Discovery Channel’s reality-television series “Misfit Garage,” was uniquely created, as its main stars were fired mechanics from the popular automotive-related show “Fast N’ Loud.” These mechanics opened an auto-shop, “Fired Up Garage,” and TV producers grabbed the opportunity to make a show out of their distinctive wild and reckless personalities. It was a one-of-a-kind idea that even Richard Rawlings, the man who fired them, backed the project, and became one of its producers. No one made an official announcement that it was canceled, but it was never again seen on TV after six seasons. There were many theories as to why it wasn’t renewed, such as allegations that the show was staged and scripted right from the start; many believed that it was already an achievement that it had lasted that long.
- 1 How did “Misfit Garage” start?
- 2 Meet the Fired Up Garage/Misfit Garage crew
- 3 Interesting Facts and Rumors about “Misfit Garage”
- 3.1 Heated argument and termination of services were staged
- 3.2 Fired Up Garage was fake and “Misfit Garage” was just a TV show
- 3.3 Who was the real owner of Fired Up Garage?
- 3.4 The fake rivalry between Gas Monkey Garage and Fired Up Garage crews
- 3.5 High employee turnover rate
- 3.6 Not enough profit
- 3.7 Hilarious attempts at breaking records in Guinness World Record books
- 3.8 Some of the best car restorations projects done in “Misfit Garage”
- 4 The Real Reason “Misfit Garage” Was Canceled
How did “Misfit Garage” start?
Gas Monkey Garage, a famous auto-restoration shop in Dallas, Texas, owned by Richard Rawlings, dismissed two employees, Tom Smith and Jordan Butler, who were popular characters in their reality-TV series, “Fast N’Loud.” TMZ reported that the two mechanics claimed that their services were terminated when they let a fan with a disorder called cystic fibrosis pose with one of Richard’s cars, and they’d cussed at the shop’s manager when they were reprimanded for doing that. When the big boss heard about it, they were let go after a heated argument, as Richard ran a tight ship and was big on respect between colleagues. Richard said that the two were fired not only because of that incident, but also he’d had enough of their antics, as they continuously disrupted the working dynamics in Gas Monkey Garage.
Jordan and Tom then discussed putting up their own auto shop, and called up other skilled technicians such as Scot McMillan and Thomas Weeks to help them out; it didn’t take long for the team to open Fired-Up Garage. The crew was so pumped-up that they were able to sign a contract with Pilgrim Studios for Discovery Channel, to star in their reality-TV show, “Misfit Garage.” It premiered on 13 October 2014, and soon gained a loyal fan base.
Meet the Fired Up Garage/Misfit Garage crew
The founders: Tom Smith and Jordan Butler
According to Discovery Channel’s “Misfit Garage” bio page, Tom was not only listed as a master mechanic, but also a comedian, heckler, singer, and a man of mystery, a man of a thousand talents which was evident even as a kid – no fan of his now would believe that he was a State Spelling Bee Champion. Tom funnily dismissed this feat, and said that it didn’t count at all since he’s from Georgia. His extensive knowledge of automotive mechanisms started due to his early exposure to cars while working in his uncle’s garage when he was still a kid.
He even drove a car when he wasn’t old enough to get a license yet. One of his unforgettable moments was when he drove a ‘74 Pontiac Grandville when he was 10 years old, and naturally when the police saw him, they tried to pull him over. Unfortunately, he crashed into them so he was sent home to get a heavy spanking from his parents. Aside from opening an auto shop in Ohio after he finished high school, he also became a stand-up comedian and performed on many stages around the US. With his personality, he saw his termination from Gas Monkey Garage as a blessing, since it motivated him to open his own business.
Jordan felt it was surreal when he was fired, since it was the first time it happened to him. He said that people shouldn’t be fired just for calling the boss “asshole.” There isn’t much information about him, but he was quite active on social media until he left the Fired Up Garage in 2016. There were allegations that it was all scripted, but then his Facebook post sometime in May 2017 made it real.
Fans believed there was a deeper reason as to why he left the garage and the show. He said that he didn’t want to work on any car anymore, after all the bullshit in Fired Up, but his son convinced him to do a car restoration project with him.
Thomas Weeks (the Wheeler’s Dealer) and Scot McMillan (mechanic)
Thomas and Scot were the first two people who joined Jordan and Tom. They were not only part of the crew, but were also co-founders and investors in the garage.
