Wrench Wars 'blue collar celebrities' visited Dunsmuir

Cassandra Tiersma
Lexi del Rey and Brother JD of the Wrench Wars reality TV series, standing in front of their vintage 1962 Chevy 1-ton panel truck named “Moose the Manbuhlance” in front of Cascade Community Church in Dunsmuir on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018.

Brother JD and his wife Lexi del Rey of Los Angeles stopped to worship at Cascade Community Church in Dunsmuir over the weekend.

Best known for their reality/competition TV car show, Wrench Wars, and their 2013 Discovery Channel series, Turn & Burn, JD and Lexi are currently touring the country in a vintage 1962 Chevy 1-ton panel truck, affectionately dubbed “Moose the Manbuhlance” on their Nationwide Danger Ride.

JD is documenting their year-long ride, posting an on-going series of short videos about their adventures on their El Rey’s Garage Facebook page.

El Rey’s is the name of their garage on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, where they produce custom cars, music, and videos.

As he explained it, JD is a longtime champion of blue collar backyard car builders and their skills, creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness in building “home-built rides.” As a champion of backyard car builders who renovate and rebuild cool cars, trucks and motorcycles, JD speaks passionately about what he calls the “Celebration of the Blue Collar Nation.”

With his endearing West Virginia drawl, long ZZ Top beard and black fedora, Brother JD comes across as an urban Phil Robertson. Only instead of a Duck Dynasty duck call, JD plays a Fender electric bass.

They said they had been driving for such a long time – en route from Washington state to go back to southern California to visit their kids for Christmas – and needed to pull off the Interstate so JD could get some sleep.

Lexi said she checked a map on her smart phone for a place to stop and saw that “there was a little town called Dunsmuir” nearby. So, they rolled off I-5, into Dunsmuir, looking for a place to pull over and park for the night.

They’re pulling a camper trailer which is their rolling home during this year-long ride. So, on Saturday night they found a long-enough parking spot in front of the Cascade Community Church. They slept overnight in their camper and attended church there the next morning.

The reader board sign on the front of the church had the 10:45 a.m. Sunday Service time posted, so at first they were just going to wait until it was time for church to start. But Lexi said she looked up the church on the internet on her phone and found that the church has a fellowship time at 10 a.m. So they went inside to hang out and visit with people in the church fellowship hall and ended up sitting at a table with the oldest member of the congregation, 91-year old Joe Shelton.

Shelton said they told him how they had sold all their belongings and rented out their house in L.A. for a year, and about how they were traveling around the country, living in a trailer and had been spending some time up in Washington state. Shelton said, “They seemed like very nice people.”

JD was featured in Voyage LA magazine in October 2017 and describes his style as “Hillbilly-Hoodrat.” Together, as a couple, with their tattoos, black leather jackets and motorcycle boots, JD and Lexi are a hip, biker-version of Skip and Joanna Gaines, the well-known home make-over couple. Only instead of finding, renovating and remodeling dream houses for people, JD likes to find and redesign dream cars, or what he calls “custom rolling pieces of art.”

Current Season 2 episodes of Wrench Wars can be viewed on MAVTV. Season 1 episodes are available for streaming on Amazon Prime. JD and Lexi said they are now shooting Season 3.

To follow JD and Lexi on their Nationwide Danger Ride, go to their El Rey’s Garage Facebook page. For more information about their work or to access JD’s Americana Radio, go to www.elreysgarage.com.

JD can also be followed on Instagram @brotherjd, where he describes himself as “Bassplayer, Cool ride hustler with used parts and crappy hand tools... 100% Hillbilly-Hoodrat artist... Tryin’ to spread the Love.”