The popularity of chief fabricator and designer in “American Chopper”, Paul Teutul Jr., had immensely increased in the world of reality television, after his iconic confrontation with his father, which led to him being fired from his job in front of millions of viewers. The ugly shouting match gave birth not only to several memes on social media, but also a spin-off series, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior,” as it chronicled a motorcycle-building battle between him and his father. The talented bike builder established his company called Paul Junior Designs, and made it one of the most influential chopper-style motorcycle manufacturers in the country. His company branched out into building electronic bicycles in 2021.
- 1 How did he start building motorcycles?
- 2 The reality-TV show, “American Chopper”
- 3 Built his own company – Paul Jr. Designs and PJD Studios
- 4 Popular PJD Bike Builds
- 5 Paul Jr. Designs partnered with Ruff Cycles for eBikes
- 6 Teutuls dysfunctional family
- 7 Paul Jr.’s Wife and Kid
- 8 Paul Jr. personal net worth
How did he start building motorcycles?
Most people think that being the eldest of Paul Teutul Sr., the renowned motorcycle builder, he had an easy path to success.
It was the other way around, as he was already working as an apprentice to his father’s steel company called Orange County Iron at the young age of 12. He worked odd jobs while learning more about welding from a vocational school, and through a training course run by the Board of Cooperative Education Services in New York.
Through the years, he earned his keep, proved his worth, and was later promoted to supervise the railing shop in his father’s business. The Teutuls shared a common passion for motorcycles, and after business hours, his father would ask for assistance in building a chopper-style motorbike. It started as a hobby, but in 1999 they launched the company they called Orange County Choppers, or OCC, and Paul Jr. received a 20% share of the business – he has a huge talent for designing themed motorcycles, and his father realized this from the get-go.
The reality-TV show, “American Chopper”
In the 2000’s, cable television started offering reality-TV shows, mostly primarily focused on professionals doing daily business transactions, and OCC was one of the first motorcycle manufacturing shops that had a TV series created just for them. “American Chopper” first aired a two-part pilot episode in the latter part of 2002, and with high TV ratings the night it was shown, Discovery Channel greenlighted 23 episodes to complete its first season. It premiered in March 2003, and it became one of the most-viewed shows on the cable network.
Going through their successful fifth year on TV in 2008, the show had drastic changes when Paul Junior was fired on national TV by his father, following a furious argument, one of the biggest fallouts seen on TV. Discovery Channel worked out a way so that Paul Jr. could continue to fulfill his contractual obligation to the network, working as an independent consultant, and mostly filmed without his father on the scene, eventually leaving the show after he finished his contract.
Built his own company – Paul Jr. Designs and PJD Studios
Paul waited for a year to complete the one-year covenant not to compete clause he signed with OCC, before he launched his own company in 2010 called Paul Jr. Designs, or PJD. Former OCC colleagues Vincent DiMartino and Cody Connelly worked with him for a while as mechanic/assembler along with Rachel Teutul, his wife, who served as the company’s Vice President, and Brian Baker as Operations Director. He also worked with outside contractors such as Brendon Thompson as fabricator and Nub Collard as painter/graphic artist. It didn’t take long for him to realize that his potential to do more as a fabricator and designer had been suppressed when in the toxic working environment of his father’s company. Without anyone continually hovering at his back, his business flourished, with clients pouring in not only from the US but also from other countries.
Due to the freedom Paul Jr. enjoyed in his own company, he was able to fully tap into his creativity and ingenuity.
He eventually branched out and put up another company called PJD Studios, which instead of focusing solely on motorcycles, offered artist-driven services including conceptual design, visual effects, 2D or 3D animation, CGI with live-action, and branding. They created stories brought to life with the help of the client’s vision, with Paul Jr.’s wife heading the company as the Director for Operations.
Popular PJD Bike Builds
With so much interest in the controversial issues between Paul Jr. and his father, Discovery Channel through the production company of Pilgrim Films & Television offered them starring roles in a spin-off series called “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.” Even if father and son weren’t seeing eye-to-eye, they both agreed since it would continue to make both their companies relevant. Aside from additional income from appearance fees, the TV exposure aided them as their marketing tool to promote their bike builds. Here are some of the popular PJD builds that were featured in the show:
Geico Bike – The first sponsored build
In 2009, Paul Jr. was commissioned by the Government Employees Insurance Company, or Geico to build a military-inspired bike as a tribute to the men and women in the US Armed Forces for their sacrifices at home and beyond. The company has a long relationship with the military, and PJD understood this connection. Paul Jr. incorporated five medallions to represent five branches of the military, with an infrared sensor for heat patterns. The bike was painted green with a GEICO lizard tail-shaped rear fender. It was unveiled in a Motley Crue concert during the Sturgis Rally, aired in October 2010.
