The newest season of American Chopper just premiered — but one familiar face won't be making a comeback.
Cody Connelly left the show in 2007, and over 10 years later, fans are still missing the motorcycle enthusiast. Cody attended the American Motorcycle Institute and joined Orange County Choppers while he was still in high school. On the show, viewers witnessed Cody's prized bike, The Cody Project, sell at Daytona Beach Bike Week during the first season of the Discovery series.
So, what happened to Cody on American Choppers?
He actually left Orange County Choppers — where he worked since 2001 — to join OCC co-worker Vinnie DiMartino, who opened up his own custom shop, V Force Customs. However, that was short-lived and the friends parted way, but not before suing Paul Teutul Sr. for breach of contract, fraud, and other charges.
He claimed the company used his brand name on merchandise without his permission, and he accused Paul of not giving him Old School Chopper, which was gifted to him on the reality show.
"I was young and had no idea what I’d been missing out on and what I’m entitled to," he said in the lawsuit. The case was settled in 2011 and all charges were dropped.
Cody briefly returned to American Chopper, working at Paulie Jr.'s shop, PJD custom shop, even appearing on American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, but that was also a temporary gig. Today, Cody is working at a utilities company and not active on social media.
Why did Vinnie leave Orange County Choppers?
From 2003 to 2012, Vinnie was a staple on American Chopper until he left to pursue his own business. "I had gone as far as I could there. I really didn't have any chance for advancement, and I had always wanted to have my own shop, so the natural progression was to leave and start my own place," he explained at the time. "Nothing against them, but it was time to move on."
However, Vinnie rejoined American Chopper in 2010 as part of Paul Jr. Designs will still running V-Force.
Today, Vinnie runs DiMartino Motorsports Automotive and Truck Repair, a garage that services and repairs cars and trucks. Plus, he is a big family man, and loves spending time with his four kids and wife.
Paul Jr. probably doesn't blame Vinnie or Cody for leaving the show, and recently opened up about the stresses of being on a reality show and working in a motorcycle shop. "Remember, I was 25 or 26 before the show started. I worked hard in my early years. The good thing is I’ve got a real strong work ethic, but the bad thing is it was really out of balance at an early age," he said in an interview. "It’s a family business and I worked every weekend and every summer. I didn’t go with my friends. And if I did, it was like the end of the world. My father would make me feel real bad about missing a Saturday and sometimes a Sunday. We would work seven days a week a lot. Before I was out of high school, I was pretty much full-time."
Watch American Chopper Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Discovery.