The Gas Monkey Garage is the location for the Automotive Show “Fast n Loud.” It’s owned by automotive businessman Richard Rawlings who runs the garage with a crew of mechanics. If you can relate with the term “grease monkey” then you would totally understand why Richard Rawlings came up with the name “Gas Monkeys” for his crew.
The Gas Monkey Garage was started in 2002. The first facility was located in a small shop in Dallas, Texas. In that small shop, a ton of cars were created for various customers across the globe. In 2012, the Gas Monkey Garage kicked off the “Fast n Loud” show on Discovery Channel series.
And as shown in the show, the crew specializes in transforming and remodeling bad cars. Thus, most of the cars they bring to the garage are always a mess. But after the transformations, the cars gain huge resale value, which always goes well with the customer.
Ever since the Discovery Channel Series “Fast n Loud,” hosted by the Gas Monkey Garage kicked off, it has been a success all the way. But that doesn’t mean that it has always been rosy both on and off camera.
Over time, the Gas Monkeys have clashed with other shows, made some sudden staff changes, and disagreed amongst themselves. Matter of fact, a portion of the staff later left to start their own spin-off show.
Despite the hurdles, the Gas Monkey Garage advanced in September 2013, when they got their own bar named after them. The “Gas Monkey Bar N Grill”, as it was called, was located in the Northwest area of Dallas. A year later, they opened a second bar at the Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas.
In the same year, the Gas Monkeys opened a venue called “Gas Monkey Live,” a place dedicated primarily for live music. But that is not all that there is to know about these guys.
Here are 19 things about Gas Monkey Garage that fans should know about.
19 They Required More Help with the Computer Than You Thought
The computer system used for engine diagnosis was one of the major troubles of the “Shart Cat.” In fact, many systems that weren’t quite dysfunctional were stripped out by the team, because they couldn’t get the computer to work right. And to make it worse, there were times when the computer would bluntly prevent the car from starting.
So, while the Gas Monkey Garage aired the “Fast n Loud” show on TV, a group from an automotive electronics company Diablosport and a guy from diagnostic company HP Tuners showed up. They created an impression to the viewers that these guys got everything fixed overnight.
Well, that’s not true, because what you saw covering 2 minutes of screen time took at least 2 days to finish.
The magic of TV indeed.
18 The Special Child-Like Rules of Tom Smith
Before Tom Smith left the Gas Monkey Garage, he was known to be the most interesting person in the team. What that truly means is that our man was one of the most annoying team members.
Can you believe that his fellow co-workers had to create special rules in cases where he acted to “Tommish” (if there is any word like that), just for their sanity and calmness?
The office manager, Christie Brimberry, shared in one of the intro videos the crew’s special way of handling the unruly Tom Smith. In fact, a fan once asked how the crew coped with Tom.
The answer given by Brimberry to that question was nothing close to the description of an adult man. “Tom is a bad hyperactive Kid,” she said.
17 The Truth About Jordan Butler and Tom Smith's Firing
Off course, Tom Smith was not the only hard nut to crack in the Gas Monkey Garage. There was also Jordan Butler. And since they were the two devils of the show, many fans wondered why they didn’t see the duo on set again after they both went MIA. Well, the obvious happened – Rawlings fired both of them.
And guess what?
They were kicked out the same day. What can you say, “birds of a feather, flock together”.
If you think that Smith’s sacking came only as a result of his frequent movement outside the garage, then think again.
It was reported that a fan came to the garage and wanted to take a selfie with one of Rawlings’ fancy cars – a Rolls Royce to be precise. The duo of Butler and Smith agreed, but the manager didn’t.
So, the manager told them to get the hell away from the car, but Smith replied that he chills the hell out (just to be clear, hell wasn’t the actual term used by both guys).
This is what broke the camel’s back.
16 Rawlings dispute with Jesse James
Jesses James, AKA The customizer as he is fondly called, was not Richard Rawlings best friend in the early days of the Gas Monkey Garage show, “Fast n Loud.” Of course, when men aren’t doing manly things like working on cars and peeing on cement, it’s a byproduct for them to fight and argue about some things.
Rawlings once said to James that his rival was in Texas trying to act like a Texan. Obviously, James couldn’t reply vehemently to his boss. Thus, he only replied back after he dumped a truck full of horse manure delivered on the driveway of the garage.
Shockingly, James “horse manure dump” was captured on air, only because the producers didn’t understand the metaphorical implications of capturing and broadcasting it.
15 They Fired Enough Employees to Cast a Spin-Off Show
After the duo of Smith and Butler lost their jobs at the Gas Monkey Garage, it wasn’t the end of the world for them, neither for their career nor TV. They also went on to feature on “Misfit Garage” which was a “Fast n Loud” spinoff.
