When it comes to automotive reality-style shows, “Fast N’ Loud” definitely made a name for itself on the Discovery Channel. Of course, several series house a similar format revolving around car restoration and repair, but “Fast N’ Loud” gained a faithful fanbase for its colorful and interesting characters in the show, their unique working dynamic, and occasional drama. Additionally, regardless of whether you’re a fan of cars, it’s always eye-catching to watch a skilled crew as they transform run-down vehicles into jaw-dropping pieces, and then flip them for profit.
The show became synonymous with Richard Rawlings, the owner of Gas Money Garage, the car restoration shop where the series takes place. Besides the engaging and amusing content, it was riddled with drama and controversy from when the show premiered. Furthermore, several cast members exited the show, including some who simply disappeared without any explanation. One of those members was Sue, and now fans are wondering what influenced her to leave the shop and the series, and whether she’s still in the automotive industry.
“Fast N’ Loud” and the Cast
“Fast N’ Loud” is centered around Gas Money Garage, and follows the crew of skilled and seasoned automotive mechanics and experts who turn decrepit cars into dashing beasts, with a ‘sprinkle’ of inter-personal conflicts, tension and thematic skits. It premiered in June 2020, and ran for 16 seasons before it was canceled in 2020. As happens with reality shows, cast members often change from season to season, and “Fast N’ Loud” was no different. Besides Richard Rawlings, the show’s regular cast included Aaron Kauffman, Christie Brimberry, K.C. Mathieu, Chris Smith and Tom Smith. However, it also featured several specialists who gave a unique touch in some areas, providing additional help with the restoration. This is how the public became familiar with Yu-Lan Haiso Martin, better known as Sue.
The show achieved enormous success and spawned several spin-offs, including “Misfit Garage” and “Fast N’ Loud: Demolition.”
Who is Sue?
While the official date of her birth is unknown, Sue was born in Taiwan into a family of hard-working farmers, who instilled the work ethic in Sue. Seeking job opportunities, she picked up an exciting trade, upholstery, and this skill stuck with her throughout her life. After marrying and having children in 1984, Sue relocated with her family to the US and began looking for jobs. In 1990 she tried her luck in the upholstery business with her family, and one of her first projects was her husband’s car – a 1968 Grand Torino. After completing the task in her garage with the help of a friend, she was presented with a fantastic opportunity – to purchase an existing upholstery company in Dallas, Texas that was bankrupt. Sue bought the company for $4,500, moved into the 1000 square feet garage, and named it ASM Auto Upholstery.
Do you think you can make the cut ?We are looking for qualified and experienced trimmers who are willing to work hard in…
As other media outlets called her diligent and quirky, Sue transformed the company with her tenacious work ethic and perseverance. To meet deadlines, she often pulled 24 hours a day for a couple of days back-to-back, with short breaks. Sue invested all her time in her business and practically lived in the shop, working on demands to gain a reputation as a desirable and quality upholsterer.
After years of attentive work and an extensive client network, she was able to grow her business, and began renting an adjoining 1000 square feet slip. Eventually, she moved into a 2,000 square feet garage across the street, and began leasing her building area. Three years later, she acquired enough money to buy the entire complex, which has remained the location of her ASM business. With years of experience under her belt, Sue’s dream of having a stable and reliable business became a reality, as ASM arose as one of the premier upholstery companies in the Metroplex, proving that the American dream is still attainable.
How did Sue become a part of “Fast N Loud”?
When Sue moved into the new building, she caught the eye of Richard, who owned a shop down the street and needed an experienced upholsterer. Word had got around regarding Sue’s expertise and her no-nonsense attitude and straightforwardness. After discovering Sue, Richard sent her some work to get a first-hand look at her skills. From the first moment that Sue hit it off with Richard, their interesting relationship became one of the series’ prominent features.
Furthermore, even though Sue was not one of the shop’s regular employees, she immediately became a fan favorite for her personality, and how she treated other members, especially Richard, who is known to be demanding and fastidious. Sue openly joked about Richard’s shop’s name, and often called it ‘Ass Monkey Garage,’ which definitely earned her some points among the audience. She also became known for her catchphrase ‘Why you always bring me junk?’, which she usually says to Richard. In addition, she criticized Richard’s cheapness in an episode, saying: ‘I have deals for everyone except cheap ass money.”
As the show continued, Sue began appearing more often. At times, some of the series’ segments were filmed at Sue’s shop, which made for extra interesting content in the show, while serving as an excellent promotion for her business. However, she always had a certain tension with Richard – whom she called ‘Monkey’ – and some other members, and it was hard for fans to discern whether that was a part of the show, or was she furious. Things were going well for Richard, Sue, and the show’s ratings; however, after several seasons, Sue went under the radar.
The show’s production and Richard never made any official statements regarding her departure, or featured her in the show, which sparked a lot of questions. On the other hand, this would not be unusual for most shows, as members often come and go. However, considering that numerous members of the “Fast N Loud” left the show or were sacked, Sue’s disappearance was a bit more dramatic. Furthermore, there were already many rumors regarding Richard’s personality, and his alleged intractability.
What really happened to Sue?
