Loyal fans of the automotive reality TV series “Misfit Garage” are very well introduced to the rivalry that its cast members feel towards the employees of the even more popular garage featured in the show entitled “Fast N’ Loud.” What the fuss is really all about hasn’t been cleared up, ever since the former started airing in 2014, though there’s a lot of speculation surrounding the matter.
As far as the story goes, the employees of Fired Up Garage (FU) have a very unfriendly disposition towards those working at the Gas Monkey Garage (GM). While it makes sense to assume that business rivals would have every customer to squabble over, the bad blood between the garages seems to run a lot deeper than that.
FU’s employees have never had a single kind word to say about GM’s workers, and the name that’s especially been on their lips whenever vitriol was involved is none other than Richard Rawlings, the founder and owner of GM.
The obvious friction has puzzled numerous viewers, having been an integral part of “Misfit Garage” from the moment of its inception, secondary only to the work being done on the orders that keep the establishment afloat. It’s also probably the most interesting detail about the cast as a whole, allowing for greater viewership and installments that add enough nail biting to keep everyone on their toes.
Some of the most ardent fans believe that they are indeed in the know as to what caused the mess, but the truth is much more nuanced than the majority of biased viewers are prepared to acknowledge. It begins and ends with the man who is behind it all, and whose pockets get deeper with each new day of mounting intolerance.
Who really is Richard Rawlings?
Born on 30 March 1969, in Fort Worth, Texas USA, Richard Rawlings’ early life was marked by a blend of curiosity, determination, and a genuine love for the world of cars. His journey from a small boy with big dreams to a household name in the automotive industry was shaped by his family upbringing, early aspirations, and the experiences that would eventually pave the way for his future success.
Rawlings was surrounded by the quintessential American values of hard work and determination throughout his teenage years. He exhibited a natural curiosity for mechanics very early on, often tinkering with various objects around the house to understand how they worked. This natural inclination toward hands-on exploration would become a defining trait in his life, allowing for much greater mechanical knowledge than that of his peers no matter where he went.
The massive love he has for cars was also awarded by birth, since his father, Ray Rawlings, always took the opportunity to share his love for automobiles, and engage in repair and maintenance projects around the family home. This shared interest became the lifeblood of their bonding experience, having ignited a flame of fascination that would eventually lead the son down a path of automotive discovery.
With his life goals fully derived from cars, Rawlings focused his energies on understanding the intricacies of engines, mechanics, and the art of customization. This passion was further fueled by the sights and sounds of the local racing scene in his hometown, exposing him to the adrenaline rush and sheer excitement of high-speed vehicles.
Richard’s passion took on a more tangible form when he acquired his first car – a ’74 Mercury Comet, which became the canvas for his artistry. In other words, this was his entry point into the world of automotive customization, with which he honed his skills in transforming vehicles into unique masterpieces.
The seeds of entrepreneurship were also planted early in the star’s life, with a drive to succeed that sent him exploring various avenues that could merge his love for mechanics with his knack for business.
His pursuit led him to various odd jobs at first, including both as a firefighter and paramedic, as well as a police officer, all of which honed his problem-solving skills and ability to think on his feet – qualities that would prove invaluable in his line of work.
During this period, Rawlings also engaged in buying, selling, and restoring cars on a smaller scale, while these experiences not only deepened his understanding of the market but also allowed him to further refine his skills in car customization and restoration. He thereby gained insights into the nuances of various makes and models as he worked with various vehicles, which greatly contributed to his growing expertise.
Richard’s entrepreneurial spirit also shone through when he dabbled in diverse ventures, ranging from owning a printing company to operating a bar. These experiences equipped him with valuable insights into business operations, customer relations, and the importance of branding, all of which would prove instrumental as well.
At the peak of his resume and the turn of the new century, Rawlings’ determination to make a lasting impact in the automotive industry finally reached the tipping point. The culmination of his experience, skills, and ambitions came together in 2002, when he founded Gas Monkey Garage.
This marked the rise to the height of his career, as the garage would go on to become a renowned hub for car restoration, customization, and fabrication, setting the stage for the next chapter of his journey — the launch of his hit TV series “Fast N’ Loud” in 2012, and his ascent to becoming a prominent figure in the automotive world, as well as the entertainment industry.
It would be another two years until the foundation of the now infamous GM competitor Fired Up Garage, which completely changed the automotive scene in the public’s eye, as the piling animosity snuck its way into the daily viewing of an average vehicle connoisseur.
Glued to the screens in the incessant battle of the minds working these premises, the audience never would’ve suspected the real reason for what they came to know, as what turned out to be a mere money-making fabrication.
The origins of Fired Up Garage
The founding of Fired Up Garage came after Tom Smith and Jordan Butler were fired from Gas Monkey Garage, additionally citing issues with compensation and creative differences with Rawlings. In response to the negative situation brought on by Richard’s decision, the duo decided to establish their own venture where they could have more control over their work and business decisions.
