Each Wednesday night time, Josh Gates takes his followers all over the world to research the best legends and mysteries in historical past on his present Expedition Unknown. Attending to dig websites, tombs, and misplaced cities is not like taking a trip, although. Flying business is simply step one, adopted by a whole lot of driving in a whole lot of cool autos.
Though the present may simply bounce straight into the legend, a giant a part of its appeal is the journey. Touring deep into the deserts, forests, swamps, and mountains requires automobiles, vehicles, SUVs, bikes, ATVs, helicopters, boats, snowmobiles, and even navy autos, and that is all a part of the story. No matter Josh is driving, using, or piloting, you will hear about how good, dangerous, or simply plain odd it’s.
We obtained Josh on a video name direct from the set of his new present, Josh Gates Tonight, also called his spare bed room. Learn or watch to listen to his greatest automotive tales, the automotive he realized to drive with, and his place within the nice Land Rover Defender versus Toyota Land Cruiser debate. Then take a look at an interview we did with Josh a few years ago with extra on his private autos.
MotorTrend: You journey all around the world, you examine all these nice legends, from El Dorado to Atlantis to the Bermuda Triangle, however getting there, you drive a whole lot of fairly cool autos: snowmobiles, automobiles, vehicles, planes, boats—every part. Truthful to say you are a fairly large gearhead?
Josh Gates: Nicely, you recognize, it is humorous. I am not like a gearhead within the sense that I am not all that helpful below the hood, however I’m a, I might say, a gear fanatic. I like to drive something; I like to drive automobiles I am not good at driving with loopy shifters. I am an equal-opportunity fanatic for vehicles, however, you recognize, my New 12 months’s Decision yearly is that I am gonna take an actual automotive class as a result of I spend a whole lot of time damaged down by the aspect of the highway. However up to now, I normally nonetheless need assistance except it is altering a tire.
MT: How did this section of the present come round? In every episode, you begin off in your workplace, then you definately’re elsewhere on the earth and also you’re driving some type of neat automotive or using a bike. Do you choose them out your self? Do the producers choose them out for you?
JG: It is a mixture, actually. To begin with, every present that we do actually necessitates, normally, a giant journey, proper? We are likely to go to those distant, far-flung locations, and sometimes getting there’s a large a part of the journey. So the autos are type of a necessity first, you recognize?
When it comes to what we drive, typically, if we’re going someplace that is not on the ends of the earth, we will kinda select what we wish to drive. We normally attempt to discover one thing succesful and attention-grabbing. If we’re going someplace that has a sure theme, you recognize, we’d attempt to discover a car that matches that theme. If we’re doing a pirate present, we’d say: What would a pirate drive? What would Captain Kidd have pushed? What would Captain Morgan have pushed?
The opposite a part of it’s, we typically get what’s there. If we’re gonna go on some large desert expedition throughout the Kalahari or we’re gonna go throughout Africa elsewhere, we use the autos which can be accessible that make these expeditions and make these journeys. So typically it is a shock, and typically we now have management over it.
MT: Was it a part of the unique plan to characteristic the journey, or did you simply concentrate on entering into the legend when the present first began?
JG: No, that is at all times been a part of all of the reveals that I’ve executed. I am a giant believer in that a part of the expertise, you recognize? In case you discuss to anyone about journey, simply personally, a lot of what they’re going to inform you about any journey is the mechanics of the journey. How the flight was, what went flawed, what went proper, how they obtained stranded at that prepare station.
One of many issues that at all times struck me as type of unusual about travel-themed TV is how shiny all of it is, ya know, which actually does not match our experiences. That is superb in case you’re doing an aspirational, you recognize, “world’s best swimming pools” type of factor or one thing, however you recognize for us, the journey is the expedition, proper?
It is referred to as Expedition Unknown, and a giant a part of it’s creating that context of: The place is that this archeological dig occurring? The place are these individuals working on the earth? And I believe that by exhibiting not simply the autos, however troublesome, difficult meals, the breakdowns, the flat tires, the challenges, it actually brings the viewer onto the expedition, you recognize? Immediately, they’re using shotgun. They are not simply at residence watching this; they’re part of it, and I believe the extra you could be actual about what is going on on on the market, the higher it’s.
MT: Even when you may have a selection of autos, there’s obtained to have been some good ones and a few dangerous ones. You speak about breakdowns and flat tires; what are the perfect and worst autos you’ve got pushed for the present?
JG: It is a lengthy listing, and I used to do a collection earlier than this the place we’d nearly choose horrible autos as a gag, so I’ve pushed nearly each bizarre automotive you possibly can identify. For me, automobiles are, as you recognize, they seem to be a very private factor, proper? There are specific fashions and makes and features on a automotive that simply communicate to us.
