We sat down with Jeff and Christian of JR Garage to talk about how these two brothers built an automotive business from nothing.
So, how did the two of you get into the car restoration business?
My brother and I are a two-person team—we’ve had a passion for cars since we could walk, and we’ve always wanted a car collection of our own. When we were younger, we used to watch YouTube videos of people showing off their cars on their channels, but we didn’t have that kind of money. So, we started looking for ways to get cars at a discount, and we discovered project cars, like the ones we buy now from Copart. We bought our first car in 2012 and have been sharing content since 2016.
At what point did you realize that this could be more than a hobby?
Early on, with either our first or second car purchase, we figured out that we could get a really good deal by fixing up and selling these cars. One of the first ones we ever bought was for around $4,000, and we ended up selling it for $9,000. We did that a few times and then accumulated enough to start going after more expensive cars and bigger projects.
It also helped that around this time we had our first breakthrough video on our channel. It was the one where I took my Dodge Viper to high school at 17 years old. Before that video went up we had 100 subscribers. And after? 100,000. It was such a good video because it’s every kid’s dream to show up to high school in a really cool car. And it helped that the reactions from my classmates was 100% genuine because most of the time we walked to school, so no one was expecting it.
How has your process changed since you’ve become more successful?
Well the biggest change is that we’re not afraid of any projects. In the beginning, we started with easy project with reasonable cars. Now we have a really strong network of shops and part providers and we’re able to find really difficult parts. Our confidence has also increased and we’re a lot more eager to take risks and bid on sizable cars.
How many cars would you say you’ve worked on over the years?
It’s been a lot. Right now in the garage we have about 20. But I think in total we’re approaching upwards of 40.
What’s the most challenging restoration project you’ve worked on? And what’s your favorite?
The most challenging build so far been a heavily modified 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo. It was built for underground racing and the previous owner dropped at least $200,000 on it. But after a few hundred miles, he crashed it—there was damage all over it. After we picked it up, it took about a full year to rebuild it, doing almost all the work ourselves. We loved that car.
One of the most interesting cars we’ve ever worked on was a cheap Corvette we got last year with a lot of miles on it. The car was filthy, and the interior was full of trash, dirt and needed a full deep cleaning. We turned it into a few really good videos and brought it back to life nicely. It looks like a brand-new Corvette now.
Our favorite Copart car is a Ferrari 575 Maranello project that we’re working on right now. It’s one of the most exciting cars we’ve worked on because it’s one of only 246 six-speed manual option cars. We’re expecting to sell it for $150,000. The beauty of Copart is that you can find things like this if you know what to look for and the whole process is pretty easy.
We also worked on a yellow Porsche recently which we actually gave away on the channel. The winner is still driving it. We like doing things like that for our audience.
Speaking of your audience, tell us a little more about them. What are your favorite audience interactions?
Well first off, we have one of the best audiences. A lot of people have been there since day one, and both my brother and I love meeting people who show us their cars after being inspired by our videos. Seeing fan cars in real life is super cool and inspirational.
But we also love getting the opportunity to share our story with fans. A lot of people assume we started this because we had a lot of money, but that’s not true at all. We grew up without a lot of money and experienced some pretty hard times. Our parents made a lot of sacrifices when they were raising us, and my brother and I noticed that and wanted to do something to help. You know what they say, the hardest of times make us strong enough to prosper in the difficult times.
You two aren’t just car restorers though, you also have a number of other businesses. Can you tell us about those?
One of our main businesses is in the field of numismatics—it’s dealing in old coins and currency. It started in 2008 when we went to our first coin show. We started collecting and it turned into a pretty profitable business. Buying turned to selling and amassing inventory to sell to clients online through different platforms. Our favorite find was an 1865 S $20 gold piece at auction in incredible condition. We bought it for $3,000 and afterwards sent it off to be authenticated. Then we sold for $12,000 a few weeks later. It was a little hard to let go of, but we wanted to make a profit in hopes to replace it with something cooler.
Follow JR Garage as they continue their rebuilding quest. Want to know what’s next for them? Look forward to bigger cars and even bigger challenges on their YouTube channel.
Want to start rebuilding like JR Garage? Start your search at Copart.