Motor City Motors



Reality show features custom cars, economic woes, and hope.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The mechanics work hard to achieve a common goal. Teamwork, dedication, training, and focus all play a role in helping the group create some amazing and unique cars.

Positive role models

The Kaye brothers work hard, but they don’t always work well together. But despite their bickering, the siblings have an effective collaboration, and they understand that achieving their common goal is more important than any petty argument.


Plenty of bickering between the brothers, but nothing really physical.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Many auto companies are mentioned by name, including Ford, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. The show's stars are the founders of the Detroit Bros. custom motorcycle shop, which is featured prominently. Their mechanic pals who participate can win a set of professional tools, and the tool companies are mentioned by name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some scenes take place at bars and show cast members drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series about a team of skilled auto mechanics that rebuilds cars doesn't have too much content that parents are likely to object to; some scenes feature drinking, and the main cast members do their share of bickering, but there's no sex or violence to speak of. Because all of the show's participants live and work in and around Detroit, the series also includes details about how their lives have been affected by the slumping auto industry -- some are unemployed, and many are struggling. Overall, the show's mechanical details will be interesting to viewers who are interested in cars, while the personal details add some depth.

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What's the story?

In MOTOR CITY MOTORS, siblings Dave and James Kaye -- aka the Detroit Brothers -- head up a team of skilled mechanics who have five days to design and build one-of-a-kind automobiles. The show follows along as they bicker over the plans and then try to turn their artistic vision into a working vehicle, whether the assignment is to convert an old Model T into a hot rod or to turn a huge GMC Suburban into a pothole filler. Set in Detroit, the show features a rotating cast of veteran autoworkers and often delves into their personal lives to show how the flagging U.S. car industry and the city's slumping economy have affected their lives.

Is it any good?


The mechanics' personal stories are what make Motor City Motors better than the average automotive reality series. Sure, it’s plenty interesting to see the skilled workers in their element, debating the merits of cut-outs and chopped cabs and air scoops and then turning a totally ordinary vehicle into a high-performance ride.

But there are many shows that let viewers see all that. This series turns the city of Detroit into an unofficial cast member -- and not an especially upbeat one. The slumping auto industry has taken a toll on both the city’s economy and on the show's participants. Though all of them are very good at what they do, several are struggling. Some are unemployed, and all of them seem worried about their future prospects. Even the Kayes' highly regarded custom shop is on the verge of failure. Watching these talented people at work is a treat, but it's a sad testament to the global economy that their valuable skills might not be enough to earn a living.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of reality shows like this one. Many other series have been made about groups of people who work on cars, motorcycles, etc. -- what's the draw of these shows? How does this one compare to the others?

  • Teens and tweens: Are you interested in working on cars? Does watching this show inspire you to tinker on a car? Or does the sometimes-bleak economic situation seen here make you want to consider a different career path?

  • What do you think about the way the show presents the U.S.

  • auto industry? How have the fortunes of the major car companies

  • affected the people on the show?

TV details

Cast:Dave Kaye, James Kaye
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Motor City Motors was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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