Since it wasn’t way less of a Richard Rawlings show – as a matter of fact, he was the executive producer, it had almost the exact basic car-flipping premise of the Gas Monkey Garage.
The Spin-off is almost the same as the Gas Monkey Garage show, but it has a lighter tone. Nevertheless, it’s not as interesting to watch – sorry to the fans.
14 Richard Rawlings and His Computer-Generated Monkey Made the Worst Ads of All Time
To say that the “Dodge Law” ad campaign is one of the worst seen so far will be one of the most honest statements of all time. Well before you criticize that, it will be pertinent for you to watch that commercial first and, obviously, end up with one question – what on earth were they thinking?
For the ad, the concept is that Rawlings and his CGI monkey buddy are allies enforcing the “Dodge Law,” which means that the brand is exclusively for real men, not just “mere men.” Thus, the ad shows “officers” frisking motorist and placing them under arrest for doing yoga, wearing bronzer or eating croissants.
Maybe we would have seen Rawlings and his primate dude openly shame men for weeping in public or asking for a lady’s input to whether he should wear a Tux or a rugged old T-shirt to a friend’s wedding.
13 The Shart Cat's Transmission Trouble Was Underplayed By the Producers
The sparring between the Gas Monkeys and the hosts of the YouTube channel Roadkill was another notable rivalry that happened earlier during the production of Fast n Loud. The Gas Monkeys were challenged by the host of the internet show to compete on an 8-mile drag race, between the two creations.
The Gas Monkeys boosted up the “Shart Cat” and won the race. However, it wasn’t as easy as the producers made it look. The race was covered in two episodes, and the Monkeys spent a ton of time trying to get the “Shart Cat” to even start.
On live TV, the producers showed some of the issues faced, although it was far worse than what we saw.
12 Aaron Kaufman's Creative Frustration
Richard Rawlings is obviously the plus-size personality and the one who brings the doe to the team. However, Aaron Kaufman was more of the innovative force whose concepts always transformed the Junkers that came in the garage into marketable rides.
Most of the fans were shocked when he exited the garage in 2017. But, they became less surprised when he mentioned some professional and personal differences as part of his reason for leaving.
Yes, there were other reasons for his leaving but his major reason was that the television show setup was roasting his inventiveness. For instance, he stated that he wanted to build bigger cars but the show wanted the cars small.
11 There were probably no “Prototype” Firebirds
In one of the “Fast n Loud” episodes shot in the Gas Monkey Garage, the Monkeys came across 2 original Pontiac Firebirds. They also claimed that the cars were prototypes worth $325,000.
Also, they stated that the cars were proof of concepts that the manufacturers used to agree on whether they needed to jump into a mass production of the cars or not. But here is the big one.
Shocking but true the crew actually discovered the cars in a barn.
The crew just gave a good story for TV, but the real fact is that the cars were standard consumer based cars. They were not “prototypes” as they claimed to be.
10 Gas Monkey Started In a Small Shop
It all started when Rawlings had an idea that seemed crazy – it was about creating a reality series. He wanted the series to be centered on a hot-rod shop, that at that time wasn’t in existence. So before he could achieve this, he needed a business.
This made Rawlings hire a Fort Worth mechanic named Aaron Kaufman in 2004. This duo proceeded to open Gas Monkey in a little shop that was about 1,200-foot and didn’t have water or air conditioning for that matter.
After this milestone, they decided to dedicate the next two years to travel around the country. The aim of the tour was to get the Gas Monkey name out there. In 2012, it paid off when Rawlings convinced Discovery to air Fast N’ Loud.
9 Sue Started as a Guest Character in the Gas Monkey Garage
Yu-Lan Haiso Martin, also known as ‘Sue’ all over the world, is one of the most recognized figures when it comes to auto upholstery especially on the TV show Fast N’ Loud.
Fans ensure they tune into the show each week to see her bashing Richard and Aaron, all the while exhibiting her witty humor. No doubt she is a talented trimmer that knows how to give “junk” interiors a face-lift.
When she was asked how she started out with the Gas Monkey gang, she said since Richard’s shop was down the road, he stopped by at her shop and saw the quality of her work and decided to use her services.
This resulted in a business relationship that lasted over a long period of time.
It also led to Sue being on the Fast N’ Loud show as a guest character.
8 Gas Monkey Is Presently a Multi-Million Dollar Brand
In the 14th season of Rawlings’ TV series, the show Fast N’ Loud turned Gas Monkey from a name that was used just for his car garage to a multi-million-dollar brand that covered so many niches.
Regardless of Rawlings being broke as a result of making the wrong business moves on two occasions, it never stopped his expansion. Now, the garage has grown from a single small building to three buildings.
As if that’s not enough, he employs over 600 people. He also plans to turn Gas Monkey into a billion-dollar brand and become the Simon Cowell of the Automotive-lifestyle category.
