For those who cut the cable cord or don't really watch much reality TV, there's a little-known figure in the automotive world today named Richard Rawlings. Best known for heading the Gas Monkey Garage and starring in the Discovery’s Fast N' Loud, Rawlings is a car junkie. Even those who aren't familiar with his TV show may recognize him from a few Dodge commercials that aired back in 2014.
Although many are familiar with his tour de force show, many don't know the story behind the man. In spite of how big of a personality Rawlings has, facts about his life don't always seep into his on-screen persona. In reality, Rawlings has broken records, raced cars and had to work hard to get to where he is today. His story is more inspiring than many audiences know.
While it's easy to assume that big media personalities like Rawlings didn't have to do much to get fame and fortune, his story proves otherwise. His upbringing, in fact, is a lot more average and relatable than he leads on in his public image. Below is a list of facts that lifts up the proverbial hood on Rawlings’ life that most don't know about.
20 Worked Odd Jobs To Feed His Car Obsession
Richard Rawlings was able to become a major personality today due to his car obsession. Although he's always been into cars, he didn't just become a major TV host overnight. He had to work some odd jobs to get there. In the beginning, though, he took on a variety of jobs just to finance his car interests.
According to Dallas News, Rawlings worked in the commercial printing business before making it big.
He even went so far as to buy his own printing business where he made enough money to continue building his car collection on the side.
19 Sold His Company To Launch Gas Monkey Garage
Before Rawlings was even 21 years old, he had bounced around several reputable jobs. Not one to back down form a challenge, Glassbytes reports that Rawlings had been a firefighter and policeman before making it big. He had even been a paramedic at one time. Once he started a printing and advertising company though, that's when he really started to make some dough.
This ultimately led to Gas Monkey Garage, as he was able to sell the company to kickstart the automotive shop. Now, Rawlings has not only achieved the American Dream but made himself into a household name.
18 He’s Challenged Jesse James
Richard Rawlings has a lot of fans. Though there's one individual who's not part of Rawlings' followers. Jesse James, known for his Austin Speed Shop and being a fellow TV personality himself, has had a long-standing feud with Rawlings over the years.
In an interview with Street Trucks, it looks like the rivalry goes back to when they worked together on the Biker Build Off. That was back when Fast N' Loud was starting out.
The two haven't looked to have reconciled since. In fact, James even went so far as to drop a whole truck of manure on Rawlings' driveway at one point.
17 Buys A Lot Of Cars From Owners Who Don’t Have Money To Finish Their Projects
A cool part about Richard Rawlings is that he doesn't keep his skills in car flipping a secret. He's always open to sharing with others tips and guidelines for those looking to follow in his footsteps. In a clip for Advance Auto Parts, Rawlings shared where he gets a lot of his cars. "I buy a lot of cars from a lot of people that didn't have the ability to finish them," says Rawlings.
That reveals a lot about sellers who once embarked on ambitious projects but didn't do enough planning at the start. It reveals a lot that Rawlings has been able to tap into this type of seller over the years.
16 Not A Ladies Man In High School…But Could Detail A Car
Lots of people, whether they want to or not, can relate to Rawlings in high school.
According to a clip on Discovery with Rawlings' high school classmates, he wasn't the most athletic kid around. One even sheds light into his romantic life by saying, "Richard definitely wasn't a ladies man."
Another went so far as to call him "the biggest geek." While Rawlings' classmates didn't hold back in revealing the less flattering sides of his background, they admit to some of the upsides. "Man, he could detail the heck out of a car," says one of his classmates.
15 Road Rally Racer
Rawlings has proven time and again that he's a major personality in the auto world today. While part of his image is due to Gas Monkey Garage and TV shows like Fast N' Loud, there's another component: road rallies. These races are more for exhibition than they are competition.
Though these annual rallies serve as an opportunity for racers from across the world to come together and prove their mettle on the road. According to Window Film, Rawlings participates in transcontinental road rallies. Not only is he part of them, but has won some major races before, notching his name into the annals of history.
