David Ankin fr/The History Channel's hit show TOYMAKERZ-Pt 1
Welcome everybody signed for another episode of driven by design. The only show that shows you. The future of automotive design one conversation at the time with our driven designer. Brian Thompson. Ready to do this today. Yes sir well we. We've been trying to get this one on the books for awhile here so I appreciate. We got two great minds together here too wild tougher topics take us there Bryan. Who Bring today to talk with David. Making today And I'm really excited about this because You know in this world of automotive design. There's mass production and then there's limited run production and I love love. Love seeing people to create Vehicles FROM SCRATCH. That are pure pure statements. And I don't know of anybody. Does it as exciting as well as David. Making the does look let him say hello. Hey guys how are you guys? We're good and this is the star of toymakers for those of you who've seen the TV show like I have you guys are making some high end toys down there great to have you under. Yeah appreciate it. We're truly blessed to be able to be surrounded ourselves with the right people in the right tools and be able to do what we do. Make a living at it. So yeah you know and I think that's the dream a lot of people. Have you know when you when you when you see your your calls on television? And they're you know they're loud and they're big and they're amazing What I love about the are they have this sort of visceral feeling and meeting on the flipside of automotive design where I'm creating work. That's like in mass production. I'm what I hear more often than not as when I talk about the future of self driving cars people will say well. I like to drive. I I love that feeling of of You know the loudness of cars and so do I. and so. That's why I'm glad that people like you are doing what you do. Because it's serving the other end of the spectrum. I love it if you could just sort of to kind of kick this off talk a bit about. Just what inspired you to create these cars? Where where do they come from for you? You know what has a kid you know? It was always that poster on the wall. I happen to be a Labora- TV with Farah Fawcett in the picture. And when my era that was like the hot car and the hot lady you know so you always wanted that poster on the wall. You know when you're shoveling snow in the winter and mowing grass in the summer. It's sort of to reach so but we were racing cars racing motorcycles. Go karts at the time. But you you you. You develop a skill set of working on your own stuff and going faster. My my grandfather worked for Packard and studebaker. My Dad was a gearhead. He built hot rods so it was just a very natural fit. I couldn't afford to buy what I wanted. I had to learn how to build what I want and just two of a lifestyle what I did and then I chose a couple of careers that also picked like if I needed to build a transmission. You go get a transmission don. I went and got a job at amkor transmission division. I did that for a summer but wanted to call you. Know what when he got a job at a paint job. We're not a peanut car for a couple of years. You know and you just end up picking a field of work that lives in your world it was. It was a brilliant life for me. I don't say it made for everybody but for me it was. I really been very blessed and very fortunate well and I love that idea that if you WanNa do something you'd go and learn about it you know it's really funny the parallels that right so you create hot rods than you and you have Sarah Foster Lamborghini on your childhood bedroom wall now I had my writer and David Hasselhoff I mind how perfect ended up designing self driving cars so exists but you know you're you're right though that you're you're you're a product of what you grew up with you know. Listen I remember that are very well and and the only difference for me now is now. I'm Middle Fifties. I love all aspects of callers. I don't care if it's electric. I don't care if it's so driving. I don't care to fly car like a mall in his learning how to adapt in change with the Times. It's still be current and live up to what I find interesting to challenge it best but I love what I do so it shows in your word while one of the things I love about your vehicles as I was saying when we started but That they're so pure You know whether you're doing a motorbike like the streak digger or Even the the beast you know it's like very much a beast you know I'm curious Now so you you you clearly were so impassioned by the mechanics vehicles but when you create a car you're also creating the styling and the way the car looks and feels which is Is a huge element of design process. Do you do that in house or do you bring people on board? Or How do you visualize your ideas? Listen all this started as a child and from poster. I promise you I. I've got a list of about fifty vehicles that that I'm going to build my lifetime and it can be matchbox collar. A hot wheels car could have been opposed strikes. You most of that stuff isn't driveable when you look at a hot wheels car when I was a kid right right. So it's the engine from that it would be in front of the windshield and stuff like that. You and your listeners. To understand doesn't exactly it doesn't make sense for me trying to figure out how to build that in real life but make it it is it is about a line. It is about a stance. I've got three cars sitting in front of me as we speak that. Have a wheels and a body sitting there and they will sit there for months. I walked by and look at them and tinker with him around. It's all about a line but ultimately