Who is Amanda Martin?
Born on 11th December 1973 in Red Oak, Texas, USA, Amanda Jill Keathley – now better known as Amanda Martin – is an entrepreneur, TV personality, and a former banking executive who gained public recognition after appearing on “Iron Resurrection” with her husband Joe Martin.
There’s not much online information regarding her parents, Sandi Klapp Nafziger and Zachariah J Keathley Jr., but we do know that her late father was a US Army veteran who passed away in November 2006. Amanda grew up with her siblings Zack, Sandra and Wendi, and studied at Red Oak High School.
Before appearing on TV, Amanda worked at the major bank Wells Fargo from 2007 to 2011, quickly rising through the ranks until becoming a branch manager. Later on, she held three titles at Pioneer Bank: assistant vice president, deposit operations vice president, and product manager.
Upon meeting her husband Joe, Amanda made the risky decision of putting her financial aspirations on hold to join his TV show and business, becoming a regular cast member of “Iron Resurrection”, and eventually the co-owner of Martin Bros Customs. Now residing in Johnson City, Texas, the couple have since expanded their empire to include a merchandise line.
What is “Iron Resurrection”?
“Iron Resurrection” is a reality TV show that first aired on the Discovery Channel’s Motor Trend network in 2016. Documenting the daily happenings at Martin Bros Customs, the car shop in Texas Hill Country that Joe owns, viewers have the pleasure of seeing the cast members breathe life back into old, damaged automobiles, adding their own modern touches while doing so.
The show’s fourth season premiered in February 2019, showing fans yet again the challenges of running a business. A glowing review reads: “The rehab work that the mechanics do on the vehicles, coupled with their unbridled enthusiasm… is pretty darn delightful.”
As for the main cast members, “Iron Resurrection” wouldn’t be the same without Jayson Arrington, Javier Ponc, and Jason Martin, although Joe and Amanda get more screen-time. The gorgeous blonde’s job is to search for “unrepairable” local cars with Jayson, and bring them back to the shop to be fixed, while Jason is a producer and the rest work as mechanics with specialized knowledge. Mike Zabonik, the show’s welder, has also proved himself to be an invaluable addition.
Surprisingly, part of the show’s success is thanks to its lack of drama: with little to no tension between cast members, and no absurd scripted plots, “Iron Resurrection” has become hugely appealing to car fans and casual viewers alike.
Joe was always a fan of the hot rod designer Boyd Coddington’s work, but couldn’t afford his products, which led to the future TV star teaching himself how to make DIY versions. Other inspirations include the host of “Chasing Classic Cars”, Wayne Carini.
Joe made his TV debut in a 2004 episode of Discovery’s “Biker Build-Off”, and founded his bike shop soon after winning the competition; for a time, he even stopped working on classic cars to focus on motorcycles, a just a couple of years later, he was approached by the producers of “Biker Build-Off” and asked to create content for Velocity Channel before it became the Motor Trend Network, thus spawning “Iron Resurrection”.
Since becoming TV stars, Joe and Amanda’s lives have seen a change for the better; however, the mechanic has previously confessed that being asked for autographs by fans feels “strange”, and has described himself and his wife as normal people who got lucky.
Fast-forwarding to 2020, the future of “Iron Resurrection” became uncertain, when four cast members – Manny, Pompa, Cato, and Javier – left at the end of season three. Motor Trend also refused to discuss the show and a possible fifth season, leaving fans in a limbo until mid-2021, when new episodes finally became available to watch online.
Originally, Joe signed a five-year contract with the Discovery Channel, which has more than likely been renewed.
Since 2016, Joe has become known to many as the affable fan of cars and motorcycles, who figured out how to make a living doing what he loved. As the mechanic prefers to maintain a low profile, despite being a semi-public figure, he remains something of an enigma to viewers of “Iron Resurrection”.
Although Joe is associated with Texas, where he resides and works, in reality he’s a Chicago native who moved to Austin with his family at the age of ten. That said, Joe considers himself a Texan through and through, and rarely speaks of his birthplace.
A better-known fact is that Joe and Amanda are dog people, who own several furry friends. The dynamic duo often post their pets on Instagram and other social media profiles, as Joe is passionate about animal welfare, having helped raise funds for animal shelters several times.
In fact, as recently as February 2022, Joe and Amanda collaborated with the all-volunteer animal rescue organization Southern California Pit Bull Rescue. Thanks to their fanbase, they helped the charity surpass its $500-a-day goal for the month of February several times over.
Joe isn’t known for giving many interviews, but when speaking with Fuel Curve magazine, he said that he and Amanda are grateful to have the show. “It’s been priceless to us. It’s given us the opportunity to work with great customers… and set us up to be busy for years to come,” he said. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed at times, when in the middle of filming a busy season, but Joe recognizes that the show is a fantastic advertisement for his workplace.
The savvy businessman has also learned how to maintain a healthy work-life balance, despite working with his brother, wife, and best friend: as everyone does their own thing in different departments, they don’t spend as much time together as viewers think.