One of the most prominent theories as to why Sue left the show was that there had been some sort of business fallout between her and Richard, and their relationship had run its course. Some of the fans noted that Richard used Sue’s services for low and rush jobs that couldn’t highlight her expertise or skills, which might have caused Sue to leave the show. Talking to a media outlet, Sue shared: ‘I think since it’s a reality show, you don’t see what the craft is really about. We do a lot of different things that aren’t on the show. It would be nice to redo only hot rods and be able to make a living at my shop, but that’s not the way of it.’ Most of the jobs that Richard gave to Sue had ridiculously-short deadlines, which might have got on Sue’s nerves, given that she usually had her hands full. In an interview, she talked about managing those deadlines, disclosing: ‘Due to the fact that Richard’s vehicles are often scheduled for sale at auctions, the deadlines are real and we manage by putting several employees on their projects and working late.’
— OtakuBubba 🇺🇸 (@OtakuBubba) June 1, 2019
Others pointed out that Sue had made several appearances in the “Fast N’ Loud” spin-off series entitled “Misfit Garage,” bringing about speculation that she was also looking for another show to work with. Finally, some Reddit users claimed that her work was not as excellent as implied and that it was Richard who burned the bridge between them, as he probably found a better upholsterer or better pricing.
If you are a fan of the series, you might know that in the last years before it was canceled, the Gas Money Garage turned into a showroom, with only a few cars restored, compared to several being worked on during the show’s filming. Some think that this played a role in Sue and Richard’s relationship, as their business focuses shifted. The last time Richard and Sue were seen together was in an Instagram post on Sue’s account in March 2020, in which she wished him a happy birthday.
Considering that Sue never disclosed any information, nor did Richard address the rumors, no one can say with certainty what happened between Sue and Richard, and what caused her to depart.
Where is Sue now?
Regardless of her role in the series, Sue has been going strongly with her business, and has further expanded it. Judging from her business’ official Instagram site, she recently opened up a new location for ASM Upholstery in Fresno, Texas. Furthermore, her company also does upholstery in airplanes and boats, but Sue is still very engaged in the automotive scene, and often appears at various events. In May 2022, she posted on Instagram: ‘I am so excited to be invited out by Shelby America, Team Shelby and The Carroll Shelby Foundation for this event. SO looking forward to the car show and banquet that follows. Come on out and join me for a fantastic weekend.’
I want to thank The Shelby Car Show in Frisco, Texas, The ShelbyTeam and Carroll Shelby Foundation for inviting me out…
She also often posts photos of her enormous family on her Instagram. In one of the show’s episodes, Sue revealed that her daughter worked at her company, and hoped that she would take over the business. Talking of her net worth, Sue’s wealth is estimated at over $1.5 million.
Who was fired from the show?
Probably the best-known ‘scandal’ on the show was the firing of Jordan Butler and Tom Smith. The two highly skilled mechanics, who became known for their erratic behavior and over-the-top personalities, especially Tom, were sacked from the show in 2014 after showing a lack of respect for Richard. Seemingly furious, Jordan gave an interview to TMZ in which he revealed that he and Tom were fired ‘cussing at their boss’. The story goes that they allowed a fan with cystic fibrosis to take a selfie, posing next to Richard’s Rolls Royce, which did not sit well with Richard. He started yelling: ‘get the f*** away from the car,” and Jordan and Tom replied: ‘Chill the f*** out’ which angered Richard. The two were officially fired on the same day.
Given that every story has two sides, some fans noted that Butler was fired for insubordination, while Tom had been a liability on the series for a while. There were rumors that he sometimes showed up to work intoxicated, and that other cast members had problems working with him, including Richard.
One of the regular members of the show, Christie Brimberry, said: ‘Tom is a very interesting person; he is super sweet and super annoying all at the same time. I have to remind Tom that he is inside, otherwise if I don’t, it gets really loud like he’s a bad hyperactive kid, so we have to kick him out. Those are really the two options.’
Interestingly, the same two mechanics became the main stars of the “Fast N’ Loud” spin-off series “Misfit Garage,” which casts a shadow of doubt over this whole incident, especially as Richard served as one of the executive producers for the show, and allegedly financially supported the project, which only added to the confusion.
Why was “Fast N Loud” cancelled?
In December 2020, Richard guest appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast show and shocked the public with the news that “Fast N’ Loud” was officially canceled, saying “Fast N’ Loud” is no more. I have exited Discovery, and I am a free agent. We’re gonna be doing some cool things in 2021. It was a perfect storm, and it was time for me to expand. I got to the top of that mountain at Discovery, and there wasn’t anything else for me to do there.’
Richard also talked about creative challenges he and the crew encountered while filming; ‘There’s only so many times you can buy a car, fix a car, and sell it. And it was time to make some changes and make it more fun.’
In a way, Richard seemed happy that the show ended, as he wanted to pursue other projects, such as his podcast show, which he was previously legally bound from doing, due to his contract with Discovery channel.
Despite Richard’s bleak explanations, fans had other theories why the show came to an end. First, there was a rumor that the show ended 18 months before officially being canceled; most show watchers claimed that the quality began decreasing after Aaron Kauffman left the series. The show took on a more ‘corporate’ feeling, which was different from what the show initially offered, and turned many fans away. Additionally, the fact that several members left the show while others were sacked indicated that there had been some issues among the members and the production. The drama-filled instances did not help the show’s popularity among true automotive fans, and it became synonymous with controversy and erratic and self-centered personalities.