Richard Rawlings, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, followed in his dad’s footsteps and developed a passion for cars at an early age, building cars and attending car shows with him. The earliest photograph of Richard, aside from his infant years, is of him sitting in a Volkswagen Beetle pedal car. His dad sometimes would work three jobs so he could afford to have his one toy — a car or motorcycle he could call his own. Richard bought his first car when he was 14 years old: a green ’74 mercury comet. By his senior year in high school he was already on his third car, a ’77 Bandit Trans Am. Richard says he has always worked so he could buy cars and his passion for them is one he’s worth shedding not only sweat for, but blood. He took a bullet in the early ’90s as he fought off a carjacker who was trying to steal his 1965 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback.
Richard has held several jobs to feed his car habit: he was a firefighter, police officer and paramedic all before he was 21 years old. He eventually left those jobs to start his own business, building a printing and advertising company from the ground up. He later sold it so he could fund his next venture, Gas Monkey Garage — a world-renowned hot rod shop that has produced and shipped cars around the world.
A veteran of transcontinental road rallies, Richard has competed in the Gumball 3000 and the Bullrun. He is the current world record holder in the Cannonball Run and was even recognized by Jay Leno for this achievement, having broken a record that stood since 1979. He covered the 2,811 miles from New York to Los Angeles in 31 hours and 59 minutes with an average speed of 87.6 miles per hour, an achievement he has immortalized on his arm in ink.
Richard says: “bottom line, if we’re gonna have fun, it better have a motor!”