14 He Embodies His Sayings: “If We’re Gonna Have Fun, It Better Have A Motor In It.”
No one doubts Rawlings' obsession with cars, though it may extend even beyond what may imagine. Rawlings once popularly said, "If we're gonna have fun, it better have a motor." Practically everything he does involves something fast that's motorized.
As per YouTube channel Deboss Garage, Rawlings once equipped a beer cooler with a small motor. Appropriately dubbed "The Rawlings Beer Cooler," everyone's favorite Fast N' Loud host drove around the garage on the cooler with a beer in hand.
Although it's never good to drink and drive, Rawlings at least stuck to his popular philosophy of having fun with motors.
13 Wrote An Automotive Handbook And Memoir
Richard Rawlings has proven he's more than a TV personality. Although he's famous for Fast N' Loud on Discovery, he's also branched out and wrote a book called “Fast N’ Loud: Blood, Sweat and Beers.” Not only is it a memoir about Rawlings' life, but it's called an automotive handbook.
According to Harpercollins Publishers, the book also gives readers a look inside the cast of Fast N' Loud and some of the stories that happened while the cameras weren't rolling.
Besides being a must-have for fans of Rawlings, it also serves as a handy guide for car enthusiasts. Those who have an interest in flipping cars should pick one up.
12 Owns 1932 Ford Hot Rod Among Several Ferraris, A Porsche And More
Although Richard Rawlings has his own show, his own personal collection of cars isn’t always highlighted. One would expect Rawlings to accumulate awesome rides over time though. So what's in Rawlings' garage anyway? He's got a Lamborghini Countach, along with a Porsche. Also part of his collection is a custom classic Ford Mustang.
Of the most impressive additions to his garage are his many Ferraris. Though the most precious car of them all is his 1932 Ford hot rod, according to Motor Trend. "'32 Fords to me are kind of what started hot rodding in America for the average consumer," says Rawlings explaining where his love for the vehicles comes from.
11 Bought His First Car At 14
Rawlings has had a passion for cars ever since he was young. Although he started out as a humble car enthusiast, Rawlings found a way to profit from his favorite hobby. Since most states allow drivers to get their licenses as early as when they're 16 years and 6 months old, they tend not to get a car of their own until then (or even later).
For Rawlings, it was a different story. He was only 14 years old when he got a car.
According to Showbiz Post, Rawlings' first car was a Mercury Comet 1974.
That's a sweet car, especially as a first car!
10 Went Through Lots Of Cars In High School
Richard Rawlings has accumulated quite the collection of cars over the years. When he got his first car at only 14, that was the start of a long career in flipping cars. Though by the end of high school, Rawlings had already accomplished more than anyone could've imagined.
According to Heightline, Rawlings had acquired and sold 20 cars by the time he walked at graduation. There's even a chance he went through more than 20 cars by that time. It's no small feat that Rawlings was able to pull this off, especially before he officially became an adult.
9 Gumball 3000 Two-Time Winner
Even more than being an active participant of road rallies, Rawlings has managed to win some as well. This only elevates Rawlings' status that much more. While anyone can host a TV show, a car enthusiast like Rawlings has to back up his reputation.
According to Maxim, Rawlings raced in the Gumball 3000 rally, which takes place in Britain every year.
It's a 3,000-mile rally that involves celebrities racing. Rawlings has managed to win this race twice already. He's also raced in the Bullrun, which is another major rally that can sometimes measure as long as 4,000 miles.
8 Did Donuts In His High School Parking Lot To Show Off
Younger people often do radical things to get attention. Richard Rawlings was no different. According to an interview on Discovery with some of his high school classmates, Rawlings used to do donuts in the parking lot.
In his first car, which was the Mercury Comet 1974, Rawlings didn't hesitate to burn rubber on school premises. Sounding like something of a rebel, it doesn't appear that Rawlings cared too much about the school's administration. One could even argue that Rawlings' persona hasn't changed much since then. What's clear is the fact that since an early age, Rawlings had a love for having fun with cars.
