‘Fast N’ Loud’ Returns With More Classic Builds, Bold New Projects, And A Shocking Departure

Richard Rawlings, Aaron Kaufman, and the rest of the Gas Monkey Garage crew returns with some impressive new builds on the new season of Fast N’ Loud. Broadway World shares that when Richard and Aaron come across a rare ’55 Chevy, the Fast N’ Loud team works under a tight deadline to transform the battered car into a classic vehicle that is fit to auction off at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast auction. If they can finish it in time, Richard hopes to auction if off for a major profit.

On this season of Fast N’ Loud, the crew will be working on other classic builds as well, including an ’80 El Camino and a ’65 Volkswagon. Building a race car will be their biggest project on this season of Fast N’ Loud, where they pull out all the stops to create something screaming fast and unique. Once completed on Fast N’ Loud, all that is left for them to do is find a challenger to give them a good race.

For those unfamiliar with how Rawlings began his journey toward developing his own brand that is now known around the world, the Gas Monkey Garage website states that the Fort Worth, Texas native developed a passion for cars at an early age. Following in his father’s footsteps, together they built cars and attended car shows together. Richard bought his first car when he was 14, which was a green ’74 Mercury Comet. The Futon Critic shares that on this season of Fast N’ Loud, Rawlings returns to his high school roots when he finds and builds a ’74 Comet, turning it into the hot rod he wishes he could have had 20 years ago. His third car was a ’77 Bandit Trans Am, and when the Smokey and the Bandit fan club finds one for Richard on Fast N’ Loud, another dream of his is realized.

Richard always worked so he could afford his cars, holding a myriad of jobs including working as a police officer, firefighter, and paramedic before he was 21-years-old. He was so attached to his cars that in the early 1990s, he was shot while fighting off a carjacker who was attempting to steal his ’65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback. Richard also developed a passion for transcontinental road rallies, winning the Gumball 3000 and the Bullrun twice. He is currently the world record holder in the Cannonball Run, breaking a record that stood since 1979.

He eventually started a printing and advertising company, which he later sold in order to begin a new venture that would change his life. In 2002, Richard launched Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, where he began to produce and ship cars to customers worldwide. On June 6, 2012, Discovery launched the new series Fast N’ Loud, featuring Rawlings, Kaufman, and Gas Monkey Garage.

As for Rawlings’ right-hand-man and sidekick on Fast N’ Loud, Aaron Kaufman, the two men met when Aaron was working at a local car shop. When Richard later opened Gas Monkey Garage, he asked Aaron to become a part of the fledgling business. Like Rawlings, he is passionate about cars and is a self-taught mechanic and fabricator. His vision, attention to detail, and ability to take his creations to the next level is what sets him apart from the rest. As for his favorite car, although a 1932 roadster ranks high on his list, his top car is an AC Cobra.

“They’re a driver’s car and it’s just an absolute beast,” Kaufman said.

On this season of Fast N’ Loud, Aaron will once again be tackling the famous Pike’s Peak road race, which is run on a 12.42-mile course, with 156 dangerous turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,115-foot summit. This is one of the most difficult and oldest road races, and 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary and 94th running of the “Race to the Clouds.” The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb website states that as the drivers head toward the summit, the thin air slows their reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of 30 percent of their power at the summit, and both Aaron and his vehicle will need to be in top shape just to finish this challenging course.

According to Art of Gears, this will be Aaron’s last season on Fast N’ Loud. While no reason has been given for Kaufman’s departure, Richard Rawlings took to Gas Monkey’s website to announce his leaving. Richard made it clear that Aaron was not dismissed and that he was shocked by Aaron’s decision to leave.

“And to Aaron, I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for the 13 years you put into GMG. We worked long and hard from the bottom to the top. Not everyday was good, and we had our share of disagreements, but it has been a hell of a ride and I would not change a minute of it. Neither of us could have achieved this without the other. Thank You, Sir.”

Discovery stated that they wish Aaron the best and hope to continue to work with him. That sounds promising, perhaps he will be back with his own series. Fans of the show will have to watch this season of Fast N’ Loud in order to find out what led up to his decision to leave Gas Monkey Garage.

As if Kaufman leaving and his other endeavors aren’t enough to keep him busy on the new season of Fast N’ Loud, Richard also plans to open yet another Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, this time in sunny Key West, Florida. He currently has two locations, the first opened in Northwest Dallas in the fall of 2013, and the second Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill opened in the spring of 2014, and is located at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The Dallas Observer reports that he also has a new series in the works, Garage Rehab, where he will help struggling garages and shops get their businesses in order.

“I have a little bit of a twist,” Rawlings said about Garage Rehab.

“I invest in their company to get my investment back as I help them along the way and get them turned around and on the right track.”

Fast N’ Loud is produced by Pilgrim Media Group for the Discovery Channel, with Craig Piligian and Eddie Rohwedder serving as the executive producers. For Discovery, Craig Coffman is executive producer, and Todd Lefkowitz is coordinating producer of Fast N’ Loud.

Are you a fan of Fast N’ Loud? Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions concerning Fast N’ Loud below. The new season of Fast N’ Loud premieres on Monday, January 16 at 9 p.m. ET on the Discovery Channel.

[Featured Image by Discovery]