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Our hosts note , before preparing to do an engine swap in 3 days. Live. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

"I'm Freiburger, that's Finnegan. This is the show where we play with cars and you point and laugh. We call it: Roadkill."
David Freiburger

Roadkill is an unscripted car show on Motortrend On Demand, hosted by former editor in chief of Hot Rod Magazine David Freiburger and former Hot Rod Magazine staff editor Mike Finnegan. Most episodes revolve around Freiburger and Finnegan building, buying or repairing an old project car for some sort of Zany Scheme, often a long distance road trip or an amateur racing event, and trying to keep their piece of junk running long enough to reach their goal. Despite the format, it's an hour long show with production values good enough to be on TV. note 

There have been two spinoffs helmed by the hosts on Motortrend On Demand, Roadkill garage and Faster With Finnegan. Roadkill Garage involves David Freiburger and co-host Steve Dulcich wrenching on Roadkill cars and taking on additional projects, while Faster With Finnegan features Mike Finnegan and co-hosts David Newbern and Mike Cotten trying to modify a project car to beat purpose built race cars.

Their website can be found here.

Roadkill provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Too many to list. Some notable examples:
    • The 1968 Ford Ranchero they bought and fixed up to go ice-racing in Alaska. It took a few episodes, but they made it.
    • The "Draguar", a 1974 Jaguar XJ-12 that had to be given a car wash every few miles to prevent it from overheating. It's been upgraded with a new engine, so it might be on the verge of Cool Car territory. It just needs a little work on the steering...and the brakes...and maybe the suspension. More recently, they broke the transmission; Because Roadkill.
    • The "Rotsun", a rusty 1971 Datsun 240Z with a turbocharged Chevrolet V6 that "has never failed to fail." It burns and leaks oil frequently, breaks down at the least opportune moments, and almost got them ejected from their "24 Hours of Lemons" event for being a general hazard. In episode 50, they found out that they'd broken the crankshaft in two. The hosts give the old engine the Office Space treatment before swapping it for a 5.0L V-8 out of a 1987 Ford Mustang GT.
    • And the 1975 Corvette with no windshield, a gutted interior, countless mechanical and electrical gremlins and shockingly bad brakes. Eventually, they decided to give it back to the guy they bought it from.
    • The "Missing Linc", a 1978 Lincoln Continental used for the Le Mons Rally episode. Bad 2 door conversion? Check! Mold on the seatbelts? Check! Tacky fuzzy cowprint interior? Check! Rust holes filled in with slabs of bondo? Check. Broke down constantly? You bet! Freiburger has stated it's his least favorite Roadkill car.
  • The Alleged Expert: The hosts often do things the fast way rather than the right way. Many accuse them of hackery, and they admit to it themselves.
    Finnegan: [Brandishing a reciprocating saw] "I don't know if cutting a perfectly good frame rail just to bolt an alternator in place when there are brackets on the market that would relocate it up where you didn't have to do that is the peak of our hackery here on Roadkill, but it's up there."
    • The frequent breakdowns they experience often forces them to repair with whatever is on hand. Zip ties, Duct tape, and bits of plastic packaging are used for patches, that often fail. They will also sometimes try to do something out of their league and fail, only to have to call in an expert.
    • They also have a bad habit of being extremely late, mostly due to their often unrealistic assumptions of how long some things take, which forces them to throw various notions of quality workmanship out the window for the sake of time and their tight shooting schedules. In the case of the above quote, they ultimately didn't have the time to put an alternator (usually an essential component) in the car!
  • Attention Whore: In Episode 5, they took a 2012 Lamborghini Aventador and a 1930 Ford Model A "Rat Rod" out for a drive, just to see which one got more attention. Final result: Guys liked the Lambo, but chicks dig the Rat Rod.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the Roadkill project cars are fun to watch and look cool, but are highly tempermental and break down frequently.
    • In the "Rat Rod vs Lamborghini Aventador" episode, The Rat Rod looked good while parked, but it's extremely difficult and uncomfortable to drive and the engine overheats quickly in stop-and-go traffic.
