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380: Jo Coddington & Duane Mayer of American Hot Rod TV series.

Show Date: 09/25/2021

(Season 15 EP 38)

This Week’s Topics:

Jo Coddington and Duane Mayer together. First interview since the American Hot Rod TV series.

First, we have to thank the Iola Car Show and Swap meet and Jo Coddington for arranging this meeting. This interview was pre-recorded on the Iola grounds.

American Hot Rod was one of the first TV series that watched a crew design and assemble one-off vehicles. The location was at Boyd Coddington’s Hot Rod Shop located in La Habra, California. Boyd was already established as an international builder.

The producers of the show would cast Boyd as the genius behind every build who had to deal with a misfit gang of talented people.

The surrounding cast was his wife Jo who became Boyd’s confident and the crew’s caregiver. Using the editing process, the producers of the show would portray her as the young and naive member of the team.

Then there was Duane who was Boyd’s right-hand. It was expected that he would get everything completed using a really talented – yet challenging – team. It was Duane who had to keep the misfit gang staying on tasks and to uphold Boyd’s quality standards. However, the producers would capitalize on those shots where Duane was a task-master, playing “devil’s advocate” and corrections officer to portray him as a tyrant.

As filming continued for over 5 seasons the stress of the audience’s expectations for each episode prompted a tremendous amount of stress on the crew. We saw members come and go, either by them leaving or untimely death.

The series came to an abrupt end when Boyd died on February, 2008. That summer the shop closed its doors. Displacing the many talented people who worked there. Several members did go on to become leaders in their chosen field. However, during that period several close members grew to distrust each other and never talked again.

This was true for Jo who lost her husband, lover and best friend. For Duane it was losing his mentor and father figure.

They agreed to meet in Iola and talk about what Boyd meant to them, the behind the scenes of the shop and where they expect to go from here. They talk about their emotional reaction when seeing the Boyd Coddington Memorial wall that was installed at Greg’s Speed Shop located in Waupaca.

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