We've all watched enough of Discovery Channel's Fast n' Loud, or at least heard enough about it, to know that it's a show about Gas Monkey Garage proprietor and businessman Richard Rawlings and his crew as they transform old junker cars into nice, profitable customs. Well, sometimes the end result isn't even all that nice, just a lot more expensive than when it first came to the shop.
It's not always fun and games, though. Like any self-respecting reality show, there have been feuds, squabbles, silliness, cast changes, and wasted money. It really shouldn't come as a secret to anyone that reality TV doesn't contain much reality, there's on-set coaching, guidelines for participants, and straight-up deceptive editing, all making whatever we see at home very different from what's really going on.
Fast N' Loud is not immune from such manipulations; just like any other "reality" show out there, they have producers editing out anything they don't want us to see. While the show doesn't rely as heavily on these tricks as many others, it is still very easy to see right through things when they do happen. The problem with this formula is that while it does create a slicker and cooler show for those who aren't really into cars, for those who actually know a thing or two about cars, the entire concept will just seem ridiculous. Below we'll take a look at 25 times the Gas Monkey messed things up, whether through their own fault or the producers.
25 Marketing Gone Bad – Monkey Got Spanked
If not one of the biggest fails in marketing, this is definitely one of the most embarrassing fails. Someone posted a pic of Rawlings and Kaufman in the Hotrodders Forum to promote a car giveaway at the annual SEMA show. The pair was wearing nothing but sunglasses and women's underpants with "Spank My Monkey" printed on them, and the admin of the site called it "disturbing" and told them to remove it. There was also a video of Rawlings saying he was the antichrist of the hot rod world. Members of the forum perceived it as a plug for the company and not an actual call for help, so they came after them. Hard.
24 Fake Prototype Firebirds
Once upon a time, the Monkeys came across two original Pontiac Firebirds. They also claimed 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 mass production of the cars or not. In reality, the cars were discovered in a barn and they weren’t prototypes at all, just standard, consumer-model vehicles. They were, however, the first two off of the line, but apparently, that’s not impressive enough for TV.
23 Beef With Jesse James
Back in the early days of Fast n’ Loud, Rawlings decided it would be a good idea to make fun of Jesse James, the renowned chopper builder and Monster Garage star. While some of the things that made it on-screen could be staged, such as announcing Jesse James was hiring mechanics, or saying James was "in Texas trying to act like a Texan," even Jesse's response by having bikers dump a truck full of horse manure in Gas Monkey's driveway could be considered good fun. However, it went too far when Rawlings mocked Jesse James's relationship with Sandra Bullock and said James had abandoned his motorcycle business.
22 All Modifications Have Consequences
A good mechanic is worth his weight in golden spanners, not just because he knows how to change one part for another, but also for knowing what happens when one part is changed or upgraded. Aaron always used to make a gazillion decisions and tried to anticipate problems before they happened. Of course, no matter how good a mechanic he is, no one gets it right every time. There have been cars coming through the shop that initially weren't going to become huge projects, but once that one part was changed, something else needed doing, which led to another modification... and soon Richard's quick flip had cost thousands of dollars.
21 Making The Same Mistake Twice, Or More...
We're always being told not to make the same mistake twice (or three times, for that matter). How many episodes have aired where Richard has bought a car that turns out to be about 80% rust? That’s a big waste of time, money and labor, but since there are so many episodes like that, apparently no lessons have been learned. Someone should lock up either his fridge or his computer, maybe even both, so he won't have access to beverages and internet auctions while unsupervised.
20 Unable To Get Miura
In pretty much every episode, we get to see Richard buying and selling cars but he hasn't succeeded in buying the one car he really wants. For years, Richard Rawlings has made multiple attempts to purchase a specific Lamborghini Miura. The supercar and its owner are located in Florida, and Rawlings has called the owner every year at Christmas in an attempt to buy the Miura. Every year, the owner turns him down. But Rawlings maintains faith that one day the owner will sell, he just has to catch him on the right day.
There have been a couple of spinoffs of Fast N' Loud, some more successful than others.
Back in 2014, Rawlings aired a spinoff called Misfit Garage. It features two mechanics that were fired 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 landlord of the Garage is Rawlings and he's also the show's executive producer, so even though none of the mechanics work for him, he plays a major role and still gets paid. Misfit Garage wasn't very successful, and also lost some of its founders and employees early on.
