Celebrity Drive: Richard Rawlings of ‘Fast N’ Loud’ and Those Dodge Commercials
He Gives His Ram a 10
Quick Stats: Richard Rawlings Discovery's Fast N' Loud
Daily Driver: Dodge (Richard's rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: his Cannonball Run
Car he learned to drive in: Mercury Comet
First car bought: Mercury Comet
While Richard Rawlings gets to work on a plethora of cool rides on Discovery's "Fast N' Loud" with his partner Aaron Kaufman at Gas Monkey Garage, his Ram ¾ ton diesel truck, which is also seen on the show, is his trusty daily driver.
"It's a great truck, it has all the creature comforts of a high-end car and Bluetooth and all the computerized stuff and tall enough off the ground that I can get out of everybody's way," Rawlings tells Motor Trend.
There's nothing Rawlings dislikes about the truck, and although the Dodge is his daily work vehicle, he keeps a handful of personal rides in his garage. "I'm in the car business, so I don't get to keep them all, but I've got four or five that I won't sell," Rawlings says.
Shelby Mustang GT
This convertible is also a fan favorite, first seen on Season 1. "I would put it as a 10 because we built it," he says. "It's a recreation of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' car from a Pierce Brosnan movie, so and it's not a normal Shelby Mustang, it's lifted, and got the top down and all that kind of stuff. What made it popular was it was a lifted Mustang with fog lights and big wheels and tires like a truck."
A friend had Rawlings build it for him, and Rawlings got it back about five years later. "I didn't want to sell it when I built it, but that's the business I'm in," he says. "I drive it pretty much every season that we have. You're always seeing it."
It's a car that didn't exist except for a few seconds of screen time in the movie. "It was pieced together, that they used for some shots, so we made one based on eight seconds of film and a couple of still shots. It's a pretty wild ride. It's different, it gets a lot of attention and a lot of people ask a lot of questions about it," he says, adding the lifted automatic has a cu-in V8, air-conditioning, and was significantly modified on all four fenders to accommodate BFGoodrich all-terrain tires.
"It has kind of a beach cruiser look to it. It's got a full roll cage in it with four off road lights, then two more in front bumper area, killer sound system. It's just a cool car," he says. "What made me make it was I loved it and I couldn't find it anywhere and anybody else that made one. I wanted to have it."
Rawlings loves his Chevrolet Fleetline, but since it could use some work, he gives it an 8 out of "It's the very first car we built at Gas Monkey Garage and I had an opportunity to buy it back, so I couldn't pass that up and went ahead and did it," he says. "We were building the car to take it out on the road with us and show people our style and what our talent was and what we could do, so that was what we came up with and what we wanted to use as our show piece."
It won't leave his hands because it's been a lucky car for Rawlings and his garage. "It really helped propel our business and I've actually sold it and bought it back four times," Rawlings says. But he doesn't get to drive it since they took the motor out of it in Season 3 for another car and have yet to replace it.
They chose the car not for the era it came from but for more practical purposes.
"It was just the style of car and we wanted to chop the roof on a car, so this one was there and we decided to put our efforts into it."
Rawlings' Ford 3-window hot rod is another prized possession. "This car's pretty perfect, it's percent original," he says. "This one's original. '32 Fords to me are kind of what started hot rodding in America for the average consumer. They were cheap and plentiful and that's where customizing and hot rodding and everything got its start here in America. It's the quintessential hot rod."
This classic ride is sure to turn heads when he takes it out. "I show it off, I drive it. I drove it today as a matter of fact, I took it around the block a couple of times," he says. "I take my cars everywhere. That's one of the benefits of owning a shop, if I break something, I guess we know how to fix it. Everyday, somebody's always wanting to buy it, that's for sure."
Shelby GT Fastback
Rawlings has a Shelby GT Fastback that he says is percent original. He bought it for his wife "It won't be going anywhere anytime soon. It's a perfect car, it's percent restored. A perfect red Shelby with a six foot tall blond in it turns heads," he says, with a laugh.
