padgett

Fantom Works

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If you would enjoy seeing a REAL restoration program without all of the absurd timelines, tattoos, and unbridled arrogance from self appointed auto designers, take a look on YouTube at Roads Less Traveled, Restoring Cars. This is a fantastic program based out of Colorado.  It is ideal for those of us who appreciate fine craftsmanship and warm sincere personalities. And you will never see a “restoration” out of a UPS truck.  And by the way,  zero commercials and zero promos at zero cost!

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YES! , Mark Clayton has it dialed in. A state of the art shop with good people that is hospital clean.

Glad that you mentioned that John.

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6 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I think Fantomworks will be glad to have the cameras gone. I bet that took a lot of time away from doing their real work.

 

Also, the thing that annoyed me about that show was that the guy would bring his car in and say his budget was, say, $10,000. Then they get in there and find all kinds of problems and do a huge amount of work. At the end, the guy comes in and Dan gives him the bill: "Well, I know you only wanted the hood repainted and a new bumper installed, but we found some extra rust and the suspension was bent and the engine threw a rod and the whole interior was wrong. You said your budget was $10,000 but we have 9000 hours in the project and about $12,000 worth of parts, so here's the actual bill."

 

**hands customer bill for $68,000**

 

Customer: "Well, gosh, that's a lot of money. I didn't expect all that and it's a lot more than I wanted to spend. But I really like the car, so it's OK."

 

I have just one question: Is this endless line of suckers walking into everyone else's restoration shop, too?

 

I just appreciated that they told us the bill.  I always liked watching that show with my wife to help me by comparison.   "See, honey, our latest repair bill wasn't all that bad!!"

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After watching their "restoration" of a late teens touring I turned it off.  Seeing a honeycomb radiator replaced with a modern aluminum and wood wheels pieced together.  And don't get me started on the T that they tried to turn into a brass car.   He is a corvette guy that does make from the looks of it a Very nice removable hardtop.

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I also liked FW for restoration work rather than every car having to be someone’s pipe dream creation. Liked that they talked money and disclosed pricing on some shows and that Dan had been a fighter pilot, and veteran. Yes, sometimes there was dramatics for TV purposes but often way less than the others. You also usually learned a little more about the vehicles owner and their wants. Most other shows are always about the shows star interpretation and personal concept of the owners description. Again, a creation bythe Star, not a build for the owner as much. While the show was far from perfect, it was still better than most. 

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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If you watch FW closely and pay attention to the cars in the background you will notice many of the alleged "customer cars"  from past episodes sitting there. Leads me to conclude that many of the cars were planted to make the show more interesting, much like American Pickers. What they did to the early touring (Overland?) was criminal, especially painting it mat green because "old cars weren't shiny".

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Unfortunately it all started with American Chopper, which began as a show about a small motorcycle shop building custom rides, but quickly evolved into a soap opera  with father and son screaming at each other for an hour.  The network quickly took notice of the show’s popularity and determined that the viewing audience wanted angst and hyper personalities over motorcycle building.  For years this conflict/aggression/soap opera approach dominated car and bike shows, and still rears it’s ugly head at times today.  CCC and Bitchn’ Rides have toned down the format, but the shows still use more gimmicks than actual restoration footage.  Graveyard Cars has some good restoration information, but all the cars are similar and you can only show pieces on dashboard restoration (farmed out) and installing the k-member and motor from the bottom so many times before viewers nod off.  So Mark Worman  makes faces and annoys everyone in the shop and we are supposed to be amused.  CCC bothers me because we always get to see what Wayne gets at the big money auctions, but never see what he initially paid for the car.  It’s always him going off to negotiate with the seller, then he’s putting it in his trailer.  Bitchn’ Rides is strictly for the resto-mod crowd.  They do really nice work after they set up their Art Morrison chassis, but the “funny” bits are not all that funny.  One thing producers finally learned is that viewers wanted to see a finished car at the end of the show.  The bit about having to complete a car for some show or event in record time got old and actually comical.  Now they shoot footage over a period of several years, then condense it down to a show or two.  That’s why you see unfinished cars from last season in the background of some shots in current shows.  I’m sure Phantom Works quit shooting a long time ago.  They are just using the remainder of the footage already shot.

