Paul Teutul Sr. is the founder of Orange County Choppers, a custom motorcycle manufacturer, and the star of the reality TV series American Chopper. He is known for his distinctive mustache, his fiery temper, and his creative bikes.
However, he has also faced many challenges in his personal and professional life, such as lawsuits, bankruptcy, family feuds, and health issues.
In this article, we will explore what happened to Paul Teutul Sr., the untold truth of his story, and the updates on the original cast of American Chopper.
Paul Teutul Sr.’s Career and Early Life
Paul Teutul Sr. was born in Yonkers on May 1, 1949. He fought in the Merchant Marine during the Vietnam War and was from Pearl River, New York. With a background in steelworking, he launched Orange County Ironworks in 1977.
In the late 1990s, he started manufacturing custom bikes as a hobby. First bike, “True Blue”, debuted at Daytona Biketoberfest after he created Orange County Choppers (OCC) in 1999. American Chopper, a Discovery Channel reality program, debuted in 2003. The episode explored OCC’s everyday operations and Paul Sr.’s problems with his sons, Paul Jr. and Mikey, who worked alongside him. He became a motorcycling celebrity after the show’s popularity. He also participated in Celebrity Apprentice, Orange County Choppers: American Made, and American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.
Throughout his career, Paul Sr. had several legal and financial issues. Former workers, business partners, and creditors sued him for breach of contract, fraud, nonpayment, and other concerns. He was also in odds with his son Paul Jr., who left OCC in 2009 and founded Paul Jr. Designs. A legal struggle ensued between father and son regarding OCC ownership of their names and pictures. Paul Sr. declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2018 because he owed over $1 million to creditors and had just $1.8 million in assets.
The Untold Truth of Paul Teutul Sr.
Paul Teutul Sr. had a tense relationship with his sons and colleagues behind the scenes. He was known for yelling, cursing, and firing individuals. His drug misuse and addiction harmed his conduct and health. He acknowledged to drinking and taking drugs as a youngster and struggling with alcoholism for much of his life. After his second divorce from Beth Dillon in 2009, he relapsed after 17 years clean. He claimed sobriety after rehab.
Paul Sr. struggled to reconcile with his sons, notably Paul Jr. He adored his boys but felt they had distinct personalities and visions. He praised Paul Jr.’s ability and accomplishments but felt misled and wounded by his departure from OCC. He attempted to fix their relationship, but communication and trust were difficult. He wished they might work together again but appreciated their freedom and choices.
Updates on the Original Cast of American Chopper
The original cast of American Chopper has gone through many changes and challenges since the show ended. Here are some updates on what they are doing now:
- Paul Teutul Jr.: He is still running his own company, Paul Jr. Designs, and building custom bikes for various clients. He is also married to Rachael Biester, whom he met on the set of American Chopper, and has a son named Hudson. He has appeared in several TV shows, such as Say Yes to the Dress, American Chopper: Shaq Bike, and American Chopper: The Last Ride. He has also written a book, The Build: Designing My Life of Choppers, Family, and Faith.
- Michael Teutul: He is still working as the webmaster and custodian of OCC, and also helps with marketing and public relations. He is also pursuing his passion for art and painting and has exhibited his works in various galleries. He has also appeared in some TV shows, such as Celebrity Family Feud, American Chopper: The Last Ride, and American Chopper: The Reunion. He has also struggled with alcoholism and depression and has gone to rehab several times.
- Vincent “Vinnie” DiMartino: He left OCC in 2007 and started his company, V-Force Customs, with Cody Connelly. He later sold his share of the company and opened another business, DiMartino Motorsports, which specializes in automotive and motorcycle repair and restoration. He is also married to Melissa DiMartino and has four children. He has appeared in some TV shows, such as American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, American Chopper: The Last Ride, and American Chopper: The Reunion.
- Rick Petko: He left OCC in 2012 and joined Paul Jr. Designs as a designer and fabricator. He later left Paul Jr. Designs and moved to Pennsylvania, where he opened his shop, RPD & Co., focusing on custom metalwork and fabrication. He is also married to Brittany Cockeram and has two daughters. He has appeared in some TV shows, such as American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, American Chopper: The Last Ride, and American Chopper: The Reunion.
- Cody Connelly: He left OCC in 2007 and joined V-Force Customs with Vinnie DiMartino. He later left V-Force Customs and worked for Paul Jr. Designs for a while. He then moved to Texas, where he worked as a welder and fabricator for a company called Jesse James Firearms Unlimited. He is also married to Kelly Connelly and has a son. He has appeared in some TV shows, such as American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, American Chopper: The Last Ride, and American Chopper: The Reunion.
- Mike Rowe: He was the original narrator of American Chopper from 2003 to 2007. He left the show to focus on his other projects, such as Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, and Somebody’s Gotta Do It. He is also the founder of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which promotes skilled trades and provides scholarships and grants to people who want to pursue careers in those fields. He is also a podcaster, author, and activist. He has appeared in some TV shows, such as Returning the Favor, Six Degrees with Mike Rowe, and After the Catch.
- Jason Pohl: He joined OCC in 2004 as a senior designer and graphic artist. He is still working for OCC and creating designs and concepts for the bikes. He is also married to Krystle Pohl and has two children. He has appeared in some TV shows, such as American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, American Chopper: The Last Ride, and American Chopper: The Reunion.
- Jim Pratt: He replaced Mike Rowe as the narrator of American Chopper from 2007 to 2012. He is still working as a voice actor and narrator for various TV shows, such as Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, and Deadliest Catch: Bloodline. He is also a musician and songwriter and has released several albums. He is also married and has two children.
The Future of the Show and Orange County Choppers
Despite several setbacks, the show and company are still going strong and looking ahead. Paul Sr. closed OCC Newburgh in 2020 and established OCC Road House & Museum in Florida. The new facility has a bike store, retail, museum, café, billiard hall, and music pavilion. Paul Sr. said he was pleased about the new chances and challenges and wanted to build a place for motorcycle aficionados and show lovers.
After a six-year absence, Discovery Channel brought the program back in 2018. In new episodes, Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. worked together again, as did several original cast members. The event also featured OCC and Paul Jr. Designs’ newest bikes and initiatives for customers and causes. The broadcast also discussed the Teutuls’ personal and professional struggles and how they overcame them. The concert honored OCC’s 20th anniversary and the Teutul family’s motorcycling heritage. Special visitors and surprises included a reunion with former OCC workers, an homage to Arlen Ness, a great bike builder, and mentor to Paul Sr., and Shaquille O’Neal, who commissioned a bespoke bike from Paul Jr. Fans may also expect future projects and partnerships from the show. Discovery+ users may view episodes online when the program airs on Discovery Channel.