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Series / Overhaulin

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"Welcome to Overhaulin', where the owner gets tricked and the car gets tricked out."

Overhaulin' is an odd combination of a Makeover show (making over automobiles) and a Hidden Camera show. The program originally aired on TLC from 2004 to 2008 and has been airing on sister network Velocity since 2012.

The program has host Chris Jacobs and the cast find someone who's done something very good for someone else and who has a car in need of work (usually nominated by a friend, known as the "insider"). Then, the cast relieves that person (known as the "mark") of their car through a prank of some kind. After putting the "mark" through a week of red tape and unhelpful authorities, the prank is revealed and the car is returned. But during the week, the car has been repaired and customized with the customization planned by hot rod designer Chip Foose. The car is returned as a one-of-a-kind custom tailored to the owner's tastes.


The series originally ran around the same time as Pimp My Ride and comparisons have been made. The main difference (other than the prank) is that the cars on Overhaulin' are less extremely modified and actual problem areas are addressed.

Tropes used:

  • The Alleged Car: While every car brought onto the show is in running condition note , some of the cars brought on have some serious issues.
  • Celebrity Edition: Downplayed. Celebrities have been overhauled, but they've received no better or worse treatment than non-celebrities and their episodes have aired as part of the regular season.
    • Ian Ziering was the first celebrity "mark". His insider was his Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Jason Priestly.
    • Lance Armstrong was overhauled in the second season. His insider was then girlfriend Sheryl Crow. Since he still had his Livestrong charity at the time, his episode was given an independent DVD release with proceeds going to said charity.
    • Tony Todd was overhauled as well with Charlie Sheen as his insider.
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    • Drag racer John Force was overhauled as well with the vehicle being a bus used for a children's charity.
    • Jay Leno and Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil have served as insiders, but not to celebrities.
  • Cool Car: The end result of just about every car on the show. Although some qualify even before the show goes to work.
  • Not Me This Time: Subverted. The show once relieved a mark of her daily driver and her work truck and overhauled both. At he end of the show, they presented her with her overhauled work truck, but told her they had nothing to do with her daily driver getting taken. After she went to to get ready for a photo shoot, they revealed her daily driver, nicely tricked out.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Frequently portrayed by Chris and the others during the pranks.
  • Punny Name: When the crew works on a Plymouth Road Runner in one episode and pretends it was stolen, Chris poses as the lead investigator in the theft, Inspector Wiley. Yes, as in Wile E. Coyote.
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  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Oddly enough, delivered by the "marks".
    "Mark": My name's (name) and I've just been overhauled! note 
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: The crew once discovered the car's owner (named Mark) had the car equipped with The Club. However, they were easily able to make off with it because Mark forgot an important step.
    Chris: See, Mark, when you use the Club on your car, it helps usually to lock it.
  • Uncancelled: Velocity revived the series four years after TLC cancelled it.