18 Street Outlaws Grudge Race
In the first installment of the Mega Race, Big Chief drove The Crow, and in the second Mega Race, Ryan Martin drove his Fireball Camaro. And the outcome of both resulted in the Fast N' Loud crew getting beaten. At one point, the Street Outlaws guys didn't want to race Richard and accused him of cheating; but in the end, the races happened, and they were the classic tales of the "good and honest street guys" vs the "evil, cheating rich guy" that got schooled. At least Richard learned that while money can buy you an experienced driver, that doesn't mean you'll win.
17 Test Drive Speeding
As Rawlings was test driving a Viper the monkeys had just fixed up, he "slipped up" and got caught speeding by the police. It's been confirmed that he actually was speeding because Rawlings himself pointed it out in his own Instagram post... along with a photo showing the moment as it happened. While he may be a talented driver, Richard should've been more careful when driving in public. Fame and money don't make him exempt from having to respect the law and a Viper is hardly invisible, so if the cops are out they will notice.
One of Fast n’ Loud’s most notable rivalries took place between the Gas Monkeys and the hosts of the online show, Roadkill, who challenged the Monkeys to an eighth-mile drag race. The Gas Monkey team spends a lot of time just to get their vehicle to start. The show depicts some of the issues, but it was way worse than what we were shown. At least two transmissions and several torque converters were built from scratch before they worked, and the engine computer system had to be recoded and modified. On-screen, it looks like one night but in reality, it was much longer.
15 Aaron's Frustrations
While many people were shocked when Aaron Kaufman left the Gas Monkeys, they were less surprised to hear it was due to professional and personal differences. Richard Rawlings is quite obviously the super-size personality and the one who brings home the bacon but Aaron Kaufman was the innovative force who transformed whatever came to the garage into marketable rides. The television show setup was crippling Aaron's creativity; he wanted to build bigger, more impressive cars, such as the Pantera they built, but the show required him to stick to simpler projects. These days he has his own show, Shifting Gears.
14 Cut Dawg Lowrider
While there were some funny incidents when building the car, Richard certainly wasn't laughing all the way to the bank when initially showing off the car at the Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill. There was nothing inherently wrong with the Cutlass, which used a unique combination of both hydraulic and custom coilover suspension. There were no takers for this somewhat weird project from the group of low-rider enthusiasts that showed up for the unveiling of the car. But it should be noted that the Cut Dawg was later sold on eBay for $35,000.
13 Datsun 280Z
A Datsun 280Z is not something we'd expect to come out of the Gas Monkey shop. They really stepped out of their comfort zone for this build but they nailed it. The car not only looks like it was built by a true JDM enthusiast, pop the hood and there's a very decent powerplant, as well: an SR20 engine pushing out 400 horses. It wasn't really the Gas Monkey's fault that this car ended up as a total loss. The cool Datsun was being transported on a car hauler that went up in flames.
12 Rambling Rambler
The 1959 Rambler Cross Country Wagon definitely had some serious potential, but it ended up as one of the cars fans of the show disliked the most. A lot of people felt that Gas Monkey didn't follow through on the build and certainly didn't show what they indeed are capable of. Parts of the build are top notch, and everything you'd expect to find under the hood has been upgraded, and of course, the Rambler has been introduced to an air ride suspension set up. The exterior is downright pitiful but at least it isn't as bad as the interior, which was reupholstered with a white and baby blue floral theme.
11 Ford GT
Incredibly enough, someone actually paid a quarter of a million dollars for a Ford GT that was pretty close to being totaled in an accident. That's the numbers you can get when you own a world famous brand and everyone wants a piece. The guys over at Gas Monkey not only resurrected the Ford GT after it had serious front-end damage, they decided on upgrading the car, as well—of course, by doing the regular Gas Monkey stuff, such as huge wheels and airbag suspension. At the end of the day, though, it was still a Ford GT that had been in an accident.
10 Ferrari F40
Richard and the monkeys got their hands on a wrecked Ferrari F40 and while just fixing it up to its former glory would have been a lot of work, they decided to improve it as well. Ferrari didn't think it was a good idea to fix the car—they had already deemed it totaled—so when word got out Gas Monkey was going to rebuild it, they shut down all related parts shipments to the U.S. for three weeks. The F40 ended up selling for $742,500 at Barrett-Jackson, which is a lot of money for what was essentially a wrecked, rebuilt, and modified super-rare supercar.
9 The Creeper Van
The 1976 G10 project was supposed to be some kind of a mix between man-cave and off-road vehicle. It was also built to promote the Gas Monkey cinnamon-flavored tequila, which just like this van, is an acquired taste. The van was, according to Discovery, found on the side of the road and was for sale at just $300. While that's not a lot of money for a car, it was still more than enough for the van that ended up with the not-so-flattering nickname, "the Creeper Van."
