Through the first two seasons of the Discovery Channel reality show “Bad Chad Customs”, the audience has had a chance to get an intimate look into the ins and outs of a car repair shop as well as the personal life of the show’s main star, Chad Hiltz – aka Bad Chad – as well as his friend and business partner Aaron Rand. In recent episodes, however, some fans have grown worried about Aaron’s physical health due to his absence from certain episodes, as well as a change in his appearance, which was explained to be caused by a medical issue.
Did Aaron Rand have Covid-19?
After season two of “Bad Chad Customs” aired, some fans started speculating that Aaron might have suffered from a serious Covid-19 infection or even cancer. Since then, Aaron hasn’t addressed the situation, and neither have any of his co-stars. However, he has been uploading new photos onto his Instagram account on a regular basis, showing that he’s still active in the industry even if the show has been put on hold. Whatever medical emergency he was dealing with during season two filming seems to have taken a turn for the better, as Aaron appears to be alive and well.
Aaron is known for his one-of-a-kind creations on the show, and aside from working with Chad, he is also the co-owner of the construction company Up Country Builders. He’s skilled in working with all kinds of materials, ranging from leather and wood, to metal – there really doesn’t seem to be anything that Aaron can’t make.
However, it’s unclear whether Aaron is still working at Hiltz Auto Co., as he isn’t listed on the “Connect with the team” portion of their official website.
“Bad Chad Customs”
Created by Love Productions USA, “Bad Chad Customs” is a reality TV series centering on an eccentric automobile designer, Chad Hiltz, who uses his ingenuity to turn old vehicles into custom, award-winning pieces of art. Chad works from a small atelier in rural Canada, located in Canning, Nova Scotia, with the help of his wife Jolene Maclntyre, son Colton, and friends Alex Gould and Aaron Rand. Chad is perhaps known best for incorporating unconventional materials into his designs, including parts of old airplanes, boats and lockers.
One of the most recognized quotes from the show, “Why would I need to buy a welding wire when I can use a coat hanger?” perfectly encapsulates Chad’s thrifty mentality of not letting things go to waste, and instead using them to their maximum potential.
When it comes to his personal life, Chad prefers not to reveal too many details to the public, thus not a lot is known about his life outside of the show. It appears that he dropped out of high school to pursue an auto-body course – which he also dropped out from. He then did an apprenticeship at Grain Mills, which inspired him to open his own car workshop in the early 2000s. The business was initially called Green Goblin Customs, before it was renamed to Hiltz Auto Co.
Just a little shout out to my new fav show! If you love everything automobiles you will love “Bad Chad Customs.” (Nova Scotia, Canada). The guy is a genius! I want to be on that custom bike made from a 37 Ford #badchadcustoms #hotrod #SaturdayVibes #SaturdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/4fOtpPtmjP
— Stealthy (@stealthy360) November 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Chad’s wife Jolene has been helping him manage his business, and has been credited as instrumental in helping Chad land a deal with Discovery Channel. In an interview she gave for “Authority Magazine”, Jolene revealed that she was immediately inspired by Chad’s creativity and work ethic, but felt that he was falling behind on the business side of things. She helped with company rebranding and online presence, which gained Chad a significant online following, and in turn, a deal with Discovery Channel. Furthermore, she’s been involved in the show’s production, and has also worked with Chad on a number of cars, including the 1957 Cadillac Couple DeVille.
Their son, Colton, is involved with the business as well, working as a full-time apprentice to his father. As we can see on the show, Chad tends to be quite strict at times, which has led to some arguments between the two of them, but Colton doesn’t allow the pressure to get to him, and stays eager to learn.
The least known of the group, Alex, is a car technician passionate about vintage cars, and the proud owner of a 1949 Mercury. While “Bad Chad Customs” was still on air, Alex would frequently post on Instagram, sharing many behind-the-scenes details about the show. Right now, he prefers to stay out of the public eye, but is still very active in the industry, working both alone and alongside Chad.
Although there are several reality TV series focused on car restoration, which are currently popular, such as “Counting Cars”, “Car Masters” and “Wheeler Dealers”, “Bad Chad Customs” remains unique among its competition due to the fact that Chad often takes his car mods in an unexpected direction, instead of following a formula.
“Bad Chad Custom” premiered in the US on 1 January 2019, the first season featuring six episodes, and the second nines. As of July 2022, there has been no news about the potential season three, as the series is yet to be renewed by Discovery Channel. Old episodes of “Bad Chad Customs” are available for streaming on Discovery Go and Motor Trend streaming service.
Bad Chad YouTube channel
Although “Bad Chad Customs” is off the air for the time being, Chad is still working tirelessly in his workshop, while uploading videos of his projects onto his YouTube channel – Bad Chad. In fact, Chad was active on YouTube before the TV show was even in the plans, and his activity on the video sharing platform helped him land a deal for “Bad Chad Customs”.
