Words by: Jeff Cantagallo, CarShowz.com
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The Gas Monkey Garage Crew lead by Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman are like non other. A one-of-a-kind crew who is betrayed on the show as a “keep it real” type of crew. It’s hard to distinguish what’s true or not anymore via reality TV, but there’s something about these guys that makes what we watch, legit.
The format of the show, Fast N’ Loud that airs on the Discovery Channel, has money man Richard Rawlings seeking out the baddest old school cars to rebuild and flip at auctions or sometimes by calling in car collectors. Aaron Kaufman, the Master Mechanic spends countless hours fixing the rides up and sometimes countless hours just negotiating with Richard as to what should be done to the ride.
I know this is a TV show and like most car guys and gals our hope for is that the show is as close as to reality as possible. When rebuilding these cars, it appears that they do it right. Not just the mechanics, but an original restoration of an old hot rod of how the car should be, appearance, mechanics and also with the added touch of what would an enthusiast back in that time period want the car to sound like, look like, and drive like, matched with the modern day enthusiast. It’s a great one-two punch and if these guys are really what the show is about, they will last a lifetime in this industry. The key ingredient is not being too greedy, mixing in a six figure build with a 5-10k build, that they are not afraid to do!
These guys have a great sense of humor which I’m sure helps lighten up the stressful situations that arise around the shop. CarShowz.com wishes them many years of success and we will be here to support them!
Here’s some information about Richard and Aaron, taken directly from their website: Gas Monkey Garage
Richard Rawlings, a native of Fort Worth Texas, followed in his dad’s footsteps and developed a passion for cars from an early age, building cars and attending car shows with him. The earliest photograph of Richard, aside from his infant years, is of him sitting in a Volkswagen Beetle pedal car. His dad worked two and three jobs at a time so he could afford to have his one toy — a car or motorcycle he could call his own. Richard bought his first car when he was 14 years old: a green ’74 Mercury Comet. By the time he hit his senior year in high school, he was already on his third car, a ’77 Bandit Trans Am. Richard says he has always worked just so he could have cars. He even took a bullet in the early ’90s as he fought off a carjacker who was trying to steal his ’65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback.
Richard has held several jobs to feed his car habit. He was a firefighter, police officer and paramedic all before he was 21 years old. He eventually left those jobs to start his own business, building a printing and advertising company from the ground up. He later sold it so he could fund his next venture: Gas Monkey Garage — a world-renowned hot rod shop that has produced and shipped cars for people around the world.
A veteran of transcontinental road rallies, Richard has won the Gumball 3000 and the Bullrun — twice. He is the current world record holder in the Cannonball Run and was even recognized by Jay Leno for this achievement, having broken the record that stood since 1979. He covered the 2,811 miles from New York to Los Angeles in 31 hours and 59 minutes with an average speed of 87.6 miles per hour.
Richard says: “Bottom line, if we’re gonna have fun, it better have a motor!”
Aaron Kaufman, originally from Crowley, Texas, is a self-taught mechanic, fabricator and all-around hot rodder. He grew up taking things apart and putting them back together — he just didn’t put them back together the same way they came apart. His high aptitude for mechanics and passion for cars led him to the hot rod world. But he didn’t want to just be good at what he did. He wanted to be the best at it. And that passion is what has driven him to succeed.
Richard met Aaron when Aaron was working at a local car shop. Richard went in and said he needed someone to air ride his ’53 Ford Mainline and asked for their top guy to do it. They gave it to Aaron. Years later, when Richard opened Gas Monkey Garage, he remembered Aaron and the pride he took in his work. Richard found Aaron and asked him to join him in his next venture.
When tackling a car restoration project, Aaron’s strategy is surprisingly simple: it has to be completely cohesive, from the front end to the back end to the interior. Every piece has to make sense. And as a project evolves, so does his vision.
As for his favorite car of all time, while a ’32 roadster ranks as one of his top picks, his all-time favorite is an AC Cobra. “They’re a driver’s car and it’s just an absolute beast.”
Check out the Fast N’ Loud Trailer from Discovery:
Check out Episodes via the Discovery Channel (click here)
Armed with a camera, anything is bound to happen. CarShowz is my creation and my way to give back to the automotive industry, I will continue to support the scene as long as my heart is still pumping!
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