8 Bar N' Grill Issues
In typical celebrity fashion, Richard Rawlings wants in on the food and beverage industries. In true entrepreneurial fashion, the Fast N' Loud host has opened up several restaurants. The first restaurant, Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, was opened just a few miles away from the garage in Dallas, TX. In 2015, The Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill in Dallas showed up in a report from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that casts doubt on its business practices. The “Bottoms Up” sting operation investigated bars in the area to make sure everything they served was delivered as advertised. Gas Monkey was among the five establishments that received critique but the restaurant denies that it did anything wrong.
7 Junkyard Porsche
An LS-swapped Porsche could easily be mistaken for some redneck-modified race car, but there is actually more to it than that when talking about Gas Monkey's wild Porsche 996. Starting off with a broken down Porsche 911 convertible, the front end was swapped to the more stylish 997 version. Fender flares from JT Mode were installed to make the car wider than standard, kind of a must when you want to fit some monster wheels. After all the modifications done to the car, it was still slower than Richard's Porsche that was 100% Porsche. Was the Junkyard 996 cheaper? Sure. Was it as good as the real thing? Absolutely not!
6 Shorty Bus
What's the one thing that was good about the Volkswagen bus? It certainly wasn't crash safety. Oh no, the best thing about the VW bus was, by far, all the space it offered inside. The Gas Monkey Shorty Bus didn't really offer any room at all and to make things worse, safety was compromised to such a degree that the car should be used for display purposes only. At least that what the Barrett-Jackson auction listing stated. Incredibly, this weird creation actually sold for $38,500—a figure which can hardly be said to be money well spent.
5 Oldsmobile 88 Futuramic Custom Coupe
The 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Futuramic Custom Coupe was only the second car the Gas Monkeys had built on Fast N' Loud and maybe that's why the car wasn't up to the standards we've later come to expect from them. It was powered by a 350 V8 and a 700R4 transmission and being a Gas Monkey product, the Oldsmobile kept its original patina paint job. According to Barrett-Jackson, the car only sold for $30,800. Considering the show wasn't as well known back then, one can only imagine how much Richard could manage to sell this thing for today.
4 KITT Car
The people on the internet weren't a bunch of happy campers after the KITT car "build" on Fast N' Loud. Things that got the most negative comments were how the entire premise was fake and there was no car building, just entertainment. Basically, Richard's friend wanted a Knight Rider replica built in time for his birthday. He also paid a ton of cash to have "The Hoff" show up in person. There wasn't really any building going on, just Rawlings "chasing" Hasselhoff through Europe. The car wasn't living up to the audience's standards when it was done and the episode ended up cementing the fact that Gas Monkey was no longer putting the reality in reality TV.
3 Firing of Tom and Jordan
There has been a lot of speculation as to why Tom Smith and Jordan Butler were fired from Gas Monkey Garage. Some say it was a planned move, with Richard being the executive producer on the new show Misfit Garage, there would be at least two interesting characters on that show. While we can't really know for sure what caused it, the official explanation is that a fan arrived at the garage and wanted a picture next to Rawlings’ Rolls-Royce. The mechanics agreed, but the manager on duty didn’t—resulting in both sides yelling expletives at each other and Rawlings firing the two mechanics.
2 Practical Jokes On Richard
Richard is known to be hustlin' and he didn't get to where he is just by coincidence and pure luck. This, of course, means that if you play a practical joke on him, chances are that he has the capacity to do something much worse in retaliation. There are a few examples of him making both his employes and competition pay dearly for their foolishness, and not even the families will be spared. The above screenshot shows the moment Richard Rawlings retaliated for a previous incident when his sister, Daphne Rawlings-Kaminski, celebrated his birthday by shooting confetti in his face. A few days later, Rawlings got his revenge with an exploding bag of popcorn.
1 Reality Is Scripted
What? Get outta here!! No way! Okay, so most people would probably realize that this show is scripted after watching just a few minutes of the show. But the thing is, Fast N' Loud has become more and more scripted with every new season. In the beginning, they were actually working 24/7, sometimes falling asleep while working, and then giving real comments to the cameras regarding how they really felt. Later on, there would be entire episodes that followed these weird plots—not to mention the Smokey And The Bandit dream sequence...
Sources: Gas Monkey Garage, Jalopnik, and Driving Lane.