Just like many car enthusiasts, Thomas has been around cars since he was a toddler, watching and assisting his father in their garage. One of his unforgettable memories was being rushed to the emergency room as a rod went through his mouth, and his father was trying to stop the blood from coming out. Apparently, he looked under the hood while his father was working under the car and fell inside with rods sticking out. That incident didn’t dissuade him from pursuing a career in the automotive industry, and his father encouraged that by giving him a red 1955 Chevy truck when he was 15, but which didn’t have an engine.
His father told Thomas that if he could put the engine back in the truck, then he could have it. He was so driven that he was able to put it all back; afterward, his father taught him everything he knew about cars. He opened a business of buying and selling cars, and Richard Rawlings was one of his top clients.
Scot was a son of a skilled mechanic, and spent his childhood years inside his father’s garage. He learned everything he knew about cars from his father, and by his senior year, he had already built his first car and flipped it to earn a profit. However, at age 19, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and was assigned to a few military tours until he was nearly killed in an accident while on duty in Iraq. It left him devastated, and so he went back to his first love, which was building cars. He met the other Fired Up crew through his good friend, Gas Monkey Garage lead fabricator/mechanic, Aaron Kaufman. He eventually quit Misfit Garage after a few seasons, to focus on his own business.
Other members of the Fired Up Crew
The garage wouldn’t be able to keep up with deadlines if there were only four, so they hired more mechanics such as Kevin Clark, John Klump and Josh Paris. When the job was too big for them, they consulted with other specialists so that they could get the job done.
Interesting Facts and Rumors about “Misfit Garage”
For a TV show that was accused of being staged and scripted since its inception, it was a surprise that “Misfit Garage” lasted for six seasons over the course of five years, from 2014 to 2018. Here’s a list of some of the interesting facts and rumors that went around social media and online community forums:
Heated argument and termination of services were staged
It had been debated many times online by fans of the “Misfit Garage”, that the firing of Tom and Jordan due to a heated argument between them and their Boss was scripted. It was supposedly staged to follow a great narrative of fired employees getting together to open an auto shop, to bring down their former boss.
This accusation by the fans started when it was revealed in its debut episode that Richard Rawlings was their landlord, and that he’s also credited as one of the TV show’s producers. That was too close to be called coincidence.
Fired Up Garage was fake and “Misfit Garage” was just a TV show
Many people claimed online that the auto shop, Fired Up Garage, was never open to the public, that it was always inaccessible with a huge sign at the front of the gate informing everyone that it was a closed filming set. Fans easily concluded that it was just like a movie set, complete with props. Naturally, if the auto shop wasn’t real, everything that happened in “Misfit Garage” was all for show. Each restoration or customization project was staged, complete with a script to follow a certain narrative, to complete a whole season. When some fans went to see the shop, the sign of the previous shop, Phipps Automotive, was still displayed on the fence.
Who was the real owner of Fired Up Garage?
Since Richard Rawlings could come and go in their TV show, and was always involved with their shenanigans, people assumed that he owned the garage too.
However, some people thought that it didn’t matter who the real owner was, because the auto shop wasn’t real to begin with. Most people concluded that the whole thing was just one of the business endeavors and brainchild of Richard Rawlings. Some of them even said that he probably saw the potential of his former employees handling a TV show, since Tom was also a stand-up comedian in real life. Richard was the one with a business relationship with Discovery Channel, so people believed that he was the one behind the set-up and the TV contract.
The fake rivalry between Gas Monkey Garage and Fired Up Garage crews
Richard played the villain in the lives of the Fired-Up Garage crew in the TV show, and would occasionally disrupt their activities. He made guest appearances in the show, sometimes alone or accompanied by some of the Gas Monkey Garage crew. There was supposed to be a rivalry between those two auto shops, and it became a sub-plot in the show. They competed with each other and traded insults which fans found hilarious but no one was buying that it was for real. It was a win-win situation, since it continuously promoted Gas Monkey Garage all through its six seasons.