Car he learned to drive and first car bought
Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Rawlings learned to drive by the time he was "I just learned to drive everything, I started driving stuff anybody would let me get behind the wheel in so I don't really have that story where grandpa used to always take me in his truck out in the field," he says. "I'd just get in behind the wheel of anything I was allowed to."
As a young child, Rawlings' dad let him sit on his lap to drive, and later he drove whatever cars were in the house, including his grandma's Chevrolet Monte Carlo. From the time he was about 10, Rawlings mowed yards, raked leaves, doing any odd jobs he could to save up money for his first car, which was a Mercury Comet.
One only has a first car once and now Rawlings wishes he hadn't gotten rid of it. "I can't find it, I've been looking for it. They're pretty rare and I found a '74 that I bought in Arizona," he says, adding it should be on the show this spring. "It's a really, really good car, but it's not the same color or anything that I had, so we're going to build it on the show into the actual car that I had in high school because the one that I had in high school seems to be long gone, I can't find it."
It was his high school car and it wasn't very common even back then, but he quickly made it his own. "It was a bench seat, column automatic, straight six, nothing for speed, just good reliable transportation," he says. "I put some stripes on it, and some Mag wheels, and stuff as good as a teenager can do and that was my pride and joy for quite some time. I got made fun of a little bit for having a puke green Comet."
The Comet was a California car and it had power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. "It was the first car I customized for myself for sure, and I got the bug there, and here we are. It was just a pretty cool car to me, and I enjoyed having it. They were good cars. They were phenomenal cars actually - drove well, got good gas mileage, you name it. It was an ugly pea green six-cylinder Comet, but it was my first car, so that's what made it cool to me."
He got rid of it senior year to combine it with money he saved, to buy a Bandit Trans Am and it wasn't until later in life that he regretted selling the Comet. "I kind of wish I had kept it, but I've been through thousands of cars since then, so I'll get it eventually. We'll get it worked on and get it back out on the road. It's not really worth anything. It's more nostalgia, it's just everybody like yourself asks me what my first car was and it'd be cool to say, 'Well, that one over there,'" he says, with a laugh, although it won't be the exact car he adds, "I'll say, 'Just like that one over there!'"
Favorite road trip
Rawlings' favorite trips are going cross-country. "Anytime I get a chance to drive from Dallas to Vegas or L.A. or Scottsdale, it's always a good time," he says.
One fun childhood road trip memory reminds him of National Lampoon's "Vacation." "I always like to think that 'Vacation' with Chevy Chase, they stole my life because when I was young kid, they threw me and my sister in the backseat of a yellow Coupe Deville Cadillac with black leather interior and decided that it would be great to drive all the way through the desert to California and Disneyland. And pretty much everything that happens on 'Vacation' happened on that trip to us," he says, laughing. "So as far as being a kid, that was a pretty good experience, pretty good time. The air conditioner broke, my mom's trying to pack sandwiches on the side of road and stuff like that, and you've got the AAA maps, and you're getting lost and everything's breaking, just a full comical set of situations."
More recently though, Rawlings' favorite cross country drive was a record-breaking one he took in "I like crossing the country, so when I did the Cannonball Run was pretty cool from New York to L.A.," he says. "We broke the record that had stood since when David Yarborough and David Heinz did it in a Jaguar XJS. We went from 34th Street in Manhattan to Redondo Beach, California nonstop in 31 hours and 59 minutes and that is considered the world record for the Cannonball that was done a lot in the '70s."
He points out that the record hadn't been broken until he and Dennis did it. "That's a long time, so we did it in a Maranello Ferrari nonstop - miles," he says. "That's what got us our first time on Jay Leno, was for recognition of that."
Rawlings has also done the Gumball several times. "I've won it twice and those are always a good time," he says. "It's fun to get with a group of guys and go drive your cars and see the world."
Although he did the Cannonball Run for fun and to see if he could beat the record, Rawlings did film and document it. "Hopefully we're going to be putting it out here before long, I'm working on making a movie on it," he says. "We've got quite a bit that should make a pretty cool little documentary."
