If you are a fan of Discovery’s car restoration shows, the name Aaron Kaufman surely rings a bell or two, and it’s not a wonder why, as his cool demeanor and mechanic skills are not easy to forget.
While Aaron’s work as one of the main builders of the Texas-based car shop Gas Monkey Garage was quite a big deal in itself, what really brought him to country-wide fame was his debut on the TV reality series “Fast N’ Loud”, and subsequently in shows such as “Shifting Gears” and “Aaron Needs A Job”.
However, it’s been a while since Aaron’s fans have seen him on TV, which brings out many questions regarding his whereabouts, the reason he left TV and his current businesses.
So, do you want to know what Aaron Kaufman is up to nowadays? Just keep with us to discover all, and even get to know more about him!
What Happened To Him?
Are you surprised by not seeing Aaron Kaufman in “Fast N’ Loud”? You shouldn’t be, as his official exit from the show and Gas Monkey Garage dates back to February 2017, when the show’s tenth episode of its twelfth season premiered. However, the news of his departure wasn’t necessarily a secret at the time, as the series’ fans actually knew about it weeks before it aired.
After working with Rawlings for over 14 years, you can imagine that the reason Aaron left both the series and the shop must have been pretty serious, but what exactly was it?
Regardless of the speculations regarding the situation, Aaron didn’t take the opportunity to cause any type of scandal, and instead was always very sincere about his departure, as can be seen during an interview with Art Of Gears.
Apparently, although he had several professional and creative differences with the crew, what really led him to quit was his inability to work on the projects he liked, due to the limited time TV requirements offered him.
Aaron’s ability as a mechanic is undeniable, and that surely caused many good job offers to come his way after leaving the Gas Monkey shop, but he really wanted something different. That’s how he came to found Arclight Fabrication, a business focused on Ford’s pickups and delivering work in its own time, without the rush of TV schedules.
While the change saddened “Fast N’ Loud”s fans, having his own business and working with big cars was surely just reward for a man as talented and hard-working as Aaron.
What Is Aaron Doing Now?
Although we haven’t seen Aaron Kaufman on TV since 2019, he’s still actively working in his business Arclight Fabrication, which fortunately is still fully operative regardless of its quite inactive social media accounts and website. Unknowingly to many, Aaron regularly spends his time competing in local car races, and works with several race teams as a mechanic, activities which undoubtedly allow him showcase his many abilities as an automobile expert outside the limitations of his motor shop.
While it’s good to know Aaron is not out of business despite his cut-short career as a reality star, many people also wonder what’s up with his personal life. However, it’s well known that Aaron doesn’t reveal those details to the general public, making it very difficult to keep up to date with his familiar or romantic life.
Olympus #Rally will have a special guest #competitor this year. Aaron Kaufman of Arclight Fab will be competing at Olympus Rally on May 19th and 20th #dirt #racing #ourautoexpert #rallyrace pic.twitter.com/CesrPTz5u9
— Nik J Miles (@nikjmiles) April 16, 2018
Though fortunately for those who follow him closely on social media, there are a couple things other than work that he shares from time to time, such as the sad passing of his dog Lola in late November 2020 or adopting a possum as a shop pet.
Despite his liking for not getting too personal in public, you can stay updated with Aaron and his projects through his Instagram account.
Who Is Aaron Kaufman?
While we know that you are familiar with Aaron Kaufman’s work and TV appearances, there are probably a lot of things you most likely don’t know about his life and career before fame.
Starting from his beginnings, Aaron began his path to becoming one of the most innovative automobile mechanics in the world, with his first car modification at around 16 years old.
Although it’s known he was a self-taught mechanic enthusiast from early childhood, the experience of upgrading that Jeep Cherokee Chief by himself still wasn’t enough. That’s when he met his freshman year’s classmate Scot McMillan Jr, a guy with whom he happened to share a love for cars, and the other half of the team they were quick to form to progressively learn and work on better and more detailed car projects. Their partnership extended even after their high school matriculation, and enrolment at the Arlington-based University of Texas.
However, believing it was too time-consuming and not financially wise, the entire college experience didn’t convince the two friends for long. Nevertheless, after taking the not-so-tough decision to drop out, their goal of establishing a business together was soon forgotten when McMillan joined the US Army.
After being an independent mechanic for a while, it didn’t take long for Aaron Kaufman’s work to attract attention. However, the real story of how he became so successful and knowledgeable in the automobile field is somewhat different to what you might know.
If you look up on Discovery’s website, information about Aaron is quite limited. Though interestingly enough, it says that Aaron met Richard Rawlings when he fixed the latter’s car, and his work apparently left such a good impression on Rawlings, that he would call Aaron years later to join Gas Monkey Garage, but there are a few details that this version of the story doesn’t include.
As D Magazine reported in 2018, both men indeed met when Aaron was barely 20 years old, but Rawlings apparently already owned Gas Monkey Garage at the time.
After becoming acquainted, Aaron joined Rawlings as they traveled around the country between races, car exhibitions and auctions, experiences which served Aaron positively when it came to really getting into the car business.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end; eventually Rawlings closed Gas Monkey Garage, and Aaron moved on to work at another shop. It’s unknown how much time then passed, but Gas Monkey Garage eventually re-opened again, when Rawlings pitched Discovery the idea of creating a show centered on the shop. That’s how Aaron joined the business again, and became a “Fast N’ Loud” cast member.
