There’s a hidden oasis of classic cars in a remote area of British Columbia, Canada, colloquially referred to as “Rust Valley.” Mike Hall of Tappen, British Columbia, has been collecting classic cars and storing them for over 40 years, amassing a collection that has exceeded 400 cars. Now he’s out of room and running out of time to do something with them. Rust Valley Restorers—streaming now on MotorTrend+ (sign up for a free trial today!)—documents the trials and tribulations of Mike and the Rust Bros Restorations crew as they toil away, turning junkyard cars into driveable classics.
With the help of his best friend Avery Shoaf and his son Connor Charman-Hall, Mike’s goal is to turn his “Field of Dreams” junkyard into a fleet of drivable classic cars. On Rust Valley Restorers, you can watch muscle cars being rehabilitated, like a 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger that recently went from rusty clunker to Panther-Pink cruiser—and at a price an average car enthusiast can afford. The Rust Valley Restorers don’t always come out on top when they restore and sell one of Mike’s precious junkers, but it doesn’t matter if builds like their 1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible go thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours over budget; when Mike gives you a quote on restoring a pile of rust, he honors it, even if it costs him money.
Seasons 1-3 of Rust Valley Restorers are streaming now on Netflix, with seasons 4 and 5 available on MotorTrend+. In five seasons of turning junkyard cars into daily drivers, how many of the original 400 classic cars has Mike gone through? Not enough! For the season five finale of Rust Valley Restorers, Mike had to go big or go home—local restrictions meant he had to sell all the cars or risk losing the shop! Was the one-day auction enough to keep the authorities off Mike’s back and keep the Rust Bros Restorations shop doors open? Sign up for a free trial to MotorTrend+ to find out.
Who Is Mike Hall?
Before opening Rust Bros Restorations, Mike “Rasta Blasta” Hall was a professional rock blaster. Don’t let the muscle shirts and dreadlocks fool you; rock scaling—removing unstable rock from slide areas to prevent damage to structures or roads—is dangerous and serious work. Mike’s rock fall mitigation company, Chimera Springs Rock Works Ltd., has taken him all over Canada, and, seemingly, any time he came across a classic car, he would buy it. After 40 years of collecting, the Rasta Blasta had over 400 cars on his five-acre property in the South Shuswap region of Tappen.
In 2016, Mike tried to sell his “Field of Dreams”—the property where he founded his restoration business and where he stored all of his derelict cars—including the hundreds of rusty junkers residing on the property, but no one bid. This got the attention of local media, and, low and behold, a reality show was born—Rust Valley Restorers. Now in his mid-60s, Mike Hall is trying to pare down his collection before he’s gone—he says he’s already outlived his father by five years—so he doesn’t leave his family to deal with his car collecting obsession.
Where Is Rust Valley?
With a nickname like The Great White North, Canada doesn’t come across as a place where one could store a car outside and not expect it to rust away, much less the home of a desert. The southeastern portion of British Columbia, however, is in fact the location of the Thompson Plateau, one of North America’s eight cold-desert regions.
A cold desert is a region isolated from humid air, either by proximity to the coast or high mountains separating the region and the coast. Thompson Plateau is both the farthest you can get from the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, and on the far side of the Canadian Cascades mountain range, making the high-altitude air of Rust Valley perfect for preserving classic sheetmetal.
Teppan, British Columbia—home of Rust Bros Restorations and the location where Rust Valley Restorers is filmed—is located in the northeast region of the Thompson Plateau. Despite the cold winters, Mike Hall isn’t the only car collector in Rust Valley; the area earned its name with all the hidden and private junkyards and collections full of thousands of classic cars. Learn more about this mini-Mecca for car enthusiasts by watching Rust Valley Restorers on MotorTrend+.
Watch! The Ultimate Bolt-In Chevy LS3 Engine Swap
On episode 11 of HOT ROD Garage, Mike Finnegan rounds out a bunch of El Camino upgrades with a big heart transplant. Gone is our old 383ci small-block and in its place is a Chevrolet Performance LS376/525 all-aluminum, fuel-injected crate engine that is probably underrated at 525 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Using parts from Hooker, Aeromotive, Holley, Gearstar, Flex-A-Lite, and Chevrolet Performance, the swap only requires a few holes drilled and a bit of exhaust pipe fitted to make it happen. In the end, our 1969 El Camino lost some weight and reset the track record on our autocross course. Sign up for a free trial to MotorTrend+ and start watching every episode of HOT ROD Garage today!.