29 Sep 2017

'If I can still have my hot rod, I'm super cool'

From Nine To Noon, 10:11 am on 29 September 2017

The concept of the TV show Fast n' Loud is simple – every week petrolhead Richard Rawlings and his mechanic sidekick Aaron Kaufman search remote corners of the US for derelict classic cars to buy, restore and flip.

Lynn Freeman catches up with Rawlings for a look under the show's bonnet.

There's no shortage of '32 Fords, '57 Chevys and '73 Trans Ams screaming to be brought back to life, but choosing the right rusty classics is the trick, says the owner of Gas Monkey Garage.

He's the man with an eye for a rare find, while master mechanic Aaron decides whether or not these relics are worthy of an overhaul or too far gone.

Rawlings first car was anything but cool, he says.

“My first car was a ‘74 Mercury Comet. It was horrible, it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t cool at all. It’s cool now, but back then I was not the coolest guy in high school, driving a six-cylinder pea green car.”

The show’s popularity has made finding cars easier – now the cars often come to him, he says.

“We’re expanding every day and not just Texas, we’re going all around America and soon all around the world. We‘re finding these hidden gems, we’re not just buying Volkswagens or Mustangs or what have you we’re finding those hidden treasures that have been locked away for ever and breathing new life into them.”

Rawlings' favourite marque is Ford.

“I’m an early Ford guy. We found a ‘32 Ford that we brought back to life, most people would have given up on it.

“Not only am I building cars and having fun, we’re saving things that people might have given away, thrown away or got crushed.”

It's the stories behind the cars that hook Rawlings as much as anything else.

“Sure, I’m in the business of doing cars, but if I have a choice between buying just an average Mustang that’s had many owners or one their grandfather bought and its always been in the family... I love the story as much as the car.” 

Is any project just too hard for a Fast n' Loud fix?

“We can fix anything. Man made it, so we can re-make it.”