Who is Aaron Kaufman?
Aaron Kaufman is known to many as a passionate car mechanic, who transformed his hobby into a million-dollar career; born in Texas, USA in January 1982, the charismatic TV personality was fascinated by dismantling and reassembling different objects from a young age, including being taught by his father to repair and modify vehicles.
After attending Crowley High School, Aaron began putting his skills to the test with his first job in a local garage. There, he met Richard Rawlings of “Gas Monkey Garage” fame, who was looking for someone to fix his ’53 Ford Mainline. Thanks to his already extensive knowledge and experience, Aaron and Richard soon struck up a friendship, with the former even being offered a business partnership which he readily accepted.
“Fast N’ Loud”
“Fast N’ Loud” premiered on Discovery Channel in 2012, and saw Richard, Aaron, and the rest of the crew at GMG search for run-down cars to restore and sell for a profit. Thanks to the success of the first seasons, spin-off shows such as “Misfit Garage” and “Fast N’ Loud: Demolition Theater” soon popped up.
Reaching its peak ratings in season four, with an average of 2.48 million viewers, the sky was the limit for Richard and Aaron, as they became stars of the small screen, and were offered lucrative sponsorship deals and invited for interviews. Although Aaron was no stranger to being in front of a camera, having made his TV debut in 2005 in an episode of “Overhaulin’”, the new show allowed him to enjoy his first taste of real fame.
Christie Brimberry, K.C Mathieu and Chris Smith were just some of the workers at GMG who helped keep the show and business running with their expertise and friendly banter. As the master mechanic, Aaron also got plenty of screen-time, despite Richard being the undoubted star of the show – this made Aaron’s departure from the franchise in 2017 all the more surprising.
Aaron, who was often dubbed “the heart and soul” of GMG, dropped the bombshell on Richard in an episode of season 12, which aired in March 2017. After taking extended leave, the bearded mechanic confirmed that he would be leaving for good, adding that the last five years the duo had been working together “felt like 20”, due to a jam-packed work schedule.
Arclight Fabrication was opened shortly after Aaron left “Fast N’ Loud”, giving him the opportunity to build cars that he was passionate about, instead of merely following orders from the show’s production team.
Providing impeccable customer service, Aaron and his hardworking team specialize in Ford F-100s, provide conversions and hard-to-find restoration parts, and also offer custom truck wheels to interested clients.
Richard had already addressed the matter of Aaron’s departure in a December 2016 blog post, when the news began circulating online, stating: “Please note that it would be an insult to everyone here at Gas Monkey… to say that we can’t do it without him [Aaron].” Apparently, many fans of the show thought that it wouldn’t be the same without Aaron, which led to rumors of a cancellation of the series that Richard promptly nipped in the bud.
However, all good things come to an end, and in a December 2020 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience”, Richard confirmed that there would be no more “Fast N’ Loud”. “It was time for me to expand and go a little bit further,” he said. “I kind of got to the top of that mountain being at Discovery. There wasn’t anything else for me to do there.”
Other Shows/Arclight Fab
The premiere of “Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman” came in March 2018, over a year after the mechanic left the team of GMG. Despite claiming that he was burned out from the intensive filming schedule and tight deadlines, the Texan readily jumped into a new professional venture without looking back, after some much-needed time away. Apparently, a six-hour dinner discussion with an executive from Discovery led to this fantastic opportunity for the reality TV personality.
The first episodes of season one saw Aaron turn a ’71 International Scout into a street-legal Ultra 4 racecar for the annual King of Hammers event, an off-road race that combines rock crawling with desert racing, held in Johnson Valley, California. Ultra 4 is a vehicle capable of surpassing 100 miles per hour in the desert race, but with gear ratios of 100-1 or lower for the rock crawling part.
After participating in the event, Aaron took on a new challenge: building a semi-race truck. With help from the father-and-son duo Bob and Justin Ball – both experts in the field – Aaron and the team at Arclight finished the seemingly impossible project in time for race day at Pike’s Peak International raceway, despite the occasional argument.
Season one ended on a sort of cliffhanger, as viewers were left on the edge of their seats when Aaron’s semi-truck began falling apart while competing in multiple races in Colorado Springs. Luckily, things didn’t end too badly for the Texan, and season two was announced shortly afterwards, with a premiere date of September 2018.
In season two, Aaron and the guys at Arclight began building a rally car from scratch. Despite learning to race the Subaru Impreza in time for the famous Olympus Rally, the mechanic and his team were plagued by mishaps on the day of the race, and didn’t take home any prizes.
The last three episodes of season two followed Aaron as he prepared for The Race of Gentlemen, a vintage beach drag race frequented by hot rod enthusiasts. Painstakingly fixing his trusty Model A Dragster and Harley WLA for the big day, viewers were dismayed upon seeing a serious accident and an injury in the last episode, which overshadowed the event.