"Fast N' Loud" Mega Week Episode and New Season Jan. 16
There will be a special two-hour episode of Fast N' Loud on Discovery's Mega Week on Dec. 8. "We're going to be building another car for Hot Wheels, that'll be out in December and should be really, really neat," he says. "We were challenged by Hot Wheels to build a car that they haven't done and that would make a good Hot Wheel."
After being asked again by Mattel to build a life-sized Hot Wheel, this time a Red Line Club car, Rawlings and Kaufman chose a Ford Econoline truck for the build.
"We're constantly upping our game, getting better at our craft, challenging ourselves more and I'm very blessed and happy to be where we're at with the shop, and it's growing," Rawlings says. "It's really cool that we're not pigeoned holed into one thing - we're not Camaro guys, or Mustang guys or classic car guys. We really do build anything and everything that comes to mind. So that's been pretty cool."
The new season of Fast N' Loud premieres January 16 and Rawlings says viewers should be ready for some surprises. "We're going to do a little bit of everything and it's going to be a very interesting season, we'll be building everything from Volkswagen bugs all the way up to who knows, maybe even a Rolls Royce, I don't know," he says. "We're still building. We don't make the show for a while and then stop and then take a few months off, we're about eight weeks back and we're producing a car every two to three weeks. We don't do hiatus, we work year round and take a week off in the summer and a week of in the winter. We film every day. Everyday Monday through Friday, sometimes on Saturdays."
When the show became a success back when it premiered in , Rawlings had the garage for years already. "Back then everybody thought it was motorcycles, I had to convince them that we could build cars," he says.
While there were motorcycle build shows back then Rawlings felt he could do a car show. "I'm an entrepreneur all the way. My drive to get the TV show was I'm a car guy - there's nothing on television to watch with cars, at least nothing that I liked," he says. "I'd watch shows and sit there and berate myself for watching them because they sucked, but they were the only things about cars," he says. "So I just wanted to do better. I'm not trying to say I'm the best guy on the planet, but I think our show is a lot more entertaining and a lot better than the stuff that was out when we got started."
He likes the way his show is done, compared to what was on the TV landscape when they premiered. "It's just a really good set up, we tell a little history, we have a little comedy and we make it happen. And we built some incredible cars," he says. "We didn't want to have any of the negativity in it, we didn't want to have any of the made up drama. Our show is true car guys having a good time, taking risks, working our ass off, going fast, having a good time. And the second this quits being fun, I probably won't do it anymore."
It had been hard work to get the show on the air, a journey that took nine years of perseverance, but it paid off and Rawlings' theory about being able to put a good an unscripted car show was confirmed by its many viewers. "The show came across because I was calling, begging for people to pay attention to what we do, there was motorcycle shows, there was Jesse James, there was Orange County," he says. "I just made some sizzle reels and kept pushing and kept pushing and kept pushing until got to the right people."
Rawlings has seen his share of eclectic cars come through his garage over the years.
"I've had pretty much everything through here because I have a love of all cars and a lot of shops get trapped up in they're only liking one thing or their specialty is one thing and we really are across the board," he says. "As far as some of my favorite cars, I'm a number 1 car guy in that I like to find the very first ones, so I've owned and resold a '71 Cuda, serial number 1, I've had a '69 Firebird, number 1, I've had a Camaro number 1."
Viewers may also recall seeing his first and second Firebirds on the show as well. "Most of them I just found on the Internet or through word of mouth, chase them down. Sometimes it's total BS and sometimes it's exactly what it's supposed to be," he says.
In he bought all the COPO Camaros he could find, which were 17 out of the 20 that were made, and sold them. Viewers may have seen them on the show. "It's what Fred Gibb, and Holman Moody did back in the day and, they just bought them all. So those cars are forever known as Holman Moody cars, or they're known as Baldwin-Motion cars. These cars hopefully will be forever known as Gas Monkey COPOs," he says. "They're rare. There is nothing more rare in the Camaro world for We built one of them on the show."
They built it in the plant at General Motors, which he acknowledged was a "pretty cool thing" at the time to do. "We're the only people in the whole world ever to build our own COPO Camaro on the assembly line in Detroit," he says.
