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The Motor Man

Kristie Ramirez | February 21, 2018 | Feature Features

Richard Rawlings loves his wife and kids, cars and his poodle. Find that surprising?

It’s 5:30pm on a Wednesday in January and despite the 40-degree chill outside, there’s a crowd surrounding a gated lot in a warehouse district off I-35. There’s a father and son from Paris (France, not Texas), a guy from Israel and families holding T-shirts they just purchased from the on-site Gas Monkey fan shop. Its owner—and the person for whom the crowd has gathered—is Richard Rawlings, the branding genius behind the shops, restaurants, live music venues and more that purvey a family-friendly version of a hot-rod lifestyle made internationally famous by his first Discovery Channel show, Fast N’ Loud. “I have tattoos, a goatee, wear a leather jacket, but I didn’t wanna be that tough, macho, I’m-badder-than-you type [of] guy,” says Rawlings. “I mean, I have a wife, kids and a poodle.” The 48-year-old entrepreneur says the success of his shows­­—there are now four—and the Gas Monkey franchise lies with his accessibility to his fans. He’s regularly seen ending his show drinking a Miller Lite with his crew, surrounded by friends and his black poodle, Fifi. In his Preston Hollow neighborhood, it’s not unusual to run into him pushing a shopping cart in Central Market or grabbing dinner with his wife at Neuhaus Cafe. And today, those fans who have lined up are warmly greeted by Rawlings as he walks off a photo shoot set to take pics, hug fans and sign pictures. “This is my entire life; it’s where I work. I’m here all the time and they know that,” he says. “Anyone can just walk in and say hi.” One of the folks who walked in today is from Tennessee; he dropped north of $300,000 for a customized 2014 Ferrari F12. Other cars in stock ready to move? Serial numbers 1 and 2 Pontiac Firebirds that he plans to raffle for the Gas Monkey Foundation, which benefits Alzheimer’s and dementia research, a cause near to him, as his beloved father has suffered from the disease for six years. For Rawlings, when it comes down to it, he’s a family man. The 14th season of Fast N’ Loud begins this month.


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