Paul Teutul Jr. hadn't spoken with his father, Paul Sr., for about a decade. But when the opportunity presented itself for the pair to join forces again to restore a special bike they had once built together, it was too good to pass up.The two stars of Discovery Channel's "American
Paul Teutul Jr. hadn't spoken with his father, Paul Sr., for about a decade. But when the opportunity presented itself for the pair to join forces again to restore a special bike they had once built together, it was too good to pass up.
The two stars of Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" will unveil the Yankees-themed chopper on Monday night's episode (10 p.m. ET), aptly titled, "Yanks for the Memories."
The unveiling was taped recently at the MLB Network studios, where the father-son duo was joined by Kevin Millar, Chris Rose, Harold Reynolds, Eric Byrnes and Sean Casey for the big reveal.
The bike was originally built by the Teutuls in 2005 at the request of Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and his wife, Laura, who planned to auction it off at their foundation's annual fundraising event. After completing the project, Paul Sr. wound up buying the bike at the auction to support Posada and his foundation.
"He had it for about 12 years and sold it," Paul Jr. said. "Whoever bought it, my suspicion is, somewhere along the line, someone intentionally destroyed it for -- and this is speculative -- maybe insurance money.
"Me and my father were just starting to talk a little bit after 10 years of being at odds, and I was looking for a project to do with him. This guy calls up and says, 'I got this Yankees bike from a salvage auction, and I want you to build parts for the bike.' I ended up making a deal with him to buy the bike with the idea in mind that it would be a great project for me and my father."
The two worked on the bike for about six months, restoring and refurbishing it while making some changes to modernize it. More importantly, the project served as a path for the father and son to move past their differences and re-establish a relationship.
"We really hadn't spoken much in probably 10 years," Paul Sr. said. "We were doing [Season 11] and they suggested that we work on this bike together. Our relationship started to grow a little bit from there; we're both a little bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser. We continued to work on it, and we both realized that life is moving on and it's too short. We're probably better together than apart."
Season 11's eight-episode run has featured the two men -- who each run their own successful businesses -- building bikes for their respective clients, weaved with the restoration of the Yankees bike.
The Yankees bike had been mostly blue and silver in its original form, but Paul Jr. decided to give the updated version a distinct look.
"We made the creative decision to put all new sheet metal on because it was destroyed," Paul Jr. said. "A lot of the parts on the bike are original to give it a nostalgic feel, but because this bike has been such a big part of getting me and my father back together, I wanted to give it a home-team paint job. We put pinstripes on the frame and on the tank; we really made it feel like a Yankees home uniform."
As they neared completion of the project, the Teutuls brought it to an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of David Wells' perfect game, where a number of former Yankees including Wells, Joe Torre, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams and Willie Randolph all signed the bike. Williams even made a visit to Paul Jr.'s shop to help put the finishing touches on the bike.
The Teutuls brought the bike to MLB Network's Studio 42 for the big unveiling, which was well received by everyone in attendance.
"I'm not a huge bike guy, but Kevin is," Rose said. "For me, when they took the drape off of that thing, I was like, 'Holy smokes!' I can't believe that people could build something like that."
Millar could hardly contain himself after getting a glance at the massive machine.
"The bike itself is the coolest thing you're going to see; the detail, it's like a Yankee uniform on metal," Millar said. "Even for a Red Sox guy -- and we've had some massive rivalries and fights on the field -- when you see the motorcycle version, the chopper version of awesomeness, I'm in. It almost made me a Yankees fan."
It was easy for Millar to marvel at the bike, but Reynolds -- who has never ridden a motorcycle in his life -- was also in awe after seeing it for the first time.
"I'm not a motorcycle guy, but it's easy to appreciate greatness," Reynolds said. "The first time I saw it, it was unbelievable. The detail, it's like when you walk into an art gallery and you think, 'This isn't my kid's painting.' It's next level."
Baseball has bonded fathers and sons for generations. In a roundabout way, the sport helped bring the Teutuls back together after nearly a decade apart.
"I never really thought of it that way," Paul Sr. said. "I guess that's true."
"I thought the coolest part was Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. talking about how it rekindled their love for one another and their relationship," Rose said. "Call me a sap; I don't care what it is that brings families together, that's pretty cool."
Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com.