Fast N' Loud is another of those motoring makeover shows which attracts a huge following on TV, mainly thanks to the creative custom miracles on the cars which come into their garage, but also thanks to the behind-the-scenes arguments between the stars. When it comes to Fast N' Loud, the star of the show is undoubtedly the larger-than-life Richard Rawlings, the rather tempestuous and argumentative owner of Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas.
However, when the boss rules both his repair shop and its TV show with a rod of iron, it does mean that there are some pretty strict guidelines for the rest of the cast and crew to follow while they are filming. Most relate to how staff at the Gas Monkey Garage, as well as those behind the scenes, have to act around Rawlings, and how they treat his expensive collection of cars, but there are also more than a few subjects that are off the table when it comes to on-screen conversations.
Fast N’ Loud has been gracing our TV screens since 2012, since the first series was broadcast on the Discovery Channel, but even the most devoted fans of the show probably don’t know about half of the rules that the staff at Gas Monkey Garage have to follow if they want to retain their starring role on the show.
15 Special Rules For Tom Smith
Whatever the rules that the team at the Gas Monkey Garage had to follow, there were very different rules when it came to crew member Tom Smith. Smith was something of a maverick, and definitely had a unique way of working. He also had a tendency to take off into the mountains whenever things got too much – a habit which Richard Rawlings was willing to tolerate for a little while until even he grew tired of making excuses for Smith and his eccentric behavior.
Smith now runs his own Misfits Garage along with a fellow Fast N’ Loud reject, Jordan Butler.
14 Don't Reveal How Bad The Team Are With Computers
Rawlings and his Gas Monkey team have a reputation as being among the best in the business when it comes to customizing and modifying vintage vehicles. And when they are powering up the engines, or creating works of art on the bodywork, the cars on Fast N’ Loud certainly look the part.
However, they do seem to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to computers, which is difficult as many of the best modern modifications rely heavily on modern technology. When one car needed some serious IT upgrades, the Gas Monkey crew had to call in an expert – although Rawlings insisted that the cameras stopped rolling.
13 Keep On Richard Rawlings' Good Side
Part of the reason that the cameras stopped rolling when Gas Monkey Garage brought in the experts is that Richard Rawlings himself has such an inflated ego that he wouldn’t ever admit any weakness – or that he ever makes a mistake.
Rawlings’ character is part of the reason that Fast N’ Loud has made it to eight seasons, but it is also why there has been such a high turnover of staff. The trick to keeping your job at Gas Monkey is to keep on Rawlings’ good side and to never question his decisions or point out when he has made some questionable choices.
12 And Don't Mention All The Staff He Has Fired!
And the last thing any current staff at Gas Monkey Garage should do is talk about people who used to work there, especially those who left under a cloud. Perhaps one of the biggest departures from the show and from the garage was Rawlings’ modifier extraordinaire, Aaron Kaufman.
Kaufman left Fast N’ Loud in what can best be described as mysterious circumstances and has been reluctant to discuss his time at Gas Monkey Garage, preferring to focus on his own new venture, Arclight Fabrication in Dallas, Texas, which is now the subject of its own Discovery TV series, Shifting Gears.
11 No Jokes About The Dodge Adverts
For a man who trades on his so-called hard-man image, Richard Rawlings once made the unusual decision to star in an advert for Dodge cars with a computer-animated monkey. Playing on the Gas Monkey Garage name, the series of commercials aired in 2014 and showcased the 2015 Dodge Charger muscle car.
However, pairing the Fast N’ Loud frontman with a cartoon monkey was a rather unorthodox pairing, to say the least, and while Rawlings probably picked up a decent paycheck for his work, it is said that he doesn’t like to talk about the commercials on more recent episodes of his show.
10 Make The Team Look Good On Camera
The incident when the Gas Monkey Garage guys had to call in the computer experts to help them on a project was far from the only time that the show employed a little creative license. In one episode, the crew was challenged to a race by rival garage Roadkill, and they were supposed to have just one day to fix up their car for the contest.
While this was how it appeared on TV, in reality, the work took place over several days, as the team dealt with various problems. Not that anyone from the Fast N' Loud team ever revealed the truth; making Rawlings look good is an important part of being on the show.
9 Keep The Show's Creative Secrets
Perhaps the most controversial episode of Fast N' Loud, at least in hindsight, was when Richard Rawlings and his crew at Gas Monkey Garage found what they claimed were the first two Pontiac Firebirds ever built. For one thing, the cars had not been abandoned in a barn as the show claimed, but stored by the previous owner, and they were not prototyped Firebirds as Rawlings said on screen, but just the first two models off the production line, and therefore not worth any more or any less than the 100th or 1000th Firebird ever made.