  • The Bet: Freiburger bets with one of his coworkers $100 whether or not Stubby Bob will do wheelies. He wins.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Freiburger's pit bull, which was remarkably well-behaved. note 
  • Burning Rubber: They've yet to cause actual fire note , but anything and EVERYTHING they drive, they will will attempt to do burnouts in. Even if the car isn't theirs.
  • Catchphrase: "Because Roadkill."
    • Almost Once an Episode, Finnegan will claim that "This is the best day at work ever!"
  • Cool Car: One of the other tropes this show runs on. Notable mentions to the Crusher Camaro, F Bomb, and Freiburger's Super Bee.
    • The crowning example is possibly Finnegan's "Blasphemi," a '55 Chevy gasser with a 700hp Chrysler Hemi engine. (It recently gained a supercharger; it now puts out 790 horsepower to the wheels.)
    • "Stubby Bob" is a Ford F6 dump truck with a supercharged V8 on its shortened flatbed. It looks straight off the set of Fury Road and is capable of massive wheelstands.
    • There's the "Crusher Impala" from Episode 60, bone stock save for the 650-hp, supercharged Big Block Chevy from the Crusher Camaro they swapped in. It went surprisingly fast for a "big, ugly, slow" car and definitely looked and sounded the part, scaring the Mighty Mods guys shitless.
  • Crossover: Episode 60. They do a build, then swap with Mighty Car Mods of Australia. MCM builds a "Subarute" by chopping the back off a sedan, while Roadkill drops the old engine from the Crusher Camaro into a 1969 Chevrolet Impala.
  • Cup Holders: One of the points they gave the Lambo over the Rat Rod is that it had cup holders.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Finnegan, most of the time.
  • Destroy the Product Placement:
    • This being Roadkill, what's the first thing they do when Dodge hands them a brand new Viper, Hellcat Charger and Hellcat Challenger? Burnout dragraces. Followed by offroading on a motorcross course! They were..."incentivized" to buy the Hellcat Charger. They gave it a Hemi hood scoop and a new paint job to match the "General Mayhem", then dubbed it the "General Maintenance". It's currently being kept in stock condition and is driven on a regular basis.
    • The Subarus they were lent got fairly torn up offroading.
  • Determinator: Virtually almost every episode. Freiburger and Finnegan usually end up failing epically, but it never keeps them down, and by the next episode, they're ready to take on more punishment. Why? Because Roadkill!
  • Epic Fail: It's probably easier to list the episodes that don't end in hilarious failures. Some particularly entertaining mishaps are listed below:
    • During their first attempt at the California-Alaska road trip the hosts wound up way behind schedule, broke their window by slamming the door, failed to flat tow a complete hulk of a '57 Chevy, and finally wind up in the Grand Canyon with a metal donkey strapped to the roof.
    • Getting a junkyard GMC truck (dubbed "Pigpen") that had sat for 25 years to run in 4 days, only for the engine to completely seize up on the trip home, wasting all the effort. Later, they found out that the problem was the exhaust pipe being kinked shut.
    • They gave up offroading their lowrider to Vegas after only making it 3 miles in as many hours.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: Subverted. They think the Buick Century they hack out of the weeds of Tennessee would make a decent project car, only to find the Century is beyond saving and abandon the project entirely.
    • Played straight with the "Disgustang", a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 they rescued from a Colorado junkyard. Although it was so full of mouse poop and nests that the interior needed to be stripped and cleaned, the car was fundamentally sound, and just needed a few spare parts to go driving again... like a new distributor, carburetor, master cylinder, brake pads, rotors, etc. The Disgustang was eventually fully restored and sold to a fan by Freiburger.
  • Failure Hero: Our intrepid hosts, Freiburger and Finnegan, "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" almost every episode. Because Roadkill.
  • Foodfight! In the Le Mons Rally episode, the teams got extra points for stopping at Waffle Houses and buying waffles. They only needed 2 from 6 locations, but at the last one Finnegan decided to buy 50... for some reason. Cue many flying waffles over the remainder of the episode.
