With long-time buddy John "College" Korioth as an co-accomplice and the team from Overhaulin', the TLC series that tricks the owner while tricking out their car, they set about on a dream renovation right in time for Lance's 33rd birthday.

"Well, he was in disbelief. Nothing like that had every happened to him before," says producer Matt Gould to Cyclingnews about the stolen-car prank they pulled on Lance in order to take the car away from him.

Gould cites a report that came out a few days ago, listing Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas as one of the top 10 safest cities in the America. "So crime is very low there and especially for Lance Armstrong - it's like things like this don't happen to him," he says. "He was in shock."

"College [John Korioth] and him have a history of pranking each other, so his very first reaction was that College was playing a prank on him. He was like, 'C'mon, I don't believe you - tell me where the car really is!' But College did such a good job acting, Lance fell for it, hook, line and sinker!"

To gauge Lance's reaction, rather than creeping him out with cameras at his Texas ranch, Gould, well aware of Armstrong's celebrity status and his sharp, intuitive nature, scouted out a gas station three to four miles from his home, where a detective - a.k.a. Overhaulin' co-host Chris Jacobs - was waiting to give him the bad news. Inconspicuous cars with blacked out windows were placed around the area, filming the scene.

Meanwhile, with Lance fretting over the loss of his beloved muscle car, auto design legend Chip Foose and his crack team of fabricators and engineers set up shop in the garage of Colvin Automotive. For the next eight days, Chip and his team performed what can only be described as miracle surgery on the Pontiac, restoring the car back to its former glory. And then some.

"Chip wanted to go all-out like you wouldn't believe," says Gould about the challenges in 'Overhaulin' Lance'.

"So we actually did on this build more on this car than any other car we've done. And we were in unfamiliar territory, because we do most of our shows in California. And Lance is the first celebrity. So unfamiliar territory, major celebrity - we didn't want anything to go wrong."

Gould tells Cyclingnews the type of restorations the team from Overhaulin' do are normally reserved for car shows, where it's not uncommon to spend 12 months or more. Since the show began in April this year, Foose and his team complete each project in roughly one week.

We also asked how much input the award-winning musician provided being a girl and all - and were a little shocked by the answer.

"Sheryl had the overall vision of what she wanted done to the car based on knowing what Lance wanted and knowing what kind of designer Chip was," Gould says. "Sheryl's really into cars, too, so she kind of shepherded the process through."

As well as sharing ideas around the workshop, Crow formed an integral part in making sure her boyfriend had no idea of what was going on, right up until the day Overhaulin' returned the car back to Lance eight days later on September 18 - his birthday!

Overhaulin' Lance Armstrong premieres next Tuesday, November 30 at 9pm (ET/PT) on TLC. For a sneak preview, click here.

Overhaulin' is produced by BCII for TLC and is part of Discovery Networks, a unit of Discovery Communications, Inc. that operates and manages the Discovery Channel, title sponsor of the 2005 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. Visit TLC on the web by going to www.discovery.com and clicking on TLC.

Want more Lance? Then check out our special directory of all the interviews on Lance Armstrong that have been published on Cyclingnews, including Tech features on his bikes and his training camps.

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Sheryl Crow and auto designer Chip Foose discuss the project of overhaulin' Lance's Pontiac GTO.
Sheryl and Chip talk shop.
Lance checks out his tricked-out Pontiac GTO for the first time.
Lance likes what he sees.
"Baby, you're the best!"