What happened to David Grainger from ‘Restoration Garage’?

April 18, 2024
9 mins read

There’s surely no shortage of car-flipping shows nowadays on TV, but very few of them stand out for actually giving its audience lots of interesting car content without drama or uninteresting plots. Those are some of the reasons why people have been loving “Restoration Garage” for years, but what really makes the show especial is its host David Grainger, one of the most renowned car experts in the world, not only for his construction and restoration skills, but also for leading impressive and history-making automotive projects throughout his career.

That being said, it’s been a while since we last knew about David, leading us to wonder whatever has been going on with him and “Restoration Garage”, whether he’ll keep hosting the show, or if he’s moved on to other projects.

So where is David Grainger now? Stay here to know what the automotive expert is doing these days, his career and a lot more.

What’s Up With Him Now?

The international popularity achieved by “Restoration Garage” is impressive to say the least, but David Grainger hasn’t let his celebrity status go to his head. A very reserved man, David’s not much of a fan of social media, so it doesn’t offer much of an insight regarding his everyday life or his future endeavors, which only becomes worrisome considering his show has been away from TV screens ever since wrapping up its eighth season in mid-2022.

Nevertheless, it’s for sure that David is still active and working in his Ontario-based business The Guild of Automotive Restorers, as seen in the shop’s highly popular social media accounts, on which videos and quick posts detailing their current projects are often updated.

Although not much is known about David’s current personal life, many show viewers have pointed out how David’s most recent long-haired hairstyle is a big change from his old self, but will he be sporting a new hairstyle once “Restoration Garage” returns to TV? That’s something that is yet to be seen, but the most important thing is to know David is doing as well as ever.

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How Long Has Been His Show Around?

“Restoration Garage” gained the hearts of motorheads and classic car fans all around the world from its premiere in 2013. Also known by its alternative name “Guild Garage”, David and his skilled team of mechanics, builders and metal workers have successfully put The Guild of Automotive Restorers on the radar of international fans by making the show one to remember thanks to its entertaining format and lack of unnecessary drama.

Regarding the show’s return to TV, “Restoration Garage”’s Facebook page announced in August 2022 that filming for the ninth season was coming along, only a couple of months after the previous season wrapped up its airings. Nonetheless, while to date there’s no clear premiere date for the show, new episodes are surely coming sooner than later.

It’s unknown what other surprises the new season will bring, as the show usually films in real time, and nothing staged or scripted happens in it, according to David: ‘We’re shot as a documentary with the scripts happening after the fact, as the show just follows me on my adventures’, he told Dolce Mag in 2019. That being said, we can’t wait to see David’s comeback to TV.

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Who Is David Grainger?

While David r became known all around the world for his TV show “Restoration Garage”, the man is certainly someone with too many interests which go well beyond cars. As surprising as it gets, David’s beginnings in the creative field go back to the 1970s, when he was a columnist for several Ontario-based papers.

Having studied arts in the alternative-educational institution Rochdale College, David’s illustrating and writing talents were strongly inclined to the environmental field. Besides having his art exposed in several galleries since his early career, in 1978 David released his first book, an endangered-wildlife illustrated chronicle entitled “Animals In Peril”, which sold over 40,000 copies in just Canada and the US.

David’s appreciation for animals doesn’t come out of nowhere though. Having worked in zoos and even started his own endangered birds’ sanctuary, he was deeply committed to caring for the environment, and was a self-described activist, though different from others even in that regard: ‘I never called myself a hippie. I have rebellious thoughts, but don’t see myself that way. I’m just not easy to drop into any one hole’, he told Dolce Mag in 2019.

Eventually David became a special effects specialist for TV, but his creative journey wasn’t over yet.

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Starting His Business

Despite having considerable success as a naturalist artist, the truth is that David wasn’t doing that well when it comes to matters finance. In the search of a car which could take him safely through his nature trips, David bought a 1960 Land Rover for a very low price and learned several skills to bring it back to life when needed: ‘(it) was an educational experience because when you’re broken down in the woods, you’ve got to learn how to fix it. And that was my teething’, he told Hagerty.com in 2019.

David’s creative background served him well when it came to cars as well. Sooner than later, he was putting his hands on military vehicles up for restoration, splitting his time for the next years between that and his artistic endeavors.

While David’s experience as his own mechanic and doing restoration work was vast, it wasn’t until the 1990s that he turned this hobby into an actual business. As David said in the same Hagerty.com interview, his partner Janice was the one to come up with the idea of working on something which ‘somebody wants’, and then he just couldn’t stop there. David promptly had lots of clients requesting restorations, resulting in the foundation of The Guild of Automotive Restorers.

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The Bugatti Aerolithe Build

Despite being in the business for several decades, the restoration and rebuild of the Bugatti Aerolithe in the early 2010s really took David’s career and business to the next level.

Everything goes back to 1935, when the prototype for the Aerolithe was designed by Jean Bugatti. However, the concept car’s entire magnesium body wasn’t easily manufactured, resulting in the build of only one unit, which simply disappeared after a brief exhibition tour through Europe. Following the creation of the Aerolithe, only four similar-looking prototypes of the Type 57 Atlantic Coupes also saw the light of day, but production was limited due to lack of customers.

