Super Genius’ car rescue TV reality series bows Aug. 1

Super Genius’s all-Chicago produced reality series, “Garage Squad,” devoted to helping gearheads restore their cherished vintage vehicles, will premiere Friday, Aug. 1, on Velocity, a supercharged Discovery Channel entirely devoted to all things automotive.

Velocity deems “Garage Squad” so good that it’s part of Velocity’s current Dream Car Week’s 14 hours of programming focusing on the most unique, beautiful and exotic vehicles.

The half-hour, 10-episode series was developed and produced at Velocity’s request by eight-year old Super Genius, a hybrid advertising/entertainment shop.

The partners, co-managers Bill Connell and Mat Burnett – EPs on the series — and ECD Craig Motlong are former long-time Leo Burnett executives.

“We’ve had a relationship with Velocity for several years, when we turned a turned a brand initiative into a series, called ‘One of a Kind’ for the network.  It’s about the early design and production of custom cars,” Connell says. 

Before that, he adds, he and his partners had no serious interest in cars beyond driving them.  Now they’ve joined the ranks of millions of classic car enthusiasts. 

Craig Motlong, Mat Burnett and Bill Connell“Garage Squad” is the first car “rescue” show of its kind, Connell notes, “in that our team of auto experts come to the car owners’ garages and help in getting their classic cars back on the road.”

Finding owners of classic cars in need of rescue was not difficult, notes Connell, as referrals popped up all over the place.  Even the company banker had a 1970s Trans-Am sitting in his garage. 

“Cars are representative of cars and place.  Men love memories of what these cars evoke. Their stories are a key part of the show,” Connell says.

First episode restores classic 60’s Fords

The series was directed by co-EP Ted Lega of Bow + Arrow, who Super Genius considers to be a long-time part of their team. Heading the camera crew was DP Fred Miller, shooting on locations throughout the city’s south and northwest sides, Downers Grove, Arlington Heights and Joliet. 

In the premiere episode, “Garage Squad” tackles two iconic 1960s Fords that have languished in the garage of the Chris Flood family of Lemont for many years.  Father Chris Food owns a ‘63 Galaxie and son Greg a ’66 Mustang.

The Mustang hasn’t been touched since the steering wheel came off in Greg Flood’s hands a decade ago.

Enter the “Garage Squad:” lead mechanic Joe Zolper and his Squad mates, Cy Kellogg, Ron Gregurich and Scotty Ericson – all from the Joliet area.   With two iconic, potentially remarkable cars dissembled and on blocks, the Garage Squad goes to work.

Two knowledgeable car authorities, Bruno Massel and Lauren Bohlander, co-host the show.  Massel of the south suburbs was “a happy accident of casting” says Donnell, “as he is known to aficionados of his ‘Truck You’ show,”

Indiana-based Bohlander is also a well known TV show host, reporter, actress and the wife of Brazilian Indy 500 race car winner Tony Kanaan.

The “Garage Squad” series was the first editing assignment for Bridges Media’s new 11 Dollar Bill post division, headed by Clark Jackson, a former partner of Lega in Protein Editorial.

Super Genius describes itself as operating in the "space between" traditional marketing 
tactics. Indeed. Their office is virtual. Although
most of their team is in Chicago they
work remotely with specialists and
clients throughout the world. McDonald's USA,
Discovery Communications,
Nielsen, Nike, Alpine Investors among their clients.