By on April 25, 2013
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Time was, the only time you could see cool cars on TV, outside of reruns of the Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch, was on Saturday Mornings on The Nashville Network. Those programs, aimed at shade tree mechanics and the average do-it-yourselfer, were about as interesting as a high school auto shop class’ instructional videos. Things have definitely changed and today, thanks to hundreds of cable channels and the advent of Reality TV, car related programming is easy to find. The problem is that Reality TV is character driven and you have to endure colorful personalities in order to see the cars.

The first Reality Show that really grabbed my attention was American Chopper. I know it’s not about cars but, when you think about, it wasn’t really about bikes, either. American Chopper was about fathers and sons, and how working class men pass along their work ethic and values to their children – at least for the first few seasons. After that it was about how money and fame corrupt and about how families and relationships can self destruct as father and son compete with one another for time in the limelight. Watching American Chopper for the first few years was like spending time in the garage with my own dad, learning a lot about being a man while getting yelled at for being stupid, unskilled and lazy. Watching American Chopper as the show churned through its final episodes, and as the entire Teutul family descended into chaos and mutual hatred, was painful. If the events depicted in the show happened in real life, the Teutels should be ashamed of themselves. If those events happened because of clever editing, the production company should be ashamed. Either way, because I felt something of a personal kinship with those characters, it felt personal.

Since then I have sought out lighter Reality fare and now I have a new guilty pleasure, the Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud.” The shows premise is simple. Basically, two guys with a small shop shuck-and-live their way around Texas looking for old cars that they can fix quick and the sell for a big profit. This is a subject I personally know a lot about, after all I did help to kill the American Muscle Car and, truth be told, the show strikes me as being fairly true to life.

If Fast N’ Loud was a typical reality car show, our greasy looking heroes Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman, would buy a piece of junk and then, in the name of drama, inflict some crazy-short deadline upon themselves which they would then meet with seconds to spare. Then, they would sell their crazy creation to a corporate customer for about a bazillion dollars. Although I wonder about the Ford Bronco, which had seats upholstered in a red and black plaid pattern suspiciously close to the halter tops the well endowed waitresses at a certain restaurant were wearing at the end of the show, that sort of thing doesn’t generally happen here. More often than not, Richard buys a piece of junk, drags it back to the shop where Aaron picks apart all the problems. Sometimes the answer is to throw a lot of money at a project and hope it pays off while other times the answer is to roll the hulk out front, put a for sale sign on it and hope to pass the trouble along to some other sucker with more time and resources to throw into it. Seems about right to me.

Then comes the cars. In American Chopper Paul Teutul thought like an artist and he always seemed to be more concerned about creating his artistic vision than he was about creating a reliably running bike. In Fast N’ Loud, master mechanic Aaron Kaufman spends a great deal of time on actual engineering and he often states that his primary concern is safety. Sure, some of the cars that emerge from the shop are show boats, but for the most part the cars end up as fairly mild customs that sell for less than stratospheric amounts of cash. I like that.

Lastly, let’s talk about the main characters Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman. On the surface they seem like prototypical Reality TV chumps complete with abundant tats, crazy skull rings, various piercings and no fashion sense. Personality wise, however, they differ from the usual fare and, again, they come off as likable and especially genuine.

Richard Rawlings is the front man and I know his type intimately, I grew up around them. Fast N’ Loud’s Gas Monkey Garage is his business and like many successful small businessmen who sell to the public, he has an effusive, outgoing, larger-than-life personality. He is engaging and smart but not afraid to be silly in order to bridge the gap between himself and the customer. He does what it takes to get the sale and he knows that getting noticed is at least as important as offering a quality product. He mixes with the rich and famous one minute, talks to 70 year old Texas farmers the next and he finds something in common with each of them. That’s how sales works and if he was any different, and any less genuine, he would be out of business in a month.

Aaron Kaufman is the master mechanic and he oversees Gas Monkey Garage’s staff as they work on the various cars that Richard brings back to the shop. Thanks to his shaggy beard and slicked back hairstyle, I first expected Aaron Kaufman to be another larger than life reality show figure with a pretend bad-boy attitude. The personality that has emerged over the course of the show, however, is a quiet, thoughtful and genuinely likeable. Aaron Kaufman comes off like a guy who knows how to repair cars and who thinks that doing a good job is critical. Often there is, albeit mild, conflict between Aaron and Richard over the rising cost of this or that project as Aaron seeks to ensure the job gets done right while Richard seeks to control costs. Again, this is a compromise that all small businessmen make on a daily basis and it lends credibility to what we see on TV.

Now into its second season, I believe that Fast N’ Loud is on its way to being another huge Reality TV hit for the Discovery Channel. I earnestly hope that Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufmann can keep their egos under control as their fame and fortunes increase. It would be a shame to see these two very likable guys turn into raging jerks. I know that some part of reality TV will always be scripted, but as long as the set-ups are interesting cars and not silly interpersonal drama they can count me among their regular viewers. The world needs more fun, silly shows that can draw attention to the car hobby. This is a good one – check your local listings for the time and channel and sit through an episode, you might find yourself surprised at just how much fun you’ll have.

