Inside the heart and mind of American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe

From Aerosmith’s original touring van, to The Michigan Madman’s motorcycles, to barn-find DeLoreans, American Pickers star Mike Wolfe has seen more than his share of historic vehicles and artifacts through the years. And he says he has us to thank for giving him the opportunity to do what he loves—us, as in everyone who watches the show on the History Channel, or has shared a lead with Wolfe and his co-star Frank Fritz, or buys something the two have found.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/02/07/inside-heart-and-mind-of-american-pickers-mike-wolfe

A good start… we could read 10x more on this guy and have a gallery 30+ different vehicles long of interesting things that have been on the show.

What does he keep personally? (i.e., not “flips” for the TV audience).

@pepperalls - I am always curious of that as well (what he owns personally that is)

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We’re from CA. A few years ago my wife and I were in Nashville and stopped by the store. It was closed because they were filming. Mike came out and invited us in, interrupting the filming session. The crew, including Frank, was not amused. Mike insisted on taking photos with him and Frank. He wanted to know what I collected and finding common interest in all things air cooled. He’s a great guy.

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Since the show often has “Best of” or “Bonus Scenes”, why not a update on the whereabouts of some of the cars they’ve purchased? I’d love to see what happened to that 1940 Lincoln Zephyr 3-window coupe!

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I’ve watched every episode. Back in the 1970s, I grew up working for a large scale antique dealer in Franklin, WI just south of Milwaukee. We mostly sold to dealers from the west coast. We were picking in Wisconsin and Chicago nearly every day. Interestingly, two of the guys Mike & Frank picked, I knew from the old days; Greg Filardo and Doctor Evermore (Tom Every). They got older as have I, but were recognizable to me. These guys sure pay up for stuff. It’s funny, ut a lot of the items I see in Antique stores today are for sale cheaper than we used to sell them for 45 years ago. The kids are not interested enough to keep values up.

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I really admire this show and how Mike and Frank treat each and every potential seller with respect. Besides the fascinating “stuff” they will find, I also always enjoy the interactions with the people they come in contact with.

It seems like all the other shows related to finding and flipping cars or antiques or (insert any other object here), the game is to squeeze the seller and maximize profit from the buyer. Not with this show. Pay a fair price, ask for a fair price that includes a modest markup for your time and ingenuity as a finders fee. Most of the time they are dealing with someone’s parents or grandparent’s collections and this is exactly how we all would want our relatives treated.

Prop’s to the show and here’s to many more years of freestylin’!

Dittos from me about Mike being a great guy… I mean who else have you ever met that will tell a seller they are a little “light” on the price and offer more.

Sure… I’m sure he and Frank are no longer “struggling” digging through trash cans… but its things like this that displays the true “fabric” of what he is made of.

American Pickers is one of my favorite shows along with Chasing Classic Cars. It is shows like those that keeps me from turning off the cable.

All good guy discussions aside, I am amazed sometimes at the lack of knowledge Mike and Frank possess about the cars they are buying. Frank bought a split window and never questioned what horsepower engine the car had or even if it was the original engine. He just said it had the 327 engine because the air cleaner said it did!

Well, in fact, he never even confirmed it was really a 327! It could have been a 307.

That may be nitpicking but there have been lots of examples I have seen. If I had bought cars the way they do some of them, I would be broke today.

I remember Frank desperately trying to buy that split window, but his ridiculous lowballs were all rejected. He does have a terrible feel for cars and should stick to old motorcycle tin toys and oil cans.

Exactly! I remember a '56 Chevrolet 210 2-door sedan he had bought. It was a very average car in a not particularly desirable body style and he thought that car was gold. To him, he thought it was on the same plane with a Nomad or a Bel Air convertible.

I realize they are on time constraints but the way they seem to buy cars is a sure invitation to get burned. I had a friend who was selling a 1956 Corvette, black with silver coves and red interior. It was a 3-speed straight drive. It was a beautifully restored car but its main attraction was that it was one of only 111 of the 2x4 265 CI engine with the Duntov high-lift camshaft. It was the real deal. He had bought the car from the original owner in 1975 and had all the paperwork confirming the engine.

He advertised the car on the internet. He immediately received a call from a prospective buyer who said he was a player if the car was the real deal all over, meaning all original parts. My friend assured him this car had had very little repairs or replacements in its lifetime and original parts were rebuilt when possible. The car had 40 some thousand original miles on it.

The prospect said he was traveling several hundred miles to see this car. He would be pulling an enclosed trailer for the car and cash money for its purchase BUT he would require a full day to fully inspect every square inch of the car, including the underside. My friend felt confident in the car’s originality.

The man arrived early one morning. He put coveralls on upon his arrival and began an EIGHT-HOUR inspection. He laid under the car as much as he was on top of it. After he finished, he got up and told my friend it was the real deal and he was highly impressed. He looked over all the paperwork my friend had and presented him with the cash and began loading the car in his trailer for its journey to its new home.

Frank, THAT is the way you buy a Corvette.

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