worth
Growing up in a rough neighborhood in New York, Paul Sr.’s life story is one that’s gone from rags to riches. In 2017 he had built himself a staggering net worth of $15 million from TV shows and his motorbike business. However, In the spring of 2018, he filed for bankruptcy. Now sources say he has a net worth of close to $500 thousand, but we don’t know for sure.
2. Paul Jr.’s Net Worth
Like his father, Paul Jr. is a successful businessman and has a net worth of $17 million. We don’t know if his father’s bankruptcy has affected his net worth too much. The father and son don’t get along that well after all.
3. Paul Sr.’s Current Girlfriend
Paul Sr. has been married and divorced twice. After divorcing Beth Ann Santos in 2015, he’s been in a romantic relationship with Joan Kay. She is the chief operation officer of OCC and a proud mother of two children.
4. Drinking Problem
One of the show’s behind-the-scenes secrets was Paul Sr.’s substance abuse. His wife used to urge him to go to rehab. Sadly, the addiction was inherited by both his sons, and at the age of 16, Paul Jr. has already been to rehab for the same problem.
5. Paul Sr. Tried To Fire His Son
The Pauls used to have huge fights, and the father even tried to fire his son, Paul Jr. In the end he decided to cooperate, because TLC made it clear that the production would be canceled.
6. Father-Son Lawsuit
Although filming resumed, the Pauls feud did not end there. Paul Sr. found a loophole in the contract that meant his son could be bought out of Orange County Choppers, so he decided to take advantage of that loophole and sue his son, attempting to push Paul.Jr out of the company. Luckily for the son, he won the lawsuit in the end.
7. Goodbye, Paul Jr.
Although the lawsuit was over, the personal relationship between father and son was beyond repair. They couldn’t work together anymore and Paul Jr. chose to leave the show.
8. Wedding Without Dad
After leaving the show, Paul Jr. started his own shop. He is now married to Rachel Biester, a stunning model he met on the set of the show. The pair tied the knot in 2010, but Paul Sr. refused to come to the wedding.
9. Producers Fanned The Flames
Although the altercation between the father and son was a big problem for the family, producers loved it since the fight brought them more views. They even encouraged the fights deliberately and cut some scenes to make Paul Sr. seem like the worst person ever.
10. Stolen Idea
In 2010, Orange County Choppers developed handicapped-accessible motorcycles with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. There was controversy, however, since Christ Tavantzis, a man from Florida, claimed that the idea was stolen from him. He sued Orange County Choppers, but as of now the case is still unresolved.
11. Another Lawsuit
The family had a motorcycle made just for Cody Connelly, the shop hand, but then suddenly changed their minds and didn’t give Cody the motorcycle. Cody was furious about it and exited the show. He even sued the Teutuls, asking a compensation of $250k. Thankfully the two parties arrived at a fair settlement on their own and it didn’t go to the court in the end.
12. Shaq Attack
How does a man as huge as Shaquille O’Neal get onto a regular-sized motorcycle? American Chopper has the answer. In the 2014 reunion episode of the show, they built a chopper especially for the NBA star.
13. Family Reunited?
Some recent pictures have shown that the Pauls could be making efforts to fix their distraught relationship. Paul Jr. just can’t keep his lovely three-week-old son away from his grandpa. Anyway, who can refuse such an adorable baby?
14. Paul Jr.’s Success
After leaving the family business, Paul Jr. has been doing great on his own. He has been offered a number of opportunities by some topnotch companies, including video game giant Blizzard, who wanted to create some World of Warcraft themed bikes.
15. VIncent Breaks Out
Vincent DiMartino featured on the show for a few seasons, and after that, he started his own company called V-Force customs. Vincent’s shop turned out to be a huge success and he still remained in good relations with the family, consulting Paul Jr. for business advice.
16. Underpaid Staff
Apparently, Paul Sr. was not so good at management. At the end of the show, the OCC crew had grown to 100 workers, and some new members were underpaid. In fact, Mikey was paid just $10 an hour while Paul Sr. was making a crazy $80,000 per year! No wonder the poor man left.
17. Chef Mike
Mikey responded with a firm “no way.” when asked if he had been watching the show. He has moved on from all the drama now and started a gourmet pasta sauce company named FarQueue Products, producing a homemade sauce that Mikey makes himself. Surprise!
Although Mikey has started a new chapter in his life, he kind of regrets the decision because he let go of all that money. He even joked that he should have just put up with the family drama a little longer, just so he could still earn a little bit more dough.
19. Paul Sr.’s TV Career
You may not have noticed but Paul Sr. actually has a very active TV career. He has appeared in shows like My Name Is Earl, King of the Hill, and also in the music video for “Rock Star” by Nickleback!
20. Shy Of Cameras
Another surprising fact of the show was that Paul Sr. was actually camera shy. He had not been comfortable with cameras ever since he was a little kid.
21. Mike Rowe, Narrator
The voice behind the show while it was on the Discovery Channel and TLC was actually the Dirty Jobs extraordinaire, Mike Rowe. The man is currently hosting a series produced for Facebook named Returning the Favor, in which he finds people doing good deeds and does something for them in return.
22. American Body Shop
American Body Shop was one of the improvisational parodies made about the show. The critical reviews were mostly positive, but it was canceled after just one season.