Rusted Development – The most unlikely duo bringing automotive relics back to life

Rusted Development

The title of this show is a brilliant play on words.

This is not a show about a dysfunctional Orange County family and their real estate business.

Rusted Development follows the work of Rick Dore, an award-winning custom car builder known for a radical sense of style, fearless use of colour and cutting-edge design. Rick is joined by the most unlikely partner, former pro wrestling superstar Chuck Palumbo, a long-time hot-rod purist who retired from the WWE in 2008 to pursue his passion for motorcycles and muscle cars.

Everyone would secretly (or perhaps not-so secretly) want older brothers like Rick and Chuck. They embody “cool” and have a genuine on-screen chemistry interlaced with great humour. Their passion is bringing some of the most dilapidated rusted-out automotive relics you’ll ever see back to life, back to their prime, as if they had just rolled off the automotive plant floor.

Rick and Chuck’s job is not an easy one. They must convince automotive collectors who teeter on the edge (and sometimes crossover) to being full-blown hoarders, to part with their prized automotive inventory; inventories, that at times, resemble chaotic scrap metal yards.

Rick and Chuck find these hoarders using cunning, street smarts and often word of mouth and offer to rebuild one dream roadster from the enthusiasts’ often gargantuan rusted collections. The funds necessary for the custom restoration are covered by Rick and Chuck’s sale of other cars in the stockpiles.

Automotive enthusiasts hear rumours all the time of yards, sheds and warehouses with scores of classic cars turned on end to pack in more, piles of wrecked exotic automobiles stuffed into rudimentary housing or simply amazing old cars that are sitting in a paddock and are slowly but surely being eaten away by rust.

Any of us who has chased old cars has heard tales of angry recluses who gather cars and store them badly while their panels rust and the soft parts rot or are consumed by insects and vermin. It’s often very difficult to track down a car hoarder and even harder to approach one. It could perhaps be argued that it’s only marginally safer than swimming with sharks. Often these people ardently guard and value their privacy and aren’t often inclined to talk to strangers.

The unlikely duo of Rick and Chuck seem to be able to find a way through the often prickly and impenetrable exteriors of some very interesting automotive collectors/hoarders. Sometimes however, Rick and Chuck’s approaches are not always greeted with courtesy and congeniality. When they do manage to convince someone to part with their prized inventory of rust in exchange for the restoration of one car, the results are spectacular. The skills of their restoration crew are without parallel – their work is, quite simply, magnificent.

The lives of the former collector/hoarder are improved no end. Often hoarders run afoul of the law and municipal authorities and, often their lives are overwhelmed by the sheer scale and size of the clutter. Seeing the joy and relief of some of Rick and Chuck’s “clients” is truly heart-warming as a beautiful custom car rolls into a yard where once stood tonnes of automotive wrecks and scrap metal.


By: R. J. Hawksworth