FAIRFIELD — Rural Fairfield resident Lucas Oswald loves to build cars.
And whether he builds them in Nebraska or Southern California — where he spent six months in 2013 filming the car reality series, “Lords of the Car Hoards” — he imagines he’ll continue to chop and shave automobile steel until the day he dies.
The six-episode series, starring hosts Rick Dore and Chuck Palumbo, features an assembly of car hoarders who agree to part with their collections of unrestored classic cars in exchange for services that will transform their favorite keeper into the car of their dreams. The season premier airs Monday on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. Central Time.
Oswald, 29, was invited to participate in the program based on his longstanding association with Dore. The two men worked together for more than a decade through 2008 in Arizona.
Inspired by his father, Craig, a Hastings Fire Department firefighter, Oswald has been chopping cars into finely tuned works of mobile art at his sheet metal fabricating shop near Fairfield for 15 years. His body of work through the years is formidable. His favorite project — sentimentally speaking — was customizing a 1968 Chevy Truck for his father.
Dore first contacted him about doing the show months before securing the Discovery Channel series. During filming, the hosts and crew worked tirelessly around the clock — with microphones on and cameras rolling — to document the six hoarder episodes. Cars transformed into dream rides by Oswald and four others during filming included: a 1968 Charger; 1955 Pontiac; 1970 Camaro; 1961 Corvair van; 1940 Ford truck; and 1950 Mercury.
With no pre-screening opportunities afforded the cast, Oswald will be watching the series for the first time when he views it with his family on television in the coming weeks. He hopes the selected footage truly captures the essence of the project.
“I’m a little nervous and a little excited,” he said. “I have no clue what’s going to be in it.”
After completing the series, which was shot on location in Oceanside, Calif., near San Diego between April 19 and Oct. 19, 2013, Oswald stayed on in Southern California for several months assisting Dore on other projects. Should response to the show give rise to a second season, he is ready to re-join fellow cast members, if asked.
“I want it to succeed,” he said. “I think everybody is excited. Everyone’s anxiously awaiting March 17 and beyond.”
Whether the show will garner the success enjoyed by other car-related reality shows like “My Classic Car,” “Top Gear,” “Pimp My Ride,” “Monster Garage,” “Overhaulin’,” “Crank and Chrome,” and others remains to be seen. Oswald believes its unique premise will entertain viewers on multiple levels.
“It’s going to be pretty broad-based, actually,” he said of the anticipated fan base. “First, there are car hoarders, so there’s a problem: having sentimental ties to objects. That comes across.
“Then the car build will be interesting to another group of people. And the hosts Rick and Chuck are pretty interesting people, too. From a builder point of view, there have never been cars quite like this built on TV before. They are well-built cars, and I think that’s going to show.”
Besides determining where he’ll hang his hat, he doesn’t foresee a successful series run interfering with how he chooses to make his living each day. Acting is well and good, but could never replace the thrill he gets from transforming cars from nothing to something, good to better, or better to best.
“I enjoy every aspect of it,” he said of building cars. “I really enjoy creating a car that has better lines than it ever did from the factory.”