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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117 Comments on “Discovery’s Fast N’ Loud, Where Cars Meet Reality TV...”


  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    This show isnt that bad because the cars are done quite well and usually with some restraint.

    Counting Cars is a good counterpoint and maybe the UK show Wheeler Dealers.

    Also Rawlings is known for challenging Alex Roy in creative continental driving shenanigans.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      Those are my three favorite car shows on the air right now.

      I love the variety of cars on Wheeler Dealers and I always feel like I’ve learned something from Edd – makes me think I could take on a job with my car I might not have considered before.

      I really like the variety of builds they do on Fast & Loud too. It’s nice to see each car get a different treatment and something based off the vibe of the car instead of them all being run through the same crate engine, air ride, big modern rims, subs in the trunk, flashy paint & stripe job machine. They show a fair amount of how the sausage is made too.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        Wheeler/Dealer is my favorite car show. Ed is an amazing all-around mechanic/body man. Seems like a really great guy as well, I wish he was my next door neighbor.

        A do like Fast & Loud also but it seems a bit more contrived to me.

        Chasin Classic Cars is good also but Wayne Carrini gets on my nerves and seems more than a little pompous and full of himself.

        Love watching the Mecum and Barrett Jackson auctions when they are on. I stay glued for hours cause I own 2 classic cars.

        The one thing that is misleading with all these shows is that when they are figuring their total cost and profit they never figure in labor which is ridiculous. At least figure in wholesale labor. If I went out and bought cars and only figured in parts + acquisition cost when selling them I would be a multi millionaire. If you have a crew of 6-7 guys swarming over a car nonstop for a week, that’s a monster amount of labor that has to be paid. 200+ hours of labor on a car at a miniscule $50.00/hr is 10K.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    The characters are actually quite likable, but aside from that, this show actually really annoys me.

    These people are rather normal everyday people, so the fact that the show is mostly scripted, hearing them read from a cheat card or teleprompter is extremely unnatural and uncomfortable. That’s just nit-picking though.

    The real problem I have with this show is that they find these great American classics and buy them for dirt cheap, take them to their shop and utterly destroy them. It’s the same episode every time. They find an American Muscle car sitting under a neglected shed in the middle of some dude’s lawn, they low ball the owner as much as Rick does on Pawn Stars and then they drag this husk back to their shop, paint it purple or put flames on it and Lower it further than a riced out Honda Civic. Every single time, it’s a ridiculous paint job and a 4″ ride height. It just pains me to see a 71 Challenger having flames painted on it and scraping over speed bumps. It’s idiotic and not what these cars are about.

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      I used to feel the same way when I was younger. My viewpoint has evolved over the years as I’ve restored my own cars and bought and sold many others. I now feel that cars are a consumable commodity. I give credit to those who keep them running and cringe from those who hack and slash old cars, knowingly or not. I see both types both personally and professionally. I see people who feel liek yourself at the local car shows with completely butchered classics; they did what they had to do to keep the running on their budget. I maynot always like it, but I respect it, and in this case, I’d rather see the ‘less is more’ approach than a full-on concours rebuid that no one will ever drive or afford.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    I haven’t missed an episode. Really look forward to it coming on.

    They only thing that didn’t ring quite true was when the newly restored Mustang convertible was wrecked by a low-speed offset frontal hit just minutes from the shop.

    Richard promptly declared it totaled. While I haven’t examined that particular car, I have worked on early Mustangs for over 30 years.

    It looked to me like his car would have been fixable. Declaring it totaled did make for some good TV drama. I wonder if that was the goal.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Remember, they’re not actually paying their own money for those cars. Whatever production company is doing the show for Discovery is picking up the bills.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Really? Where does that information come from?

        • 0 avatar
          MeaCulpa

          So you believe that reality TV contains actual reality? Want to buy the Tower bridge? I’ll make you a great deal.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            That’s not an answer.

            Apparently you can’t back up your earlier opinion with facts.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            @Firestorm 500
            MY earlier opinion? You mean the opinion expressed by another poster?

            Look at the credits, the disclaimers flash by quite rapidly, but you will probably find something along the lines of “some of the cars have been furnished by the production company, scenes might be shown out of order, some scenes are edited for dramatic effect…” if you press pause on your DVR.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think the production companies pay the bills of the businesses they portray. They do, however, pay per-episode salaries to the people who regularly appear on the shows (everyone else signs a release or their faces get blurred out). I’ve read that for the successful shows those fees start in the low five figures.

        Right now, one of the former stars of Storage Wars is suing the producers, alleging that the auctions are fixed, and that the storage lockers are salted with valuable things, some originally purchased from the stores that provide the “appraisals”.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          Dave Hester filed a lawsuit after he was fired by A&E. He alleges that, among other things, that some of the storage units are “salted”.

          A&E has yet to have their day in court.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Dave also alleges that someone on the show had breast augmentation paid for by the producers to boost ratings.

            Unless it was Darrell Sheets – “The Gambler” that doctor should give the patient their money back.