Amanda is either in the office crunching numbers, or seeking out cars to repair, while Joe’s brother Jason goes out and about to sign paperwork.
As many suspected, the reason there’s so little drama in “Iron Resurrection” is thanks to Joe. Although the workers play the occasional prank on each other, he firmly stated that they didn’t need “any of that dramatic crap”. “We want our show to be educational and funny… I feel like the viewers can definitely tell when the drama is staged,” Joe explained. “We are also the viewers of these shows, and we know what those people want to see.”
Joe has even offered advice to struggling business owners in the past, speaking from personal experience after having to shut his bike shop during the 2008 recession. His tips included going to car shows to see what other builders are doing, taking your best cars to events to get your name out there, and using your imagination to stand out in the crowd. “It’s a tricky road, but if you have a genuine love for cars, it’s not going to feel like work,” he concluded.
IRON RESURRECTION Season 3 Premiers Tuesday, September 4th!
Understandably, Joe is hard-pressed to pick just one favorite car out of the hundreds he’s worked on. A strong contender is the ’67 Nova on his wish-list, that was brought in by a customer, followed up by a 1950s Mercedes which the team restored from scratch by handmaking each part. Unbeknownst to some, not all of the Chicago native’s projects have a big budget, which means he has to be creative at times, and figure out how to restore a vehicle without breaking the bank. When the time comes, the entrepreneur would also like not to have 25 cars in the shop at a time, and instead focus on three or four high-end vehicles a year.
When not busy in the shop, Joe is a lover of the outdoors and enjoys fishing, going on long walks in the countryside, and enjoying everything nature has to offer.
Where Are They Now?
Fans of “Iron Resurrection” were understandably dismayed to see Javier and other familiar faces leaving the show; such was the online furor that a social media account for the series was forced to make a post.
Regarding the absence of Javier, alias “Shorty”, the show posted a Facebook message which read: “Sometimes priorities in life change that are way more important than TV. Shorty is focusing on his shop and customers in Dallas, so that he can be close to his family, and enjoy every second of being a new Grandpa”.
Javier himself reached out to viewers days later via social media, thanking them in a short video and adding, “I had no idea there were so many of you out there that really like me for who I am and what I did.” He later explained that after filming season three, he decided that cutting back on travelling to Austin would be the best for his family and business. However, he also left the door open for a possible comeback in the future.
As for Cato, the show released another brief message clarifying that his wife had accepted a job in Atlanta and that his shop, Cato Custom Upholstery, was now located at Fuller Moto.
In a blog post, the upholsterer said: “I definitely want to support her [my wife] and her career and her decision, so it’s important for me and her and my family that we moved out here.” Cato’s departure from the show seems to be a permanent decision, but he remains on good terms with the series’ cast members.
Pompa’s sudden disappearance from “Iron Resurrection” was slightly more ambiguous. Although nothing pointed to a disagreement with the production team or the Martin brothers, fans speculated that he was tired of being an easy target for pranks. Easily scared by fireworks and other practical jokes, the metal worker was often the butt of the joke both on- and off-screen. Nevertheless, Pompa always reacted good-humoredly to the innocent pranks, and even replied to a fan’s comment, saying that he would try to make it back on the show for season five.
It’s unclear if the production team didn’t want him to return just yet, or if he was offered a better job elsewhere, but Pompa’s last Instagram post from January 2022 shows him having a great time and dancing to his heart’s content at a football game – and just two months later, Joe uploaded a video of Pompa playing with one of his pet pitbulls and added the hashtag #season6, meaning it’s highly likely we’ll see the loveable professional on TV again.
Manny, who only appeared in a handful of episodes but quickly became a fan favorite, seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. With no social media presence, it’s almost impossible to discover his whereabouts these days.
Joe & Amanda Now
The stars of the show, Joe and Amanda, appear to be thriving right now both personally and professionally. Some of the shop owner’s latest projects include working on a ’57 Chevy which was left abandoned in a backyard for over two decades, a dilapidated ’65 Pontiac, and a ’65 Catalina, meaning that the team at Martin Bros Customs will have their hands full for the foreseeable future.
When not busy filming, the couple have been getting out and about and promoting their craft. Some events they’ve attended recently are the Classic Truck and Motorcycle Show hosted by Devil’s Backbone Tavern, and the Emerald Coast Cruizin event, providing them the opportunity to network, find new clients, and even sell some merchandise.
Philanthropical work done by Amanda in the last few months includes helping raise over $20,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This cause is particularly close to the blonde’s heart, as her nephew Luke suffers from aplastic glioma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, who was helped out by St. Jude’s after being turned away from a Dallas hospital.
Amanda is also expanding her interests, and trying out new hobbies, namely, target practice and gym workouts. Although she doesn’t discuss her personal life on TV or in interviews, fans of the beautiful Texan can stay up to date by checking her social media profiles.