Rawlings doesn't have a favorite, adding that he wouldn't build a car if he didn't like it. "Our specialty is having fun with whatever you put in front of us and finding out what that's car soul, so to speak, is about. Some need to be restored, some need to be hot rodded, some need to be crushed and thrown away," he says, with a laugh. "So you just got to figured out what that car says to you and then make it happen."
One memorable car on the show was the Ferrari F40, later sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction. "The F40 Ferrari was probably the hardest one we ever did and the biggest risk we've ever taken," Rawlings recounts. "We had $, in that car and we took a car that no one would fix. Ferrari got mad we were even going to attempt to fix it, and we built the car in nine weeks, we built it better than Ferrari did. It's faster, it's leaner, it's meaner, it's a better F40 and they're still pissed off at us. They levied a $, fine against the Ferrari dealership here for allowing the car to be inside the dealership after being told not to."
But Rawlings looked at the Ferrari as simply being no different than a Chevrolet or a Ford or anything other make. "We bought a car, we fixed it and made it cool. But Ferrari seemed to see that a little bit differently," he says. "We painted the car black for starters because all of them are red. So I think it will forever be known as the Dark Horse."
They rebuilt everything on the Ferrari. "We took a car that Ferrari themselves said could never be fixed period," he says. "Not only did we fix it, it is better. We improved the suspension, we improved the braking, we improved the exhaust, we rebuilt the motor, we improved the turbo, we changed the interior and made it more comfortable and easier to drive with better seating capacity. We changed the entire wheel structure size and diameter and bigger tires. It grips the road better, it is better period."
Rawlings' determination to have a show can be an inspiring example of being able to live out one's passion. "You find something you love and you never have to work a day in your life," he says. "So I wrapped my business around my hobbies and I was very fortunate enough to make a pretty good little hot rod shop out of it. We're hopefully very well respected in the market and we're having a good time with it. It was a chance for me to do what I love and get paid for it."
A special episode of Fast N Loud airs Dec. 8 and the new season of Fast N' Loud starts Jan. 16 on Discovery Channel.
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Thomas Crown Affair Mustang
History has largely forgotten the remake of Steve McQueen’s The Thomas Crown Affair, but the off-road Mustang featured in the film has become something of an icon.
When it comes to the annals of Western cinema, the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair is a footnote at best. It took a slick but forgettable Steve McQueen vehicle and turned it into a slick but forgettable Pierce Brosnan vehicle. The Thomas Crown Affair was, like the original, not a ‘car movie’. But, while sticking quite closely to the plot of the version, it did make two changes that are interesting within the context of this motoring magazine. Firstly, as mentioned, it replaced Steve McQueen – real-life racing driver and the embodiment of ‘60s American cool – with the rather stuffy (and very British) Pierce Brosnan. It was, to put it delicately, an ‘interesting’ choice.
The second change that the movie made was far more palatable. In the solitary significant driving scene of the original, Steve McQueen can be seen driving a Manx dune buggy. It’s a fun little vehicle and McQueen can be seen getting some impressive air in it on some small sand dunes. The version doesn’t have a beach buggy, but it does boast a very attention-grabbing Ford Mustang. The vehicle in question is a G.T. with chunky off-road tyres, a roll cage with spotlights, flared wheel arches and a spare wheel on the boot. John McTiernan, the director of the film, got hold of the car for one of his earlier films, The Last Action Hero with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it was never used. The bulky action star was apparently just too brawny for the cabin of the Mustang and looked silly in it. Schwarzenegger’s character was instead given a Bonneville convertible.
The Mustang GTA convertible spent a few years in McTiernan’s barn, until he decided to use it in The Thomas Crown Affair. To create the off-road Mustang, McTiernan approached a company called Picture Cars East, which regularly provided film productions with unusual vehicles. The company was given the rusty Mustang and a rough sketch of what the off-road Mustang should look like. They got the engine back up and running, rebuilt the car, made it to look like a Shelby G.T. and added the requested off-road bits. Apart from a few brief but memorable scenes in the film, the Mustang has disappeared from the public sphere. You’ll find no images or footage of it online. However, the car has inspired some cool replicas. A company called Classic Design Concepts in the US has created one for a client based on a G.T. More famously, Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage and the television show Fast N’ Loud has also built one based on a Shelby Mustang. It has become one of Gas Monkey’s signature cars.