in the end it's gotta be drivable and got to be fast To doesn't make any good to build a paperweight that just idols. New a parking lot. You know if it's going to have you know. My newest cars got three thousand legitimate horsepower. If I can go out and drive it and use it. What good is it so this is like a steroid bodybuilder. Who can't actually lift up our groceries at that point you got it. It is about a line in the body. We do it all right. Erin. How well you know. I love one of the things. You just mentioned. As you're talking I- I'd really like to call out and diving a little deeper on it. You said that you'll have a car wheel sitting in the studio where your shop And you'll walk by and it might sit there for a while and you might not work on it now. One of the things. I've often heard Creative people when they're young. They're often told that they have. Add and. I'm very grateful to my mom who did not believe in it. She believed in the creative spirit. Being that you work on something for a while and then in your tension span is off you let it sit and then you go back to it and my mom always taught me as long as you're actually finishing something. I don't care how you get to the end. You can whatever process you want but just finish your projects and I and I and I was always very grateful that she didn't put me on some medication. 'cause I was I was really creative kid working on a million different things at once. But this thing that I don't think a lot of people understand that the creative mind isn't linear and I'd love you to for you to talk a bit more about The the sporadic way you might work on it and live as you said so beautifully you'll live with it and look at it as you walk by. Could you dive in and help people understand how that process works sort of in the back burner of your mind that the the big joke had my shop? Is I go to bed every night with a question every night because I'm so tired of twelve or fourteen hours a day in in my mind is tired. I don't have the answer a wake up at three. Am with the answer every night it. That's what happens. I start relaxing. I look at my notepad as I said my desk. I looked down. I have a little sketch of a of a A vehicle that is in my mind and I'll look at them. Sketching changes sketch periodically. Over time you're right. I got a million projects that I'm working on and isn't that I I don't WanNA finish them. They're not right in my head yet. I got my mind the lines you gotta be right. I gotta walk away stuff away. Look at other projects work on other things. They did go to a car. Show and get an idea Then I come back and walk. I'm walking by out of the bathroom and go. Oh Ho stop everything I do when you go back to that project it I ask you. We didn't have. Add when I was a kid? We didn't have those terms. We get what it does. Is it tells people. There's something wrong with them. When in fact it's a very healthy creative way to be you know I I think about. I love the way you just said that about like you know. It might come in three o'clock in the morning and and as a freelance consultants now with a consultant my own. I don't work in a studio but when I was at Nissan and be working on a on a car you know the clay model. I'd pull in my Volkswagen Westfalia Camper bus at night into the studio and sleep there so when I woke up in the morning it'd be the first thing I saw. And then you know go take a shower in the locker but one of the things. I miss about that. Is that when I go visit a client and see the Klay bottle? Let's say you know their side of the planet somewhere. I look at it for two hours and then I leave and it's that it's that moment of being around it when you're not thinking about it but I just love and I keep telling my client. Let's bring the models over here. We need to live with them. You know and I think it's it's living with it. Seems like you you do that so well I really do. And even more so is. I didn't realize this too. I had I you know I have a son. He's fourteen years old and a couple of years ago. He was diagnosed with dyslexia. And when they were doing I realized very quickly that Oh my Lord I have dyslexia had no idea no idea at all you know yeah did no but I always came to answer in a non practical way. Everybody thinks inside the box. I don't believe inside the box. I don't believe it. I believe that there's nothing wrong with people that think inside the box but anybody can get to. An answer. Doesn't matter how you used to get in trouble in school because I got to the answer. The wrong way I believe in thinking outside the box that innovative I believe in failure. I believe you have to fail to succeed. I believe you cannot win a race if you don't lose one Leave you have to you? Have to really to be an innovator. You have to do things. That aren't practical. Aren't inside the box and the box and the box of panel contract if they really think of it. I always really were the the studio. I came up in a young designer. Had this policy called Freedom to fail and it was and it was really this as long. As you're meeting your deadlines no as long as if you have your main project you've got you've got to perform you with anything you want you. Can you can make a car that sticks. You know what I mean. And maybe BARK FROM. The sticks ended up becoming what the failure does. Let's say failure is a relative term? Well let's say you make a car that's right it's been. It's obviously not going to be a practical car. But maybe maybe the texture of the bark informs the interior fabric. You know he wouldn't have gotten there had not driven down. That told US ACT OF A. Would you know what I mean? I