Bush Wreck Rescue shows good and bad of restorations

Author: Alyn Edwards (Driving.ca)

A new docuseries on Discovery Channel features the custom restoration work of three unique shops, along with the hunt for derelict vehicles in B.C. and Alberta. The show brings together a ragtag group of wreck hunters, auto restorers, motorheads and would-be entrepreneurs who demonstrate how a rusted, mud-filled hulk dragged out of the bush can be turned into a valuable piece of automotive art.

Produced by Vancouver’s Omnifilm Entertainment in association with Bell Media, Bush Wreck Rescue will show the shops in action on Discovery Channel when the series premieres with two episodes airing back-to-back May 17th at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.

“Having an automotive background, the reason I would watch the show is that I can see that it’s real,” says Bill Desrosiers who, with long-time friend Glen Braid, operates Wreckless Restorations in B.C.’s Okanagan region. “To me, that’s more entertaining than watching something that is reality TV based and scripted.”

Desrosiers says viewers will see the good, the bad and everything in between as his shop grapples with the challenge of turning old rust buckets – discovered in fields, barns and the bush -into dramatic custom car and truck creations. The partners often clash when Glen’s enthusiasm leads him to buy vehicles that Bill knows can’t be brought back to life with anything close to a realistic budget.


Bill Desrosiers is a partner at Wreckless Restorations in Kelowna. PHOTO BY SEAN F. WHITE – COPYRIGHT 2022 OMNIFILM ENTERTAINMENT

In one episode, the Wreckless Restorations crew gets into a build-off competition with Vancouver-based car hunter Robin Toor and his buddy Mullet to see who can create the best custom vehicle from old Divco milk trucks. They both end up with incredibly unique yet utterly different builds.

At the Midnight Oil restoration shop in High River, Alberta, mechanic Peter Nickerson, paint and body expert Jason Graff and upholsterer Audrey Steele seek out prairie pickups to restore and sell for a profit. “My job is to make vehicles that run and are safe, fast and fun, while Jason and Audrey make them pretty,” Peter says.

When they buy a flood-damaged classic square body Chevy that’s too cheap to pass up, it proves to be a classic rust bucket that needs more time and money spent on it than it’s worth.

“I think it’s a show where people can see what is really going on,” says Glen Braid, a Vancouver area jeweller and former drag racer who believes the customs created at Wreckless Restorations are art. “We’re actually really doing this. We’re not scripted. We’re going out. We’re finding them. We’re digging deep for our customers, and you can see what we love to do.”

Wreckless Restorations head builder Bill Desrosiers says he can picture in his mind how old, abandoned vehicles can be turned into showpieces. “A lot of times, I do things that people wouldn’t normally do to make them look cool and I have very specific ideas on what I want to do. I’ve been very lucky people have liked the results.”

Professional car hunter Robin Toor loved customizing a 1950’s era Divco milk truck. But he is most proud of the Chevy El Camino that he and Mullet literally dragged out of the bush. The pair turned it into an environmentally friendly retro electro with an electric motor powered by batteries under the rear deck. The car is built as a low rider with hydraulic suspension system that makes the car capable of waist high hops.

With 5,000 contacts in the collector car world, Robin’s day job is hunting cars for the film industry. But his real love is building ‘roughed up, beat up’ rat rods. “We are all friends. We all love cars. The whole show is about us following our passion,” he says.

The sentiment is echoed by Wreckless Restorations’ Bill Desrosiers: “The show has been a ton of fun. It was bringing the right crew together to build vehicles in an unrealistic amount of time and proving to myself that I am capable to do it.”

He says car culture has always been strong in Western Canada although most of the shows have been U.S-based. “We are trying to do things that haven’t been done before, trying to design on the fly and you have to make it work. Sometimes it does. Other times it doesn’t. That’s what the show is about,” he says.

Alyn Edwards is a classic car enthusiast and partner in a Vancouver-based public relations company. aedwards@peakco.com. Omnifilm Entertainment is a client of his company, and did not review this story before publication.