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Rust Valley Restorers, Season 2

Dept. of Rust and Riches


Rust Valley Restorers is back on Netflix for its second season. The reality series, which airs on History in Canada, is centered around Mike Hall, his son Connor, best friend Avery, and their car restoration business in Tappen, British Columbia. Think American Chopper. Think Pawn Stars. But, you know, Canadian. 

Goggler critics, Bahir and Uma, fell in love with the Rust Valley and its denizens after watching the first season of the show and have been waiting patiently for this new batch of episodes to drop.

Meet the squad from Netflix's Rust Valley Restorers, Season 2.

Umapagan Ampikaipakan: In case you needed a quick catch up, here’s where we last left our heroes. Mike and his merry men were on the verge of bankruptcy. His obsessive need to collect, his inability to stick to a budget, and his total lack of business acumen meant they weren’t making enough money to keep Rust Bros afloat. At the end of Season 1, the shop was bailed out by a good friend, and the team was promised a fresh start.

Bahir Yeusuff: Can I just say that they really blew past that in the first episode. There was such a build up towards the end of Season 1 about the financial state of Rust Bros and for Season 2 to start with just a mention felt like it was being ignored. They just moved on too quickly.

UA: I thought that was quite jarring as well. Because I was really invested in all of that financial drama. That being said, it feels like very little has changed on that front. Mike is still buying any and every car that catches his fancy. He’s still over-promising and over-delivering. And he’s not passing any of that cost on to the clients. Much to the chagrin of both Connor and Avery. I think it’s important to note that all of this is because he’s just got a really good heart. He loves cars. He’s obsessed with them. And he wants to share that love with like-minded folk. Even at his own expense.

BY: He’s really got a bee in his bonnet about that. About being good with his clients. And I appreciate what you’re saying about his good heart, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. This is how he pays all of those people he has around! It’s how he buys more cars! I also think that his love of cars comes down to owning and collecting them. If someone has a car that he doesn’t, he needs to have it.

Mike and his dream car as seen in Rust Valley Restorers.

UA: I think Rust Valley Restorers really speaks to anyone who has tried to evolve their hobbies into a profitable business venture. (You know, like taking one’s love of movies and trying to make money from that.) It’s hard. It’s a constant game of tug of war. You love it, so it’s your main motivation. But suddenly the thing that you love is also a constant source of stress. You’re living the dream, but also acutely aware that it might break you.

BY: But in Mike’s case it’s even harder. Because he finds that one car that he’s always wanted and someone comes around and offers him money – that he really needs mind you – for that very car. So what does he do? His very survival depends on finding weird and wonderful things, spending all of this time, money, and effort making it as good as new, and then having to sell it! 

Mike is hard at work on Netflix's Rust Valley Restorers.

UA: Last year, Rust Valley Restorers was one of two reality shows that really took me by surprise. The other being Blown Away – also on Netflix. I liked the both of them for very similar reasons. The first was that everyone on these shows were incredibly skilled at what they did. They were passionate. They were driven. They were clearly individuals who had dedicated their lives in pursuit of a craft. And a dream. The second was that none of the conflict, drama, or tension felt forced or “produced” in any way. All of it was true to character. None of it was manufactured. And the third was that everyone here  – and on Blown Away – is so very likable. They’re genuine. So much so that I stopped worrying about what was reality and what was television. 

BY: For me that’s the thing about these types of shows that I really enjoy. It’s the passionate people doing what they truly love. It’s American Chopper (at least until Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. start fighting), it’s Pimp My Ride (and it’s unofficial kind-of spin-off) Street Customs. It’s Blown Away and The Great Bitish Bake Off. It’s watching people with skill bend steel and sheet iron, or blow glass, or shape icing sugar into incredible things. That, for me, has always been the best part about these kinds of reality TV. 

UA: This series did remind me a lot of The Great British Bake Off.

BY: Really? HOW?

UA: Because that too is a show without any ill will or unnecessary drama. Just really skilled people doing what they love. I was listening to a recent episode of Milk Street Radio where Christopher Kimball was speaking to John Whaite – the winner of the third series of Bake Off – and he was saying how the producers had to keep telling the contestants to not help each other out during the technical challenges. There was just a real friendly and familial environment. Everyone knew it was a competition, but they also knew that they needed to win by virtue of their own strengths.

BY: Well, I dont know about unnecessary drama. To me the Rust Bros are just the Canadian version of American Chopper with Mike and Avery playing the roles of Pauls Senior and Junior. Avery is referred to as the best friend a couple times, but I don’t know, theirs is such a weird relationship.

UA: But they’re just so Canadian. Every time they fight, it feels so friendly. They rib each other. Mike asks Avery to go “do something”…

BY: … And Avery responds with his crazy maniacal laugh.

UA: I want that laugh as a ringtone.


UA: I’m not sure why Netflix decided to only give us the first six episodes of the season. The whole thing has already aired in Canada and it was only after looking it up on IMDB did I realise that there were six whole other episodes we didn’t get. And I looked it up because something felt off. The season felt a little lightweight compared to the last one.

BY: Yeah I was quite disappointed when I finished this season. It just didn’t have the zing that I felt in Season 1. They also just randomly spend an entire episode talking about how things are disappearing from the lot. Could it be that they’ve got people stealing from the lot? That episode ends with Mike and Avery roughing it out in the yard and the following episodes don’t really resolve any of that. Also the whole episode with the hit-to-pass derby, the storyline (?) involving a customer first going to Mike about a restoration job, but ending up at a competitor’s place. All of it just felt a little incomplete. I am hoping the back six will resolve all of those loose threads and have some of that same magic we experienced in Season 1.

UA: And I think you might be right. Looking at the episode titles of the back six – “Life is Messy”, “Basket Case”, “The Reckoning”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – it looks like that’s where all the drama is. That being said, I still enjoyed dipping back into this world to check on my old friends. It really was quite comforting for me. Tell me that you too just want to pack everything up and go to Tappen. I mean, it’s gorgeous there. The mountains. The valleys. The long open roads. 

BY: The nice Canadian people. There is also apparently a Middle Eastern/South Asian (I’m generalising here) guy in Tappen so there’s bound to be halal food somewhere. Even if I can’t find it in restaurants, given how nice everyone is, I might be able to score a nice meal at his house.

Rust Valley Restorers
Netflix, Season 2, 6 episodes (so far)
Creators: Matthew Shewchuk and Tyson Hepburn
Cast: Mike Hall, Avery Shoaf, Connor Hall, and Cassidy Mceown

The first six episodes of the second season of Rust Valley Restorers is now streaming on Netflix.

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