The Cadillac Bike
Cadillac Marketing asked for a classic Cadillac-inspired masterpiece, which they auctioned-off, benefitting the Cure Duchene charity group. It was to raise funds and spread awareness of the progressive type of muscular dystrophy disease called Duchene.
🚨 Meet & Greet with @WhereIsPaulJr TODAY 12 -2 PM at @MRGRetail The Dean on Level 4 of the Arrivals & Departures Hall (post-security). PLUS see 4 of his bikes on display in the Terminal through August 15! 🏍️ pic.twitter.com/FLkyUW8dNx
— LaGuardia Terminal B (@terminalBLGA) July 19, 2021
The bike had black diamond paint incorporating the Cadillac V-Series insignia. The trunk badges and taillights design were inspired by a CTS sedan’s wide rear fender; it was featured in the season finale of the “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” in 2011.
After the separation of Paul Jr. from his father, the Anti-Venom Bike was the first build he had that fully showcased his talent under the PJD brand. Most of the bikes he designed and built were left in the showroom of Orange County Choppers. This bike build was significant, as it symbolized his freedom and his new outlook on life. He said in an interview ‘My father firing me seemed bad at the time, but it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. It was freeing.’ His love for the spider web design was shown here, and is like a brother to the Black Widow bike he designed, shown in the first two episodes aired in the original series of “American Chopper” back in 2003. The Anti-Venom became Paul Jr. Designs’ signature bike.
The Black Widow Bike
If there was one bike that promoted Paul Teutul Jr. to one of the most prominent figures in the motorcycle-building industry, it was the Black Widow Bike. It was also the reason that their show was one of the most-watched automotive reality-TV shows in cable history, as it was the first bike build they showed in the series. The spider web-inspired bike was a spectacular showpiece that never failed to attract attention when it was placed in a showroom full of other motorcycles. When Paul settled his lawsuit with his father, one of the things he demanded was the Black Widow Bike, and it was granted. It was quite funny and sad that when he went to fetch it from Orange County Choppers, his father made sure Paul had to go through the entire shop just to get it which he didn’t like, but endured all of it just to retrieve the bike. He had always dreamt of having the Black Widow and the Anti-Venom displayed side-to-side in PJD’s showroom.
World of Warcraft: The Horde Bike
While this specific bike wasn’t built in Teutul’s “American Chopper” franchise series, it needs to be included on Paul’s most popular builds list. In 2014, Blizzard Entertainment, maker of the popular MMORPG computer game called “World of Warcraft,” collaborated with Paul Jr. Designs to build two motorcycles: one was the Alliance-themed bike, and the other the Horde-themed bike. Blizzard fans would determine between the two which bike went into the game. Paul Jr. was realy ecstatic that he was given the chance to do it, because Blizzard gave him carte blanche when it came to the creative aspect of the design. He assembled two teams to work on the two bikes, and they finished the job in five week, Paul and his team incorporating all that symbolized the world of Warcraft with its native races including orcs, trolls, goblins and other fantasy characters. In the end, the Blizzard online community chose Team Horde.
Paul Jr. Designs partnered with Ruff Cycles for eBikes
Looking to expand his business in 2020, he reached out to Ruff Cycles, a German eBike lifestyle brand that took the international bike industry by storm, with its popular designs such as “Lil Buddy” and “The Ruffian.” Petar “Pero” Desnica, the founder and CEO of Ruff Cycles, agreed to the collaboration proposal, as most of the people at his company were fans of Paul Jr., and were proud that he chose their company. Paul was happy as he knew that it would be a great help in widening his market, saying ‘This project is a great opportunity for my designs to be available to the incredible fan base that has supported me for all these years.’ Paul acknowledged the fact that not everyone could easily ride motorcycles, but anybody could ride a bicycle.
They immediately went to work, Paul saying that his design for the first e-Bike collaboration was inspired by his Build-Off 2 competition with Gas Monkey Garage, OCC, and Jesse James, which he won in 2012.