 

We are basically a small group of restorers, affectonados and and enthusiasts.  A nut and bolt show about cars and restoration, played totally straight, would not have a large enough audience to survive.  I put together a long show on the 100th anniversary Dodge Brothers Meet in Detroit a few years ago ( I make videos for a living) that contained great shots of the cars, interviews with the owners, stories of their cars and restorations, the car parade at Meadowbrook Hall and visits to historic automobile sights in Detroit.  When I show it to car folks they watch with rapt attention and want a copy.  When I show it to friends and family they generally nod off.  There just isn’t a big enough audience to support the type of show we would all like to see.

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A while back I took the Friday afternoon tour of FantomWorks that is conducted by Dan Short. At that time he said he actually lost money on the TV show. I wonder if Motor Trend cancelled the show or he just chose not to continue with it.

Jim Yergin

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The answer to the question about the show that had our Director of the AACA Librarian and Past President Tom Cox as the stars all I can tell you was that despite good ratings and that the network wanted it back again their was no money to produce the show for a second season.  There are a lot of ways a show gets on the air but as I understand it many shows are self funded until the network picks them up and helps with $$$. 

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Maybe we need to talk to PBS and see if we can get them to do "This Old Car" each week could show a interesting collector car, a restoration project and a detailed restoration job (like rebuild a carburetor).  It would be even better if they could get guest restoration people to help with the "restoration job" segment.  How long has "this old house" been on the air?  All they need is the right host.  I really don't need drama, burning tires, and car pimps (sorry flippers).

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Just about all of us are clueless as to what it costs to run a show on Motor Trend TV, be honest it is the car channel. If Jay Leno still has his Garage show I don't know what channel covers it, nobody here ever mentions it. The one good restoration show only ran one evening, the Kissel Gold Bug that went on to win its class at Pebble Beach, if that type show could show a full restoration barn find to show field, people would watch. The following day you could complain about what was wrong, but it would be a restoration not a Hot Rod, so the constantly complainers would be happy.

 

 

Bob 

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So, lots of assumptions for the termination of Fantom Works.  I follow them on Facebook, and, in December last year, Dan decided to call it quits.  Here is his post from the Fantom Works Facebook page:

Quote

 

Why DRS quit...

By the first few days of 2019, we will finish filming the television series FantomWorks. The shop will continue to build cars for years to come but the show called FantomWorks will conclude. Our weekly tours will continue as they have since long before the show began. A few weeks back, the network officially posted the cancellation of our television show. Because of that announcement, I decided it was time to explain why I quit and thank all involved.

I want to thank my crew of amazing technicians and the film crew that gave a group of mechanical artisans the chance to be in the spotlight. The crew of FantomWorks maintained the utmost professionalism building cars while dealing with cameras in their faces, sound equipment stuffed into nooks and crannies, radio wars (they were turned off 25 times a day), takes and retakes, working lunches, early mornings that turned into late nights, unwanted travel, and the general difficulties associated with being in front of the cameras 5 days a week, 51 weeks a year, 6.5 years non-stop. Right after the show began, employee turnover increased tenfold; stresses in the shop skyrocketed, and attacks on my company (bloodsucking leeches trying to suck “riches” that never even existed) came out of nowhere. In 2017 I announced to my crew my decision to leave the television show. To my relief, the crew responded very positively. As the cameras are now closing out the final segments of filming, the crew’s morale has skyrocketed and the love of building cars is effervescent again.

I am told that filming a television show on a “set” designed for filming and utilizing paid actors is a reasonably easy thing to do. However in the case of the show FantomWorks, filming was never easy by anyone’s standards. My thanks to those members of the network and film crew who truly cared about the shop. Some understood how difficult it was and helped in any way they could. We had eleven directors in six years, most of whom agreed this was the most difficult show to shoot they’d ever worked on (most one-hour cars shows are shot in a 2-30 day window while this show averages 548 days). Car restorations that averaged almost two years were a reality while we had to display “continuity” during the builds so it looked like they were seamless done in only days. Shop dust and oils affected film gear resulting in an unusual number of equipment issues that then resulted in countless “do overs.” We never filmed less than five days a week, many weeks six. Film crews worked 7AM till 6 or 7PM most days alongside our crews. Often times, filming went well into the night. All this while trying to keep 65 to 98 cars in build at a time. It was never easy. To add insult to injury, many customers were upset as they were never reimbursed for travel or other expenses. The film schedule was so demanding that during the final weeks of my father’s life, I was not able to attend to him. The show took over my life and to make matters worse, my wife and I now face almost a million dollars of debt we incurred keeping the production going.

I have only one regret related to leaving the show. That regret is that we have to say goodbye to our many fans. I have been honored to meet thousands of viewers of the show during the tours at the shop, in local car shows, and national events like SEMA. I’ve travelled the globe and been truly delighted and humbled by meeting so many people who have openly expressed their love of our the shop and the show.