  • Gearhead Show: Any given episode can be summed up as Gearhead Show going on a road trip using The Alleged Car on some sort of Zany Scheme. Cue lots of duct tape, roadside repairs, and just technically legal shenanigans as the hosts drive across the country. Their spinoff Hot Rod Garage started as a straight-up educational show, but they gradually started goofing off during their work as well.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: In episode 4, Finnegan said to the dog "If you barf, you die!" Sure enough, the dog eventually barfed all over Finnegan and Freiburger, but they forgave her.
  • Invincible Classic Car: Averted. Many of their classic cars end up broken. When they take the Nascarlo out to a race track for the first time, the suspension breaks and the car hits the wall hard enough to shift the body on the frame. They also crash a Gremlin trying to flat tow their Prius. (It Makes Sense in Context.) Given the abuse any given car takes on this show, it's safe to say they're far from invincible.
  • Land Downunder: They shot an episode in Australia. Mighty Car Mods also hail from there, with future plans to do another crossover with them in roo land.
  • Live Episode: Did an engine swap live over 3 days on a showroom floor. Hilariously, they pissed off the NASCAR booth for making too much noise.
  • Long List: Whenever they start work on a project car, they usually make a list of everything they have to do in order to make it semi-roadworthy. This being Roadkill, it's always a long one. Often, many things are left undone due to time constraints, including things other builders would consider essential like alternators!
  • Metaphorically True: In episode 23, the guys tried to put a positive spin on the fact that they'd spilled transmission fluid all over their friends' driveway (despite the fact that they'd tried not to spill it). It was not very successful.
    Freiburger: You know, the thing is, ATF note  is mostly a detergent, so in a way we're really cleaning your driveway.
    Finnegan: So in a twisted way, you owe us.
    Bob: Oh, right; not that it really needed cleaning before you got here.
  • No Name Given: The dog is always referred to simply as "Dog". Actually, her name was Bika, and she now rides shotgun alongside the Big Guy in doggie heaven.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost all of the cars they've worked on have been given a nickname ("Rotsun", "Mazdarati"; "Nascarlo", etc.). The Rotsun has its name plastered on the front windshield.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: They've done this one a few times. When they were building the "General Mayhem", Finnegan commented that "I'd bet a dollar that today, we're the only ones hauling a '68 Charger behind a Macho Grande note  through Burbank, California. That makes us winners."
  • Percussive Maintenance: They often resort to an “instrument of bashing” to get their engines working (they’re especially hard on their carburetors).
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Finnegan coined one during episode 23, when they were cleaning up the "General Mayhem" before their first attempt at rebuilding it.
    Finnegan: Oh, you're about to get gona-herpa-syphilis.
  • Product Placement: Episode 32, where the Ranchero, the "General Mayhem" and the "Rotsun" went head-head with various models of the 2015 Subaru Legacy.
    • As of Episode 38, they've been sponsored by Dodge. The "General Maintenance", a modern Dodge Charger joins the car lineup (the same press car they abused in an earlier episode).
    • Whenever they do a brake job, they almost always mention their "friends" at EBC Brakes.
    • Freiburger frequently reminds the audience to "Support companies that support Roadkill; buy your speed parts at"
  • Put on a Bus: After the episode was over, the Viper and Challenger went back to Dodge, until Dodge lent them the Challenger again (yes, the exact same car!) for the "One Lap of America" in episodes 67 & 68. No word on the Viper, though.
  • Road Trip Plot: Frequently. Most episodes have them leaving their local area to attend a motorsports event or search for a future project in one of their creations, which usually breaks down.
  • Series Continuity Error: Finnegan makes reference to meeting Don Schumacher in episode 30...during episode 29! Its forgivable as they were doing a 2 week long car build and they were short on sleep.
    • Episode 60 Actually came out before Episode 59, in order to get the crossover episode out by Christmas.
  • Spin-Off: HOT ROD Garage, an Informational show where they wrench on project cars between episodes. No Zany Scheme, all serious wrenching (but with plenty of humor — and a Punk Rock band!). The show has since become a separate entity, with first Finnegan, then Freiburger leaving, to be replaced with professional drifter Tony Angelo, later joined with Lucky Costa, as well as switching from wrenching on Roadkill cars to their own projects.