I like Land Rover Defenders. I like ’em. I like the old 90 Defender; it is my favourite automotive. I simply see one—even the 110—but when I simply see a type of issues parked, I simply cease in my tracks each time. Uh, they don’t seem to be essentially the most comfy automobiles for long-distance expeditions. There’s in fact this nice rivalry between individuals with the outdated Defenders and the outdated Land Cruisers, proper, and the Land Cruiser is, palms down—and I do know I am gonna get hate mail for this—it is a extra comfy automotive. It’s! However the Defender is so attractive. It is plain. It is simply superb. So my favourite expertise is anytime I get behind the wheel of a Defender. You realize, old style, stick Defender, and I am out in some unique place, I simply by no means really feel extra free or extra excited than that, in order that’s the highest of my listing. That is the higher echelon.
The underside might be, like, these automobiles that you just stroll as much as and also you go, “I’ve by no means seen this earlier than.” Some Russian, some like, Bulgarian car from the ’60s that has, like, a loopy stick shift. I’ve had some lengthy days in a few of these outdated Citroëns, these outdated Meharis, you recognize, with the loopy shifter that comes out sideways and the entire automotive seems like—I imply, the automotive’s made from plastic, successfully, proper? It was like, late ’60s, ’68, one thing like that, and so they determined, “We must always make a automotive that is primarily plastic and cloth,” ya know? And driving round in these issues is like, you simply really feel prefer it’s working on wisps of smoke. It seems like some Jules Verne car. It does not really feel actual.
MT: After 175 episodes of Expedition Unknown, do you may have any thought what number of autos you’ve got pushed at this level?
JG: No thought. No thought, however I imply, I have been to 108 international locations, you work we have pushed a number of autos in every one, and we have made, as you stated, properly over 100 reveals, so … I would be extra fascinated about figuring out the mileage, you recognize, what number of miles I’ve below my belt in these automobiles. A few of the reveals we do, hardly ever we’re kinda in a metropolis or one thing. More often than not, there are some large highway journeys on these reveals, or actually long-distance flights. So we spend a whole lot of time, a whole lot of time in automobiles.
MT: You latterly drove an outdated navy truck in Siberia that was difficult to function, to say the least. What was essentially the most troublesome car you’ve got needed to drive?
JG: The troublesome ones are those which can be simply not made for shoppers. That car, that’s—I could not even inform you the mannequin, however a giant outdated Soviet truck that was a navy truck, and the shifters are behind the seat. And whenever you flip round and have a look at them, there’s like 4 shifters. And you recognize, I am certain it is past the gears, it is like high-gear and low-gear bins, and stuff like that. I imply, it is insane, so with out a type of tutorial, you are simply doomed.
I’ve pushed tanks just a few instances; similar factor, like any individual actually has to offer you a primer on this, otherwise you’re simply gonna smoke it inside 20 toes.
MT: With all these loopy autos in all these unique areas, what’s your most memorable expertise behind the wheel, good or dangerous?
JG: I like driving. It is a humorous factor: Every time we rent new producers on the present or new people who work on the collection, they are saying, “Nicely, we have to get X quantity of drivers within the nation we’re in,” and I at all times say, “No, you do not want that many. I will be driving one of many automobiles.” They usually’re type of gobsmacked, like, “You are gonna truly … we’re driving 17 hours throughout this desert. You wanna drive?” And I at all times say, “Yeah, I wanna drive.” As a result of a few of these experiences, you recognize, I’ve an actual appreciation for the nice fortune that—you possibly can’t replicate a few of these experiences. You realize, it is exhausting in a few of these locations as a vacationer to get a automotive. There are international locations the place they do not actually need you to lease automobiles, or definitely the forms of automobiles we use aren’t accessible.
One of the vital memorable is that years in the past we did a present in Mongolia, and we carpooled about three or 4 Land Cruisers in that case, throughout, I do not know, a thousand or extra miles of the deserts in Mongolia, and there have been no roads, ya know? They let me drive one of many autos within the prepare, and so they had GPS models duct-taped to the steering wheel. And that was it. And you’ll simply drive these dunes, and typically you’d see tracks, outdated, pale tracks going in numerous instructions that linked different cities and different cities. After all, with out a type of information automotive on the head of this, I would nonetheless be out within the Gobi desert, however that to me was simply unbelievable, as a result of it simply … you recognize, typically it is like, OK, we will go to those dunes, and you may drive round a bit of bit. This was driving a thousand miles with no roads. It was simply, to me, I would by no means had that type of expertise, and it actually was simply so liberating but additionally made you’re feeling so small, you recognize? I imply, these little lifeboats out within the desert, and also you type of think about a digicam zooming away from it as much as area, and it could simply be nothingness however these 4 little automobiles. In order that, to me, was an enormous spotlight.
MT: Individuals are certain to ask, then: “What does Josh Gates drive at residence?”
