What’s fueling the Monkeys
Gas Monkey Garage (via the TV show Fast N’ Loud) was such a huge hit and its impact on the hot rod and restoration industry is undeniable. Episode after episode, gave viewers the illusion that a show quality car can be customized, painted and built in 3 weeks; it led some to foolishly believe making money flipping cars is a fast and easy path to riches. How many times on a car show have we heard, “I need a little money so I’m going to find a car today - by chance - and sell it for profit just by washing it off or changing the battery?” The show, now in its 15th season, is hardly recognizable from its earliest episodes. Aaron Kaufman and KC Mathieu were the talent in the circus of attention Richard Rawlings brought to the show and shop. Even as it expanded and new monkeys joined the circus, it was Aaron, the automotive builder savant, and KC, the painter magician and circus clown, carrying the weight of the show with Rawlings.
As the show progressed, Rawlings became just a character foil for the build timeline and budget while Aaron would make a list of things to do and then disappear. KC pulled a Seinfeld and left at the height of the show. Aaron left a few seasons later, but it was clear he was checked out long before his departure. Rawlings is now carrying the show, and while he is not a designer, a wrencher, nor a painter, he is a very talented marketer, showman and businessman. (Richard owns hundreds of trademarks to explain his business prowess.)
The viewership numbers cannot be disputed: Fast N’ Loud is a still a hugely successful show. The characters that filled the gaps, from the “Firedup Crew/Misfit Garage” to the new monkeys, have swung away from the mutual respect Aaron and KC share to an artificial drama and infighting that is the equation for so many restoration shows that have failed. But now the monkey is the gorilla and it seems too big to put back in its cage.
But where have our favorite monkeys gone off to? What are they doing with the massive platform they helped build, although neither call it home any longer? Aaron and KC have been friends since middle school but are two different people with their own lives and have taken two different paths. We had the unique opportunity to catch up with both. While they are still good friends and are equally passionate about old Ford trucks and Ford innovations, the paths each took after leaving the reality car TV show couldn’t be more different. Check our next two blogs to catch up with them as individuals.
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We cant wait to share the details of their story (off camera) and we have a ton of pictures from both shops. Be sure to sign up below to stay connected with Goombahs blog series and our local events.