Mark Towle’s Personal Life

April 18, 2024
10 mins read

Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle became one of the best known car/motorcycle restorers and designers through the popularity of the reality television show “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” aired via the streaming giant, Netflix. For about four seasons, he along with his team of experts enthralled many car enthusiasts by giving modern transformations to certain classic cars to boost their monetary value. Just as his star became brighter, the fans wondered about the specifics of his journey to success, and the details of his personal life. The popular car builder might be quite generous in sharing his expertise about his knowledge of various types of vehicles, but was quite stingy in sharing personal stuff.

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All about “Car Masters: Rust to Riches”

This reality-TV show was created for a specific audience, but even those without extensive knowledge about cars could still enjoy the show, because of its eccentric but funny team of car specialists. The production staff also knew that some viewers might be turned off by the use of heavy car language, so made sure that Mark’s team explained each step of the process, so more people could easily follow what was happening, especially those who didn’t speak the lingo. It premiered on 14 September 2018, and finished airing its fourth season on 27 July 2022.

Main cast members

Along with Gotham Garage owner, Mark Towle, the other main cast members of the “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” were Shawn Pilot as the Deal Maker; Tony Quinones as the garage’s Master Machinist and Fabricator; Michael Pyle as the resident mechanic, who also went by the name “Caveman;” and Constance Nunes, the only woman in the team who was their Engine Specialist.

The premise of the TV series

When the first season started, the crew had just expanded to a second garage after a very successful year – they traded two vehicles for $170,000, and pooled their money to expand their business. To complete their project, they flipped cars left and right, knowing that what they were doing was a huge gamble, but the word ‘quit’ wasn’t in their vocabulary. They showed so much confidence in their skills as indicated in the show’s opening spiels: ‘Here at Gotham Garage, we upgrade and trade, turning thousand-dollar rust buckets into six-figure works of art in a few greasy steps.’


The ultimate goal: Turn $1,000 into $100,000

One of the main reasons why “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” was uniquely different from other car shows was that it didn’t focus solely on transforming or constructing one car. Mark’s crew would enter into a series of car trades no matter how challenging, to ensure that they got the biggest payday that they could have from a particular project. In Gotham Garage, the deal maker, Shawn, who was keen on finding good deals on automobiles, would formulate a plan, complete with a giant board and pins, on how to achieve their ultimate goal.

An example of how they did business at Gotham Garage

They started with an ugly 1953 four-door rusty but classic Buick car, which was their trade-up car. Shawn found a buyer for it if they could restore it and give it a modern makeover with a little muscle. Mark wanted to blow the client’s expectations away so they could quickly achieve their goals; instead of just adding a bit of muscle to the car, they made it a Gotham Garage sleeper. It meant that the car would look deceptively simple on the outside, but hidden under the hood was an upgraded motor surrounded by high-performance racing parts that would make it fast and mean. It would sell for up to $30,000, which meant that they could trade the upgraded car to get a 1971 Chevy Blazer with a fully removable hard top. After they transformed it inside and out, the Chevy could sell for $60,000. With that amount on hand, it would lead them to the crown jewel, which was a replica of an iconic 1959 Corvette Stingray concept car. After they did their magic on it, the deal maker would sell it for around $120,000.

Get to know Mark Towle

Most viewers of “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” thought that Mark Towle had an easy life growing up, since he was quite used to high-end classic cars in the reality-TV show. Little did they know that he through hardships in life, but was able to reach his goal due to hard work.

Humble beginnings

The TV personality was born on 13 November 1962, in California, and he along with his three siblings was raised singlehandedly by their mother. They weren’t financially well off, and he had to sacrifice a lot so they could survive. From the get-go, Mark already knew that he needed to be resourceful and creative to give his family some financial stability. Having been part of a working-class family had taught him the value of hard work – he did odd jobs until he landed one that he loved at a local body shop at the age of 16. With all the cars that he has in his personal collection today, it was unbelievable that he only had his first car when he was able to save up, at the age of 18.


Dumpster diving and fixing what was broken

At a young age, Mark was into dumpster diving with his best friend to acquire broken toys and gadgets. To other people, these objects seemed to be unfixable, but he realized that he had a knack for figuring out problems so they would work again. Through the years, he would continue to challenge himself by taking on various projects, although he had no idea that it was his training ground for something huge and profitable in the future.

The establishment of Gotham Garage

Eventually, in 1998 at the age of 36, he opened up his own car shop and called it Gotham Garage. By then, he was a known studio props creator and supplier for TV and movie productions. His crew usually preferred working on gasoline cars, which was the meaning of G in Gotham. Mark was oftentimes at odds with electric-based engines, so he would leave them with Tony. His second garage was acquired to accommodate more car builds, and to give more room for his crew to work. One of the reasons he found success aside from his high-quality builds was due to his reputation for accepting restoration work that other auto shops wouldn’t dare to touch. It didn’t matter how long the classic car was left sitting in the garage, yard or barn, as he would always figure out a way to make it running and valuable.

His personal car collection

Not much was known about Mark’s car collection, so people could only speculate on how huge it was, considering his passion for cars and his line of work. What his fans knew, however, was that most of the cars that he owned were made by Ford. His first car was a Ford Pinto, and he rarely strayed from its maker, since he could afford to buy more such as Mustangs and Ford Falcons. He was known to be vocal in relishing the fact that he had a Ford Shelby GT350R in his garage, which they said was one of his favorites.

His eye-catching tattoos and his headgear

Fans of “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” knew that Mark had a deep affection for tattoos, and his right arm is covered with them, including an intricately designed spider’s web and a gothic cross. He said that the markings boosted his creativity, that he felt more connected to his work by sporting such designs on his flesh.