Chad launched his channel on 28 June 2016, uploading his first video entitled “Moncton Atlantic Nationals” just a few days later. In the beginning, he mainly posted short and funny videos from his garage, before switching to making video tutorials and project walk-throughs. Perhaps one of his most ambitious projects to this date is a personalized Bugatti he wanted to build for his wife. Over the next few months, Chad made several video updates on the project, with “Building the $40 Million Bugatti for my girlfriend” drawing in 250,000 viewers. It’s believed that it was this video that caught the attention of Discovery Channel producers, which led to Chad getting his own TV series.
After “Bad Chad Customs” season two concluded two years ago, Chad became more active than ever on YouTube, posting new videos at least five times per week. It’s been speculated that his online activity may be the reason why Discovery is so hesitant to renew “Bad Chad Customs”, as Chad seems to prefer having full creative control over his content.
In October 2021, Chad uploaded the video entitled “THE TRUTH ABOUT BAD CHAD, THE TV SHOW AND ALL CUSTOM ONE-OFF CARS”, in which he addressed the criticism that he doesn’t seem to finish many of his projects. ‘Basically, what I’m saying is – I work hard, I really do. And for anybody to say that I don’t finish anything or I’m not this, or I’m not that, you are really looking foolish in my eyes because you have no perspective.’ he said. He further revealed that his custom cars can take anywhere from two weeks up to six months to be completed, while the show producers demanded that Chad and his team finish the projects within 35 days, due to filming deadlines.
Some of Chad’s most popular videos are his tutorials such as “HOW TO APPLY AUTO BODY FILLER FOR SHOW CAR FINISH”, which has generated almost 800,000 views, and “The Green Goblin started as a 1962 Chrysler”, which has over 550,000 views.
“Bad Chad Customs” most memorable projects
In episode two of the second season, Chad was approached with one of the most challenging projects we’ve seen executed on the show – namely, an Oldsmobile owner wanted his 1934 model transformed into a fully functional, custom truck. This was the first time Chad and his team were presented with a request of transforming a car into a full-blown truck, which asked for some serious redesigning of the vehicle. Eventually, Chad landed on removing the entire back of the Oldsmobile, and turning it into a dump-truck. ‘I don’t want it to look boxy, I want it to look like a toy. (…) It’s a kind of dump-truck you would never see, but you’d think that it could exist’, Chad said, explaining his idea. In the end, the truck had a separate loading section in the back, connected to the rest of the vehicle with a chain system, while the truck itself had a beautiful new black and white body.
In the following episode, we saw Chad and his team prepare for the 10th annual Rockabilly Weekend car show, which was right around the corner. As the deadline was getting closer, they had to turn a 1938 Ford into an open-motor, fenderless hot rod, which would turn heads at the car exhibition, and attract new customers to Chad’s business. To make the car’s appearance unique, Chad painted it with a base color, before adding a layer of clear paint mixed with tiny glass pieces, which would fabricate a glittery effect.
Also in season two, Chad was tasked with building his first custom motorbike. Instead of going down an expected route, Chad settled on building a fully covered motorbike which he described as ‘a cloud on wheels’. Fully transformed, covered, and painted shiny black, the motorcycle left its owner Frasier in awe. ‘I don’t know how you pulled that off in such a short amount of time. This motorbike is definitely going to turn heads,’ he said to Chad.
While we’re waiting for a potential season three of “Bad Chad Customs”, there are several shows out there to fulfill the need for some automotive content. First of them is “Texas Metal”, another Discovery Channel series, which follows the team of car experts from Extensive Metal Works, a car customization shop located in Houston, Texas. Extensive Metal Works is one of the most renowned names in the car customization business, with nearly a year-long waiting list. The series offers a unique look into the ins-and-outs of business, and we even saw cameo appearances from A-list clients, such as John Cena. The series aired for four seasons, from 2017 through 2021, and is now available on streaming platforms.
One of the most popular shows in the car restoration genre is the British TV show “Wheeler Dealers”, hosted by car enthusiast Mike Brewer and former Formula One mechanic, Marc Elvis Priestly. Each episode, we follow two hosts as they embark on a mission to save old but repairable vehicles, which are then presented to prospective buyers. The show has been airing since 2003, and has gained a massive following not only in the UK but in the US as well. Beginning with season eight, Brewer moved the filming of the show to the US, and set up an operation in Huntington Beach, California; the series filming only returned to the UK in 2021. “Wheeler Dealers” has had two spin-off shows, “Stripped Down” and “Trading Up”, along with two international productions – in Sweden and France.
Another interesting automotive series is “Diesel Brothers”, which has been airing since 2016. The show follows a group of friends who run a shop in Utah specializing in diesel pickup trucks restoration and customization. Interestingly enough, stars of the show, David ‘Heavy D’ Sparks and David ‘Diesel Dave’ Kiley aren’t actually related and are just friends. Prior to starring in the show, they gained popularity on YouTube, and even appeared as guests on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”.
For fans of vintage cars, there’s the documentary-style series “Chasing Classic Cars”, which has been airing on Motor Trend Channel since 2009. Presented by Wayne Carini, who looks at classic cars from all eras, the show focuses on finding a working model of the car, which would later be put on sale. An episode of “Chasing Classic Cars” usually shows the restoration and auction process, while it’s worth noting that not all projects turn out to be financially successful. The series has featured several cars which hadn’t been seen in public for decades.