Of all the car-focused shows that have aired over the past two decades, there’s no denying that “Fast N’ Loud” was one of the most popular and successful. For 16 seasons, the staff of Gas Monkey Garage and owner Richard Rawlings have done a great job of not only delivering some of the most amazing car renovations ever seen on TV, but also gaining recognition from car enthusiasts around the world.
While the success of “Fast N’ Loud” could be proven by the high ratings or the premieres of two spin-offs, those achievements weren’t enough to keep the very talented lead builder Aaron Kaufman from leaving the show and shop. all the way in 2016.
Even to this day, Kaufman’s firing still haunts “Fast N’ Loud” fans, especially given all the rumors about his broken working relationship with Rawlings.
So what happened between Aaron Kaufman and Richard Rawlings and is their friendship still in place? Stay here to know everything!
Are they still friends?
At the end of 2016, Aaron Kaufman chose to leave Gas Monkey Garage after years of hard work and building countless amazing cars. That decision didn’t become known to the “Fast N’ Loud” audience until 2017, when Aaron’s firing in front of the cameras in the 10th season marked not only his last appearance on the show, but also the last time we saw him and Richard Rawlings. together.
While it’s true that we haven’t seen Aaron and Richard hanging out since the event happened, that doesn’t mean there’s bad blood between them, they just have nothing to do with each other these days. Their professional and personal parting ways was certainly the natural conclusion to a long-standing relationship, during which they did not always agree: ‘It’s not that we have an unfriendly relationship. We do. Or did. Doing. We just don’t have much of it these days,” Aaron said when asked D magazine in 2018.
In the same interview, but in a different setting, Richard answered the common question about his friendship with Aaron: “Everyone thought we were these buddies and stuff, and really (Kaufman) was just my employee from when he was 20 until two year. ago,” he said, dispelling once and for all the misconception that he would be best friends with Aaron.
How did Aaron and Richard meet?
Richard and Aaron worked together for 13 years, but they had known each other for a while before joining forces as a work team. It all started in the early 2000s, at a time when Aaron had already worked in a handful of body and repair shops in his native Fort Worth, Texas.
Richard had commissioned the shop where Aaron worked to fix a car he had recently purchased in California. As described by Aaron in an interview with Driving line, the work was ‘rough’ but eventually completed. Aaron’s work most likely impressed Richard, who after some time contacted him to fix a Mustang Fastback.
To spread the word about the then newly formed Gas Monkey Garage, Aaron and Richard participated in car shows and races across the country while planning the TV show. Unfortunately, the company slowed down at some point and they first parted ways in 2009, with Aaron returning to his old ways of building cars while Richard planned his next big move. Little did they know then that life would soon be turned upside down.
Start the show
Despite Gas Monkey Garage’s apparent initial failure as a business, Richard Rawlings was not looking for opportunities to run his TV show. The right time came in 2011 when he came up with the idea of making a sizzle reel, quickly inviting an unconvinced Aaron to join him for a second time: would buy my lunch for two days. So for two free lunches, I showed up,” Aaron said Driving line early 2016.
Despite having little to no faith in the show, the miracle happened when Discovery’s producer Craig Coffman loved the sizzle reel and then made it a reality. In June 2012 “Fast N’ Loud” was a fact, but in addition to the stunning builds that were made at incredibly fast speeds, audiences were drawn to the half-serious, half-comedic dynamic between Aaron and Richard, who despite their obvious differences stayed together well. in personality and style. All these aspects drove the renewal of the show for the upcoming seasons.
Why did Aaron leave “Fast N’ Loud”?
Things went well for a long time at Gas Monkey Garage, at least according to the perception of the viewers. “Fast N’ Loud” was not only a highly acclaimed show, but also became internationally known, spawning a number of spin-offs and collaborations with other big names in the industry, such as “American Chopper” stars.
However, things were different when the cameras were off, and Aaron himself can attest to that. His departure from the show and Richard’s affairs were a combination of his desire to take an independent route and his nonconformity with the tight work schedules demanded by the TV show. The build seen in the episode “Hot Off the Pantera” was the last straw for him: “That was the problem, the intersection right there, I wanted to build cars that big or bigger, and then TV needed cars that were much smaller. than that,” he admitted in an interview with Art of gears in 2017, which also mentioned “personal issues and professional differences” in the workplace, encouraged him to leave.
Whether those issues were directly or indirectly related to Richard was left to the imagination, but Aaron certainly felt out of place in Gas Monkey Garage.
What happened to the show after Aaron left?
Given how important Aaron was to “Fast N’ Loud,” there could have been several negative consequences for the show after his departure. However, Richard Rawlings is a man who doesn’t let difficulties get in the way of his goals, and that wouldn’t change even amid the departure of his lead builder and second star.
While Aaron’s absence most likely discouraged his most loyal fans from still watching the show, that didn’t mean the end of “Fast N’ Loud” as six more seasons premiered after his departure. Similarly, fans of the show saw the change in dynamics and integration of new cast members, but the focus remained on Richard, his drive for success and cool cars.
Watch Fast N’ Loud starring Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman as they hunt for tired and run-down cars and restore them for profit. Thurs-Fri, 9pm. pic.twitter.com/6A5Hp8fzWn
— Discovery Channel India (@DiscoveryIN) November 16, 2017
As he admitted in a 2018 interview with D magazinethe company and himself were in a good place despite everything: “we’re building better cars than we’ve ever built before, and my shop floor is the healthiest, most amazing place I’ve ever seen, and life is a million times better,” he said.
Regardless of the success of “Fast N’ Loud”, it came to an end in 2020, with Richard’ssay That he had then achieved everything he wanted with the show.
Aaron’s new show and company
Given all the trouble Aaron had during his time on “Fast N’ Loud,” it’s not surprising that he was rather hesitant to star in other TV shows. As he opened during a Art of gears interview in 2017, the possibility of returning to reality TV had not yet been rejected, nor was it a certainty: “If we go back to building cars on TV, it will be based on the premise of having fun with cars,” he said, affirming that he wanted to build cars “out of imagination” for people who wanted to drive them, not for business.
Aaron’s next step in the game was to found Arclight Fabrication, his Fort Worth-based auto shop that focused on F-150 parts and structures. The company eventually expanded into other niches, but kept its focus on trucks.
Also, Aaron’s desire to have a show that suits his work standards and tastes became a reality, with “Shifting Gears With Aaron Kaufman”, his show which premiered in 2018 and was on the air for two seasons. His second show – “Aaron Needs A Job” – premiered in 2019 and focused on his travels to explore the auto trading industry across the country.
Where are Aaron and Richard now?
Despite the end of “Fast N’ Loud” in 2020, Richard Rawlings kept his business running smoothly. In addition to participating in a wide variety of automotive events such as races, auctions and exhibitions, Richard and his current associates at Gas Monkey Garage are now active in the content creation industry. Their online content ranges from short videos to contests and photos detailing the process of their builds on Facebook, to a detailed full-length video series on YouTube.
Aaron, for his part, has been away from Arclight Fabrication for quite some time to focus on other projects. While it is unclear if the company still exists and the social media profiles have been dormant for a few years, he confirmed in February 2023 on Instagram until moving from his native Texas to Colorado, where he is pursuing a career in auto racing.
All in all, it’s clear that not only were Aaron and Richard not as close as people thought, but they’ve most likely lost any sort of contact with each other. While their fans on TV could still reminisce about their good old days, it is certain that their divorce was for the best, at a time when both of them needed the change.