‘Woodie’ want to be on TV program? You bet
You had to surf, own a woodie and know how to build cars to be picked for this episode of “Monster Garage.”
Bob Lopez surfs, plays guitar and writes surfing songs, makes hot-rod art and owns a 1940 Ford Deluxe “woodie” that he rebuilt. He fit the bill.
But initially the producers of “Monster Garage” approached Lopez’s friend, Jim Vickery, who has worked for 27 at a street rod shop in San Francisco. The producers contacted Vickery in part because he is president of the National Woodie Club.
“I was on my way to Hawaii for vacation when I talked to the girl in charge of finding people,” Vickery said. “We talked for quite a while and I told her I knew a guy perfect for the program.”
Lopez was headed to Yosemite National Park on a camping trip when he got a call from Vickery saying “Monster Garage” wanted to hear from him. Cell phone reception cut out right after Vickery told Lopez the phone number he should dial.
With the show to tape in less than two weeks, the producer told Lopez he needed to find a fax machine immediately so they could send him an application to be on “Monster Garage.” Lopez knocked on the door of the next wilderness station he saw. Inside was a ranger who is a fan of the show.
“As I walked in, there was a fax machine right across the counter,” Lopez recalled.
A week later Lopez found out he was selected for the show. He was in Long Beach on the set a week after that. It was a whirlwind tour.
“It was amazing experience to be a part of that and accomplish what we did,” Lopez said. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I still shake my head.”
By successfully building a monster woodie before the deadline set by “Monster Garage” expired, Lopez and the four members of his team each won a tool set worth $4,000 and a custom wet suit.