Who is Aaron Kauffman?
Born in January 1982 in Texas, USA, Aaron Kauffman is a TV star and self-made millionaire who learned how to modify and repair vehicles from his father, and began taking objects apart and putting them back together in his childhood. The car mechanic’s trademark beard, stellar work ethic, and warm personality have endeared him to the general public, as he remains a beloved figure despite not appearing on TV anymore.
Aaron studied at Crowley High School, then went straight to work at a local garage instead of going to college. As luck would have it, the TV host and businessman Richard Rawlings came to his garage to have his 1953 Ford Mainline fixed, and was so impressed by Aaron’s skills that he offered him a business partnership almost straight away.
“Fast N’ Loud”
Premiering on Discovery Channel in 2012, “Fast N’ Loud” followed Aaron, Richard and the other employees at Richard’s business, Gas Monkey Garage, (GMG) as they restored old and battered vehicles before selling them for a profit. The successful first season led to “Fast N’ Loud: Demolition Theater”, “Misfit Garage”, and other spin-offs.
Averaging almost 2.5 million viewers in season 4, Richard and Aaron became small-screen celebrities; from giving interviews to attending car shows and publicity events, it was a radical change of lifestyle for Aaron particularly, as the master mechanic had rarely appeared on TV before. It’s rumored but not confirmed that they were unable to accept sponsorship deals, due to their contract with Discovery.
The other long-term employees at GMG included K.C Mathieu, Chris Smith and Christie Brimberry; it’s been noted that many mechanics didn’t last more than a few weeks or months on the payroll, so the staff members who stuck around became fan favorites. Being the show’s host, most of the screen time went to Richard, but Aaron was also considered irreplaceable, thanks to his expertise and the calm demeanor that balanced out Richard’s brash personality.
In late 2016, viewers of “Fast N’ Loud” were left heartbroken when Richard confirmed in a blog post that Aaron would be leaving the show. The episode in which Aaron broke the news didn’t air until March 2017; at the time of filming, he’d returned from extended leave, but confirmed that he would moving on to bigger and better things. The reasons boil down to an overwhelming work schedule, and the fact that the show’s producers wanted to drastically cut down Aaron’s screen time.
Rumors of the show’s cancellation began circulating online when Aaron left, but Richard and other cast members promptly shot them down. After a few more seasons, which saw much lower viewer figures, the host confirmed in an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that “Fast N’ Loud” had come to its end. Apparently, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and months at home made him realize that he wanted something more out of his career, which ultimately meant moving on to greener pastures.
As for Aaron, he founded Arclight Fabrication shortly after leaving GMG behind. Rather than being bossed around by the “Fast N’ Loud” production team, Aaron could now work on his favorite cars – Ford F-100s. From selling rare restoration and conversion parts to customizing truck wheels, the guys at Arclight offered a plethora of services that aren’t easy to find anywhere else.
A year and a few months after departing from GMG, Aaron premiered a brand-new series named “Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman”. This didn’t go down well with some “Fast N’ Loud” fanatics, given that Aaron had cited tight deadlines and strenuous filming schedules as part of the reason he wanted to leave that show, but it seems that after a meeting with Discovery Channel executives, he was more than ready to return to TV.
Some of the challenges Aaron was faced with included transforming a 1971 International Scout for the King of Hammers event, that takes part every year in Johnson Valley, California. The off-road race combines desert racing with rock crawling, meaning that the International Scout had to be fully equipped to have a chance of winning.
After taking part in the event, Aaron went on to build a semi-race truck with automotive experts Bob and Justin Ball and his team at Arclight. The truck was to be used at Pike’s Peak International race day, and tensions reached an all-time high at Arclight due to the difficult nature of the project. Luckily, the talented team finished the job on time.
In a nerve-wracking season one finale, Aaron’s semi-truck began malfunctioning during a race in Colorado Springs. Although he didn’t win, he wasn’t seriously harmed either. A few months later, season two of “Shifting Gears” premiered just in time for the fall season – and what better way to start the season than with another seemingly impossible project?
Aaron and his colleagues at Arclight had to build a Subaru Impreza rally car virtually from scratch in order to compete in the Olympus Rally. But unfortunately, the bearded mechanic didn’t take any prizes home due to a serious of unfortunate events that occurred on race day. Shrewd viewers began to notice that these mishaps were a common occurrence in the series, and wondered if some of them were staged, but this was never confirmed.
Season two ended with Aaron preparing for the vintage beach drag race The Race of Gentlemen, attended by thousands of hot rod fanatics. For the big day, he fixed his Harley WLA and Model A Dragster, putting in hundreds of hours of work that were compressed into three episodes. Yet Aaron and his workers were unlucky yet again when the last episode featured an accident and an injury, which disappointed viewers no end. Unsurprisingly, “Shifting Gears” ended after season two and there were no talks of renewing the pessimistic show.
“Aaron Kauffman Needs A Job”, produced by and starring Aaron, premiered in 2019. The series saw the mechanic step out of his comfort zone and learn just about everything: from shredding old vehicles to piloting fighter jets, nothing was off-limits. Visits to water-pumping plants, training courses for firefighters, and visits to the NASA headquarters were just some of the experiences the Texan delighted his viewers with.