totally agree that. But that's how I think so. I totally agree with everything you just that. Most people don't do that though they you can find can find success in your failures even if it tells you what not to do. It's like there is a success and failure. I promise you so. That's a great segue. I'd love for you because you do have such a a bright shining star of success and yeah you're on television and people know you And they see the successes right. I assume you know the TV show is so well produced and focuses on the aid to be of how these products life is their failure. That stands out in your mind that you would you? Would you go to when you think of either? It makes you laugh or it was something you learned from it. tell me about a bright shining failure and what you got up honestly for me. It's it's it's everything everything that I do every day making television to me. I don't cars we did we do we do the. Oem cars you know you take a Camaro Mustang or whatever you build and it's simple it's all William stuff that to easy everybody. Does that the one off stuff is what I loved to do where you Napkin drawing that I've been thinking for years. The failure to me is that should be the hard part of what I do. I was mistaken thought. Tv It would be easy. I'm going to build a car walked in television. Knowing Ninety five percent of what was GONNA happen all my friends say TV shows and this is a cakewalk. After going into year four I got a second show coming out now and I realized after four years I five percent. Not Ninety. Five percent. Televisions Heart Dealing with that aspect and in its hardest thing I've ever done in my life ever. It's the most rewarding but it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. So failure is is just thinking that was gonNA walk in here. Build a call or it's going to make a TV show. GonNa be Great. I I laugh every day about it and I cry fringe. I mean you build a coffee scratch. I mean from scratch after the chassis. The windows the body the seats the puddles every inch of the car. Everything in the producer. Get get done producer those cameras and then it goes all right. Let's go for a spin. It was like wait a minute. Can I test right I? Yeah go absolutely I fire up you pull it on the shopping got cameras so I'm learning how to drive. The car through twists long-term the camera. It's like like we're talking about the beast earlier. Twelve hundred horsepower. Two thousand bound and driving through the Valley of death in Vegas my very first. I didn't know what was going to stay cool. I mean I would. We got a hell of a t you know. And that's why they want to capture you know I'm glad you're talking about television. Because it's such an interesting medium because you're telling stories in real time and you're also trying to curate. What that story is. GonNa be on a reality TV show myself two years ago where we had the bills cars as well so I know exactly what you're talking about where that moment you're when you're privately creating something and you are testing something out for the first time where it's going wrong. You know you have these moments of breakdown or or or you're nervous or upset and it's very private very private experience. But when you're on camera and and Shit's hitting the fan. And that's what they want. That's what they wanna tell right so like you're like it's a very vulnerable place to be but you do it so well where you allow that vulnerability to be seen and I think that's why people like you so much because it real you know again it. I say it's the hardest thing I've ever done most rewarding but you got a microphone on an a camera shot in your face. You can't not and you you you don't know if the car's going to I mean you built the suspension in the aons and the spindles in the brake system. It's like Oh my Lord you want me to. I'm doing one hundred mile like last year. My season finale. I'm doing one hundred miles an hour back row backwards. Oh you can't guys don't move you tell the camera guys don't move. It's my job not hit you. You know so it's really. You're not to hit them. They will say well. I'm looking at them tricks on TV. I did learn if he really didn't really get frustrated. You don't want to be on camera. Reality shows a little different than yours because the show I you know I was a contestant but I learned that if I take a copyrighted song the cameras they couldn't use Elliot. I was really thinking rolling stones or something really expensive and then they wouldn't tell me but no. I know exactly what you're saying but it's but it's not that at that moment of reality and actually I think television is is a wonderful medium to it gets a bad rap especially some of these bills shows for not being real but the challenge. There is to it What I found being on the flip side of it on the inside of it is that A nearly impossible task people are trying to tell a story in the middle of chaos. And one of the things you do. Well I think the more real you can be the more you can allow people to see what you're doing the more of the story action get and and I and I absolutely understand what you're saying about that being a very big challenge because those very vulnerable moments are right there for everybody to see. Remember to bring up another point of pay off you. Take my season finale carpet. This year took the two years to build it. I HAVE FORTY. Minutes is an hour long. Show forty minutes so you have to build that car on Cameron Forty minutes. Plus you have to tell US STORE. You gotTa wiry building the car. What's the reason for the car? How so it's amazing you get two years of built. I every inch