THOMAS CROWN MUSTANG REPLICA
Manufacturers Classic Design Concepts (CDC) and Gas Monkey Garage
Based on Mustang from film The Thomas Crown Affair
Engine Gas Monkey Garage engine is unknown, but CDC Mustang has a Ford Performance cub inch powerplant.
Transmission Tremec five-speed manual
Text: GG van Rooyen
Fast N' Loud Season 2 Episode Guide
MORE Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6 | Season 7 | Season 8 | Season 9 | Season 10 | Season 11 | Season 12 | Season 13 | Season 14 | Season 15 | Season 16
02/18/13 to 04/01/13
1. Mashed Up Mustang – SEASON PREMIERE
(First aired February 18, )
Richard trades his friend a '58 Impala for a '67 Mustang. He flips a smoking (literally)'72 Pontiac Formula , but will it make up for his most embarrassing purchase yet? Aaron and the crew rush to the scene of a Gas Monkey accident.
2. Bad Ass Bronco Part 1
(First aired February 25, )
Richard and Aaron take on the ultimate 4x4 hot rod: a '76 Bronco. Unfortunately, runaway rust issues make this project budget-buster. Needing cash fast, Richard hits the road in search of some quick flips, including a Pontiac, Chieftain, and '40 sedan.
3. Bad Ass Bronco Part 2
(First aired March 4, )
With the Bronco over-budget and past deadline, Richard's patience (and wallet) are severely tested. He sells a '36 Ford three-window then considers a dare to sell his beloved Shelby Mustang. Sue is not amused with Gas Monkey's birthday gift to her.
4. Far-Out Fairlane
(First aired March 11, )
Richard and Aaron resurrect two cars bought from a local charity: a '59 Fairlaine Galaxie and a Bel Air. Richard is concerned for his safety at a Model A boneyard, but it's having to reject one of Sue's jobs that has him and Aaron most concerned.
5. Stung By a '67 Corvette Stingray
(First aired March 18, )
A side trip to Vegas nets Richard and Aaron casino winnings and Evel Knievel's Messerschmitt microcar. Later Richard buys a 73 Dodge Challenger and the Holy Grail of Corvettes: a '67 Stingray in hopes of a 6-figure sale, but Aaron is not pleasedat all.
6. Trials of a T-Bird
(First aired March 25, )
Richard and Aaron bring a hot '58 Corvette home to the new Gas Monkey World Headquarters. Christie takes a gamble, buying a '65 TBird while Richard is away. Model Alloy Ash fires up her welding torch to prove to Aaron she's more than just a pretty face.
7. Ferocious Ford and Fast Ferrari
(First aired April 1, )
The Gas Monkey crew turn a rat-infested '38 Ford into a cool hot rod. Richard buys football player Emmitt Smith's Mercedes, which comes with a surprise. Is new female welder Alloy up for the GMG challenge? Richard gambles $K on a banged up Ferrari F
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Maxim threatened, finally, having achieved a response from the girl. Alena opened her emerald eyes, full of pain and not shed tears and hissed: -Lo that you're dead. Max grabbed her by the hair and jerked painfully, rasped: -It is not in your best interest to piss off me. Sister, so that you better shut your mouth.
4x4 mustang gas monkey
We had dinner with a bottle of wine and the stiffness went away by itself. Understanding where everything was leading, she offered to go to the shower, from which I came out already in a terry. Robe, naturally dressed over my naked body. When she came out in the same clothes, there was no point in postponing. The hug, which began with a kiss, continued with the fact that both robes fell to the floor, and we fell on the bed.Putting Monster Military Wheels On A 4x4 Camaro Blazer - Fast N’ Loud
But we started dating and I like him very much. - Well, I'm glad for you. - No, that's not the point. I wrote on the Internet that I really love sex. Well, just I wanted to seem more mature.
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To the conclusion that the experience of bestiality will not harm us. We bought a dog together. We chose a one-year-old, already educated mastiff named Joni.