Reality TV is a profitable business through and through, but more often than not, those who use it as a platform for fame don’t actually become rich through it. While some it’s true that some reality stars might get millionaire salaries, the majority aren’t that lucky, and struggle to make a living out of opening their everyday life for the world to see.
That being said, a lot has been questioned about the cast of “Car Masters: Rust To Riches”, starting with their job in the show, what they did before joining Gotham Garage, and above everything else, how much they’ve earned from it, especially in the case of the business specialist Shawn Pilot.
So is it true that he’s earned half a million by working for Mark Towle, or is that just internet gossip? Keep with us to know the truth!
Did He Earn $500,000k From The Show?
According to online reports, Shawn Pilot has an estimated net worth of $500,000. however, to say this fortune comes from his work in Gotham Garage alone is debatable, as Shawn has been working on TV for quite some time.
By taking a look at his Internet Movie Database’s profile, we can see that he actually made his TV debut back in 1999, when he appeared in the movie “Three Kings” starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube. Though Shawn’s role in the movie as a barn soldier is very minor, it’s enough to tell us that he’s been involved with the entertainment industry for a long time. Despite the lack of acting credits on his record, his Instagram shows that he’s often hanging out with stunt and minor actors, which makes us think that he might have been working in the field.
Reportedly, in 2011 he appeared in the car-centered reality show “Inside West Coast Customs”, working in a build for Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am. Once again, it’s unknown how long Shawn worked in said shop, but it’s fair to say that he had enough experience in the car field before being hired by Gotham Garage. All in all, while Shawn’s appearances in “Car Masters” might be the most memorable in his TV career so far, he surely has other job experiences on his back.
What Are The Cast’s Salaries?
Unfortunately, the salaries of “Car Masters: Rust To Riches” haven’t been revealed by any official sources, but we can get an idea of how much the Gotham Garage earns on TV thanks to some online reports. According to a Business Insider report, not well-known reality docu-series stars earn around $1,500 per episode in the first couple of years, which describes “Car Masters” current status on TV.
While it’s true that high profile celebrities get millionaire deals out of movies and reality TV, things are vastly different for common folks in the industry. As it happens, Netflix shows are usually contracted through other production companies – such is the case of Mak Productions for “Car Masters”. Given this situation, it’s fair to assume the salaries of the show’s cast are according to the rest of the reality industry.
What Cars Do They Drive?
Even if “Car Masters” stars don’t earn millions on TV, it seems their work off-screen provides for them well enough to be able to afford some handsome-looking, expensive cars.
Starting with the show’s main star Mark Towle, it’s known that he stores a lot of great cars in his garage. However, his everyday drive is a black and red striped 1969 Mustang he modified himself, to be the perfect mix between a classic style and his love for spiders and webs.
On her part, Constance owns a non-modified Audi A5, a late 1980s Ford BrickNose truck, and the Babystang, a currently-black 1964/5 Ford Mustang she bought when 16 years old, and her definitive favorite. There’s also Tony Quinones, who owns a wide variety of incredible cars, starting with the electric 1972 Volvo P1800 and his purple Ford Pinto, the latter which he spent almost a decade rebuilding before being completely happy with it.
Meanwhile, Caveman, whose real name is Michael Pyle, isn’t far behind, and proudly shows his Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob which he lovingly calls Linda. Last but not least, Shawn Pilot is quite reserved when it comes to showing his rides, but we know that he owns the Vette Kart, a black and red Corvette Z51, which was stripped of its doors and roof to make it the perfect adventure car, at least for him.
Cast’s Net Worth
Though we already know how rich Shawn Pilot is and how much the cast earns in the show, it’s also necessary to point out the real net worth of each of them.
According to online reports, Constance Nunes currently has an estimated net worth of $2 million. Although this number might be surprising considering her supposed salary from “Car Masters”, the truth is that Constance’s career is so much more than just her TV appearances.
Not only is she Gotham Garage’s mechanic, but her own shop Cars By Constance is apparently also doing well. Though not much about the business can be seen on her website, in mid-August 2022, Constance announced she and her shop will be joining that year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, which needless to say is a big deal for any petrol head.
Besides her work as a mechanic, Constance’s career as a model is also on the rise, appearing in campaigns for successful brands such as Marciano and collaborating with the video game Halo Infinite. All in all, Constance has done a good job at pursuing her many interests at the same time, and the best part is how profitable it all seems to be.
Unsurprisingly, Gotham Garage’s builder Tony Quinones has a net worth to be proud of. As some online reports state, his fortune is approximately $1 million, coming from his decades long career in the car field.
Although the general public only knows about Tony due to his appearances in “Car Masters”, the truth is that he’s a successful entrepreneur when cameras are off. According to an interview Mark Towle gave to Speedway Motors in 2021, he and Tony had been working together for several years, starting their business association long before the show came alive.
Tony currently owns TQ Customs, which focuses on custom building classic cars and motorcycles, on top of developing the Viper Trike, definitely one of his most ambitious creations, although only a prototype so far.
Besides his business and work in Gotham Garage, Tony often features some car-related bands on social media, and attends public events at the same time, making it evident that his current net worth was well earned.