of the car so you can win in forty minutes so you know and tell a story and so there's a lot of I it's it's it's overwhelming it best overwhelming to produce an overwhelming. And I think on the site it's overwhelming to curate. So that you really telling the nuggets at the store and it's true. This is that he will never tell the whole story. And that's good behind the scenes footage but but for a builder such as yourself. I think this is one of the key. Things people can take away too and I love you to talk about it. Is that okay so here you are. Now you've created these cars You know people know them. They're they're in people's hearts especially people that are die hard fans but the side of the story that they probably don't see or know as well if they're sitting at home on a Sunday. You know watching you. Are you know binge watching your show talk a bit about before this happened? Like where were you in your life where you decided like this just fall into your lap? Where you at a kind of a job that you had before that you didn't WanNa do anymore like Whoa talk a bit about that moment of sort of like the early budding of your career where it's full of energy and it hasn't happened yet. what what sort of prompted you take these risks. Yeah you know it's funny you know and a lot of my friends were on TV. Or I was involved in some sort of TV shows numerous times whether it was. You Know Jay Leno show or you know all these guys were doing shows and I had you know where I was helping with a vehicle doing that show or doing something else behind the scenes where somebody called me to be an expert. Honor do something but what what got me was. I was doing a lot of stunt work. You know for six flags universal and whoever it happened to be for the summer you making good money or you're you're doing these different things that there's no living there. If that makes any sense you might work for six months. Might be off right year or you get older and you don't feel like these two he'll if you've got hurt and everybody kept saying look in your just a naturally need to a TV show. There's nothing to do with TV. It's fake I don't want to argue with anybody. Nobody in my shop argues and I it isn't what I wanted to do. I but I wanNA build cool stuff and I want to. I want to be able to think about a really lived the dream it hard but I get to build what I WANNA build. Where around the people that I love? I love the industry in itself. The people the products the future raw. That's where it's going what it where it's banned And that's that's a passion of mine so television show just became a natural progression. As I got older I could still dabble the one I what I WANNA do. I don't have to race anymore. I don't get to get hurt and I'm gonNA fall up domains. Fight on camera. If you will behind the scenes in the world I could actually live my dream in front of the camera It it just sort of naturally progress. I didn't want to I SORTA got talked into a bunch of producers approaching me going to please do a show kept saying one guy finally got to me and I decided okay. I'll do it. Why outside of the fact that so you were yeah. There's one thing I want a little put a little pin and so that we don't forget come back to it because I I When you're you're telling the story here you talked about the future and past the industry being When your passion so giving myself a little reminder that I want to circle back to that but I When you're doing. I love what you said about. When you're being a stunt man. You're working in television two things were you know. I? It's hard work. I mean you know it goes without saying that stunt work is hard work but I don't know that everybody really understands exactly. What a stuntman does and you really are putting your body through the ringer You know every day and the idea that you you know you're you're now surrounded by this world of television. You're doing what you love building things and you love doing what I think is interesting about that. That people can take away that you put yourself into a universe where opportunities would come to you versus having that you actually turned down versus having to go chase things down which a lot of people do and and and it becomes very elusive. If you're chasing things but the organic way that you put yourself in the world of television and cars is it it may have happened subconsciously for you but it was a really great way to build the seeds for this future. Which is your presence. And I think that's really beautiful because now what you've done this since you sort of planted those seeds and you're in that world the opportunities came to you And then eventually you know you got talked into doing the show and it turns out you have a great disposition on camera and such so. It's like I think people don't realize that they create the university living almost subconsciously. Do you know I couldn't couldn't agree more but you bring back something. We talked about early on conversation. It's getting outside the box I loved but when you're chasing the John Chasing the work in you chasing you know now it's like I get to to build on builds drive when it went to drive. I get to go out and play in anything. I WANNA plan I in in. I created my. I just got outside the box. Instead of me hunting job I wanted to create something that would would last forever. I bring my my son up into it if that's what he wanted to do. I could create a great avenue for all of my friend. The industry that I love And he said it would come to me and I love you. You mentioned your son being something that he could play with. Because then you're really talking