7 Made Money Flipping Cars
Richard Rawlings is one of the lucky few in this world who's able to make money doing what he loves. It all came from a desire to do something more with his life.
At first, according to NewsOK, the amount he flipped cars was much lower. "Back then, I was buying and selling $500 cars and $1,000 cars," Rawlings admits.
Over time, he acquired better cars and was able to make more money off flipping. He even started doing it at a young age. Eventually, it got to a point where he was making more money selling a car than his friends would be working for a month.
6 Worked With Aaron Kaufman On A Motorcycle For A Contest
Cars aren't Rawlings' only passion. He's also big on motorcycles. He even once dared to go up against some of the best custom motorcycle shops around.
According to Showbiz Post, Rawlings and fellow Fast N' Loud cast member Aaron Kaufman teamed up and entered a motorcycle build-off. Kaufman, who's a regular on Fast N' Loud, was a former mechanic for Global Motorsports Group. Bringing both their skills and expertise to the table, they were able to make an awesome motorcycle. As a test, they took the bike on an ambitious road trip that started in Dallas and ended in Las Vegas.
5 Finished Second In A Biker Build-Off
In a competition that involved other custom bike shops like Jesse James, Paul Jr. Designs, and Orange County Choppers, Rawlings and Kaufman gave it their all. In the end, they ended up getting second place, according to Showbiz Post. Not bad considering some of the other shops are well-known for their motorcycles.
Considering the other shops Rawlings and Kaufman went up against, it says a lot about their own bike building skills.
Also noteworthy is who they went up against. American Chopper, a show about Orange County Choppers, must have inspired Rawlings' own TV show airing on Discovery, Fast N' Loud.
4 Cannonball Run Record Holder With Dennis Collins
The Cannonball Run is a historical coast-to-coast race attempted only by a few. The rules are simple: a driver leaves a location in New York City and has to get to a specific landmark in California as fast as they possibly can. They can take any route, use any vehicle, have any number of passengers even if they want. It's the kind of ambitious cross-country trek that Richard Rawlings was jumping at an opportunity to try.
According to Discovery's official website, Rawlings currently holds the record for the Cannonball Run. He and Fast N' Loud regular Dennis Collins, as Ed Bolian reports, managed to do it driving a Ferrari 550 Maranello in 2007.
3 Owes His Dad For Love Of Cars
Like many who fell in love with cars, Rawlings' dad inspired him. On Rawlings' Facebook page back in January 2014, he noted his dad was "the man I inherited my love of cars from."
Many can relate to Rawlings here, as parents tend to pass on their love of cars to their children. It says a lot about Rawlings' character as well, that he's willing to give his dad credit for what started his interest in cars. In turn, Rawlings got to lend a helping hand to his dad for giving him a love of cars. That's detailed more below.
2 Helped Sell His Dad’s Truck
Richard Rawlings' dad got him into cars in the first place, so the least he can do is help him out in a time of need. According to Rawlings' Facebook, his dad looked to sell his truck. Though his son helped with fixing it up first before putting it on the market.
"He didn't think I was 'helping' by removing the faux ostrich skin seat covers, stick-on plastic hood scoop, stick-on NASCAR-style side vents & stick-on Buick-type porthole vents," shared Rawlings on the post.
"But let's agree to disagree." Although fathers and sons don't always agree, at least they worked together.
1 Thought His Comet In High School Was The Coolest Car
Some people have things they value the most in high school. Whether it's a significant other, playing on a sports team or even school itself, everyone had something they put a lot of care and interest in. For Richard Rawlings, it was his first car.
The Mercury Comet 1974 that Rawlings drove may not be the most impressive ride ever. To Rawlings though, it was his prized possession. According to a few of Rawlings' high school classmates in a video on Discovery's website, Rawlings thought highly of his comet. He considered it "the coolest car ever made" according to a former classmate, even though it was an ugly green color.
Sources: Maxim, Discovery, CNN, YouTube, Showbiz Post, Motor Trend, Facebook