Just a few months ago, a very emotional fan of the show shared a wonderful story. He and his father would watch the show FantomWorks together during the months before his aged father passed. His father suffered from severe dementia had forgotten almost everything; his surroundings and family. It was only during the hour that they watched this show together that his father’s mind became alert. He’d been a car builder in his younger years. While the two watched the show together, his father could “remember” and for that hour, they’d connect… they’d talk. When he told me about what the show had done for his relationship, I rationalized that all the financial hardship we’d been through to make the show and even dealing with the gutless faceless internet trolls for six and a half years were somewhat justified.

So when one of the senior executives from the network and I had a long talk. He suggested that if it doesn’t make any sense to keep going, it’s time to call it done. It was time…

God Bless.

Dan Short

 

 

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Yeah they are right around the corner from me ;)

done a few tours, talked to Dan a few times, and that sounds about right. Really hard to run a shop and do a TV show. and the cost 

nice shop, people, and such...

 

hoping all his plans for hte shop come through and turn things around !!

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If it wasn't for glimpses I got of those car shows (sometimes I even tried them in mute), I never would have found out the number of times one can use the term "dramatize" when talking about the media.

 

One turning point, for me, was a show where two guys were driving in the desert. Some vehicle the driver wanted went by in the oncoming lane. He dropped the ride by the side of the road and u-turned to chase down the car. Later there was a scene of the ride abandoned at dusk with darkness coming on and having no idea how he was going to get home.

 

But someone was taping him. Were they staying the night? Why do I remember that? That's what left the biggest impression of all I have seen.

 

I have backed off on the news as well. When the news is made up of reporters interviewing reporters something ain't quite right. Most recently, while watching the news, I can't help thinking about Norman Rockwell's Self Portrait. Is this really now newscasters see themselves?

563438403_LiberalReporter.JPG.2db307ef5044acced28d5f329e20145b.JPG

Bernie

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5 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Just about all of us are clueless as to what it costs to run a show on Motor Trend TV, be honest it is the car channel. If Jay Leno still has his Garage show I don't know what channel covers it, nobody here ever mentions it. The one good restoration show only ran one evening, the Kissel Gold Bug that went on to win its class at Pebble Beach, if that type show could show a full restoration barn find to show field, people would watch. The following day you could complain about what was wrong, but it would be a restoration not a Hot Rod, so the constantly complainers would be happy.

 

 

Bob 

Bob,

Good observation! That show about the Kissel was very good and go figure they did not put in a four link suspension, disc brakes or a crate LS motor.

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On 1/24/2019 at 2:09 PM, padgett said:

Well MotorTrend has just cancelled one of the few shows worth watching, Dan Short and Fantomworks. Maybe it was his dedication to safety rather than monster wheels on lifted truck or  bolt-together creations on an Art Morrison chassis, or comparison of interesting beards. There are a few of us who still use a razor.

 

BJ I mostly put on DVR and 3X unless something interesting or silly shows up.

 

This really just leaves Wayne and Chasing Classic Cars though I really have no interest in multi-million dollar barn finds. Are there any  "real" shows left.

His crew has some skilled guys but they do some hacked stuff.  The Ferrari replica his brother-in-law owned looked like crap when they finished it and the hood was a 1/2 inch off in places but they tried to hide it by not showing it from the driver front angle.  He fiberglassed luann 1/4” plywood on the fan shroud on the K/20 pickup to make the gap less between it and the fan.  How about putting the right size fan or fan shroud on?  Awful!

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I hope Dan Short doesn't call himself a restorer,  cause he ain't IMHO.

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Mark Clayton's Restore Cars series on YouTube is excellent.  I really do not bother with any reality shows with exception of Chasing Classic Cars, and then only if convenient.  

 

Wheeler Dealers used to be pretty good for tinkerers who like messing with older cars, not to be confused with restoration, but a cool show for what it was.  

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I never heard of the show Fantom Works. 

 

As a retired US Air Force navigator always thought the Phantom Works was Boeing's equivalent to the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.  

 

LOL.

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Thought he quit over a year ago because the show was interfering too much with real work. MT isn't even selling for $1/mo. Always thought Dan did a good job of delivering safe first and then what the customer wanted. The early WD did too much "repair over rust" but may not have had a choice.