about not in the literal future of the industry. You're working in because he's going to if he likes his and his inspired by your work and he's going to do it in a very different way than you did. Because he's he's completely different generation and I think that is a nice tie into creativity in the past creativity in the future and as you said earlier on to the conversation we are always influenced by the world that we grew up in. And so. That's why oftentimes I find Having come in the analog era and then switching into a digital era soon as I got into the car industry I see the world very differently inva- creativity than the kids in college do today and I love being around them because I think a creative person the last thing you WanNa do is ever say well in my day. We did it this way because as soon as you do that you stepped off the train of creativity. And you're just trying to replicate what you did in the past and if I love I love to meet your son at these creative and stuff like that. I love to hear his ideas on this because this industry is changing. I mean let me ask you literally. Could you imagine a Self Driving Hot Rod? What would that look like to you? Know what I mean. Something think I think about it? Every day cost. Mind my son at nine years old built a real hover skateboard A real one. That worked My son now. Fourteen is building his first race call. I mean junior dragsters that kind of stuff. But he's actually building size drift car. He wants to go playing with My Son is absolutely not out of the box kid. And he's brilliant. He's way way better than I mumbled it. How HE'LL BE? He'll go so far past us and and you're right you don't ever want to say here's what we did in our day and people tell me that all the time And I fight that all the time with myself because I remember what a big block. Chevy was a bad boy now. I call it in big blocks in the flathead to me. You know. It's like the technology of today and and you're right my season. My season finale. For Season Five. Were trying to mix a hot rod with electric with you know. I haven't the self driving thing I get. I understand in common. Nothing I could do I. I remember eight tracks. Takes tapes went away and I fee and I remember I said it. Never get a cell phone now. I can't live without one Well you know what I wonder you know. But but they're in light. I always think that that's seeing of resistant. Point of resistance when when when it catches in our spirit. What's actually happening if resisting? It really means we're holding onto it right. And so what are out of that resistance out of that holding onto that thing that we don't are not In line with their life I think A moment of creativity. Could you imagine like a world where let's say? A lot of driving. Were on their spaces where people sit facing each other and there is no steering wheel but what would be the hot rod equivalent of that space for those people like every day you think about it every day. You're right because for me for me to survive in my world. I have to be willing to and I love to adapt. 'cause I don't mind going. How can I make a self driving car cool? How can I make car cool? We know that you know. But what's the allure for somebody minor withdraw its stance? It's the look. It's up to me a for me. A great sounding radios a big town with headers. That's the that's the music music to my ears. I don't care about sound system but our system is the hunters so right on it a big Cam so when it comes to electric we know we got horse power. We know the car is brutally fast if you want it it's also it's also not a brilliant technology so you can tell him really cool like we're talking about taking the thirty two low boy really doing it right. Almost you know road racing style big front times Baker making it all I give it. The stance give the look making electric. But when you take away the driving aspect the whole nother alum driving today. My fourteen year old. I have a neighbor next door to me. You think he's twenty doesn't driver's license. Yet that baffles me on Baffles me kids of today. So how do you make them? You know. And that's our job. That's our job to stay. Relevant is to come up with something. Cool which version of self driving hot Rod. I think no but but who really knows. It's it's a matter of watching and listening in you know if it's self driving something that's going to be electric. Probably does that mean. It's going to be. The technology is GONNA be way off the deep end but right now I love I. I'm going to interrupt for one second here. We're going to wrap this segment up here and come back with part two this right after this. Tell everybody how to get in touch with you. Dave and And more about Toy makers in the new show coming up we're all the digital platforms obviously instagram facebook twitter. We're all over Youtube we got. We're on the history dot com on the new digital platform coming out. We have a new show coming out on the digital platforms. Were filming now which is called the fastest society which is a mix between basically. It's fast furious but with real cars real drivers real racing. I'm GonNa live personally in six different worlds of racing real race cars real motorcycles. We go real fast and you're going to be fun. So it's it's it's right now. It's it's all about digital platform so that's second show is coming out. All the digital platform to toy makers will be a behind the scenes for them so we appreciate you spending time on our digital platform here and we invite you to stick around because we're talk the future here in part to which Dave and from toymakers right here on driven by design.