Debut On TV
We already know the real story of how Aaron Kaufman became part of Gas Monkey Garage, but the whole experience of debuting on TV through “Fast N’ Loud” was a different thing by itself.
As you might already know, Aaron’s experience as a mechanic can only be compared to his work ethic and passion for his profession.
However, although his cool and easy-going demeanor is not a characteristic easily found in men who have the same level of skills, it’s admittedly the thing that led him to become a show’s fan favorite in a short time.
Although Aaron’s rise to fame came very quickly, it wasn’t without effort. Discovery had no other shows centered on cars by the time “Fast N’ Loud” premiered, and the hopes of it becoming successful were low, but also because being part of it ensured a lot of pressure. As the shop’s main mechanic, Aaron’s work load increased considerably as the show progressed, to the point he and members of the crew apparently worked over 100 hours a week, and quite often had little-to-no time to sleep, something which would take a toll on their wellbeing sooner or later, as well as on their work, and ended up causing Aaron’s exit. Nonetheless, the final results were almost always outstanding, and that’s how things worked for years, as Rawlings affirmed it in one of the first episodes of the show: ‘Aaron can do anything. That’s why I keep him chained to this place. So no one can steal him.’.
Return To TV
Not long after his departure from Gas Monkey Garage, Aaron commented that he had been invited to appear in another reality series focused on cars. Though not wanting to repeat the same old story of “Fast N’ Loud”, Aaron affirmed he wasn’t getting his hopes high at the prospect of another shot, unless he had the certainty that he was going to be able to do things his way if it became a reality.
His words excited and saddened his fans equally, but the possibility of seeing him on TV again seemed smaller as months passed by. Then fortunately for all of us, in early 2018 the premiere of Aaron’s own show, “Shifting Gears” was announced, admittedly taking everyone by surprise.
“Shifting Gears” truly met Aaron’s expectations, and proved to be a nice change from the “Fast N’ Loud” format.
While in Gas Monkey the work was always rushed, in this show we can really get to know Aaron’s work in a more detailed way, showing the expertise of Arclight Fabrication’s crew, but also appealing to those who like big cars. As the show’s premise affirmed, the likeness of success and failure of each project showcased in the show were equal, but that’s what made it all the more interesting.
The show aired for two seasons before going on an indefinite hiatus in October 2017, and while it hasn’t been officially cancelled, after four years its return to TV doesn’t seem a possibility any time soon.
“Aaron Needs A Job” and Hiatus
There’s no denying that “Shifting Gears With Aaron Kaufman” was different to what we used to see in “Fast N’ Loud”, but nothing could have prepared Aaron’s fans to see what his second series had in store.
“Aaron Needs A Job” had a completely new concept, as it took Aaron away from the car shop and led him to explore the entire country and other industries, in the search for information or maybe just to feed his curiosity.
It’s unknown where the idea of creating a show like this came from, but it undeniably offered an interesting view into aspects that car shows rarely tell its audiences about.
Although seeing Aaron out of his element while getting the pros and cons of the automobile industry first hand was a welcome change, the show only aired for one season, ending in mid-2019. This show also hasn’t been officially cancelled, but no further information about its return have been released since then.
What Happened To Gas Monkey After Aaron Left?
Undeniably, Aaron Kaufman was an essential part of “Fast N’ Loud” but regardless of that, neither the shop nor the series were going to be stopped by his absence.
Of course, his departure caused some changes in the business’ work dynamic, but in the grand scheme of things, a lot continued to be the same, as Gas Monkey Garage continued delivering excellent work, Richard still spent too much money on unnecessary things, and life proceeded on its regular course.
Unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and “Fast N’ Loud” wasn’t an exception. After the end of its 16th season, both Discovery and Richard Rawlings agreed on putting an end to the show. This decision was caused by Richard’s reasoning that it was time to move on from the network, though not a lot has been said about it anyway.
If you’re wondering if Gas Monkey Garage is still in business, then you have nothing to worry about. The shop is still actively working regardless of the lack of cameras, but for now it’s unknown if Richard has any future plans involving his shop and TV.
Are Aaron and Richard Rawlings Still Friends?
While we already mentioned that Aaron left the show by his own accord, to follow a professional path more fitting for him, there are many questions about whether or not he’s on good terms with his former boss Richard Rawlings.
The short answer is that yes, there’s no animosity between Aaron and Richard that we know of, but it’s also important to point out that their relationship is not as simple as the show’s audience were led to believe.
To put it simply, the men’s relationship didn’t go far beyond the professional field. As Richard told D Magazine, for him Aaron was a very valuable employee, but nothing more. Regardless of that, Richard has been supportive of Aaron’s decision to leave Gas Monkey, admitting he understood why Aaron wasn’t content with the way Discovery were managing things. If that wasn’t enough, Richard also promoted Aaron’s show “Shifting Gears” before its premiere, making it obvious that if they happened to have any type of altercation or creative differences in the past, they had already moved on.
While Aaron and Richard aren’t likely to work together again for the time being, knowing that they’re on good terms puts our minds at ease, and surely makes us understand and appreciate Aaron’s professional decisions even more.