        • 0 avatar
          MeaCulpa

          His claim seems reasonable, brand names are often covered by tape when the bidder’s allowed into the unit, so the production crew must have entered the unit before the participants enter. It also seems convenient that every unit contains something quite valuable that makes for good TV. And then you have the usual caveat about editing, scenes out of sequence and so on.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            No, it was Skye that was alleging the production company was picking up all the bills. That it wasn’t any of Richard’s money.

      • 0 avatar
        Maintainer

        A lot of people don’t or can’t understand that.
        Most of those guys didn’t get TV shows because they were successful at what they do. They got TV shows because they were struggling and they happened to be good Salesmen.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      They receive a hefty salary for filming the show. A bare minimum of 10k an episdoe for the two stars and probably a fair bit more. So even if they do pay out of their own pockets for cars their pockets are far deeper than you think or they let on.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        I think they’d have to make at least that just to survive. Aside from the occasional big score it seems like the margins are pretty thin on most vehicles and occasionally the guys take a pretty big haircut.

        I’ve often wondered how they kept the lights on prior to the start of the show, maybe they did more basic mechanic work for customers and had the occasional project car?

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The issue with the mangled Mustang was that it was a local owner car with a nice clean pedigree that was rebuilt to sell for a fairly high price. Maybe the unibody can be repaired, but the wreck make the formerly clean Mustang less desirable.

      I saw Fast N’ Loud regular Dennis Collins at the Heights Car Show in Richardson last Saturday. He and Richard Rawlings held the record for fastest time from New York to LA at just under 32 hours.

  • avatar
    rwb

    I like this show a lot, for the simple reason that everyone involved seems reasonable and earnest, and there is no bickering. Who would have thought that reality TV about people who work well together could be watchable.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I like this one, too. The cars are real, and not complete resto-mods in the Chip Foose mold (which are cool, too, but unobtanium). Fast n’ Loud takes in a good number of cars that I’d consider are for the rest of us. Not movie stars or pro athletes, in other words.

    They’ve moved on this season to a big new facility, taken on new team members. The tatted up new bike-model welder chick has me a little concerned. It’s like when a TV show has to introduce a cute little kid into the cast in order to breathe new life into the storyline. You know the show is on its downward trend. So having a midriff baring, high-heeled welder on Fast n’ Loud had me asking, “So soon?”

    I hold out hope this doesn’t degenerate into potty humor and cheap sexual jokes/situations. Cuz I like the gritty, real cars they find and fix. They’re the stars of the show, really. Hope the producers and cast remember that.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Gas Monkey Garage is located just west of I-35 in a part of Dallas with Korean businesses at the exit to the North, strip clubs at the exit to the South, and, combining the two themes, Asian “bath” houses in between. The model welder chick and Sue with the upholstery shop both look like people one might see in Mr. Rawlings’ neighborhood.

      I like the variety in the cars that Gas Monkey buys and sells. Not every car gets a V8 and they frequently leave the original paint. Depends on how they can make the most money on the car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Great show. My only complaint is Richard seems completely out of his element with any car that is newer than about 1975. See the money loosing Mark VI Lincoln and his drunken purchase of a Cordoba.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that it was a Mark III rather than a IV. Turning it into a low-rider was probably not a good idea as the investment in the new fenders, paint job and wheels would not be recovered but I did not think they would take as much of a beating at the auction as they did. Sometimes on the show they get really excited about a project car and build it up the way that they and nobody else on the planet finds desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        No one of his true “flips” (buy it, wash it, take it to the auction) was a 1982 “Panther” Mark that was one owner and in nice shape. He took a bath on it though because (like an idiot) he paid $5000 for it and thought he could still make money.

        The car you refer to was 460V8 powered early 70s Mark that was freaking awesome. The wheel tire combo he put on it was a little big for me but damn it was beautiful and I would have been proud to own it.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Another fan of the show right here. Especially enjoy watching it on my periodic visits back to my home town of Johnstown, PA; as I’m sitting in the Outlaws clubhouse with a few cold ones.

    My only complaint about these shows is the time constraints. I can’t believe that you can hand build a car a rapidly as they do, and still have something that’s actually drivable and will last a few years. Yeah, they’re always taking something original and hot-rodding it, because it’d take too long for the show’s format to actually carefully put it back to original condition.

    As to American Choppers, while I originally enjoyed the show, I lost all respect for that crew after: (a) Actually seeing the workmanship close up on a few of their television bikes – they should have stayed with wrought iron gates, and, (b) Being peripherally (semi-)involved during the build of the Jay Leno “Brough Superior” chopper. Which, I’ve heard, he hated. And had me seriously questioning just how much of those bikes they actually build.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “Being peripherally (semi-)involved during the build of the Jay Leno “Brough Superior” chopper.”

      Now that’s a story I want to hear, in details!

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Google “Gwen Banquer” or “Banquer-Superior”. Mr. Banquer is a very talented custom bike builder who does a lot of vintage work (he did an Crocker OHV conversion on a 1929 Indian 101 Scout). The Banquer-Superior is a beautiful S&S Evo engined bike that, at 10 feet, looks like a pre-WWII Brough-Superior.

