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Desert Car Kings: Behind the Scenes of Discovery's Newest Junkyard Reality Show

Jason McClure (center) and just a few of the 10,000 cars that are owned by Desert Valley Auto Parts. McClure and his father star in Discovery Channel's new reality show, Desert Car Kings.
Jason McClure (center) and just a few of the 10,000 cars that are owned by Desert Valley Auto Parts. McClure and his father star in Discovery Channel's new reality show, Desert Car Kings.
photos by Claire Lawton

Jason McClure and his father, Ron, own and operate Desert Valley Auto Parts, one of the largest auto salvage companies in the Southwest. Their lots in Casa Grande and North Phoenix are one acre (combined) and are home to more than 10,000 vehicles in a variety of conditions.

Blame the numbers on the two men's new-found fame -- a representative of Discovery Channel found Desert Valley Auto Parts online and made a phone call with a proposal: The McClures would find, save, and restore classic cars, and Discovery would roll the cameras.

The result, Desert Car Kings, will premiere on Discovery Channel the week of January 24. Jason McClure gave us a tour of his garage, his North Phoenix lot, and a whole lot of cars. Check out the details (and the slideshow) after the jump ...     

Jason McClure with a  vehicle he restored on the set of Desert Car Kings.
Jason McClure with a vehicle he restored on the set of Desert Car Kings.
photo by Claire Lawton

Jason McClure's worked at Desert Valley Auto Parts (or DVAP, as he calls it) ever since he can remember, he loves working on classic vehicles, and he's lived in the same 5-mile radius, close to the North Phoenix location his entire life.

He admits to avoiding the Discovery Channel's phone calls at first, mostly because he thought it sounded too good to be true, but says he can't imagine a better phone call.

Since the Discovery crews arrived, the garage's schedule has been pressed. Each episode features the story of one car -- from when the McClures find it online, in another yard, or in an alley, through the restoration process, and finally to the DVAP auction house. Jason says each episode takes about three weeks to film, which means he and his crew have three weeks to do what would normally take them a few months, mostly because the business has never solely been restoring classic cars.

The McClures specialize in shipping restored, rust-free auto parts to the rest of the world. Large shipping containers arrive at the lots weekly, are filled (or sometimes emptied), and are sent off to collectors or other restoration yards. In short, the McClures have had to hire a few extra hands and adjust their planners to accommodate the episode deadlines.

But having the film crew around has also been an adventure, Jason says. Two weeks ago, the DVAP crew held a demolition derby (footage from which he excitedly shows us on his phone), and they also held a photo shoot for a pin-up style calendar to be released this month. Plus, more time in the shop oddly translates to more family time in the McClure family.

"I love working with cars, and I love working with my dad," Jason says. "Having the cameras around doesn't change that."

Check out our slideshow of the set and McClures right here.


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