'Doomsday Garage' on CMT
The Longview, Wash., father-son duo have spent the last decade operating The Toy Store, a business specializing in vehicle restoration, accessories, customization and other services.
But not too long ago, Zach got the idea to add an offshoot business to The Toy Store. With BugOutTruck.com, the Aylesworths focused on building "bug out" vehicles, which as the website says, are "designed and outfitted specifically to help you survive ... Whether you're single or have a family of five, whether you need to escape from (the) metropolis or cross the tundra we have your answer. If you can dream it, we can build it."
In creating "bug out" vehicles, the Aylesworths were tapping into the "prepper" market -- that is, people determined to prepare themselves for calamities of various sorts, ranging from natural disasters to economic and social meltdowns.
Now the Aylesworths are starring in their own TV special, "Doomsday Garage," which stands a good chance of being developed into a series for CMT.
"In your mind, you might think, 'Oh, Lord, here comes a guy in a tinfoil hat,'" Aylesworth says. "But it's not like that. We're talking about prominent people, not silly, irrational crazy folks."
There's nothing new about wanting to be prepared, Aylesworth says. "I look back at when I was a kid, and think of my grandparents, typical suburban-style folks in California. My grandmother always had stockpiles. Her pantries were full, and I mean full. I'd ask, 'What's the deal, Gramma?' and she'd say, 'Your Grandpa and I lived through the Depression. We have an understanding of what can happen.' They were not going to be caught off-guard ever again."
The Aylesworths and their crew built a vehicle for a customer who wanted a vehicle that could take him into the wilderness, if necessary.
"We built him an incredibly capable vehicle that could double as the coolest camping truck ever," says Aylesworth, who doesn't want to spill too many details about what will be seen in the special.
"It's just stacked with a lot of capacities a typical camper isn't going to have. It's a little bit more than what people take to Yellowstone on vacation."
Jason Morgan, whose credits include "Trick My Truck" and "Deep Sea Salvage," is executive producer of "Doomsday Garage." He says Jeff and Zach Aylesworth are TV naturals. "Not only are they experts, but they're also very fun."
"Preppers are everyday, normal people that just have a plan to protect their family. They do believe in the right to bear arms, but they're not nuts about that. It's not scary. These are very responsible individuals."
The customer featured in the special, Morgan says, is from Arizona and has a "bug out" plan. "His particular fear is economic collapse," and "the financial backing of the dollar."
As for how much these "bug out" vehicles cost, that varies widely, Morgan says. "You can spend from $25,000 and $30,000, up to $70,000 or $80,000. It depends on what you're doing. Some people want 'bug out' boats. Or 'bug out' cars, like hybrids."
Black Blade: Should be interesting if they don't make it some staged idiot show like Doomsday Preppers.