        He’s good friends with the owner of a vintage motorcycle shop in Richmond called Velocity. A normal hangout of mine, and Eric (the owner) is a very good family friend.

        When the Leno bike was being built, Velocity was approached by Orange County Choppers (or the producers of the show, I’m not exactly clear who talked to Eric on the phone) about stripping all the tinware off one of the Banquer-Superiors on the Velocity showroom floor and selling it to them for the bike under construction. When Eric turned them down, they approached Mr. Banquer about getting a set. He turned them down, too, stating that if Mr. Leno wanted a modern V-twin cruiser that looked like a Brough-Superior, he’d build it for him.

        The incident makes me wonder how much else on “American Choppers” is being farmed in and passed off as their work.

    • 0 avatar

      A few years ago, OCC made a chopper for Lincoln when they introduced the Zephyr (which is what the MKZ was called before). They revealed it at Lincoln’s press conference at the NAIAS. I was on the floor of Cobo when they brought it to the display – you can actually see me in that episode. The seat pan had an exposed weld that ran the entire width of the frame and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sloppier weld. The frame itself wasn’t bad, but then OCC never made their own frames, but every weld that Paulie made look like crap.

      In any case, they saw an opportunity and ran with it, making themselves a bunch of money.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        Not a hardcore motorcycle fan myself, but I have a few friends who are. They love “true” custom builds by real craftsmen, where the quality of the construction is evident on every inch of the bike.

        They call OCC bikes “Easter Eggs” because of the ridiculous paint jobs. And refer to OCC builders as “cake decorators,” seeing as pretty much all they do is take a pre-made frame, pre-made fenders and tank, and a pre-made engine, bolt it all together then weld on doodads to create a theme bike.

        To the real bike fans, Paul Sr and Jr are a joke, an embarrassment. Of course, the bikes were merely props for a storyline, where we get to watch family dysfunction as entertainment, which it wasn’t, especially toward the end of the run.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “… but for the most part the cars end up as fairly mild customs”

    Never seen the show, but I think you and I have different definitions of “fairly mild”.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    Out of all the “Car Guy” shows out there I like these guys the most. Some of the stuff they do and the money they claim to sell their creations for is complete BS but overall…
    Well, overall I never feel like going Elvis on my TV when watching them like I do with some other shows out there.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Why do so many of these guys on these types of shows look like old, civil war veterans? Are they instructed to groom themselves like that?

    Personally, I dislike ALL so-called scripted “unscripted” reality shows because the drama is all forced and so obviously faked.

    “American Restoration” is a perfect example of this, but occasionally some junk somebody brings in is worth a look. I wish I had the spare cash some person pays $3500 to have a 60-year-old lawn tractor restored!

    I don’t watch “Survivor” and only catch portions of “The Amazing Race” because wifey watches this stuff.

    As far as the car shows go, I want to see more about the metal and less about the “mental”. Keep it.

    Sorry if I’m sounding like my 62 years, but I didn’t like this stuff when I was young – I was never a big TV-watcher, that’s all…

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      American restoration, isn’t that that the show where they manage to kill any historic value that a piece might have by sandblasting and painting it.

      On all points you’re right on the money and I’m 30, that might make you feel younger.

      Discovery has gone to hell, nothing even resembling a documentary airs there anymore, it’s just scripted “reality” TV.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        American restoration, isn’t that that the show where they manage to kill any historic value that a piece might have by sandblasting and painting it.

        Yes because the point of having things should be to prop them up in a corner and pop open a cold one so you can stare at it.

        I love that they make things useable again. I was a history teacher and honestly, historic value is overrated. Give me a choice between looking at the patina on a 50 year old Coke machine or actually getting a Coke out of it and I’ll choose useable condition every time.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          “Give me a choice between looking at the patina on a 50 year old Coke machine or actually getting a Coke out of it and I’ll choose useable condition every time.”

          Amen, amigo, amen.

        • 0 avatar

          Dan,

          Over at CID, Marty Densch has followed the Boss 302 prototype, Larry Shinoda’s personal car, a barn find. The car’s going to be restored, but I think a conservation would have been more appropriate. Those are the original stripes.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            That’s the rare exception, Ronnie. I don’t care if it is a 90 year old Schwinn, unless you can prove that MLK Jr rode it, fix it up!

        • 0 avatar
          MeaCulpa

          Hey I’m all for using old stuff and keeping it in running order, otherwise the family farm would be a pretty dreary place to visit having been built in the 16 hundreds (it is still a dreary place but that is down to the current occupants), but I don’t like when you whip out the sandblaster and kill any charm or historic value. I think that the restorations are heavy handed and sort of neglects the intrinsic beauty of old and patinated things. Others might feel different and enjoy the show and like what they’re doing and thats fine by me.

