Our interview with a true celebrity, “Doghouse” Dave Ankin who is a former, motorcycle stunt rider, racecar driver and stuntman for Warner Bros. This includes the Batman character in the Universal studios stunt shows and Water World event show at the Universal theme parks. He’s also the previous owner of some of the most successful event bars on the east coast (i.e., Daytona, Myrtle Beach, Florida).
“As a child, my father could fix, build and drive anything! He was a big kid at heart and still is today. In his circle he was known as “The Iron Man” because there was nothing he couldn’t make out of metal. He was always building the coolest toyz. I learned a lot from watching him over the years, and he has been my inspiration from the start.”
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the unique privilege of getting to know some of the best designers, engineers, fabricators, and builders in the industry. Surrounding myself with these same people has inspired me to develop a company that allows me a unique opportunity to bring multiple people together to build the baddest toyz on the planet!”
He continues, “Just as my father has inspired me , I hope to pass on that same inspiration to my son. He is already trying to take over my tool box and garage and is eager to tell me what the next build is going to be. I can already envision him as the next generation of Toy Maker.”
Hi Dave, please tell us a little about you?
Born and raised in South Bend Indiana, David Ankin, AKA “Doghouse” Dave, is a hands-on entrepreneur, former stunt man, motorcycle racer, and custom motor vehicle fabricator that specializes in one-off custom builds & OEM enhancements for anything with wheels! Ankin started off his career in entertainment doing live stunts as Batman for Warner Bros. in Texas. After 3 seasons there, he moved to South Carolina to focus on building businesses. This is where David earned the nickname “Doghouse Dave” as he managed and owned several popular bars along the east coast in hot spots like Myrtle Beach and Daytona, before moving up to Reidsville, NC to focus on his true passion and open the ToyMakerz shop. Today, anyone looking for a motorized vehicle that is unmatched in its class calls on ToyMakerz to bring the ingenuity and the skill set to satisfy a wide array of customers, from gear heads and celebrities to international business magnets. After a few successful years in the business, Ankin met his now business partner and dear friend David Young, whom helped take things to the next level. They were approached to do a TV show around the unique builds Ankin was doing, so the dynamic duo went on to develop the ToyMakerz reality show that follows Ankin and his team as they create extreme builds, then race the heck out of them! ToyMakerz successfully aired for two seasons on Velocity with record breaking numbers, and in February 2019, will be going into it’s 3rd season airing now on the History channel with encore presentations on FYI.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, Dedicated and hard working !
Who is your biggest supporter?
I am lucky to have a huge support group but by far my son, Brayden, is my biggest supporter! He is already trying to take over my tool box and garage and is eager to tell me what the next build is going to be. I can already envision him as the next generation of ToyMakerz!
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
As a child, my father could fix, build and drive anything! He was a big kid at heart and still is today. In his circle he was known as “The Iron Man” because there was nothing he couldn’t make out of metal. He was always building the coolest toys. I learned a lot from watching him over the years, and he has been my biggest inspiration. But I grew up with my dad building cars around me, we were always at a race track, and always racing cars, bikes, trikes…everything and anything! So I got my start in the automotive industry by surrounding myself with some of the best designers, engineers, fabricators, and builders out there, and they inspired me to develop a company that could bring talented people together to create the baddest “toyz” on the planet! I opened ToyMakerz Inc. in 2014 and never looked back.
What was your first creation or design?
I wanted to have a chopper bicycle that looked like my Dad’s chopper. So I took 2 bikes and cut the forks off of one, connected both sets of forks together and built my very own unique chopper bicycle!
Now tell us about the History Channel and A&E ToyMakerz show, and what people can expect for the next season?
The premier of Season 3 ToyMakerz will air on February 24 at 7am ET/PT on HISTORY, with encore presentations on FYI in primetime Saturday nights and we are really going off this season with more horse power, faster exhilaration and show-casing an exhibition of life… we are giving the old school autos, new school looks … for example, the finale car for this 3rd season of ToyMakerz has come to life literally from a drawing on a napkin! We took the most old school, classic, iconic hot rod on the planet, a 1941 Willys Coup, and we started over. There is not one original Willys part on it now! But IT IS SICK!
If you can pick only ONE of your cars to drive for FUN which one will be? And why?
I would pick this seasons 1941 Willys Coup exhibition car…the car is designed to play! It goes sideways, slides, and is super fun!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Slow down…. And be true to your self!
You have been a race car driver and motorcycle stunt rider. Please tell us a memorable experience?
Honestly they have all been memorable… but I remember in season one of ToyMakerz I put Brayden, my son, in a real race car, on a real track at 10 years old, he drove the car and I was so proud (and scared to!)
What has been your most memorable experience on a set?
Probably our three generations episode… where we had my dad, myself, and my son on together and that was a cool moment since my dad is my hero and Brayden seems to think I am his, it was a cool experience! Just as my father has inspired me , I hope to pass on that same inspiration to my son. He is already trying to take over my tool box and garage and is eager to tell me what the next build is going to be. I can already envision him as the next generation of ToyMakerz.
What other projects you have been part of?
Oh so many, but two projects this season we branched off into one-off vehicles, we really don’t buy anything pre made – we build it all. This season you will see a brand new Dodge RT and a never before seen new Harley Davison.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
I love Patrick Dempsey – he has had a great career and is a good race car driver too! Also love Tim Allen, he loves cars like me and keeps it light hearted! As for Actresses, Ruby Rose or Kate Beckinsale.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My cell phone, wallet, and keys
What music do you like?
I really don’t listen to music… I’m a hopeless romantic! So maybe James Taylor
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
My perfect Sunday…. I roll up the garage, take a car for a Sunday drive without setting off any alarms, then come home and relax, get out of my head…completely switch off!
How’s a normal day in your life?
I am always filming! But the day breaks down into a chunk of time on emails, a chunk dealing with vendors and brands, a chunk filming, dealing with employees and bills then my favorite part, family time!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Chicken and rice if I’m being good but I really am a meat and potatoes guy.
And your favorite cheat food?
Chili’s quest fries or a strawberry Debbie Cake
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Exactly where I am, awesome TV show on a great network, building cool creations, but with more time to myself.
Do you support any charities?
I am always supporting the community whenever I can, but I have a soft spot for terminally ill kids… so I work with Make A Wish Foundation when I can.
Where we can follow you, and when does ToyMakerz air?
On Instagram @realDavidAnkin or DavidAnkin.com and the premier of Season 3 ToyMakerz will air on February 24 at 7am ET/PT on HISTORY, with encore presentations on FYI in primetime Saturday nights, I hope you tune in!
Holiday Destination: I’m an All-American guy – so I love staying in the great USofA to vacation – love me a good Vegas trip!
Celebrity Crush: Kate Beckinsale
Sports Team: None really
Movie: HEAT or Tombstone
Photos: Leigh-Anne Anderson