 

Treat most of the shows as comedies with little relation to reality (e.q. Roadkill and all of its spin-offs (Faster with Finnegan)) others appear to have unlimited credit with RA (I will not use)

 

One thing confuses me: why do so many on Street Outlaws go up in smoke and have to "pedal" when the use of Traction Control has been mentioned several times ?

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26 minutes ago, padgett said:

Thought he quit over a year ago because the show was interfering too much with real work. MT isn't even selling for $1/mo. Always thought Dan did a good job of delivering safe first and then what the customer wanted. The early WD did too much "repair over rust" but may not have had a choice.

 

Treat most of the shows as comedies with little relation to reality (e.q. Roadkill and all of its spin-offs (Faster with Finnegan)) others appear to have unlimited credit with RA (I will not use)

 

One thing confuses me: why do so many on Street Outlaws go up in smoke and have to "pedal" when the use of Traction Control has been mentioned several times ?

Sat down to lunch today turned on the TV and Phantom works re-run was on. Some guy brings in a 65 Cadillac conv. and Dan starts talking the customer into putting huge wheels on...…. Switched the channel. 

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20 hours ago, Vila said:

I never heard of the show Fantom Works. 

 

As a retired US Air Force navigator always thought the Phantom Works was Boeing's equivalent to the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.  

 

LOL.

My cousin recently retired from being the head of Boeing’s phantom works. He was considered by his jr. high school teacher as not being college material! Graduated high school to attend UMass Amherst for engineering and the rest is history.

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While recovering from a broken toe, I’ve been watching a lot of TV and have developed a “love/hate” relationship with some of these Motor Trend shows.

 

I agree with a lot of what is written here about Fantomworks.  Dan is not a restorer.  This was really brought home to me today when I watched a show from 2014 that featured the “restoration” of a ’41 Buick Special Sedanet.  We all know that you can really judge the authenticity of any kind of presentation when you have some familiarity with what’s being presented.  As the owner of a ’41 Super, I’ve gotten pretty familiar with ’41 Buicks in general, and it was just idiotic what he did to this car.

 

I understand that these “reality” shows have nothing to do with reality, and so I don’t know how much of the set up was fictional.  But the owner supposedly wanted to restore his completely clapped-out rusty old Special because it had belonged to his mother.  Dan told him that it would cost him six figures, but when they were finished he would have “a brand new ’41 Buick.”  The guy said it would be worth every penny because of what the car meant to him.  Apparently he didn't realize that he could have a concours level 100 point Special Sedanet for less than half of what he was going to pay.

 

The car was total trash.  The body had to have a massive amount of metal work done, and the engine was missing numerous parts.  There was a silly sequence where Dan was on the internet trying to get a donor car with a better engine, and saying things like “This car had a 248 c.i. engine that Buick only made for two years – ’41 and ’42 – so it was nearly impossible to find the parts we needed!”  High drama, but not exactly correct.  He then buys a donor car unseen which supposedly had “excellent” manifolds only to find – guess what? – the manifolds are cracked so he has to ask his engine rebuilder to again accomplish the impossible and repair the cracked manifolds.  The engine is first shown with a single carb, but in the end it has a dual carb set up, so it’s unclear what manifolds he actually used. If he had known about the AACA forums, he could probably have saved himself some time and money!

 

So after charging the owner a cool $116,000.00, he constructs a car that is neither “fish nor fowl.”  It certainly isn’t an authentic restoration since it has numerous incorrect features, including a new interior that looks like it came from a ‘70’s Datsun.  But is also isn’t the kind of “restomod” that you could get for that kind of money since it has the original suspension and running gear with a 248 straight eight cobbled together from the two he had to work with.  It has a terrible incorrect paint job, and is missing all the stainless trim along the bottom of the rocker panels and skirts.  The dash has the original gauges nicely restored, but the panels are painted instead of engine turned, which pretty much ruins one of the greatest features of a ’41. But this doesn’t stop Dan from raving at the end of the show about what a magnificent job they have done. 

 

As someone mentioned earlier, it seems that some of the great creations apparently remain in the shop long after they have supposedly been turned over to the “overjoyed” customer.  This Buick is among them – I have seen it in the background on many episodes, and I wondered about it until finally seeing this episode.

 

fantom_buick1.jpg.b4c3661f85d0e23754ff5bebf2a9bd18.jpg

 

fantom_buick2.jpg.515d681928be035b3979c6ee72da16ad.jpg

 

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I've seen that episode too and  have seen it sitting in Dan's shop as background candy.  I wondered if the owner didn't or couldn't pay the

$116,000 bill and now Dan owned it via a mechanic's lein.

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