          Oh and I’d also like an old coke machine in working order, just without the high gloss paintwork and I wouldn’t mind a bit of rust.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Patina is a word I almost exclusively reserve for fine art pieces. Coke machines rust, they may rust into cool designs, but they still rust. I’m a 20th century historian, I like old early 20th century machines but I would rather they be repaired or restored to factory new because originality is overrated except as PrincipalDan pointed out, has intrinsic historic value. Don’t play around with Kennedy’s Lincoln but feel free to restomod that 62 continental. Function over form.

            Especially since the designers themselves would mock you for this obsession with rust and deterioration.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          Welcome to antique bicycle restoration. You don’t repaint except as an absolute last resort – and with the knowledge that you’ve just killed half the value of the bike.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        American Restoration was a much better show during the first couple of seasons when it showed how the restoration was actually done. There was a lot of skill, craftsmanship, and artistry in the work they did (I still don’t know how they get graphics to look as good as they do).

        The last couple of seasons there is no time spent on the actual restoration; all the focus is on different personalities, drama, and conflicts. Sort of like the Kardashians with tools.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        agree 100%, all of these “reality” shows are scripted or “fixed” if you will. I do like American Restoration and American Pickers but I am sure all of the story lines are screened/set up and what is passed of as suppossed negotiations are as well. It’s all contrived.

        I live in Utah and the next time I’m in Vegas I intend to stop by the American Restoration shop and check it out.

        My favorite TV show is Tripe D. Diners/Drive-ins & Dives.

  • avatar

    I enjoy the show, but at the Chicago Auto Show, Discovery had a booth for Fast N Loud with a black Pontiac GTO or Tempest that they’d done. The car wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t a perfect show car. There was some panel alignment issues and I’ve seen better paint. On the other hand, I don’t think they’re in the business of making 100 point show cars. It’s buy, fix and flip.

    I’m sure that both Rawlings and Kaufman are great car guys and fun to talk cars with.

    Having watched producers of Tru TV’s Hardcore Pawn literally feed lines to people in that pawn shops parking lot, I’m pretty sure that reality tv is not the same as reality.

    • 0 avatar

      Harcore Pawn is the one show I really wanted to belive was 100 percent real. It shatters the dream to know that someone with a $60K dragster didn’t drag it into downtown Detroit to pawn it for a tenth of its value…

      • 0 avatar

        Just to be pedantic, it’s nowhere near downtown Detroit. As a matter of fact, it’s a half block south of 8 Mile Rd, the city limits. One of the pawn shop’s managers told me that there’s stuff that Les Gold won’t allow on the air because it makes Detroit look even worse than what makes it on the show.

        • 0 avatar

          I hate to admit it, but when the family and I transited through Detroit on our way to Japan last year I spent way too much time looking out the airplane window on final approach trying to spot that store.

          Hardcore Pawn has a little of the same vibe American Chopper had at first – A grizzled old dad trying to teach his kids the ropes. The one where they went back to their original location and Les talked about getting robbed was great.

          • 0 avatar

            Speaking of restorations, in one episode Les’ kids salvaged the sign from that original location, had it restored and give to him as a gift.

            Also, am I the only one that thinks that Les smokes a ton of marijuana? He just looks high to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          It could look worse?!?

          I’d love to see the outtakes.

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        Yeah me too that show is unreal. Too bad everything on TruTV is an outright fake.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        “Reality” TV = Fiction

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    I just finished watching both seasons, great show. Although I can kinda see the writing on the wall (at least I think I can) about them losing their way. 1. Bigger Shop 2. Alloy Ash-I mean what is she doing there? 3. Buying a wrecked Ferrari-which while it might be a great opportunity for profit, it is the exact opposite of what they typically do.

    All in all, great show, likeable people…lets just hope it stays that way. Like to see Gas Monkey succeed and not get too big and go the way of OCC.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez

      Absolutely, 100 % agree. I was looking through the comments to see if anyone else would mention this. Second season is creeping towards faux-reality zone. Adding that welder chick is a shameless effort to extend the shows sex-appeal… obvious I know, but it takes away from the “reality” feeling the show had in Season 1. I just watched the first Ferrari episode last night- honestly, it looks totally staged (though interesting)- same episode, they’ve got a stupid staged fake police pull over. I think the bigger shop just invites more interference from the shows producers.

      I really enjoyed Season 1 for the reasons Thomas pointed out. It’s a reality TV show with real people, real projects, and real consequences (at least relatively). Let’s see how long they can sustain it. I hope it doesn’t become another Pawn Stars – they’d better not show up with a Subway breakfast special in Season 3.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I remember an early 1990′s TNN car show called Road Test Magazine. I remember drag racer Don Garlits was one of the hosts. It was your standard fare of automotive reviews. What struck me was that for a Nashville based show during the anti-Japanese sentiment years that the US was going through, it was actually very fair and unbiased towards imports. They also weren’t afraid to criticize cars if they thought they weren’t competitive. One of my favorite car shows from that era.

    • 0 avatar

      I picked on a lot of the TNN shows, but lord how I miss them. they were paced and relaxing – it was a little like watching someone explain how to fish.

      If I have to watch one more Power Block show where they put a set of giant Baer Brakes on this or that car while some idiot screeches on the guitar in the background, I’m going to plotz.

