Ultimate Car Build-Off

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Ultimate Car Build-Off TV Poster Image
Super-car challenge mixes artistry and auto mechanics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The mechanics are creatively using their auto building skills to create innovative cars.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The people featured in the show are proud and passionate about their work.


Cars are designed to accelerate quickly, stop suddenly, drive over rough terrain, and go underwater, but they don’t always work. Drivers wear safety gear when trying out the vehicles.


Words like “crap” are audible, while stronger vocab like “goddamn,“ “f--k,” and “s--t” is muted out.


Car design shops from the greater Los Angeles Area -- like Hollywood Hot Rods and Pure Vision -- are featured/promoted. many of which work with classic and/or high-end collectible cars. Car brands are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this creative car series -- in which mechanics compete in retrofit challenges for a chance at winning a cash prize -- is pretty mild overall, except for some strong language (words like "crap" and "hell" are audible, while stronger choices are muted out). Car brands ranging from Lamborghini to Dodge are featured.

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What's the story?

In ULTIMATE CAR BUILD-OFF, some of America’s top mechanics compete to build the most original and inventive vehicle for a grand prize of $100,000. Each week, two rival teams transform ordinary vehicles like minivans, golf carts, and hearses into innovative automobiles. Overseeing each team’s build are master car builder Lou Santiago and champion racecar driver Andrew Picard. Once they're done, the motorized masterpieces are judged by renowned car designer Chip Foose, who tests the cars both for their visual design and for their mechanical performance. The team that succeeds in building out a successful super car moves on to another round of competition, while the losing team is eliminated.

Is it any good?

Ultimate Car Build-Off showcases how car builders can creatively combine mechanics and artistry to create interesting, innovative vehicles. It also highlights some of the many problems that can come up when people retrofit cars, ranging from getting parts to fit together to finding safe ways for getting vehicles to operate safely without compromising speed and style. This show isn’t for everyone, but car enthusiasts will definitely find it worth watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what inspires people to do work like this. What kind of training do you have to have for this kind of job? Do you think this kind of work can be considered art?

  • How does this show compare to other car-centric series on TV? What do many of them have in common? Does anything set this one apart?

  • Who do you think the target/intended audience of this show is?

TV details

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