Veteran contractor Bryan Baeumler has gained international fame with his hit TV shows Leave it to Bryan, House of Bryan and Disaster DIY. It’s no surprise the Gemini-award winning host is the handyman of home renos, but he’s also a car guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty tinkering with wheels. Baeumler owns several vehicles including his daily driver, a massive 2014 Ram 3500 Longhorn Mega Cab truck, a 2008 Ferrari F430 convertible, a 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL350, and a 2009 Ducati Monster 1100 S motorbike – just to name a few.
PG: Why did you treat yourself to a Ferrari?
BB: “I had an old 911 993 model. It was black on beige interior. It was my first treat to myself five, six years ago… I always saw myself one day getting into a Lamborghini Gallardo. But I saw this black-on-black convertible Ferrari. It was a whim – kind of like we buy houses and have kids. It had 28,000 miles on it. It looks as good as it came off the line. I took it for a drive and I don’t think I was out of first gear before I yelled over the screaming exhaust to the sales guy, I’ll take it! I bought it this summer. And then I had to explain it to my wife.”
PG: Did you find it on autoTRADER.ca?
BB: “Actually there was an ad for another car on autoTRADER.ca. It got me to the dealership and that’s when I spotted my girlfriend hiding in the back. That’s the only girlfriend I’m allowed to have – the ones that live in the garage.”
“I have found quite a few of our trucks and my wife’s Volkswagen Touareg on autoTRADER.ca. It’s interesting; I have the app on my phone and instead of playing games on my phone I’ll go into autoTRADER.ca and peruse. I do that quite often for construction equipment, bikes, boats, and all kinds of stuff.”
PG: Speaking of bikes, when did you get your motorcycle license?
BB: “I was 19 or 20 and living in Vancouver. I grew up in the country. Funny, I have pictures of myself at five or six years old driving our old lawn tractor. I used to put the trailer on – I can thread a needle in a 30-ft trailer now – but I used to drive around backwards with the trailer on the tractor. And then I got into go karts and dirt bikes - anything with a motor I’ve always loved. When I was nine my parents got my brother and I a little Honda 50. We were the bane of the farmer’s existence for years cruising around in the fields. I grew up riding and I loved the road.”
PG: Have you had any spills?
BB: “No. I’ve never gone down.”
PG: With four little kids, I’m surprised your wife lets you ride the Ducati?
BB: “We’re in negotiations over that one. It may turn into a piece of art in the garage or it may go on autoTRADER.ca soon.”
PG: You’re handy when it comes to home renos, are you handy when it comes to cars?
BB: “I can certainly turn a wrench. My dad was an aircraft sheet metal mechanic and I grew up around the airport. One of my first summer jobs in high school was working for one of the airlines. I was doing ground equipment and aircraft maintenance so I worked on replacing tires, doing oil changes and welding on the ground. Even as a kid if something wouldn’t start I’d be there determined and I’d figure it out until it does start.”
PG: What was your first car?
BB: “The first car I got was a 1989 Toyota 4Runner. I was 16. I remember putting big tires on it, a brush guard, and some lights across the front.”
PG: How could you afford that at 16?
BB: “I guess I was nice to my parents.”
PG: What else have you owned?
BB: “I had a black 1982 Corvette. My friends all made the joke, what’s the difference between a Corvette and a porcupine? In the Corvette the prick’s on the inside.
Then I had a Chevy S10 ZR2 off-road edition, then a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And then I went into my first Ram.”
PG: Why did you go with a Ram 3500 instead of a Ford or GMC Heavy Duty truck?
BB: “Since I was a little kid Dodge had the look. In the early 90s, they came up with that V10 – the power pickup was impressive. And then they came out with the big Hemi engine – that was attractive as a young guy. My first pickup truck for my construction company was a 1500. I remember ordering it and getting the 20-inch chrome wheels, the Hemi and all the bells and whistles on it. I’ve never had a problem – I’ve never been standing on the side of the road wishing my truck would start or wondering why the transmission fell out or anything like that.”
“Brand has never really been an issue – the fit and finish of the Dodge trucks I’ve always loved. I love the evolution of it – the body style, the shoulders, the cab. I love the look of my truck – it’s a great looking truck. A couple of months ago, my brother and I and my camera man took a drive out to Cartwright, Labrador – pretty much as far east and as far north as you can go in a vehicle. You’re on dirt roads on back country bush and it floats like a butterfly for a 3500. It’s a very comfortable vehicle. I’m already looking at next year’s model. There’s nothing from any other manufacturer that has piqued my interest so far.”
Profession: TV Host + Contractor
My Car: 2014 Ram 3500 Longhorn Mega Cab truck
• founded a contracting company called Baeumler Quality Construction
• other TV appearances include Deck Wars, HGTV’d and Canada’s Handyman Challenge, HGTV Canada’s biggest competition series where he’s a judge with Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivray
• launched the Baeumler Family Foundation for Kids (BFF) in 2012, which provides renovations for families in need of accessibility, safety, and security
• holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario
• married to Sarah; together they have four children
• Season 4 of Leave it to Bryan airs Mondays at 10PM ET/PT on HGTV
• Season 3 of House of Bryan, In the Sticks, will air on HGTV in January 2015
• biweekly column appears in The Toronto Star’s New in Homes & Condos section