Anyone can be a hot rod devotee
Discovery Turbo star has proven his dedication to cars
You know you're talking to a hard-core car guy when he's taken a bullet to keep a car.
Richard Rawlings, the star and driving force behind Fast N' Loud is one such guy, and from November 1 is one of the headline acts on Sky's new channel, Discovery Turbo.
Also on the channel will be Chasing Classic Cars, and American Chopper: Senior vs Junior, plus the documentary Hunt vs Lauda.
Fast N' Loud follows Rawlings and mechanic Aaron Kaufman as they travel around the US buying wrecks or taking abandoned vehicles, then restoring them before -- hopefully -- selling them for a profit.
Despite the polished look of Fast N' Loud, things haven't always been that ways for Rawlings.
"We didn't grow up rich by any means, we were probably on the poor side," he says.
"My dad worked three jobs throughout my whole childhood, and I think the third job was so he could have a toy, a motorcycle or car. Something that was his own that he could show off. It wasn't the nicest, it wasn't the best, but it was his and he was proud of it. He instilled that into me, to work hard and be proud of that one thing you can give back to yourself."
Owner Richard Rawlings and sidekick Aaron Kaufman at Gas Monkey Garage. Photo / Supplied.
A Ford Mustang started Rawlings off on his road to hot rodding glory.
"[Dad] had a few Mustangs, and a 1965 Mustang that I was real partial to, it was in one of the first car shows I ever went to with my dad. It was really cool and really excited me. It was raining and we didn't have a trailer so we had to wash the car with a bucket and some shop rags once we got there and cleaned it all up the best we could to show it off the next day."
In another 1965 Mustang he earned the dubious honour of being "that guy who got shot for his car".
Rawlings was stopped at traffic lights when " a couple of guys" tried to carjack him. When he refused to give them the car, they shot at him nine times, hitting him once in the shoulder. "I was in the wrong place in the wrong time and a couple of guys thought they wanted my car more than me, but I guess I won out because they didn't get it."
When asked if he'd take a bullet for a car again, he laughingly told Driven, "Depends on the car!".
After such dedication to a vehicle, it's no big surprise Rawlings was the driving force behind the Fast N' Loud TV series.
Photo / Supplied
"I saw these motorcycle shows on TV and I was like 'why is there no car shows?'. Everybody was like 'well you can't build a car fast enough to make enough episodes in a year to have a show' and I was like 'yeah I can'.
"It took a long time and a lot of convincing to prove to Discovery we could do it. Now we're on our 76th episode and we built all those cars in two weeks."
There is no TV trickery. Every car that comes out of Rawlings and Kaufman's Gas Monkey Garage is built in a fortnight.
"We shoot year round," says Rawlings. "It's like a regular job, we're building everyday.We build anything and everything so a lot of what we do is to teach people through our show that you can be in the hot rod enthusiast group no matter what your income is."
When it comes to getting into the hobby, Rawlings has two pieces of advice.
"Pick something you can afford, not something you aspire to. Because you're gonna have have a whole lot more fun if you have something that fits into your wallet instead of over-buying and always being panicked about it or always worrying about it.
"And have fun."
Even before the show, Gas Monkey had fans here. "I've probably sold 30 or 40 cars into New Zealand," said Rawlings.
Fast N' Loud, Discovery Turbo, Sky channel 075, Tuesdays, 8.30pm.