• Fans of "Fast N' Loud" were saddened by the sudden passing of Derek Collins in 2019; details of his death remain unspecified.
• Derek worked for his father's company Collins Bros Jeep and managed the Action Co. and Horse & Rider.
• Fans speculate that Derek's last post on Instagram from 29 June 2019 hints at something sudden happening.
• Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins worked together for many years and were involved in many projects, including the Gas Monkey Garage.
• Collins Classics is Dennis' third brand, and is focused on restoring classic cars from various brands.
Fans of “Fast N’ Loud” all over the world felt a great sense of sadness when the son of the show’s beloved star Dennis Collins, Derek Andrew Collins, passed away suddenly on 2 July 2019. The details surrounding his death remain unspecified to this day, as his father and other “Fast N’ Loud” celebrities have refused to comment on it.
Derek’s Instagram page remains inactive since 29 June 2019, its last post being dedicated to his best friend, whom he described as ‘beautiful and awesome,’ stating that only ‘the luckiest men on earth get to experience this feeling.’
Fans are able to tell that something went wrong by reading the comment by kisangel1983 that says ‘I love you, little cousin. I know I told you that the last time I saw you. But I keep thinking about how I should have made the time to tell you again.’ She ends the comment with ‘It’s crazy to not realize how much you miss something until it’s gone. You’ll always be in my heart.’
Another comment, by annabambambaby, states ‘what happened to him??? My bf is worried, we were just hanging out with him.’ It was posted on 3 July, a day after Derek’s unfortunate passing was announced.
His funeral was held on 19 July at Wildwood Chapel, 13005 Greenville Ave, Dallas, Texas. In attendance were his two daughters MaKenzee Kate Collins and Avery Collins, his three siblings Kendra Walker, Kelsey Collins and Connor Collins, his parents Dennis Collins and Sharon Motsenbocker, and his grandparents Pat and James Collins, and Norma Motsenbocker. Derek was born on 11 August 1989 in Grapevine, Texas, passing at the age of 29.
His older brother wrote a great deal about Derek, which gave the audience an insight into what kind of man he was. Connor describes him as having great zest for life and being a devoted father, in spite of not always spending all day with his two daughters. He elaborates how the little girls consumed Derek’s thoughts, being the one thing that reminded him of how good and innocent the world can be. Connor also said that the two would often talk about funerals, and remark how most people didn’t really care about someone until their death, and how they’d always pity those who didn’t understand true pain. He apologized to Derek for not always being there for him, leaving him to live with their mother as a teenager.
Derek’s Instagram post from 29 June 2019, right before the last one, shows him with a new pair of glasses, with the description stating ‘Bought these Versace’s for my favorite chick “little best friend” thinking about u double silver medusa head type gift.’ Considering the fact that he posted very positive content only four days before his passing, it can be assumed that something sudden came about, such as a heart attack or a car accident. However, until the family decides to speak out about the incident, fans can only speculate.
Derek’s successful past
As soon as he was able, Derek became involved with the automotive industry. Thanks to his father’s extensive experience, he found it easy to get a job as Action Co. manager, and later on Horse & Rider. Ultimately, having become proficient enough at his job, he started working for his father’s company Collins Bros Jeep, which has now been in business for 38 years, since 1984. Located in Wylie, Texas, this successful business focuses on finding, repairing, and even creating their own Jeeps.
Besides re-selling, they also restore and preserve legendary older Jeeps, and sometimes brand new ones as well. All of the cars they sell are one-of-a-kind, which greatly influences the price. In 2007, they launched their own line of custom off-road accessories and parts, named Black Mountain, or ‘BLKMTN.’
— Collins Bros Jeep (@CollinsBrosJeep) January 10, 2019
Being the manager there, Derek’s job was to ensure that every customer could get the exact bumper/fender, wheel, LED light bar, or any other accessory they required for a Jeep, as well as perhaps buy a brand new custom model from the company’s Jeep yard.
The company also offers Jeep manuals, and even audio periphery designed exclusively for luxurious Jeeps. Heavily modified Jeeps with monster truck wheels are common in the yard as well, which provides a vehicle for any kind of terrain.
Why he didn’t take part in the show
“Fast N’ Loud” became popular immediately upon its release in 2012; it featured 14 episodes that ran from 12 June to 9 October that year, receiving a 1.43 average rating. Since Derek was only 22 years old at the time of filming, it seems that he either didn’t feel comfortable enough to join the cast, or he was just too busy with Collins Bros Jeep.
His father Dennis actually joined the show through sheer luck, by meeting the car restoration superstar and show protagonist Richard Rawlings in 1996, at a Harley Davidson invitational, during which they rode from Dallas to Daytona. They became best friends right away, and continued working together for many years.
The success of “Fast N’ Loud”
In 2002, Richard Rawlings launched the Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, where he began customizing regular and hot-rod cars for worldwide customers, creating one-of-a-kind rides for car enthusiasts willing to dish out a large sum for a unique vehicle. After a decade of constantly pushing the limits of how modified a car can actually become, Discovery channel recognized the potential of his business, and offered him a contract.
