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.
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.