Monster Garage was a popular television game show featured on Discovery Channel between 2002 and 2007. The program starred Jesse James, a popular television personality known for his custom motorcycle creations. The show expanded on James’ first television projects, Motorcycle Mania and Motorcycle Mania 2.
The Basic Formula for Monster Garage
The premise of Monster Garage was to take a different, run-of-the-mill vehicle every week and spend five days transforming it into a completely different type of machine. For example a building crew might take a standard volkswagen bug and change it into a seaworthy vessel. Or they might have the challenge of creating a fully functioning emergency vehicle from a basic stretch limousine. All of the episodes of Monster Garage came equipped with catchy titles that hinted at the latest challenge, such as “Grim Ripper,” “Tailgater” and “Honeywagon.”
The program was structured like a game show, where various building crews must make the transformation successful within the set five-day time frame. If the crew was successful and their new vehicle worked as planned, the entire crew would receive prizes including a tool chest filled with top-of-the-line tools. Builders who went beyond expectations might receive a Monster Garage jacket as well. If the new creation did not work, James had the dubious honor of feeding it to a shredder.
In addition to Jesse James, who served as the host for the show, the program also boasted Brett Wagner, an announcer known as the Big Schwag, and Thom Beers who served as the narrator for the program. Beers was also the creator of Monster Garage and CEO of Original Productions. Additional cast members included Frankie Whiteside, also an announcer, and Tom Prewitt, playing himself.
Highlights from Monster Garage
Some of the top creations from Monster Garage have been broken down and the pieces sold to fans of the show. Memorable builds include a Ferrari that was outfitted with a pasta maker and a Mustang that was converted into a lawnmower. One of the most popular creations in the five years the program was on the air was a Cadillac Escalade that was transformed into an Ultimate Escalade Tailgater, complete with a big screen television, state-of-the-art sound system, drink dispenser and grill.
The show even created a flying contraption from a Panoz Esperante, a feat many car aficionados said was impossible, until Jesse James took the lead. Another noteworthy transformation, which was the first project to be seen in high definition, was the conversion of a Rolls Royce to a vehicle that could effectively clean out portable bathrooms. That particular episode was number 47 on the show’s schedule, and noteworthy for a variety of reasons.
About Jesse James
Jesse James was the personality behind Monster Garage that made the series successful for a full five seasons. James started his career with his own custom motorcycle shop in 1992, West Coast Choppers, which grew to an 18,000-square foot facility with more than 50 employees. His shop also became the backdrop for Monster Garage when it began airing in 2002. The shop remains in operation even though Monster Garage is no longer creating new episodes. Some of James’ notable customers include Kid Rock and Shaquille O’Neal.
James is as well known for his personal escapades as his public performances. He married his first wife Karla in 1991, and the pair have two children together – Chandler and Jesse, Jr. James divorced Karla in 2002 and James married Janine Lindemulder, an adult-film actress, later that same year. James has one child with Lindemulder, a daughter, Sunny. James divorced Lindemulder in 2004 and married actress Sandra Bullock one year later. The two divorced in 2010, after it was revealed that James had an affair with model Michelle McGee while Bullock was filming The Blind Side.
- TV.com. Website where viewers can watch shows, interact with other fans and learn more about their favorite programs.
- IMDb. Website devoted to information about all types of entertainments, including movies, music and television programming.
- Biography.com. Provides brief biography on star of Monster Garage, Jesse James.
- Yahoo! TV. Offers information about various television programs and stars, including full bio about Monster Garage star, Jesse James.
- Discovery. Television network that featured Monster Garage from 2002 to 2007.
- HighDef Magazine. Online publication featuring latest news and information about television programming.
- Autoblog.com. Online community sharing auto news and information – provides a synopsis of many of the unique vehicles created by Monster Garage.