The love of abandoned automotive gems is not lost on Vancouver Island brothers Matt and Steve Sager.
The Mill Bay-based pair embark on adventures with their team to locate lost cars and restore them to back to their prime in Lost Car Rescue.
The six-part series originally aired in 2022, and was nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Factual Series, and it’s back with a second season which aired on The History Channel and STACKTV on April 19 at 10 p.m.
How did it all start? When one door closes, another always opens.
A change in their work environment led the Sager brothers to follow their hearts and hunches on the hunt for classic cars. In their younger days they would venture up north with their dad, spotting treasure along the way. After taking their hobby to the next level, it was suggested by a close friend that they show the world what they do.
“I hired an amateur film crew,” Matt says. “After filming it we distributed it to several companies and ultimately landed with Canadian production company Proper Television out of Toronto and they took us all the way to History, and now we’re a show.”
The first steps of the journey began pre-COVID and Matt said it was important to him to be able to show a true visual representation of what he and his crack team do.
“We were really concerned that it wouldn’t look as real as it is,” says Matt. “Proper was the right fit for that, and they really do a good job of capturing the moments that we have.”
While Matt’s addiction and thrill for the hunt for extremely rare cars across remote parts of North America may lead the charge, every member of his team is invaluable. Younger brother Steve is a mechanical maven who has been tinkering with cars since he was 14. Specializing in engine and power-train work, he has the magic touch to get even the most fossilized vehicles started, which he accredits to time spent in his dad’s shop as a kid.
“It’s great being able to get my hands on all types of different cars from different years,” said Steve. “It’s a great excuse to go everywhere and see what people have in their backyards. I love the discovery part of it.”
Jessica James, the show’s pilot and longtime family friend takes the team soaring through the sky in a 1948 Stinson plane to scour the ground for their next diamond in the rough. Rounding off the crew is the show’s auto body expert David Mischuk, and crane operator Lee Brandt.
“Dave, I’ve known forever. So it was a natural to have someone of an older generation join us,” says Matt. “Lee was a no-brainer. We needed a new crane which we bought off Lee, and I always say I got him with it.”
Adding it to their fleet of speciality vehicles, which include a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon and 1988 Freight-liner, Lee came on board as crane operator after the sale was complete. They embarked on a 3,000-kilometre journey for the second season to Rainy River in northwestern Ontario, where infamous mobster Al Capone is said to have ties. Here they search for antique Canadian cars and alleged mobster cars, including an iconic 20th-century vehicle from the oil boom that Capone allegedly once owned.
Both brothers agree that their coolest find to date was a Cord that was manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 to 1932, and again in 1936 and 1937. This rare ride was made popular by legends such as Howard Hughes.
“I’m super passionate about weird looking cars, and the Cord sums it up for one of the most unique looking cars,” Matt says. “To get in front of one and find one is pretty rare. It’s the stories and being so close to that artistic history of the auto industry that really gets me excited, because it is something that is lost in today’s vehicles.”