FYI, our showroom will be closed Dec. 21 to Jan. 4. We hope everyone has a safe and peaceful holiday.
After the collaboration was announced to the public, and even without sharing any photo of the “PJD-E” Ruffian eBike, Ruffian Cycles already received many pre-orders, for the amount of $8,000. When it was first unveiled and released in March 2021, the European version of the eBike had a top speed up to 25 kilometers per hour, or around 15.5 miles per hour, because most Europeans didn’t seem to like that much speed; fans believed that the American version would be a bit faster, for the speed lunatics. The eBikes that they produced were the result of the ingenuity of German engineering, along with the unique creativity of the American designs that Paul Jr and his team provided.
Teutuls dysfunctional family
The Teutuls family drama had taken reality television to another level. Paul Sr.’s dysfunctional relationship with his children was an unexpected goldmine from an executive producer’s standpoint, but quite a sad scenario at the same time as many viewers were able to relate to for some reason.
Theirs was a typical story of a father who grew up with a serious problem with alcohol and drugs. In the early 2000’s, he was convinced by his wife to enter rehab, but couldn’t because it would mean having to leave his business for a lengthy period, which he felt was something he couldn’t afford. He would show up at work every single day, even if he had the flu or a broken arm. So instead of rehab, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA); it took him a while, but in January 2009 he was completely sober. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and his past mistakes made a lasting negative impression on his family, particularly his children.
Paul Jr. and his father
Paul Jr., being the eldest, has seen and experienced all of it, and eventually succumbed to drug addiction, but successfully entered rehab at a young age, and later developed a personal relationship with God, that helped him battle his way out of drug addiction completely. The flare-ups between father and son along with the lawsuits that they filed against each other were a direct result of his exposure to the problematic years his father had when he was growing up.
While the fans acknowledged that the love was there between them, too many hurts in the past had clouded their judgment and impaired their communication. His relationship with Paul Sr. wasn’t completely mended, but it wasn’t that worrisome anymore. They agreed that working together prevented them from reaching any compromise, and while they’d established a bike-building empire while working together, it had cost them their relationship.
Paul Jr. and his brother Mikey
His youngest brother, Mikey, who was part of their TV series too as the shop’s assistant general manager, inherited his father’s alcohol addiction. He provided comic relief in the show, making the TV series less tense as Paul Sr. had a different relationship with his youngest son. Mikey could shout and make demands of his father without the other becoming upset and offended. For whatever reason, his father treated Mikey with kid gloves. Paul Jr. never displayed jealousy about it, and in fact when Mikey was eventually forced out from OCC, he joined his oldest brother’s new business. Paul Jr. understood him best, and supported his decisions even when Mikey left him to launch his own business later on.
While the Teutuls might have a volatile relationship, viewers also witnessed how they showed a united front when helping other members of the family. For instance, when his grandmother asked for help in shoveling snow during one winter, both Paul Jr. and Sr. were there happily working together while clearing cars of snow. The same thing happened when the Teutuls had to assemble a swing and slide set for his niece, Dan Teutul’s daughter. While they liked to banter who was better at it, and who proved to be a nuisance, the Teutul men can be like any regular family out there, as long as nobody talked about the motorcycle business.
Paul Jr.’s Wife and Kid
Paul Jr. met his future wife, Rachael Biester, on the set of the TV series, “American Chopper,” during an episode in the fifth season, which featured McCuff Industries – the Teutuls built the McCuff Bike with Paul Jr.’s design, and Rachael was one of the “McCuff Girls” who was sent to help promote the product.
Happy anniversary to my bride of 11 years #11 #HuddysParents
They started dating, and in August 2010 were married at a boathouse chapel overlooking the beach at the Bonnet Island Estate in New Jersey. It was at the peak of the legal dispute between the Teutuls, nevertheless, Paul Jr. invited his father to the wedding, but Paul Sr. declined. After five years, the couple had a son named Hudson Seven Teutul.
Rachael opened her own business, a clothing and gift shop called Oliver Anne, located at the historic village on Clinton Street, Montgomery, New York near Paul Jr’s shop. His wife’s little boutique was such a hit that it was voted more than once as the Best Boutique, Best Gift Shop, and Best Womenswear in the Hudson Valley.
Paul Jr. personal net worth
His appearances in the TV series “American Chopper” promoted his skills as a designer and fabricator, which benefited his market reach. When he went solo, his net worth increased and he’s now worth over $2 million, according to authoritative sources.