The Discovery Channel reality show “American Chopper” quietly returned to Mount Airy on Saturday to film an episode with Carolina Carports that will air July 2.
The show ran for 10 seasons under a few different names, was off the air for several years, and is back for another season this year.
Manny Perez, Carolina Carports general manager, said Carolina Carports partnered with Paul Tuetul Jr. in 2010 to build a Carolina Carports chopper, which appeared on an episode of the show and was shown at the Autumn Leaves Festival that year.
That motorcycle was on display at the invitation-only event held Saturday at the company’s new retail location on U.S. 52 which was billed as a ‘grand opening’ to mask the real purpose of the event — to unveil a new Carolina Carports custom motorcycle.
“The employees know, some other people who were invited may have been told what’s happening, but they were told to keep it quiet,” said Perez. “Some preliminary filming was done at our main office in Dobson earlier today.”
“Paul Jr. approached us a few months ago about doing a 2.0 version of the first bike, and it was such a great opportunity to work with these guys again, we had to do it.”
As for details of the 2.0 bike, “We haven’t seen it,” said Perez, minutes before the unveiling, insisting that the surprise of the reveals, on this show at least, are real. “But we believe 100 percent in their creativity. We’ve got faith they will come through with a great thing.”
“They’re located up in New York, and we have a physical plant in Pennsylvania who sent up a big box of components, colors, and assets from our company.” That was in late April, early May, about two months ago, and the two sides scheduled this date.
After some preliminary filming and product placement was dispensed with, the small production crew directed the crowd to take their places, and soon after that, loud engine revving could be heard from inside a red and black Carolina Carports display building at the far end of the lot. Soon, the audience was directed to chant and then cheer as the custom bike came into view.
Details and images of the bike are contractually embargoed until the episode in which it appears is aired on July 2.
After Paul Jr. rode the motorcycle up to the crowd, who gathered around as they were directed to do, he made a little speech, saying that in the interval since the last commission, “this company has grown, my company has grown,” and pointed out details of the construction, some of which were actual components of Carolina Carports.
Adela Herrera, owner of Carolina Carports, stepped forward and thanked Paul Jr. and everyone present, saying “We build our product from beginning to end. It is amazing to see how beautiful this is.” She then climbed aboard her brand-new acquisition, throwing a stiletto-shod foot across the seat and settled into place while the cameras rolled.
Bobby Brantley, a reality TV personality best known from the reality show “Lizard Lick Towing” and good friends with the folks at Carolina Carports, said after thoroughly inspecting the motorcycle, “It is far more than we ever expected.”
The episode of “American Choppers” filmed at Carolina Carports will air on the Discovery network on July 2.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.