    • 0 avatar
      Battlehawk

      The entertainment I derive from Motorweek is listening to them declare something to be a piece of crap in the most obfuscated, cheerful and polite way possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      I remember the TNN shows well. They did seem honest and un-biased, especially towards imports – which is would NEVER be allowed on the TNN equivalent (CMT?) today.

      ‘Big Daddy’ seemed to like V8 Benzes and BMWs just as much as he did Dodge RAM 2500 Cummins pick-ups. Not a surprise, since he did have some history with the infamous 300 SEL 6.3 (an easy google lookup).

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    They are fun to watch, although I’m not too enthused about most of the cars they work on. Many of them just seem to be boring old american iron.

    Now does anyone remember another reality show about a car dealership run by a young guy nicknamed ‘Chop’? I enjoyed that show quite a bit, but it seems to have disappeared from the air waves.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I still like Wheeler Dealer on BBC the most.

    My wife lived in the same small town as the OCC guys so at first watching with her was like having a flash back. However the show went downhill very quickly, pretty much as soon as Mikey started becoming a plot element. And yes up close the bikes were a bit of a mess… I saw them before they were big league (around season 2 or 3). Up close there are obvious welds, tons of scratches and small dents. I assume most of this occurred because the bikes got moved around alot and in the beginning they actually rode some of them. The thing that really struck me seeing them in person was the shear size. For example the iRobot bike is HUGE, with a rake so insane only a NBA player could have ridden it. They are really works of art that just happen to be shaped like a motorcycle.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Anything is better than the trash provided by “Pimp My Ride” or “Trick My Truck.” I used to watch PMR, but gave up when the answer to everything was to put a wanging stereo system in, and televisions in the bumpers. Who the heck needs that?

  • avatar
    mikey

    My wife is dedicated to American Idol, Dances with Stars, and all of the cop/FBI dramas. I just can’t watch them. So right beside my trusty lap top sits 22 inch HD Samsung. If its a car show, I watch it. Even the re-runs.
    Are they real? Who knows? I like how there is always a buyer for every car. That, and guys driving around with 25K in thier pocket. Its the same reason, I read TTAC….entertainment. Its like WWF. Can a 300lb guy jump from the top rope,and land on the other guys head? I don’t watch it,but thousands do.

    Personally, “Counting Cars” is my favourite. “Fast N Loud” is a close second. Wheeler Dealers? I don’t like the doctoring jobs they do. Desert car Kings? I wouldn’t touch one of thier cosmetic restorations.

    Anyway if its a car show, I’m watching.

    • 0 avatar

      I like Wheeler Dealers but as it is not on Netflix or Hulu I don’t get to see very much of it. I like the doctoring jobs because generally they are looking for low cost solutions to problems the same way I or anyone else in the real world would.

      I did read, however, that even Wheeler Dealers uses stand-ins for buyers and sellers, etc. For example, in one of the early episodes they rebuild a bug that Edd actually owned. Of course they had to pretend to buy it from someone else since searching for and purchasing a car on the market is an interesting process.

      But hey, I can live with a little scripting and even some bad acting as long as it doesn’t get too over the top.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @Thomas K….Agreed, they have to keep it intersting. I see so many of these shows,I lose track. I saw one where they bought a 68 Mustang convert, here in Ontario.
        In the real world, restoring a 45 year old Ontario car,just doesn’t happen. But I still found it interesting to watch.

        • 0 avatar
          Yeah_right

          I’m with you on W/D but figured the buy or sell portions were sometimes staged. To their credit, they don’t show these guys making a fortune fixing up cars. In fact, if you count their time, it’s probably worse than minimum wage.

          My favorite part is watching Edd’s knees sticking out of the window and sun roof of whatever tiny car he’s just restored.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I want terribly for this show and “Counting Cars” to be more truth than fiction. We are all so jaded from scripted reality TV that we question everything. Hopefully when Danny Koker goes and looks for cars, it’s something that is, more often than not, true to life.

    I never know how real Top Gear is either.

  • avatar
    Yeah_right

    Nobody is going to mention “All Girl’s Garage”? I admit that none of the ladies are going to be hired as eyecandy at the next SEMA, but still…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I have All Girls Garage 6 and 7 on Blu-Ray.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      I read it as “Al Gore’s Garage” first, and was like WTF!? Is it like pimp my Prius or something?

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      I don’t know much about the other 2 girls, but I’ve followed Jessi since she was on Xtreme 4X4. Was pretty impressed with her metal skills. She is also on Fooses’ Overhaulin’ as a co-host. Of course, since she graduated at the top of her class at Wyo-Tech, she should be pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        Fast ‘N Loud has a few more implementations of air bags than I’d like, but it’s better than the constant old car with 20 inch wheels and rubber band tires in every episode of Overhaulin. I know they do so much more to the car, but it always looks the same in the end.

        Richard Rawlings’ personality can be a bit grating but it’s what you do in that kind of sales and promotion business. The salty lady that runs the upholstery shop is great.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m sick of reality shows like this, I am just very very sick of them.

