Most gearheads know of Richard Rawlings as the proprietor of Gas Monkey Garage and the public face of the Discovery Channel's Fast N' Loud. His larger-than-life persona dominates the TV show, sometimes so much that it causes a bit of drama—which is exactly what a reality TV show needs.
But Rawlings remains a self-made man, having worked in law enforcement before starting a printing company that he sold a few years after opening Gas Monkey Garage. He's also a serious gearhead that drives just as much as he builds—or that he technically has his Gas Monkeys build, more like—and is known for carrying wads of cash around so he can buy any car he wants on the spot.
Some of the builds that have emerged from the Gas Monkey Garage have been forced, overdone, and controversial, but there's no doubt Richard Rawlings has a soft spot for modded muscle cars. Keep scrolling for 18 stunning pics of examples that the man would certainly love to own and drive.
18 Snorting Bull
The Oldsmobile 442 is one of the lesser-known muscle cars in the history of the form, but there's no doubt that from the outside to the powertrain, these were some awesome cars from the factory. Plus, they're ripe for mods like the ones this example has received, which might seem like too much to some gearheads but probably not to the likes of Richard Rawlings.
17 Big Purp
Richard Rawlings loves muscle cars of all types, from the oldest classics to modern monsters. This late-model Mustang would be right up his alley, especially given the extensive mods it's received. The body kit, those huge wheels and tires, and the rear spoiler all look aggressive, while the enormous exhaust tips hopefully indicate upgrades under the hood, as well.
16 Restomod Masterpiece
The modern craze for taking classic cars and doing them over with modern pieces has gotten pretty out of hand, but there's no doubt Richard Rawlings would love this 1969 Mustang restomod build. The black hood with tie-downs hark back to the days of weight trimmings and drag racing on the outskirts of town, while the rest of the build just looks perfect.
15 Modern Classic
The argument between fans of restomods and purists who think that only an OEM-style restoration is worthwhile can go on forever—and plenty of gearheads are happy to argue about the pros and cons of each process ad infinitum. But anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car like this updated Chevy Nova had better be ready to have their mind blown.
14 Dark and Stormy
This restomodded Chevy Nova looks downright mean. The slick black lines, the lack of chrome, the matte grey wheels, and the hint of a roll cage all point to a serious build completed by a serious builder. When aggression goes understated like this, it's sure to draw the attention of experts like Richard Rawlings.
13 Full-On Track Style
Rawlings has gotten into his fair share of scrapes with the law and there's no doubt he loves to go fast. The man even competed in the Gumball 3000 rally, winning twice, and held the Cannonball Run record for a few years, as well, according to Maxim. There's no doubting that he'd be more than happy to get behind the wheel of this dragster Fox Body Mustang.
12 Cleaner Than Clean
This 1969 Camaro restomod went up for auction by Mecum, and their copy described it has having been built by Detroit Speed for Michael Manning, President of American Auto Wire. Rawlings famously walks around with cash in his pocket so he can buy cars on the spot, so he probably avoids high-visibility auctions as much as possible—but at the right price, he'd definitely snatch up this build.
11 Wheelie Bars Out Back
Nothing points to drag strip fun like a set of wheelie bars mounted on the tail of a street-going sports car. This Camaro looks pretty low-key from most angles until the back end, where a glimpse of super-wide rear rubber and the wheelie bars suggests that there could be serious power crammed into the engine bay.
10 Why Not?
Sometimes, when it comes to the builds that emerge from shops such as Gas Monkey Garage, the prevailing mindset seems to have been little more than, "Why not?" This GTO has been seriously toyed with, from the body to the enormous blower popping out of the hood—but it's so bold that Rawlings would definitely think it's worth a fun run or two.
9 Green With Envy
Eventually, some modded muscle cars clearly reach a point where the only thing that remains of their original construction are the body panels. But even the body panels on this Mustang have been messed with, though the result looks pretty bold in a shade of green that seems to highlight other muscle car owners' envious looks.
8 Perfectly Done
The main problem with most modded muscle cars—which is only compounded the more that the mods are eventually completed—is that too many builders just don't have the artistic vision to go with their mechanical skill. But this Mustang is a perfect example that should serve as inspiration for any builders, much less Richard Rawlings and his Gas Monkeys.
7 Superbly Built Super Bee
The Dodge Super Bee might not command the same respect as the Charger, given that it was the lower-priced sibling based on the Coronet, but this restomod has brought the model's potential back to life. While some muscle car fanatics might not like that red interior, it's exactly the kind of thing Richard Rawlings would do at his shop.
6 Supercharge It
At Gas Monkey Garage, Rawlings and the Gas Monkey crew get up to some wild builds. They don't just focus on cosmetics, though, going all-out with performance, as well. This fifth-gen Mustang probably wouldn't attract Rawlings without its mods—that supercharger and the side pipes bump it up to respectable status, though.
5 Do It To It
Not every muscle car is in good enough or bad enough shape to warrant a restomod project. But with more and more barn finds emerging from the shadows, restomods seem only to be on the upswing. This Mustang, though, is a whole different beast—as reported by Autoblog, this is a fully modern take on the GT500 built by a company called Classic Recreations under license from Shelby.
4 Snails On Display
While this Chevelle SS might not look as clean as some of the other modded muscle cars out there, it's still right up Richard Rawlings' alley. Those two huge turbos popping out of the engine bay, plus the narrow front wheels and roll cage, all point to a serious build beneath the patina of the aged paint job on the outside.
3 Flames It Must Have
A modded muscle like this heavily worked-over Camaro looks straight off the streets of Miami in 2 Fast 2 Furious. But the effort that went into the build is evident straight away, from the clean body panels to the flame paint job and the blower—not to mention the pristine chrome, which would be a job well done by Gas Monkey Garage.
2 Madder Than Max
Any gearhead around the same age as Richard Rawlings (he's 50, born in 1969) has a special place in their heart for the Police Interceptor from Mad Max. But this fan-built version looks much better than the beat-up version from the films—of course, Rawlings would probably want to get behind the wheel and add some dents while blasting around the desert ASAP.
1 Roar With Envy
The modern Dodge Challenger sits atop the beefy muscle car world when it comes to all-out power. With so few Demons in the world, though, plenty of modders have taken their lower-spec Challengers and modded them until they're even more insane. This Challenger looks ready for the track or the strip, or maybe just the showroom given the low ride height.
Sources: Autoblog, IMDb, and Mecum Auctions.