Which one are you choosing? 🤔 The Thomas Crown Affair or the Thomas Frown Affair? pic.twitter.com/XDKgBLIWov
— Gas Monkey Garage (@GasMonkeyGarage) January 18, 2022
High employee turnover rate
While the number of employees at “Misfit Garage” was quite small, people couldn’t help but wonder why the employee turnover was high. The TV show was doing quite well, but it seemed that some of the crew members still left. It started with one of the founders, Jordan Butler, followed by another founding member, Scot McMillan. Another crew member, Kevin Clark chose to leave, and the resident upholsterer, Sue Martin, wasn’t seen again in the show. They gave many reasons behind it, such as pursuing other opportunities, or wanting a more secure future.
Not enough profit
It was quite ironic that a popular TV show such as “Misfit Garage” didn’t earn enough profit from their customization projects as compared to other auto shops. People assumed that car enthusiasts would line up at their door to have their cars modified or restored, however, there were rumors that they had only been earning an average of $2000 per car restoration project; they could earn a huge paycheck if they worked on about 50 cars a month, but that was impossible to achieve.
Fans then talked about their situation in the online community forums, and said that the only way that Fired Up Garage earned huge money was through advertising or promotional partnerships in the show.
Hilarious attempts at breaking records in Guinness World Record books
Before the fifth season ended, Tom wanted to promote Fired-Up Garage to gain more recognition from the public. He said he’d take any opportunity to market their business, and they thought of breaking some records from the Guinness World Record books. He failed in the categories that weren’t related to automotive, but for his last try, he attempted to break the record of making more than 22 spins or donuts within a minute, using a prototype car. Unfortunately, when spinning the car he left the restricted area, so it wasn’t taken as a valid attempt but the Guinness World of Records official applauded him for making an effort, and encouraged him to make another attempt in the future.
The whole time he was spinning, the other members of his crew were laughing non-stop.
Some of the best car restorations projects done in “Misfit Garage”
Despite the doubts that were thrown at them by Richard Rawlings, they made some great transformations, such as the 1967 Chevelle, which they were able to finish within 21 days. It gave the Misfit crew some respect from their peers, and encouragement that they could take on their former boss and his famous auto shop; they even made a $12,000 profit after flipping it. The crew also went ecstatic when they found a 1971 Cuda, which was mostly referred to as the Holy Grail for muscle car enthusiasts. They paid $20,000 for the rare car, and then stripped it down to bare metal to properly restore it. Though they encountered many problems, they successfully restored it, and it became their first six-figure sale when they flipped it.
We might not be the best looking group of Misfits, but our work sure does come out purdy! Here's the finished 31 Model A from last night's Misfit Garage season finale.
The Real Reason “Misfit Garage” Was Canceled
When “Misfit Garage” aired its episode on 8 August 2018 to end its sixth season, the stars and even the fans of the TV show weren’t aware that it was going to be the final episode. Thomas Weeks even posted on Twitter in November 2020 – ‘Ask discovery! They don’t like us no more I guess; how do you remove a hit show is beyond me.’
Several reasons could be attributed to its cancelation such as the supposedly fake Fired Up Garage which was the focal point of why there was a TV show. Most of the fans believed that it was only created for entertainment purposes. Automotive-related reality-TV shows were generally inspired by successful auto shops; the usual practice was that a TV crew would document the daily activities at the garage, but since the auto shop wasn’t a real one, everything that would be used for each episode must be prepared beforehand, including the tools, the cars, along with the extra people needed to complete a story. A lot of work was put into creating content each season, so one could only imagine the difficulties that the producers of “Misfit Garage” faced.
The show was probably not worth continuing with all the time and effort.
Another reason could be the declining viewership rating, which was belied by Thomas Weeks’ tweet. He claimed that their TV show was a hit when they ended it, but any TV network wouldn’t cancel a TV show if it was still profitable for them, unless its existence was detrimental to the cable channel’s reputation. In some TV reviews that were made about “Misfit Garage,” some of the critics said that one of the things they couldn’t forgive about it was the recklessness of the crew. For instance, converting a 1957 Chevy into a gasser car, which in some car enthusiasts’ point of view was highly disrespectful. There were also times when the crew decided not to work on parts that wouldn’t get seen by the buyers. Gearheads also cringed each time the crew would continue to work on the car after the paint job was finished. Whether they did them just to live up to their reputation as misfits, there were still some lines that couldn’t be crossed, even just for entertainment purposes.
So – RIP “Misfit Garage”!