By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Senoia resident Rutledge Wood is an admitted addict – but not to drugs or alcohol.
“I’m an addict to weird cars,” Wood said on his new History show “Lost in Transmission,” debuting May 7 at 10 p.m.
Wood is already a NASCAR reporter for NBC Sports and co-host of History Channel’s “Top Gear,” which is entering its sixth season. History is now willing to indulge Wood’s addiction with a new show focused on Wood and his friend George Flanigen taking neglected vehicles rotting away in people’s backyards and garages and refurbishing them.
As a hobby, the 35-year-old already likes to buy quirky vehicles, fix them up and sell them. In his lifetime, Wood has worked on more than 80 vehicles and currently owns 11. (He’d have more if his wife Rachel would let him.)
He uses one of them – a 1949 Chevy Kurbmaster bread truck with a juiced-up engine and a 1999 Chevy Silverado frame – to haul vehicles around during the six episodes of “Lost in Transmission.”
The first episode features Wood slobbering over a client’s DeLorean, the vehicle made famous by the 1985 film “Back to the Future,” while his friend Flanigen scoffed. This particular DeLorean had been flooded out during Hurricane Sandy and inundated with salt water. Wood dubbed it “a demon car.”
“People say don’t meet your heroes,” Wood said in a recent interview at a coffee shop in downtown Senoia not far from the current set of “The Walking Dead.” “That applies to the DeLorean. It’s slow. It’s an awkward car. It’s a weird car for weird people like me. And I also got to make a lot of 1.21 gigawatt jokes. Great Scott! I totally did!”
Flanigen – a self-described “gear head” who has produced music videos for country stars such as Waylon Jennings, Alabama, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley – is Wood’s sidekick. “But I’m also there to keep him on budget, to keep him on track,” Flanigen said. “He’s not the best worker bee. He can get easily distracted.”
During the DeLorean episode, Wood indeed gets sidetracked by his own project: turning a 1969 Subaru 360 micro car “for hippies and swingers” back in the day into a cool golf cart. “Have you lost your mind?” an exasperated Flanigen said to Wood.
But Wood justified the idea because he lives near Peachtree City, where golf carts are used as routine transportation to buy groceries and drop the kids off for soccer. “It’s golf-cart heaven.,” Wood said on the show. “I have three so far but this one is going to be special!”
Soon enough, Wood and Flanigen are racing golf carts in a parking lot. Wood readily admits he’s a perpetual 13 year old when it comes to anything with an engine and four wheels.
“It was a blast,” Wood wrote in a follow-up text. “I spent so much time in high school racing my friends on our golf carts that it was like going back in time for me.”
And he didn’t even need a time-traveling DeLorean.
Here’s my video interview with Rutledge at the Senoia Coffee & Cafe shop on April 27, 2015:
And this is the trailer for “Lost in Transmission”
“Lost in Transmission,” 10 p.m. Thursdays, starting May 7, 2015, History Channel