TV star Richard Rawlings visits his Gas Monkey garage

TV star Richard Rawlings visits his Gas Monkey garage

This workshop is an anachronism. And also very profitable. While the auto industry uses electricity instead of gas and seems less open than before, the Gas Monkey Garage still relies on old values: roaring V8s, thick exhaust pipes and the American way of life on wheels. The classic company of the American Richard Rawlings has become popular among us thanks to the series “Fast & Loud”. Current episodes are not available from 2019; it only repeats itself in an endless loop in Asia, America or Europe. No problem for Rawlings. Its TV format has long been available in Gas Monkey Garage on YouTube and its own social media channels. “We now have more viewers than before,” explains the 53-year-old American with satisfaction as he takes a sip from his can of beer. It seems to have gotten into his hand.

Rawlings now rules the gas monkey empire from its small auto repair shop in an industrial park in Dallas, Texas. First of all, the madman was a firefighter from his early childhood. He started his workshop almost 20 years ago and in a very short time he created a brand that is second to none. Unlike comparable shows, its TV format was aimed not only at car fans, but also entertained non-car nerds with characters from Rawlings, his workshop manager Aaron Kaufman, or the snappy saddler Sue. “We are known all over the world,” says Rawlings conceitedly. “Only the Harley-Davidson logo is more famous than ours.”

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Rawlings wants to go to Switzerland

The workshop and its videos are all about trading mostly historic American classics, which Rawlings and his team either resell or carefully convert into individual items for collectors and auctions. “We also have many customers in European countries such as Sweden, England and Spain,” reveals a Ford Mustang fan. It currently plans to expand its network to include Germany, Austria and Switzerland, a classic car boom country.

But his business is not easy at the moment, as the title of his biography “Blood, Sweat and Beer” suggests. “With the pandemic, we changed direction and separated ourselves from some partners. We work here only at the Dallas location. There are also many restaurants around the world and of course our products everywhere. ” Gas Monkey Garage with 25 employees buys and sells significantly fewer vehicles than a few years ago – back then it was up to 100 a month. “The market has become much more difficult, cars are becoming more expensive. And the pandemic has made things worse, ”laments Rawlings.

Merchandising is booming

But much of his income has long since come from trading – many millions of dollars a year. In the boutique right next to the garage, Gas Monkeys sell not only T-shirts, baseball caps, sweaters and belt buckles, but also patches, books and anything else you can imagine. In fact, however, it’s still all about cars, which don’t have to be as American and historic as you’d expect from a show. On a daily basis, Richard Rawlings drives a black Rolls-Royce Wraith, Porsche Panamera or any other pick-up truck that currently stands in his backyard.

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In turn, his favorite works are right next to a huge hall with a private party zone: Monster Trucks, Jaguar XJ, early Ford Mustangs or Porsche 928 – as far as the eye can see – dream cars. I: With a bit of luck, Gas Monkey fans can even help themselves. Anyone who purchases a T-shirt automatically enters a raffle where the winner can choose one of Rawlings’ private vehicles worth up to $ 200,000.

Ferrari warned Rawlings to back off

Has the clock been ticking for a long time for his business model? But while Chef Gas Monkey seems to have a mixture of blood, gasoline and beer flowing in his veins, he has no objection to the Stromer. “I’m sure we’ll be working on optimizing electric cars soon, too,” he says with a smile. “But it will take some time soon, as electric cars are now getting enough political and public attention,” he says. In other words, fat American muscle cars and pick-ups lag behind the public – and therefore his team prefers to put them in the spotlight.

If you ask Rawlings about his favorite design from the last few years, he will list various American muscle cars that have been converted into exclusive cars, as well as a black Ferrari F 40 that was restored in 32 days. Rawlings: “We compared it to a model that was almost new. Our car had a better chassis, a better engine and was faster. ” However, such projects are not well received by everyone, he explains: “Earlier, I received two warnings from Italian Ferrari that we should stop working on the F40.”

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