    Every time I turn on the tube theres some show about 2-3 guys with facial hair who run a pawnshop-car dealer thinggaragebike shopa shop that sells overpriced junkcomic booksaction figures, they buy them and sell them and the entire show revolves around their drama and profit, no insight into the actual products.

    The people on a number of these strike me as fine people, I’m just sick of TV networks using the same exact formula to the point of killing what little variety we can get from 500 channels, forget the drama and junk, just give me something informitive!

    I myself have been buying old stuff and selling it, its nothing exciting and no amount of forced whining, deadlines, nor sub-plots will make it any better, but I’ll gladly tell you what information I could get on my 1980′s Verbot before you buy it, at least you’ll learn something.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I like Wheeler Dealers better, but this show is OK. Really, I would like to see the cars after they are done, up close and in person. I have a feeling they don’t look that great, but are decently done. Not restoration but prettied up a bit.

    Still, way better than most all reality shows.

  • avatar

    The worst “reality shows” are probably Devils Ride supposedly about biker clubs and Weed Country, about marijuana growers and dealers. Moonshiners is maybe a half step up from those.

    I find it interesting when reality bites back. On Devils Ride, before teh second season started the prez of one of the clubs was arrested for some kind of sex with his teenage stepdaughter. The second season, a club president was arrested for assaulting a guy screwing his estranged wife. More seriously, one of the people on Bering Sea Gold committed suicide, which of course the producers turned into an episode.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Having ridden in three M/C’s in my life, and still considering a chapter of Outlaws that my second club patched over to (I’d already moved to VA when it happened) as family, disgust over “Devil’s Ride” is being too kind.

      In the first place, no real hardcore M/C would be allowing themselves to be following around with camera-toting personnel in the first place. I find “Sons of Anarchy” more entertaining. Which ain’t saying much.

  • avatar

    Glad you like the show. You’ve pretty much got it just right. We had a small part in it during the first season, when it was all filmed on our property. Not enough to get famous from it, but enough to have a hell of a good time.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s great to know, thanks for speaking up. I always wonder how programs like this get manipulated in the editing process.

    • 0 avatar

      Also, I followed the link back to your website and it looks like you guys run a pretty cool operation yourselves. That one pic even had an old Messerschmitt car in it, how cool is that?

      I’ll bet you have some great stories of your own to share.

      • 0 avatar

        That Messerschmitt was something Richard bought when he was out in Vegas for the biker build-off last December. We did some work on it for him. A lot of the stuff that they were just going to flip, rather than build/customize, they had me work on for them, things they basically just wanted to “get running” again.

        We do have plenty of great stories, dating all the way back to when our street was the “gasoline alley” of Dallas, full of hot rodders and racers … people like Jim Nicoll (the “agony of defeat” crash on the old Wide World of Sports opening), Henry “Moose” Schroeder, Mike Minette, etc. Some really talented guys have worked in and around our shop. GMG was just the most recent group. We could sit around and tell stories all day … Aaron and Richard could, too. Nothing we like more than that kind of conversation.

        PS: We’ve got a Facebook page (link to it is on our web site, phippsauto.com) with plenty of pictures, too.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Car purists wil nit pick, but show is fun. So are ‘Car Chasers’, ‘Texas Car Wars’ and ‘Counting Cars’.

    I like that not every car gets a ‘concours’ or ‘Foose’ restore. [Or not all \'69 Camaros] It shows the ups and downs of old car hobby. Also, they buy cars sitting in a garage and into buyers who want to drive them, not hide away.

  • avatar
    sportsuburbangt

    I’m not a fan of Air Ride.

  • avatar
    CamryStang

    Its a great show, but as a Dallas-area resident I wonder one thing:

    WHY lower almost everything??

    Dallas (especially where they are) is full of railroad tracks, speed bumps, dips, bumps, and cracked pavement, you know stuff you’d scrape your low rider on.

  • avatar

    I really like this show, which is shown here in Germany on the D-Max channel owned by Discovery with German-language voiceover but have only seen the first season. I am fascinated by Aaron’s beard which, as another poster noted, is exactly what someone in the Civil War would sport. Check out photos of Lew Wallace, who went on to write “Ben Hur” and saved Washington from the rebels at Monacacy: another young man with an old man’s facial hair.

    Anyway, the show is entertaining in that they always seem to find a buyer for their creations, as weird as they might be, and I realize that the cars are rushed to be flipped but some of the work is really great. Sue the upholstery lady impresses, as does one of the mechanics (another beard, more tattoos) who does very nice metal work.

    There are some German reality shows involving cars. In one of them a group of mechanics in a converted Mercedes-Benz fire truck arrive and customize someone’s wretched car (rusty Ford Escort!) with new paint, huge rims and so forth over a single weekend. I guess it is a Teutonic “Pimp My Ride.” Better is “Der Checker,” wherein someone telephones the crew saying what kind of car they want (a wagon for the family; a vintage coupe; a van for a heavy-metal band) and the generally pathetic budget. Alex (Der Checker), driven around Germany in a Checker Cab, checks out three used cars and haggles before picking the winner, which is then turned over to the lovely Lina van de Mars, another mechanic with tattoos, and she tarts up the chosen car with nice things donated by sponsors. The buyer only knows he/she is getting one of the three cars but nothing else. Alex has gone on to other things but Lina, who has a degree in Dutch and Indian philology as well as her master’s certification as a mechanic, continues to wrench on the show.

