Martin Bros Customs Rise in ‘Iron Resurrection’

Update: We’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails offering us vehicles to restore. To be clear, Gear Diary is not the company doing the restorations, and we can not forward your requests to Martin Brothers. Thank you for your understanding. 🙂

Attention custom car and bike fans out there: a new show is coming to the Velocity channel April 13, and it features a new shop with a familiar name. Joe Martin, of Martin Bros Bikes fame, has opened Martin Bros Customs in the Texas Hill Country, and they are about to be featured on a new series called ‘Iron Resurrection.’

Martin Bros Customs Rise in 'Iron Resurrection'

Iron Resurrection premieres on Velocity April 13/Image courtesy Velocity

Joe Martin got his artistic start in middle school in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto as he drew everything from Conan the Barbarian to cars to parent signatures on progress reports for classmates. He moved on to painting helmets, skateboards, and bicycles and eventually found himself working at an aftermarket accessory store. There he learned the mechanics of vehicles, and his co-workers learned of his talents as they gave him side work doing custom paintwork on their rides. He got so much work that he found himself taking a leap of faith and venturing off on his own doing custom work he was getting by word of mouth.

Soon Joe realized he had to expand his operation from the back of his little pickup truck, and he found a house with a large shop out back where he could handle the workload that was coming in. It was about this time he also brought younger brother Jason into the operation, and Martin Bros Bikes was born. While Joe loved working on cars, he realized motorcycles were much easier and faster to work on and his clients never haggled about price.

Martin Bros Customs Rise in 'Iron Resurrection'

Archive image of Joe welding on a bike that won World Biker Buildoff/Image by David Goodspeed

His work was soon getting national attention as they won some EZ Rider shows that rolled through town, which led to features in the magazine. This was getting into the late-90s/early 2000s and the custom chopper craze was blowing up. Newfound fame led to the expansion of Martin Bros Bikes, and eventually building custom exhaust pipes and offering other aftermarket accessories including custom wheels. About the same time, the Martin brothers got the attention of a couple of producers for the Discovery Channel.

Within a two-week period, Joe and Jason Martin were fielding calls to be featured on two new shows on the Discovery Channel – Biker Buildoff and World Biker Buildoff. Getting the OK to do both, the pair enlisted the help of some friends as their little shop south of Dallas built some of the wildest custom bikes the TV audience had ever seen. Despite losing the first TV series competition, they won every contest after that.

Martin Bros Customs Rise in 'Iron Resurrection'

Martin Bros Customs crew that worked on the 1962 Chevrolet pickup/Image courtesy Amanda Martin

Following more than a decade of success, 2008 hit and the aftermarket took a big downturn. Disposable income was drying up, and Joe was forced to do some soul-searching as he downsized his operation and his crew. But he says this was a welcomed time, as it forced him to refocus his priorities; he got back to doing individual custom work as he went from the limelight back into the workshop. Over the next few years a seed was planted in his head that he needed to relocate, and what better place than the Texas Hill Country where he loved to go on road trips?

Joe and his new bride Amanda found themselves in the town of Dripping Springs, Texas, just west of Austin where everything is meant to stay weird but is a hub of culture in the Lone Star State. He already had a base of friends in the greater Austin area and coincidentally another top customizer, Jesse James, had relocated to that same area as well. Joe did a little work with Jesse as he began building up his own business there. And then his former Discovery Channel producer, who was now working with Velocity, came calling. “Do you guys build cars?”

Cars, bikes, boats, trucks…Joe has built and customized them all, and thus Martin Bros Customs was born. Trouble is, now he needed a new shop large enough to handle the workload – and he needed projects. Enter the spouse, Amanda, and old friend Jayson “Shag” Arrington. As Joe built a new shop just outside city limits, Amanda and Shag scoured the Texas Hill Country for old classics that needed new life. Those vehicles saved from the automotive graveyard are taken back to the shop where Joe and his crew (Mike Z, Shorty, Pompa, Manny V, Dirty Grande, Jason, and Cato) go to work on breathing new life into these old iron hulls.

Martin Bros Customs Rise in 'Iron Resurrection'

Some of the custom detail paint work by Joe Martin/Image by David Goodspeed

When asked if he considers himself an artist, Joe humbly hesitated at first, and then described himself as if he was reading the Webster’s Dictionary definition of an artist without actually calling himself that. To everyone who has seen his work, however, the artistry is obvious. One look around the “gallery” that is his new shop, and you see the proof of his work in the iron canvasses occupying nearly every square foot of every bay. When questioned if he had a favorite vehicle he listed nearly every car designed by the late Harley Earl, legendary GM designer, who gave the world classic Caddys – and the Corvette.

Joe says he is not just going to do “popular” cars but some of the ugly ducklings from over the years as well; he wants to give every old piece of iron a second chance. “I want the viewers to see something different,” Martin said. “I want to showcase the passion we have for building these custom creations, and maybe in the process, we can inspire someone at home to get up off their butts and work on their old vehicle that’s been sitting in the garage or barn for years.”

Martin Bros Customs Rise in 'Iron Resurrection'

Joe getting ready to head home in the star of Episode 1, the custom 1962 Chevy pickup/Image courtesy Amanda Martin

Six episodes will air on Wednesday nights beginning April 13 at 10 PM ET/PT. Some of the classic iron to be featured includes a 1962 Chevrolet pickup, 1964 Cadillac convertible, 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon, 1973 Pontiac Firebird, and a handful of others that includes some custom bikes. Prepare ye the way…for Iron Resurrection.

Update: We’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails offering us vehicles to restore. To be clear, Gear Diary is not the company doing the restorations, and we can not forward your requests to Martin Brothers. Thank you for your understanding. 🙂

About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.
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  • Tom Kilcullen

    God really knew what he was doin when the seed of Joe Martin was planted.when you can be carasmatic with metal you show the true meaning of yourself. God bless you and your family Joe. Smile when you can and shed a tear when you must.As ever just Tom ?

  • Mike

    The cast of iron res is the greatest that I can remember.The chemistry in the shop is wonderful.They make me want to jump in the car and go hangout with them and share my life.I would love to have them as close friends.They are all very nice people.Their mutual admiration of each other makes for a great program to experience every episode!

  • Jessica Branch

    love the show , can’t wait to watch it tonight