Dennis Collins was already a big-time colleague and best friend of Richard Rawlings at the time, and so he joined the show as well. They were known as the legendary duo who bid high amounts on projects, one of whom (Richard) was all about business and beer, while Dennis was more of a practical work and coffee guy.
Together they created some of the most iconic rides ever seen on Discovery channel, turning out pile after pile of luxurious metal on wheels. The show kept going strongly from 2012 to 2020, with over 155 episodes and various specials.
Some events have been faked
There has been some controversy regarding the authenticity of the show, as even though it was said to be unscripted, some of the moments appeared so perfect for television that nearly every viewer questioned whether an event so random yet fitting was even possible.
Website hotcars.com did some research on various aspects of the show, providing up to 10 items or events proved to be fake, and another 10 which, in spite of being not as believable, are real. For example, the show features only about a dozen people working inside the shop, while there’s in fact a massive team of mechanics, well over 20 individuals, who works on the cars non-stop. The crew is intentionally made to look smaller so as to help the audience remember and identify with the characters.
One less likely yet true fact about the show is that Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman started the Gas Monkey Garage with barely enough money to keep the business running. They scraped cash from job to job, building their empire from the ground up. Stories like this are usually added as extra flavor to any reality TV series featuring a business, but in “Fast N’ Loud” it’s actually a verifiable fact.
The show was canceled
When interviewed by Joe Rogan in 2020 about the show’s potential return to the TV screen after its 16th season, Richard Rawlings said that the show ‘is no more.’, stating ‘I’ve exited Discovery, and I’m a free agent. We’re gonna be doing some cool things in 2021, and it just was a perfect storm, so to speak. It was time for me to expand, grow a little bit, and I’d kinda gotten to the top of that mountain, being Discovery, and there wasn’t anything else for me to do there, so.’
Besides the restoration shop itself, Richard expanded the Gas Monkey brand to other branches, such as the Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill in Northwest Dallas, as well as another in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, opened in 2013 and 2014 respectively. A third such bar is planned to open near the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Additionally, Richard created the Gas Monkey Live musical venue in October 2014, which closed down in May 2020. He also started up a restaurant called Richard Rawlings’ Garage in Parker Heights, Texas in 2016, but it closed in March 2019, but in the same year, he started producing Gas Monkey energy drinks. Lastly, on 12 May 2015 he even published his autobiography, entitled “Fast N’ Loud: Blood, Sweat and Beers.”
In May 2007 Dennis and Richard allegedly broke the 1979 Cannonball Run world-record time, driving from New York City to Los Angeles in a black Ferrari 550 with additional fuel cells. They supposedly arrived in one minute under 32 hours, which beat the 1979 record of 32 hours and 51 minutes. However, due to numerous disputes regarding the distance and time, this achievement is yet to be ratified.
Where Dennis went after Gas Monkey
Dennis Collins appeared in “Fast N’ Loud” in 12 episodes over four years, including 2012, ‘13, ‘14 and ‘17. He was also seen alongside Richard Rawlings in the “Fast N’ Loud” spin-off entitled “Garage Rehab,” in a single episode in 2017. It’s safe to say that in 2018, Collins had drifted apart from Richard, at least on television.
However, he didn’t stay out of the limelight. Dennis has his own YouTube channel, with close to 450,000 subscribers and more than 80 million views, on which he frequently posts purchases and restoration videos. The vehicles featured on his channel are usually rare and expensive, and while sometimes he definitely pays a high price for a set of wheels, the money he earns post-restoration more than makes up for the cost.
He also has his own website, on which he elaborates on his three brands and life mission, providing a detailed description of his life before fame. He used to drive a blue 1966 Ford Mustang to school, displaying a very early passion for muscle cars, as well as the ability to own them. This passion continued well into the remainder of his life, to the point where his brands are some of the most famous around the US.
His “Wanted Dead or Alive” ad campaign calls for all car owners across the world to sell him their vehicle, and has been running for close to 40 years. He’s willing to buy any car, in any condition, at a fair price, providing the whole world with a simple ‘Sell your car’ button on the website.
Dennis has a separate website for the purchase of classic cars, including around the world. Collins Classics is his third brand, besides Black Mountain (BLKMTN) and Collins Bros Jeep. It’s focused on restoring some of the most common and famous car brands throughout the world, including Mercedes-Benz, Dodge and Ford, although Bugatti, Cadillac and Aston Martin are also acceptable.
Interestingly, Ferrari is the only brand for which there is no requirement at Collins Classics. They will literally buy any Ferrari model, in any condition. The process is simple – a potential seller sends the company the make, model, year, history, location, condition and high-resolution pictures of the car in question, after which they are offered a price, and upon acceptance the vehicle is shipped within a week.
Along with his other two brands, this is Dennis Collins’ main source of income in 2022, and while the tragedy of losing his son will forever remain in the family, he continues to develop his career and push onwards regardless.