Fast 'N Loudmouthed
|Fast 'N Loud's Richard Rawlings Photo: Gas Monkey Garage|
While I've never been there, my wife did bring me back a stuffed souvenir monkey from the airport gift shop during a business trip to Dallas, the home of Richard Rawlings and the folks at Gas Monkey Garage. If you're reading this blog, you know who these folks are, but if not that's okay. I'll sum it up for everyone real quick: they're a bunch of folks who realized there's a lot of money in selling warmed-over old cars and trucks at auction and sold the whole business concept to Discovery. Allow me to rant a little more.
|A scuffed & slammed '59 Rambler station wagon after the Fast & Loud treatment. Do these rims make me look phat? Photo: Hooniverse.com|
Most of the cars this garage turns out aren't restored, or fully rebuilt...they appear on television to be 'breathed on' by a crew of mechanics. They do have a shop that's capable of some remarkable work, but what makes the cut for the TV show is a little less flash and more CA$H. A 1980's Rolls Royce gets a pinstripe and a set of aftermarket 20 inch rims and VOILA! It heads to auction with a hefty price bump and sells for a profit. Or an old Rambler station wagon is dragged out of a barn, the rat turds are vacuumed out and a crate motor is shoehorned into the engine bay and BAM! Show me the money! Or the episode where a wrecked Ferrari F40 is brought back using an infusion of cash from a wealthy friend named Dennis...who ends up buying the completed car. True to form, Dennis is such a baller that he only deals in straight cash, homey. The common recipie for a Gas Monkey custom is air ride suspension, ridiculous rims, and EFI late-model power. As for the paint & body, well most of the time that work involves a Scotch-Brite pad and a gallon of urethane clear coat. "Patina" is in. Did I mention "in"? Because this show is the coolest freaking thing you've ever seen, brother. At least that's what they'll have you believe.
|This Mark VIII was pretty badass. Photo Credit: Quotesgram.com|
Richard, Gas Monkey's outspoken owner and reality television star, and his modest chief mechanic Aaron Kaufman make for entertaining television each Monday at 9 Eastern / 8 Central. Its actually fun to watch them quickly redo a custom car in 1 or 2 episodes and do smoky burnouts behind the shop. I get the appeal and I still watch the show when its not in re-runs against the protests of my wife. But I do have a few bones to pick with the show and here they are in no particular order.
5 Reasons Why Fast 'N Loud Slightly Irritates Me
1. It Tries To Be Trendy
|Gas Monkey's Aaron Kauffman (left) and pre-Gas Monkey Aaron (right). Beards make you an expert in your field. |
2. Its Kinda Wasteful
|The Gas Monkey boys destroy a rusty 1968 Cadillac Coupe DeVille before sending it to the scrapyard.|
Photo: Discovery Channel
3. It Doesn't Respect The Craft of Automotive Repair and Restoration
Take the first season Fast 'N Loud episode with the '50 Oldsmobile. They originally wanted to keep the factory 303 "Rocket" V-8 in the car. This engine was a marvel of engineering for the time and one of the reasons the horsepower wars began. Once they got into the car, they realized it would have cost too much money to send off to a machinist and rebuild, so they yanked it and installed a small block Chevy motor and called the car good. It sold, and I'm sure its a fun car to drive and is more reliable. I would argue that was taking the easy way out. Now instead of being a conversation piece at a car show, this pioneering Oldsmobile is relegated to 'yet another Chevy 350'. A true craftsman would have accepted the challenge of the 303 rebuild and kept the car true to its roots while still adding a few custom touches from the era in which it was built.
Speaking of craftsmanship, When someone hastily paints over original wood trim in an antique home to make things look 'new and fresh' before they put it on the market, its a travesty. When someone puts a $500 paint job on classic Ford Galaxie before sending it off to auction, the same is true. Catch my drift? There's a lot of painted wood trim coming out of this Texas shop. Its a shame since the original Gas Monkey Garage location had an honest to goodness hot rod pedigree.
4. They Place a Dollar Value on Everything.
|Cash talks, and you know what walks. Photo: Lauramaedesigns.com|
On numerous occasions Richard has passed on purchasing a sedan project car since it "has too many doors to be cool" or walked past something newer that's "not worth sinking any money into". The trouble with flipping old cars (and houses) is that can overlook the significance of the original subject itself for the sake of profit. Sometimes a 4 door sedan is worth saving, even if it commands less on auction day. Vintage cars and trucks don't have to be 'cool' to be given a second chance at life. We get just as many thumbs up and smiles in our sedan as many folks in coupes and convertibles do. Restoring the more popular models just means your profit margin is a smidge less.
And if a hot rod shop, TV show, and merchandising wasn't enough, Richard opened up a restaurant with the Gas Monkey name. It really is all about the cash, and not the craft. They're also no stranger to scandal and they've been called out a few times over the years, but they bounce back. Then there's the gratuitous shots of Richard with a wad-o-cash, and his signature line, "Gas Monkey only deals in cash.". For the Gas Monkey crew, cash trumps all else...even common sense at times.
5. They Do Something That Many Of Us Want To Do, And That Makes Me Jealous
|Photo: The Truth About Cars|
If I do get hired and things don't work out, I know there's a BBQ joint not too far from their shop in Fort Worth. I wonder if their brisket is any good.