Aside from the colorful markings, he also regularly wore headgear in public such as a black beanie or a black headband, and people were curious as to the reason for it. Those close to him said that it might have something to do with his receding hairline, and some fans thought the same thing, as they added that it didn’t present a great look for TV, so Mark had no choice but to cover his head. There was only one time when fans saw him without it, and that was in an Instagram photo he posted with his rumored girlfriend.

A legal battle with Warner Bros due to the Batmobile replica

Due to Mark’s creation of the Batmobile replicas that he sold for $90,000 a piece, in 2011 he was sued by DC Comics through its parent company, Warner Bros, for copyright infringement. The design was based on the original version created by George Barris that was used by Batman in the 1966 TV version, which starred Adam West. The case was then elevated to the Court of Appeals, and to Mark’s disappointment, the US District Court Judge Ronald Lew ruled ‘it is clear that the Batmobile is a copyrighted character.’ The case was supposed to be handed to the US Supreme Court, but the higher court didn’t want to hear the case, so Warner Bros won the legal battle. Mark was banned from creating replicas from materials or intellectual properties owned or made by DC Comics.

Mark’s highlights in “Car Masters: Rust to Riches”

Donating the 1960 Plymouth XNR concept car

During the first season finale, the team was not in sync when Mark suggested that the last car that they restored would be donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum. Shawn and Constance agreed to it, but Tony and Caveman were reluctant as they were expecting a huge payout. It was understandable because of the hardships that they went through, just to create a replica of the 1960 Plymouth XNR concept car; they felt it was a giant step back for them financially.


Mark recalled that when he donated a cherished car that he’d restored to the same museum, he said, ‘It put him me on a road to where I am standing right now.’ He believed that whatever the Mach 5 car did for him, it would do the same thing for Gotham Garage. He further told them that if they didn’t put the Plymouth there, it would become one of those moments in their lives that they would look back on with regret. The two reluctant crew members said that they understood, and eventually agreed to donate the car. However, they also had to face the reality that they needed the money, so Mark said that he would carry the burden by tapping the garage’s cash reserves, and asked Shawn to do his thing so they would have enough to get by until they found their next big project.

Going back to Gotham Garage basics with a 1940 Woody Station Wagon

Mark’s crew hit disaster with an El Camino project, which they believed was a simple cash deal. Apparently, they were working on high-profile car builds which didn’t work out, since Mark’s original goal was to construct them based on his own vision, but which unfortunately didn’t match the clients’ expectations. It appeared that the clients wanted specific details that would take months to complete. The crew recalibrated their goals, as they needed to do something fast so they wouldn’t be cash-strapped. They then went back to doing what they always wanted to do – the regular Gotham Garage-styled cars.

Shawn told them not to make over-the-top designs that would be hard to sell, since most of his clients at that time wanted something near to the classic car’s original design. Mark vetoed it and went all out, because he believed that someone would take it, but Shawn was right, as only one guy was interested in it, who offered cash and cars in exchange for the upgraded 1940 Woody Station Wagon. They didn’t get a solid cash deal with six figures, but took home $85,000 along with three rusty classic cars. It was the biggest trade they’d made, and Mark was quite happy with the result, especially since he took home another car as a bonus to the deal.

A seal of approval from Jason Oppenheim

The “Car Masters: Rust to Riches” sixth episode in the fourth season showed Mark and Shawn having a meeting with a high-profile client, Jason Oppenheim of the reality-TV show, “Selling Sunset.” He is the owner of Oppenheim Group, the most successful real estate firm in Los Angeles. Shawn knew that Jason was the perfect client for Mark, who wanted people with deep pockets who were willing to pay for his vision. Jason saw the concept car that Mark built a year before, and liked it. He ordered an old muscle classic car, but upgraded with modern technology along with a sporty and sophisticated look filled with custom designs. The great thing about it was that Jason didn’t want to babysit the project, which was what Mark preferred. After meticulously building the car, Jason received a restored and upgraded shiny blue Chevy Corvette Mako Shark 2. The satisfied client proudly showed his real estate agents his new toy, and so Gotham Garage took home a six-figure payout with high-end clientele exposure.


What’s up with Mark Towle’s personal life?

Mark Towle might have been part of the Hollywood scene in front or behind the camera for some time now, but no one seemed to know much about him. He was very keen on guarding his personal life, and it was evident that in most of his interviews, as he rarely shared anything about his love life and family. As per Mark’s Gotham Garage Instagram account, the only woman except for his co-star Constance Nunes who appeared more than once was Kandance Nilos, a woman sporting a large tattoo on her left arm. Naturally, fans were curious about her, and believed that they shared something special.

According to Kandance’s Facebook account, she finished high school at Birmingham Senior High, and then graduated from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She also earned a master’s degree in Accounting from the California Baptist School in April 2017. She started using a photo of herself with Mark as her profile picture on her Facebook page on 4 June 2019. Twenty days later, Mark uploaded a photo of them together onto Instagram in formal wear, with the captions #wecleanupgood, #GothamGarage, and #MarkTowle. She would often interchange her profile picture with a girl presumably a daughter, and then with Mark again and only changed it to a solo picture of herself before 2021 ended. Her status indicated that she was engaged, and it hadn’t changed since then.

Media people and fans assumed that Kandance was Mark’s girlfriend, but he never shared stories about her. The only time the fans confirmed that the two had something going on was from the comments on some of the rare Facebook posts that were shared publicly from her account. In November 2020, she changed her cover photo with an image of her lawn decorated with Christmas lights, and a friend of hers left a comment saying it was beautiful. She replied, ‘Nowhere near done yet but that was all I had last night. Mark can do the rest! Lol.’ Around six months before that post, she uploaded a photo of herself and Mark as her new photo profile. He left a comment, ‘All ways the love of my life!’ and she replied, ‘That is just because I am a damn good cook .’

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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