“Shifting Gears” wasn’t renewed for a third season, perhaps due to its pessimistic undertones, as everything that could possibly go wrong for Aaron and his workers did. Nevertheless, he reportedly earned $50,000 per episode as the protagonist, or $300,000 for two seasons.
In 2019, Aaron tried his hand at producing and starring in his second short-lived series, “Aaron Kaufman Needs A Job”. From piloting an F-16 fighter jet, to exploring scrapyards and learning how to shred old vehicles, the first episode was full of promise and left viewers eager for more.
In later episodes, the mechanic worked on a cargo ship, and joined the crew of a tugboat after confessing not to know much about that particular industry. He also visited NASA headquarters, and tested vehicles made for moon exploration, visited a water-pumping plant, and underwent a challenging training course for firefighters.
Other impressive feats of Aaron’s include navigating a 40,000-pound truck around an obstacle course, joining the Army Corps of Engineers, and exploring America’s largest hydro dam. The Texan woodworker-turned-car builder Isaac Cohen made a cameo in the penultimate episode, in which Aaron spent some quality time in his home state, after building a hovercraft in Indiana.
“Aaron Kaufman Needs A Job” was somewhat more successful than “Shifting Gears”, thanks to its creativity and varied content, which left viewers wondering why a second season never materialized.
With that said, the TV sensation seems more than content with the direction his brand is taking right now, and is currently pouring all his energy into doing what he loves most with Arclight Fab.
In mid-2019, there were rumors that the auto shop was close permanently. Aaron took to the company’s Facebook page in July of the same year with a video captioned: “We’ve been inundated with messages asking if the shop has closed down, and the answer is… we’re still alive and kicking!”. Although the original shop and showroom did close, it was because Aaron and his team had moved to a new location.
There’s definitely more to Aaron than meets the eye, and even his most dedicated fans were surprised to learn that he didn’t want to be a mechanic when growing up. Thanks to his love of wildlife and nature, the Texan in reality aspired to become a park ranger, and not a mechanic and TV personality, but life clearly had different plans for him.
Although some news outlets erroneously state that Richard and Aaron met at college, while the latter was studying fabrication works, it would appear that the mechanic is almost entirely self-taught, and has no formal qualifications. This just goes to show that you don’t always need a degree to excel in life, as Aaron is one of the richest mechanics in the industry, despite lacking formal training.
As a child, Aaron was a straight-A student, and grew up in a humble household, which influenced his decision to start working as soon as he could, to help support his family. As for his first project car, it was a rundown Jeep Cherokee which he acquired at the age of 16, and painstakingly customized out on his driveway.
Despite his newfound riches, Aaron isn’t one to brag or boast about his lifestyle; neither does he place much importance on material goods.
Fans of “Fast N’ Loud” were astonished to see him list his famous custom-built ’63 Ford Falcon race car on eBay in 2017, after using it to race in Pines Peak the year prior. In a matter of days, the stunning vehicle fetched $65,000 and found a new owner.
For anyone wondering just how intense Aaron’s schedule was while working at Gas Monkey Garage, it’s become common knowledge that the mechanic was tasked to build twelve cars in just 24 weeks – putting in over 110 hours a week to achieve this seemingly impossible target. Faced with mounting pressure from Richard and the production team, the incident was the last straw for Aaron, who promptly left the series to go onto bigger and better things and be his own boss.
August 2019 was a tragic month for Aaron and the rest of the racing world, due to Jessi Combs’ passing.
The TV personality and metal fabricator died after crashing a race car at 550mph in Oregon’s Alvord Desert as a consequence of a wheel failure. Being a close friend of Jessi’s, Aaron was understandably devastated by the news. “I’ve been around death in racing… it’s never easy,” the Texan said via a Facebook statement. “However, this sadness is more profound because none of the others I knew as well as, or as long. #raceinpeace”
On a more upbeat note, some accolades awarded to Aaron include being honored as the President of the Toronto chapter of the International Special Events Society, and being named one of the top 25 Young Event Professionals by Special Event Magazine in 2015.
Internet sleuths didn’t need to do much digging to find out about Aaron’s love life, as his girlfriend Lauren Moore has made sporadic appearances in “Fast ‘N Loud” over the years.
The stunning brunette and the mechanical prodigy began dating in 2013, and have been living together for almost as long, but seem to be in no great rush to take their relationship to the next level, and become husband and wife.
Little is known about Lauren’s past, or the ins and outs of her relationship with Aaron. Nevertheless, we’re aware that the attractive couple have two fur babies who they often post – their beloved dogs Lola and Bastian. Lauren turned 33 in December 2021, although her birthplace and profession remain a mystery for the time being. As Aaron likes to keep his Instagram feed strictly professional, there are no pics of them together, apart from when they’ve been photographed at the odd red-carpet event.
Some of Lauren’s interests include travelling, cooking, self-care and art. The aspiring painter has shared a few photos of her works with her 14,000 followers, and went to Italy with her friends and family as recently as March 2022. Despite her cryptic captions sparking break-up rumors in the past, for now, fans and the general public believe that Lauren and Aaron are still together.