    It is all cheap and cheeful and probably as close to reality as these shows can get. That said, I recently watched an episode of “Overhaulin’” where someone’s old 1967 Camaro was turned into a work of art that would have cost mere mortals six figures.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Love Fast n Loud, and Wheeler Dealer! My third car show love is Chasing Classic Car’s. I’m surprised nobody else here has mentioned it. Wayne Carini is the host and he finds, buys, restores and sells classic cars. Cars like jagura e-types, pre-war bentleys, mid 60′s ferrari’s…. Great show for car lovers.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    The PowerBlock on Spike has lost it’s way in my opinion, I think it was when Stacy David left Trucks that it started down hill and then Lou left Muscle Car and Jessi Combs left Xtreme 4X4 and now it’s BORING!!
    Lucky that Jessi is on with Chip Foose doing Overhaulin and Stacy has Gearz on Speed channel.
    Now – the so called reality shows, Counting Cars, thumbs up! Yes it’s a little hyped and everything is staged, but you feel that Danny is real and knows his stuff. Fast N Loud – I don’t get, it’s like they can’t decide what to do and change things mid stream. No way would I ever buy a car from them or that Texas show or the Desert one either.
    The worst offender -PIMP MY RIDE, let’s take a $500.00 1990 Caddie and redo the paint, through thousands in interior and electronics and not to mention wheels/tires and send the poor schmuck out with the same wore out motor/trans. It’s like Extreme Makeover – you know they ain’t going to keep it.
    Other show -Pawn Stars, on my bucket list to visit there. Sons of Guns – like that dad on the show, ex-Marine just like my dad and reminds me a little of him. Glad to see them back on TV
    Shows I miss – only a few, the Great Biker Build-off and Monster Garage.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      Wheeler dealers at least attempts to pick up where TNN’s Shadetree (and other more realistic shows from the 90′s) left off. One thing I like about the Brit-based shows in general is that they don’t tend to pander to sponsors as much. Almost all the American based ‘reality’ shows eventually turn into infomercials.

      Absolutely hate televised Mecum Car Auctions on Velocity TV. The commentators – all reasonably astute and well known – somehow take joy in infusing an irritating and forced disinterest in any car that is not a typical or even psuedo ‘Muscle Car’.

  • avatar
    Les

    Love Fast N’ Loud.. in fact I think it does a better job of being a US version of ‘Top Gear’ than Top Gear: US.

    Now here me out..

    What is Top Gear at it’s core? It’s a bunch of guys with ‘interesting’ personalities faffing-about with cars in an entertaining manner, which is exactly what Richard Rawlings and Arron Kaufman and that dude who runs the paint-shop and just has no Fu–s to give (I about Died laughing when he invited himself to the tatoo’d welder-girl’s photoshoot and started doing his own pin-up poses on the car) actually are.

    So, the perfect formula for Top Gear is interesting personalities with cars as a vehicle (pardon the pun) for their interaction and chemistry… this is what TG:USA misses in that it reverses the formula, the presenters are just there to facilitate car-related stunts…

    The result.. Fast N’ Loud = Top Gear America and Top Gear US = Jackass, with more cars and slightly less vomit.

  • avatar
    walker42

    Will give this show a shot but worry, like someone said, that in America these tend to evolve into informercials or being more about the personalities than the cars. That motorcycle show with Paul Sr. and Jr. was OK at the beginning (and deserves credit for being one of the first realities) but then evolved into an unwatchable hour of fake drama.

    As far as Wheeler Dealer goes I am a huge fan. Of course Edd and Mike are eminently watchable but the whole thing is such a nice escape what with the layout of the hunt, restoration and then cruising in the countryside. I find Piers Morgan irritating so it’s not like there is British charm at work here, the show is just very well produced and the talent 100% genuine.

    Did I hear correctly that Fox is going to turn Speed into an all-sports network? I suppose BJ auction will go to Velocity?

  • avatar
    packedfunk

    OK here is the truth about that Wheeler Dealers Show. THEY HATE AMERICAN CARS! THEY CALL AMERICAN AUTO ELECTRONICS DODGIE! THOSE ENGLISH IDIOTS WOULD RATHER BE DRIVING A MINI-CAR THE SIZE OF A MINI COOPER THAN A COOL AMERICAN MUSCLE CAR LIKE A CORVETTE! I AM SICK & TIRED OF THE CONSTANT CUT-DOWN OF AMERICA & AMERICANS BY THESE TWO FOOLS! JUST BECAUSE A CAR IS MADE IN U.K. DOES NOT MEAN IT IS BETTER. I BELIEVE THIS SHOW SHOULD NOT BE SHOWN IN THIS COUNTRY!


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