Fired Up Garage’s focus is on restoring and customizing various types of vehicles, ranging from classic cars to trucks, much like their previous workplace. The shop’s ethos revolves around their tagline, ‘Blood, Sweat, and Beers,’ reflecting their dedication to hard work, passion for cars, and camaraderie.
Pro Bull Rider Montana Hand stopped by the garage! Thanks for reppin' Fired Up Garage!
The shop’s activities and projects have been documented in the reality TV show “Misfit Garage,” which follows the challenges and successes of the shop’s team as they take on different car restoration projects, often working with limited budgets and tight deadlines.
Over the course of its history, Fired Up Garage has faced its fair share of troubles, what with being the smaller out of the two, and taking some backlash from dedicated “Fast N’ Loud” fans. This made navigating the competitive automotive industry much harder, while keeping client expectations in accordance with their capabilities and creative outlook added another layer of difficulty.
The shop’s reputation and visibility grew as “Misfit Garage” gained popularity among automotive enthusiasts and reality TV viewers, who were further drawn in by the constant struggle of the crew and their animosity towards the so-perceived arch-nemesis Rawlings.
Aside from the disgruntled former employees, the enterprise was additionally co-founded by Scot McMillan and Thomas Weeks, both of whom are skilled professionals enjoying great respect from the fanbase. Since they weren’t really part of the drama to begin with, their presence serves to mellow the series for everyone who watches strictly for the knowledge.
It’s just the firing
Negative feelings between the workers of both businesses grew due to other factors as well, with the firing of Smith and Butler having only created the initial momentum towards the abysmal relations that have come to characterize the series.
First of all, the reason that the founders settled for the name Fired Up is so that it could have the abbreviation of ‘FU’ – a straight message to their competitor. The resulting series was appropriately named “Misfit Garage,” as the two apparently didn’t fit with whatever plans Richard had for the future of his business.
The feud escalated with public exchanges between Rawlings and the cast of “Misfit Garage,” both on and off-camera. Social media posts and interviews featured both parties airing their grievances, and accusing each other of dishonesty and unethical behavior, while these exchanges further fueled the animosity between them, and drew the attention of fans of both shows, ultimately increasing the audience for both of them.
There were also rumors that the two businesses had plans for stealing employees from each another, and a lot of media hype was built around the one-upmanship of the garages. For example, Aaron Kaufman of GM was most likely to end up working with the crew of FU, much to Rawlings’ dismay.
— Misfit Garage (@misfitgarage) June 21, 2018
Finding their footing
Smith and Butler didn’t care all that much about being fired in the end, as evidenced in Discovery’s YouTube video of 2014 entitled “Getting Fired Ain’t So Bad | Misfit Garage.” The two are seen talking about the termination of their contract at GM, and providing their own two cents worth on the matter.
Jordan explained that he doesn’t feel very good about being fired, especially since that’s the only time he had ever lost a job. However, he also won’t let it bring him down and ruin his mood, especially with a brand-new business on the rise thanks to his idea.
He stated that the very reason he was let go is not a very good one, hinting that he may have called Rawlings something derogatory. What most likely took place was explained in an article by TMZ, which states that there had been a hostile exchange brought on by a seemingly innocent situation.
According to the report and what Tom Smith told the media, a big fan of the garage, who had cystic fibrosis at the time, asked for the permission to pose for a picture in front of Richard’s proudly owned one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce. Seeing no harm in the request, Tom and Jordan allowed the fan to get close to the vehicle and take the picture, but this actually made Rawlings furious.
He berated the two employees for allowing what they did, and ultimately told them to ‘get the f*** away from the car.’ They didn’t take kindly to his aggressive approach, and Smith returned the gesture with the sentence ‘chill the f*** out.’ This struck a chord with the boss, who had zero tolerance for back-talk, and he fired them on the spot.
The two later claimed that the conditions were less than optimal while working for Rawlings, citing various issues with compensation and creative freedom. Regardless of whether this was done only in an attempt to soil the image of GM, or to actually speak the truth, no one else corroborated the claims.
The truth of the feud
The sad yet eye-opening reality of the matter is that Richard Rawlings owns both garages, since “Misfit Garage” is a spin-off from “Fast N’ Loud.” As revealed by hotcars.com, both of the series are almost completely scripted, while Richard is the executive producer of his supposed competitors’ show.
It makes no sense whatsoever that anyone would support their actual rival with both time and money, and even less so that they would let their sworn enemy use their premises to grow their business, which Richard does, as he owns the shop where FU is situated.
Rawlings himself stands to benefit the most out of fabricating a rivalry, having effectively split off a piece of his series to create another one, whose main goal is to promote the original by incessantly mentioning it.
The cast and crew of “Misfit Garage” is an almost entirely new group of individuals, allowing all those who were either dissatisfied with or indifferent towards “Fast N’ Loud”, to perhaps find a brand-new fix for their viewing addiction.
This decision greatly increased Rawlings’ overall audience and earnings, but couldn’t last forever, as the hype started wearing down over the years. “Misfit Garage” was canceled in 2018 as a result, but everyone previously involved with it walked away richer and happier, with no actual animosity to speak of towards the man who paid them.