In the penultimate episode, Aaron had just finished building a hovercraft and headed back to his home state for some time off. Isaac Cohen, the woodworker and car builder, made a cameo appearance in this episode, but surprisingly, the show wasn’t renewed for a second season, despite Aaron proving that he was good at pretty much everything – even navigating a 40,000-pound truck around an obstacle course.
In summer 2019, rumors of Arclight Fab permanently closing began circulating on the internet. It later turned out that the original shop and showroom had closed, but only because Aaron and the rest of Arclight employees had relocated to a bigger, better space where they could take on more projects.
Aaron isn’t given to outrageous publicity stunts or juicy tell-all interviews to drum up public interest and prefers the focus to remain on his job… But despite being so lowkey, the mechanic’s die-hard fans have made it their job to find out virtually everything about their idol. Here are some interesting facts we’ve compiled about the Texan!
Growing up, Aaron loved nature and wildlife, and wanted to be a park ranger. Somewhere along the road, he taught himself the basics and then intricate aspects of mechanics, although some news outlets falsely claim that he met Richard while studying a fabrication works college degree. It’s evident that his lack of formal qualifications never slowed Aaron down, as he’s hailed as one of the richest mechanics, with a net worth estimated at millions of dollars.
— Lords & Barbers (@LordsAndBarbers) February 26, 2016
So why didn’t Aaron go to college, despite being a straight-A student? His family didn’t have much money when he was growing up, so he needed to join the workforce as soon as possible to help pay the bills. At 16 years old, he customized and repaired his first project car, a Jeep Cherokee, and realized that he could turn his love for mechanics into a lucrative career.
Often, people who grow up in humble households and come into money in adulthood make bad financial decisions and end up at square one. That isn’t the case with Aaron: unattached to material goods, he isn’t above selling his prized possessions, such as the custom-built 1963 Ford Falcon race car which he had used the year prior in Pines Peak. The beautiful vehicle sold for $65,000 on eBay, and found a very happy new owner.
In August 2019, Aaron lost his close friend Jessi Combs, a metal fabricator and TV personality, whose race car crashed at 550mph in Alvord Desert, Oregon. The Texas native was devastated by the news, and released an online statement saying: “I’ve been around death in racing… it’s never easy. However, this sadness is more profound because none of the others I knew as well or as long. #raceinpeace”. Jessi’s death led to an outpouring of grief from the racing community, where deaths aren’t uncommon, but just as tragic.
Apart from being a mechanic and TV star, Aaron made Special Event Magazine’s 25 Young Event Professionals list in 2015, and is the president of the International Special Events Society’s Toronto chapter. His work has also featured in dozens of automotive magazines, and he’s a regular at many annual racing events.
Lauren Moore, Aaron’s girlfriend, appeared on “Fast N’ Loud” a few times over the years. It’s uncertain how the pair met, but they made their relationship official in 2013. The bubbly brunette was born in December 1988, but hasn’t shared any details regarding her birthplace, family or job, and Aaron only posts professional content on his Instagram feed, and has rarely discussed his partner in public.
Lauren and Aaron aren’t engaged, and are in no great rush to become parents, but they do have two cute pet dogs named Lola and Bastian. Lauren loves cooking, art, travelling, and self-care and is an aspiring painter with over 14,000 Instagram followers. It’s believed that Lauren and Aaron are still together, despite the occasional break-up rumor.
Given that Aaron was anonymous before “Fast N’ Loud”, there is no available information regarding any former relationships.
Although Aaron himself has steered clear of public scandal since he entered the spotlight, his associated acts – especially Richard – haven’t been so lucky. His unscrupulous business practices have led to lawsuits, and he’s also been heavily criticized for his less-than-perfect personal life, and for his treatment of GMG employees. Of course, not everyone on the internet is pro-Aaron and anti-Richard – there are some who think that the master mechanic decided to jump off the sinking ship that “Fast N’ Loud” was becoming, before the show’s poor reputation could rub off on him.
With that in mind, it must be said that Aaron never publicly denounced Richard’s antics, and as someone who worked alongside the host for 15 years, that says a lot. One of Richard’s most memorable incidents includes the Firebirds fiasco: he and his team claimed to have restored two prototypes of the rare vehicle that were worth over $300,000, when in reality, there was nothing special about the vehicles. They were the first two Firebirds to be produced, which isn’t the same as a prototype at all.
A polarizing figure and smart businessman, Richard has been working steadily for years on expanding the Gas Monkey brand. From merchandise to energy drinks and a bar and grill, he’s determined to turn Gas Monkey into an imperium. Speaking of the Gas Monkey Bar ‘N Grill, it was part of a 2015 sting operation carried out by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to discover which establishments were passing off bottom-shelf liquor as the real deal. Richard’s business had been selling cheap tequila at top-shelf prices, which caused a stir, but was soon forgotten.
It’s not all bad, though: the Gas Monkey Foundation was created in 2014, and has helped charities including Cannonball Memorial Run, Sharkosa Wildlife Ranch, and No Child Left Behind to name a few. The foundation accepts vehicles regardless of the state they’re in, and will repair and sell them, with all proceeds going to noble causes. It’s unclear if Aaron was ever involved in the foundation, as Richard’s business partner.