7 Richard's Sister Daphne works in Gas Monkey Garage
Rawlings passion for cars developed at an early age because he followed the footsteps of his father. Rawlings and his father worked on automobiles together, and Richard went to car races and shows as well.
It would interest you to know that Richard Rawlings sister, Daphne, was part of the whole equation as she worked for all his businesses, including Gas Monkey.
On the TV series, you can see the rivalry between the siblings as Daphne handles the books for the garage. It appears that Daphne is responsible for taming some of Rawlings’ madness, which keeps him in line.
Sadly, Rawlings does not have children but you can be sure that he would figure out a way to pass his knowledge to the next generation.
6 Jordan Butler and Tom Smith Started out their own Garage run by Rawlings
Rawlings aired a spinoff of his own show in 2014. The spinoff was called Misfit Garage. It features two mechanics that were laid off from the Gas Monkey garage, Jordan Butler and Tom Smith.
These two mechanics paired up with other mechanics to open a garage in Texas, called ‘Fired Up’.
The amazing part is, the landlord of the Garage is Rawlings. This is because he runs the show. Hence, even though none of the mechanics work for him, he plays a major role.
Because of these unorthodox ties – with Rawlings also being the executive producer of the show, there is doubt as to whether the sacking of Jordan Butler and Tom Smith was not a plot contrivance for the new show.
5 The Gas Monkey Garage Runs a Charity Foundation
Rawlings thought of a way to give back to the community that had been good to him, which led him to come up with the Gas Monkey Foundation. Rawlings kicked this initiative off by throwing a birthday bash. The event took place on the 24th of April in the Gas Monkey bar and grill.
Rawlings stated that all the proceeds will be given to the foundation’s charities. He also said that if $100,000 was raised at the event, the Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill was going to match up with the same amount in order to make a huge impact.
He also urges people to donate their cars, regardless of the condition, in order for him to fix it and get it to serve as charity.
4 There is a Gas Monkey Garage Situated in a Former Restaurant
When it comes to opening Garages where there was a restaurant, the Foxwoods Fiasco was not Rawlings only shot. Richard’s garage is up and running in Harker Heights, Texas. Also, the building it occupies has some desolate associations.
The building originally housed twin peaks restaurant, but something bad happened to it. The company that operated and owned the restaurant was ordered to shut down by the franchiser in September 2015.
About five months earlier, the sister location operating under the same franchise experienced a big showdown between rival biker gangs. This incident resulted in 20 injured people and the end of nine people.
This doesn’t mean that it reflects directly on the building where the garage is currently located, but it seems like the space wouldn’t have been available for the Gas Monkey gang if the incident didn’t take place.
3 Rawlings Tries To Be No Different Off Screen than When He Is On Television Shooting For Gas Monkey Garage
Due to the fact that filming takes place at Gas Monkey daily, Richard Rawlings has to be camera-ready at all times. This is because he believes that there is a thick white line that is more than a foot wide on the Gas Monkey floor that separates the offices from the shop.
He is very conscious of what he says or does because there is a possibility that it would be aired.
This makes Rawlings work hard to be no different on TV than he is off-screen. No doubt, it is impossible to be 100% the same person on air and off, but Rawlings is really close.
2 Richard Rawlings Had Controversy while Filming in the Garage
An offending photo that had a promotional video attached to it was posted on the internet, and it did not go so well. The idea behind the post was to do a giveaway and charity cover story. But so many forum members assumed otherwise and this was evident in nearly 300 replies to the original message.
They perceived it as a cynical plug for the Rawlings brand and company instead of an actual call for help and good doing.
This is because the video that introduced Richard Rawlings and his crew was quite embarrassing. The video had weird content like wearing sunglasses indoors, peeing in public, and guys welding without proper protection.
The video also had a line that caught more attention. It was the line where Rawlings stated that he is quickly establishing himself the outlier of the hot rod world. After so much rage by the community, SEMA decided to pull out its support and the giveaway was off.
1 Gas Monkey Garage Show “Fast N Loud” is Produced by Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel styles the Fast N’ loud reality show that features the Dallas Texas-based Richard Rawlings and his crew. The show infuses a skit into the theme of the episodes sometimes.
The reality show involves the Gas Monkey Garage gang looking for tired and run-down cars. When they get these cars, they restore them and get profit. When the first season of the show was aired, it was successful.
Rawlings and Aaron even participated in a motorcycle build-off with bike builders that have been in the business for a long time. Rawlings and Aaron came in 2nd in the competition.
The reality show “Fast N’ Loud” is produced by Pilgrim Studios for Discovery and the executive producers are Eddie Rohwedder and Craig Piligian.
Sources: Wikipedia, Screen Rant, Discovery, Gas Monkey Garage