Newton mechanic David Long's aura may be amplified with a little bit of TV magic as he prepares to make his small screen debut this week on FYI's (Cox channel 256) new show, "Car Issues," which will premiere at 9 p.m. on June 8.
With the launch of the show, the "car wizard" — a title bestowed on Long by series host and Wichita businessman Tyler Hoover — may gain a national audience.
"That's a name that Tyler gave me. There in the first couple of years (working with him), he would bring me BMWs or things that other shops said, 'yeah, I can't fix that,' and I would be able to fix it. One day, he just kind of came up and was like, 'wow, you're a wizard,'" Long said. "Once the idea of a reality show came out, he said, 'well, you're gonna be the car wizard.'"
Using the moniker himself on a YouTube channel he runs, Long will now have his brand of automotive magic and 18 years of experience as a mechanic put on full display in "Car Issues."
Long has known Hoover and worked on his cars for about a decade now. When Hoover's connections led him to talks with some producers based out of Burbank, California, it wasn't long before the "car wizard" got the call for his star turn.
"Car Issues" will follow Hoover as he searches for unique and interesting cars while trying to keep the price as low as possible. After Hoover has purchased and tested each car in various ways, the vehicles are taken to Long — the "car wizard" — for inspection. Following that, Long will rate Hoover's purchases based on the car's issues, costs to fix and purchase price — determining if the search was a waste or if it turned up a diamond in the rough.
While the searches took Hoover to Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado and other stops throughout the Midwest, the segments with Long were filmed at his former Omega Auto Clinic location in Halstead during initial filming from January to July 2018. Additional segments were also filmed this past month at his current location at 2015 W. First St. in Newton.
So far, Long hasn't seen much of the show ahead of its premiere, though he and Hoover are planning a watch party, but he did note some highlights among the cars he inspected for his segments. Over the last five years, Long's work at Omega Auto has focused mainly on exotic cars like Lamborghinis or Ferraris, so one of the cars from the first episode — an Audi S6 with a Lamborghini V10 engine — really caught his eye.
"I actually bought that car after this filming was done," Long said. "I had it for a while; it was a pretty cool car."
Learning how to be filmed was another interesting part of the process, Long said. He might have to do multiple shoots until the scene was just right — something he felt he and Hoover were getting pretty good at by the end of filming. Shoots for each of the "car wizard" segments could last anywhere from two to three hours to all day.
Now, Long is waiting like everyone else for the show's debut — something that will be of particular interest to other gear heads.
"It's kind of for car guys who are like me — who are constantly buying cars and flipping cars. They're really into cars." Long said. "They get to go along and experience it as if they're there — buying the car, dealing with the sale (and when) it breaks down and doesn't even make it back; it's kind of an adventure."
"Car Issues" will debut at 9 p.m. June 8 on A&E Network's FYI channel and air new episodes for 12 weeks. Long admitted he is also already excited for the potential second season and the boom in business he expects the show to bring for his shop in Newton.