American Chopper follows New York based company, Orange County Choppers, a family business owned and operated by Paul Teutul, Sr. Paul Jr. now operates his rival build company called Paul Jr. Designs. Each episode centers around the OCC crew as they battle build against the PJD crew and come up with new and innovative ways to build custom motorcycles. The family dynamic between father and son makes the show unique.
Paul Teutul Sr.
Paul Teutul Sr.
Paul Teutul Sr.’s love of riding and fabricating custom motorcycles dates back to the ’70s, inspired by such films as Easy Rider and Marlon Brando’s quintessential The Wild One. Since then he’s worked in steel fabrication, nurturing his Orange County Ironworks into the booming commercial business it is today.
But it was Orange County Ironworks’ very success that allowed Paul Sr. to pursue his passion for building motorcycles in his downtime, and in 1999 he recruited his son Paul Jr. to become the chief fabricator and designer for a new enterprise: Orange County Choppers. OCC jumped on the scene at Daytona Biketoberfest 1999 with “True Blue,” a classic chopper built in Paul Sr.’s basement.
Follow Mikey Teutul: #MikeyTeutulWG
Like his brother before him, Michael – known as Mikey – went to work for Orange County Ironworks at age 12, working on and off until he graduated from high school. From there he went on to community college, but after a series of zeroes he realized it wasn’t quite his scene. So he returned to work at his dad’s company. Back at home Mikey did carpentry with a friend for a year before again returning to Orange County Ironworks and working with his brother Daniel. Then, after two years of a job that was “unrewarding, cold and cruel,” he went to a tavern one January night and met the man who would advocate his hiring at Orange County Choppers: Rusty, aka Russell Muth, producer of American Chopper.
Mikey was soon on board at OCC, answering phones, picking up parts, popping bubble wrap and taking out the trash. But within two weeks of starting his new job he was on the road attending bike shows with his brother and father, and his stand-in was already outperforming him.
At that time, Mikey’s taste for booze and the party life increased with his wild friends egging each other on. Shortly before entering rehab, Mikey took up painting at the suggestion of one of the show’s producers. The timing was perfect, a spiritual intervention of sorts that supplied Mikey with a creative and therapeutic outlet as well as a much needed hobby after completing the program.
Mikey, who has a knack in his portraits of capturing emotion, recently opened his own gallery in his hometown of Montgomery, N.Y., where he will exhibit his art as well as open his doors to other local artists.
Mikey has followed his brother Paul Jr to help him with his new business, competing with Sr. and OCC.
Paul Teutul Jr.
Paul Teutul Jr.
Follow Paul Teutul Jr.: #WhereIsPaulJr
Paul Teutul Jr. – aka Junior or Paulie – was born with sheet metal in his blood. From the age of 12, he spent his summers at his father’s steel business learning all the skills of fabrication that he would later use building motorcycles. While in high school Junior also took part in a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCE) program, which allowed him to further hone his craft.
Soon after graduation Paul Jr. went to work for his father’s Orange County Ironworks, becoming head of its railing shop. But as his father began to spend more time building motorcycles for pleasure, he approached his son to assist. It was then that Paul Sr. recognized his son’s design and fabrication talent, and with his blessing, Junior left the rail shop to help establish Orange County Choppers as a business in 1999.
That year, the father-and-son team debuted their bikes in Daytona to massive interest. After working as the chief designer and fabricator at OCC, Paul Jr. is ready to go out on his own. Paul has just opened Paul Jr. Designs – his startup shop located across the street from OCC’s original site. Jr. heats-up the competition by bringing back former OCC employees including his brother Mikey, Vinnie DiMartino, Robert ‘Nub’ Colard and Joe Puliafico.