It wasn’t until Christopher Ohrstrom from World Monuments Fund bought an Atlantic prototype in the late 2000s, and commissioned David to restore it, on top of requesting a recreation of the Aerolithe from the ground, that the project came to be. With just photos and old illustrations to guide them, David and his team brought both projects to life, though it was the Aerolithe which took the main focus for its complicated Magnesium-only fabrication process.

Taking over five years of work and lots of money invested, in 2014 the world finally saw the Aerolithe again in its original crème de menthe color. The car was exhibited all around North America, obtaining huge praise from experts and winning several awards, on top earning David enough fame to be offered his own TV show right away.

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The Most Complex Restoration

Despite being a highly experienced restorer, that doesn’t stop David Grainger from facing certain degrees of difficulties when it comes to his job. Some projects are harder to finish, while others are tremendously difficult to even work on.

That being said, the hardest project ever undertaken by David is certainly the Bugatti Aerolithe he finished back in 2014, given the extensive times it took him and his team to even learn the right techniques to master the materials: ‘It was a just a T57 Bugatti driveline, but spending six months and God knows how much money on magnesium, learning how to form it, was challenging’, as he told Hagerty.com in 2019.

That being said, there’s another build which was extremely difficult in his books. We’re talking about the 1946 Alfa Romeo Pininfarina Cabriolet Speciale, a rebuild which took David’s team around six years to complete. The difficulty lay in the fact the car was ‘just a pile of rubble’ when he received it from Japan, where a car collector had found it stored in their basement.

Regardless of the countless work hours it took to finish the car, the Speciale’s historical value for being a rare pre-war roadster was more than worth it. David’s rebuild gained the People’s Choice and Best in Show at the 2017 Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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What Happened To David’s Writing Career?

Having made automotive restoration his main profession, there are many inevitable questions regarding the fate of David Grainger’s writing career, whether he’s still writing these days.

As it happens, in the 1980s David put his main focus on his job as a special effects technician for TV, a profession which eventually landed him in the field of producing and scriptwriting. Back then, he also wrote his second book entitled “My Personal War on Parkinson’s”, published in 1985.

In recent years David has permanently contributed to online portals such as The Globe and Mail and National Post, with finance and car industry-related articles.

David hasn’t forgotten his beginnings as a wildlife writer and illustrator, though he isn’t necessarily pleased that his activism pieces turned out to be a reality: ‘I have no sense of satisfaction that what I was warning about with the environment back in the 1970s came true, as I would much rather have been wrong’, he told Dolce Mag.

While reverting to his activism writing seems unlikely for David, it’s for sure that he deeply appreciates where he comes from career-wise.

Works That David Doesn’t Want

After three decades of owning a car restoration business, David Grainger knows well which cars he wants in his garage, and which others shouldn’t even come close to his shop, unless they’re in the right condition.

The best examples of the latter are cars from the 1990s, and BMWs from between 1970 to the late 1980s. There’s a good reason for David for rejecting projects for restoration, and it’s the high difficulty at finding and wiring electronic parts for these cars, on top of the elevated costs these projects entail.

David’s not-so-positive opinion about restoring these cars come from his experience at The Guild of Automotive Restorers, where years ago they once tried bringing a 1986 BMW back to life, but faced lots of difficulties in acquiring pieces, leading them to manufacture the electronics themselves: ‘The thing was just beat. So what do you do? How do you restore something that’s full of computer chips? You don’t, you know? They’re just so complex’, he told Hagerty.com, admitting that for these kinds of cars, the trend and most effective solution wasn’t restoring, but right away building restomods.

Fortunately, David and his team actually take in restomods projects, so there’s still hope for the aforementioned cars.

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Lifestyle

While David Grainger is a busy man through and through, that doesn’t mean he can’t find time to occasionally indulge in his favorite hobbies.

Starting with his love for nature, David and his partner Janice Stone own a 35-acre farm located in the Ontario highlands, where they spend their free time just enjoying nature and the good things which come with it. They also own several animals, including horses, mules, donkeys and dogs.

Another of David’s favorite activities is piloting his two World War II airplanes, following his fascination for military related vehicles. Traveling and visiting unknown places is also one of the many favorite pastime activities of David, who describes his favorite destination so far as Southern France: ‘It’s a special place that is charming, beautiful and quiet, and life is much slower there; maybe Janice and I will end up there’, he told Dolce Mag in 2019.

Vintage Business & Other Endeavors

Besides his car restoration business, David owns online store David Charles Collections, which sells modern and vintage jewelry, including diamonds and other luxurious pieces.

When it comes to the entertainment world, David has some projects in mind for the future as well. As he told Dolce Mag in 2019, he was in the works of starting his own production company, which would also produce a new show “David Grainger on Wheels” among others.

Though it’s unclear if said company eventually saw the light of day, in 2020 David launched his YouTube channel and series “The Guild’s Classic Cars”, which offers fans of the Guild a more in-depth insight into the workings of David’s business, their current projects and exclusive interviews as well.

Hopefully, David Grainger will continue producing more car-focused projects for many years to come, whether it’s on TV or on his own, as his loyal audience and car enthusiasts all around the world would surely appreciate it.

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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