Everyone has heard of Gas Monkey Garage (GMG). The garage is featured in the Discovery TV show Fast N’ Loud and owner Richard Rawlings seems to sponsor a race car in every major American series. The show started from humble beginnings. Rawlings and master mechanic Aaron Kaufman started in a two bay garage and grew the business to something close to gear head Valhalla.
GMG has made a ton of memorable vehicles from a real life, full sized Hot Wheels car to a eco-boost Detomaso Pantera, to even the legendary Ferrari F40. All of them have had the Gas Monkey treatment. Personally my favorite is a Ford Falcon. To those of you who haven’t seen the show, you may be wondering, “A Falcon? That is hardly a bucket list car.” This was no ordinary Falcon mind you. It started life at GMG as a half-finished race car. Kaufman aka the Bearded Wonder fell in love with the car. Kaufman loved the car so much that he had to own it once a deal was struck, Kaufman set about the task of making the car into his ultimate racer.
Kaufman left no bolt untouched. Power was supplied by a 500 horsepower Ford Racing 363 V8. The transmission? An honest to goodness four speed manual box. It may only be a Falcon but Kaufman’s labor of love ended up being close to the perfect classic American racer.
The Falcon has done numerous club races and other events, none more famous than the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. While the Falcon races in a normal class Pikes Peak is known for 2 things. First, it is one of the last great classics that is genuinely dangerous. Massive cliffs await those who slip up and death is a very real danger for anyone who races up the mountain. Second, despite that danger it allows an unlimited class. Unlimited as in whatever monstrous piece of machinery you dream up, as long as your licensed to race it they’ll let you race it up the mountain.
This is what makes Pikes Peak great. It is a complete throwback an era where all that mattered was a cool race up a cool road regardless of the dangers. Let people go nuts with the cars and see who has the fastest. Or more accurately whose man-parts were the biggest. For most of its history Pikes Peak was a dirt road. so it took the danger factor and turned it all the way up to 11. Unfortunately the course is now 100% paved. While it is cool to see the speeds these cars thunder up the mountain the race has lost a little bit of its charm. Don’t get me wrong, Pikes Peak is still near the top of my must see races list.
For a glimmer of a taste of the old days here is the award-winning “Climb Dance”. Here Ari Vatanen takes his extremely modified Puegot 405TI16 up the mountain.
Pikes Peak meant a lot to Kaufman who was moved to tears after his first race. In total, Kaufman raced his Falcon in the PPIHC 3 times and it seemed like a 3 way match made in heaven. Man, machine and race track. I for one never thought Kaufman would part with his Falcon. So many man hours, so many memories it is more than just a car to him. Unfortunately all good things must end. Aaron Kaufman has sold his Falcon.
Kaufman listed the car on ebay and recently the car sold for $65,100. That is a lot of money though you can’t put a price on your soul, can you? Well no word on why Kaufman sold his Falcon. I really hope Kaufman was bored with it and wanted to move on to the next challenge. Or, and I find this possibility highly unlikely but worth mentioning, life after Gas Monkey Garage is proving to be more difficult than Kaufman anticipated. I really hope that is not the case but it is possible.
I hope the Bearded Wonder is doing well and he has some new bat shit insane project in the works. I hope to see him return to Pikes Peak.