How does the WARDJet X-Series make cars look so cool? Get the details from Tony Quinones, host of the Netflix show Car Masters: Rust to Riches at Fabtech in Chicago on Sept 14, Booth A5350, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. https://t.co/oRARle6XSw#cnc #fabtech #waterjet #metal #carmasters pic.twitter.com/IlD90ijILT
— WARDJet (@WARDJet) August 31, 2021
Michael “Caveman” Pyle
While Caveman isn’t the most famous “Car Masters” cast member, he’s for sure the most likable out of them. His appearances in the show always fill us with laughter, and he surely also puts a big effort into every project he’s working on.
Although Caveman, whose real name is Michael Pyle, doesn’t exactly own his own business as far as is known, he owns a personalized merchandise brand according to his social media. As well, he’s supposedly earning well from his job at Gotham Garage, which added to his salary from TV, makes his current net worth of approximately $250,000.
As the owner of Gotham Garage and main star of his Netflix show, it isn’t surprising that Mark Towle holds an impressive net worth these days. Following reports online, Mark’s fortune is around $1.2 million nowadays, resulting from his decades long work as a builder, businessman and TV star.
Given his primordial role in the shop, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think Mark’s salary from TV is somewhat higher than his co-stars. As well, his income from Gotham Garage consists of more than just his paint jobs, as Mark’s restorations, dozens of dollars-valued car replicas, and his merchandise line have put good money in his pocket.
While some of Mark’s past problems with the law have surely caused him some financial difficulties, his fortune will surely keep growing in future years, thanks to the increasing popularity of his business.
How Much Do Gotham Garage’s Cars Cost?
While sometimes the numbers presented by the shopkeeper Shawn Pilot might seem a little too high, everyone who’s ever watched “Car Masters” knows that Mark Towle’s cars aren’t cheap at all – there are two Gotham Garage cars which give us a good idea of the shop’s prices.
According to an article by LSX Mag in 2012, the price of Mark Towle’s trademark Mach 5 replica was around $72,500, though the amount could rise if any extra features were added at the client’s request. The price not only included the Corvette C4 used as a base for the replica, but also the labor, paint job, interiors and other details.
Although most clients didn’t request anything too daring for their Mach 5, Mark affirmed ZR-1 or GS Corvettes were popular choices for clients who wanted something a little different.
Besides the Mach 5, Mark’s Batmobile replicas were not only a huge reason his business became known all around the country, but also the most expensive Gotham Garage project that we know of. According to online reports, each of their Batmobiles was sold at $90,000 and by the time Mark stopped production in 2011, he’d made around $200,000 from it.
How Much Money Did He Lose?
Due to Mark Towle’s repeated legal problems over the years, his finances were negatively affected more than once. For starters, in 2011 he faced a massive media-covered lawsuit from DC Comics, as the company claimed the Batmobile was a protected character by copyright laws, and as such, Mark didn’t have the right to produce or sell replicas of it.
After several years of an intense legal battle, in 2015 the California Court of Appeals favored DC Comics, but while it’s unknown if he was asked to provide any financial compensation to the company, the verdict certainly stopped him from producing the once most popular Gotham Garage’s creation.
As well, it’s alleged that Mark doesn’t produce Mach 5 replicas anymore, as the rights to fabricate, sell and distribute any derivative products from “Speed Racer” in the US apparently expired in 2011, directly affecting his income. Nonetheless, for those who still wish to take a look at it, one of Mark’s replicas is still exhibited at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
How Did Gotham Garage Start?
Unsurprisingly, Gotham Garage’s current success is the result of being in the right place at the right time. As read in Mark Towle’s Internet Movie Database profile, his interest in building started early in his life, when he collected damaged goods and toys from dumpsters, to fix and reuse or resell.
As he explored his craftsmanship skills, his imagination awakened, and soon enough his eventual passion in automotive started. Also a fan of fiction, Mark found his early niche at building props for productions such as “Kamen Rider Dragon Knight” and “America’s Most Wanted”, on top of his work being featured in specialized automotive shows such as “Gearz”.
Once the owner of his shop Mach 5 Factory, Mark was known for his replicas of the car featured in the Japanese series “Speed Racer”. However, as Mark recalled in an interview with Speedway Motors, it wasn’t until 1999 when he was requested to build a Batmobile replica by the Texas radio MC Russ Martin, that his business took a turn for the better. Eventually his shop passed for so many changes, leading to changing the Gotham Garage to fit his creations’ concept, while honoring the automotive industry beginnings in the US.
As seen in “Car Masters”, the crew at Gotham Garage doesn’t do things like everyone else. Their method of approaching every project is certainly less calculated than others, which sometimes plays to their advantage, but at other times just makes their job a little more difficult than it should be.
Describing his way of working as ‘what wouldn’t somebody else do’, Mark surely has a clear vision of what he wants out of his business’ projects: ‘I like all my cars to be distorted. I don’t want to make a Camaro out of a Camaro. I want to take a Camaro and make something different out of it’, he told Speedway Motors.
Clearly, Mark and his crew’s ways were noticed by not only their customers, but also some people involved in the entertainment world. That’s how around 2019, the MAK Pictures’ producer Michael Lutz contacted Mark with the goal of having him in a new show he was developing at the time. However, upon finally meeting Mark and learning the way things worked at his shop, Lutz modified his idea to fit Gotham Garage.
Needless to say, Lutz’ and Mark’s ideas were compatible enough to bring “Car Masters” to life and that’s the main reason the show continues to be such a massive success.