No-one from Gas Monkey Garage has ever admitted the truth about this "great find."
8 Stay Away From Rawlings' Cars
As you might expect for a man who has made his life all about cars, Richard Rawlings has a pretty impressive collection of vehicles in his garage, which he also drives into work. Gas Monkey Garage often has fans dropping by to see the team’s current projects, but Rawlings seemingly hates it when these fans get too close to his own cars.
Tom Smith and Jordan Butler even claimed that they were fired because they allowed a fan with cystic fibrosis to have his photo taken with Rawlings’ Rolls Royce – a small gesture which meant a lot to the fan but seemingly upset the Gas Monkey boss.
7 Don't Mention His Ex-Wife
Rawlings has had an interesting love life, having been married three times to two different women! His first marriage came in 1993, long before he hit the big time, to Karen Grimes, and the couple divorced the next year. He then married Suzanne Mergele in Las Vegas in 1999, with the pair announcing their divorce in 2009 before they then got back together and remarried in Cabo, Mexico in 2015.
In 2018, Rawlings announced that the couple had split up again which must have created a very awkward atmosphere in the Gas Monkey Garage. Seems the safest option is not to mention Rawlings’ love life at all.
6 Or Rawlings' Previous Careers
Another touch subject from Rawlings’ past is the many different jobs he had before he finally got Gas Monkey Garage off the ground. The star of Fast N’ Loud likes to cultivate an image that he has always been a gearhead, and while it is true that he used to do up cars a hobby, it is only more recently that he has made a successful business out of his talents.
Before Gas Monkey Garage opened, Rawlings had worked as a police officer, a firefighter, and a delivery driver, before he bought a printing business; this was eventually sold and it gave him the capital needed to open his garage.
5 Stay Away From Jesse James!
When it comes to motoring rivalries you tend to think of James Hunt vs Niki Lauda in the 1976 Formula One series or the long-running NASCAR rivalry between Richard Petty and David Pearson, but in terms of sheer bitterness, you can probably add Richard Rawlings and Jesse James to this list.
Who knows how much of their mutual hatred is put on for the cameras, as it certainly makes for good TV, with Jesse James even dumping a truck full of manure on his rival’s garage forecourt. One thing’s for certain; it’s best not to mention James’ name in the Gas Monkey Garage.
4 Careful What You Say On Camera
A garage full of guys is always going to be a pretty blunt place to work, and there is a good chance that lots of material have had to be re-shot or left on the cutting room floor because of some bad language. The Discovery Channel certainly isn’t going to broadcast any four-letter words! Perhaps the Gas Monkey crew should have taken that into consideration before they made a bizarre promo video for the legendary SEMA motoring show in which Rawlings claimed he was the “antichrist of the hot rod world.”
His unfortunate choice of language led to SEMA cutting all ties with Gas Monkey Garage.
3 Everyone Has To Work Long Hours
If the episodes of Fast N’ Loud are to be believed, working at the Gas Monkey Garage is a dream come true for any young gearhead. Not only do you get to work on great projects, alongside some of the best mechanics and designers in the business, but you also get to have a lot of fun at the same time.
What the cameras don’t show, however, are the long hours that everyone is expected to put in at the Gas Monkey Garage – even boss Richard Rawlings himself when they have a tight deadline to meet! Being one of the stars of Fast N’ Loud is actually hard work, and everyone is expected to put in long hours when needed.
2 Cars Are Always Bought For Cash
One of the unwritten rules on Fast N’ Loud, although it is one that Rawlings has followed for a long time, is that cars should always be bought with cash. When he first started out buying and fixing up cars as a teenager, Rawlings was told that you can always get the car you want for a little less money if you have the cold, hard cash in your hand, and since then all his business has been conducted this way.
In fact, he always carries a thousand dollars with him just in case he spots a car likes while he’s out and about!
1 Don't Mention The Other Gas Monkey Businesses
The Gas Monkey name now belongs to much more than just Rawlings’ garage; he also owns two Gas Monkey restaurants in Dallas, and a music venue, Gas Monkey Live, in the same city. Although the odd passing mention may get through, in fact, Rawlings and his staff are banned from mentioning these other enterprises by the Discovery Channel, who don’t want to give his bars free advertising.
Plus, the Gas Monkey spin-offs have not been without their own problems, having been plagued by bad reviews since day one, and Rawlings appears keen to put an end to his connection with the venues.
Sources - Gas Monkey Garage, D Magazine, Hot Rod, Road, and Track, Speed Society