JG: Oh, attention-grabbing query. I drive a present mannequin Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
My very first automotive after I was a child was a 1986 hand-me-down Cherokee from my mother and pa. It was the primary automotive I ever drove. It was beat to heck by the point I obtained it, and that automotive—additionally very iconic, you recognize, boxy automotive (ahem) just like the Defender—man, I drove that factor into the bottom. I imply, it was, by the point it was executed, it wasn’t value 50 bucks. And you recognize, the specs on these outdated ’86 Cherokees weren’t something to write down residence about to start with, actually. And so, I now have the present Cherokee Trailhawk version, which is nice. Actual highly effective, good automotive.
I’ve nearly purchased a used Defender 90 most likely 100 instances. I have been on eBay Motors and checked out it and hovered over the button, shaking. You realize, these automobiles are like selecting to purchase a sailboat. You realize you are going to spend a lotta time engaged on the mahogany on the decks and fixing motors.
So you recognize, I’ve by no means pulled the set off on it, and now I am type of cautiously trying on the new Defenders. Clearly, I am a purist, so there is a interval of mourning right here that we’re all going via. However they’re fairly cool. They’re specced out; they’re spectacular. You realize, I take into consideration my outdated Cherokee—I believe that factor had, I do not know, an 180-something-horsepower inline-four, it wasn’t a lot—and, uh, that new Defender is nearly 400 horsepower. I imply, actually legit car. And actual, legit off-road car specs. So perhaps in my future, there could also be a brand new Defender. However for now, I am actual pleased with my Jeep, truly.
MT: Nicely, in case you do resolve that you just wanna learn to wrench and get below the hood, you’ll spend a whole lot of time below the hood of an outdated Defender.
JG: Precisely! No higher technique to study, proper? And that is the factor about these automobiles. Like, yeah, they want a whole lot of work and this and that, however it’s additionally as a result of they’re put via loads, you recognize? I am amazed, I believe the Defender—perhaps the Jeep Wrangler and Willys, however the Defender much more so—you see extra outdated Defenders nonetheless working all over the world in these actually harsh environments. I imply, that may be a automotive that, in case you—you recognize, it is so easy below the hood, in a whole lot of methods. None of it is computerized, any of that, so it is one in all these automobiles that in case you can preserve ’em alive, man, they’re going to run ceaselessly.
MT: What is the white whale? What automobiles are you continue to in search of in future seasons?
JG: Nicely, you recognize, it is humorous. I’ve a bit of little bit of like a Top Gear itch that I would wish to scratch. You realize, my present’s rugged and tough, so I do not usually find yourself behind the wheel of luxurious autos. However there’s part of me that thinks, why not? Even an journey man will get to take a bathe now and again and clear up, so I would wish to perhaps take a check on some high-end luxurious automobiles. They will by no means let me try this.
However that is my dream, after which, I actually do wish to drive the brand new Defender. I have never seen one in individual but. I have never seen one out within the wild. I would like to get behind the wheel of that and test it out. I used to be actually lucky a pair years in the past to do a factor with Land Rover on the new Discovery, and I’m simply champing on the bit to get behind the wheel of that Defender.
MT: Any automotive legends, perhaps, that want investigating?
JG: You realize, we have talked about just a few over time. There is a story about—I am unsure if it is James Dean’s automotive, I am attempting to recollect now. There’s a few well-known lacking automobiles over time that we have talked about doing, however they’re such particular tales, and a whole lot of them are kinda lifeless ends, you recognize? However hey! All the time open for a brand new journey. In case you’ve obtained a very good automotive thriller story for me, I would love to listen to it.
I would like to go to Fordlandia, down within the Amazon, and see the stays of Ford’s insane rubber plant down there. That is a cool vacation spot I’ve by no means been to. I am open to any and all automotive mysteries. Ship ’em my means.
MT: We’ll ship you a listing for subsequent season. In the intervening time, although, individuals can solely watch Expedition Unknown in reruns, however you may have a brand new reside present on Discovery Channel.
JG: That is proper! We began just a few weeks in the past making an actual brief version of this discuss present—it is referred to as Josh Gates Tonight. We began doing little 10-minute variations of it, after which we did a full-hour model for Earth Day, which was nice, and now it is transferring to 9 o’clock on Wednesday nights, which is kinda my outdated Expedition Unknown timeslot. And I am gonna be right here in my headquarters away from headquarters right here in my residence workplace. And we’re having a whole lot of enjoyable. Look, I believe it is actually necessary on this time once we are all sequestered at residence to keep in mind that the spirit of journey continues to be alive and that there’s this large, broad world on the market that’s ready for us. And we’re having a whole lot of enjoyable speaking to explorers and adventurers and actually simply attempting to attach with viewers, and as greatest we will take them on a bit of journey with us each week from behind this desk.