  • Standard Snippet: In episode 23, "The Ride of the Valkyries" started playing as the "General Mayhem" took to the highways for the first time...and started smoking like crazy because transmission fluid was leaking onto the engine.
    • After they got the Charger fixed and running again, there was a bit of the theme from A Fistful of Dollars.
  • Tank Goodness: They used a Chieftain tank to “recycle” the Prius… by compacting it under the treads.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Freiburger did this to Finnegan during Episode 4, when they were dealing with an extremely difficult stripped bolt.
    Freiburger: "There is no way that you are getting that bolt out, at all...because it's in my hand, bitch!"
  • Those Two Guys: Freiburger and Finnegan.
  • Verbal Backspace: Freiburger, during episode 46.
    Freiburger: ...and if that bothers you, know that I will be returning this floor to Hector, so he can sell it to some other chump...customer...who needs a rust-free floor.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Another of the show's primary principles: Take a clapped out old car and make it run like hell, with varying degrees of success. One of the more successful ones is The "General Mayhem", a 1968 Dodge Charger that Finnegan wanted to make into a "General Lee". They went with Freiburger's vision of a ratty dirt racer instead. Since then, it's been upgraded with lots of "nice, shiny, after-market parts", including a "Hellcat" Hemi engine and drivetrain. Freiburger intends to return it to its original trim.
  • What Does This Button Do?: When they bought the 1973 AMC Hornet (episode 71), Finnegan was very impressed by the dashboard (“Look at all the switches I can play with!”).
  • Zany Scheme: Buy a gutted 70’s Corvette with one of the weakest production V8 engines ever mounted in Florida, drive it to Kentucky to the Corvette Museum. Offer to place said Corvette in the giant sinkhole that had opened up there and swallowed several cars. The curators were not amused.
    • Tow one dragboat with no engine to a lake. Take V8 engine out of truck that towed it there, Install on dragboat. Go racing with said boat next day. Take engine out of boat and reinstall on truck. Why? Because they can.
    • Freiburger buys a car, while Finnegan decides what to do with it. Neither one knows what the other has chosen, resulting in having to drive to Vegas off-road in a 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider with small tires and a dinky V6. Why? Because Roadkill.
    • Take the body off of a Monte Carlo and modify it to fit a Late Model race car frame to make it "road legal". Road trip it to a dirt track and see who can set the best time. On Freiburger's last lap, a piece of the steering breaks and sends the car into the wall before Finnegan got a shot.
    • Road trip to a convention just to perform an engine swap in the Crusher Camaro during the three-day convention, right on the show floor, for the sole purpose of demonstrating that the swap really was that trivial. Then roadtrip back using the new engine.
    • Get a stock 1969 Impala and stuff the old engine from the Crusher Camaro into it, without changing anything else on the car, just to entertain two Aussies who came to visit them. Then have them race in it.
    • Take a stock 1950 Ford F6 dump truck, shorten the frame by about two feet, and use a beer keg for a gas tank. Call it Stubby Bob. Later, yank out the stock flathead Ford motor, mount a blown big block Chevy motor in the back of the truck, facing backwards, with the transmission going into the back of the truck cab. Use a V-Drive out of a boat to connect the transmission to the rear differential. Bet a co-worker $100 that you can make it do wheelies. Win the bet, big time.
    • Build a clone of the 1968 Ford Ranchero HOT ROD magazine raced in the first Baja 1000. Drive from southern California all the way to Alaska. Go ice racing.
    • Shave 900 pounds off of a 1985 C4 Corvette you found sitting in the desert, just to prove it'd handle better in an autocross race without all the weight. Later, completely gut what's left, roll cage it, put in a small-block 350, and race it against a modern, souped-up Corvette put together by Lingenfelter.
    • Put blower on a clapped out 350 small block that was swapped into a 1974 Jaguar XJ12, then cut a hole in the hood and call it the Draguar. Drag race it. Puke coolant all over the dragstrip.
    • Drive wife's El Camino up to headquarters of a major racing parts supplier, then swap in a crate motor in the middle of their parking lot. In the middle of winter.