It’s been awhile since the Star-Telegram wrote about Aaron Kaufman, and that was back in the summer when former staff writer Cary Darling wrote about the big-bearded ex-“Fast N’ Loud” star launching Arclight Fabrication, a Dallas shop that provides aftermarket parts for Ford F-100 pickups.
In the interim, Kaufman announced a new show, “Shifting Gears,” which will, like “Fast N’ Loud,” air on the Discovery Channel. Now that show, officially titled “Shifting Gears With Aaron Kaufman,” has a premiere date: March 5.
To paraphrase the Discovery Channel release, Kaufman is back, and this time he’s the boss.
“Redefining the custom car building space, he’s pushing his design abilities to the limits and focusing on vehicle builds driven by passion,” the release goes on. “Taking on concepts and builds he’s always dreamed of, Aaron will extend his skills in spaces he’s never worked in before and with different types of vehicles.”
In late 2016, Kaufman left Gas Monkey Garage and his partner Richard Rawlings, after “Fast N’ Loud” had turned both into reality-TV stars and Gas Monkey into an empire that also includes the Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill eateries and the Gas Monkey Live concert venue.
Rawlings has been supportive of Kaufman’s moves — the initial “Shifting Gears” announcement appeared on the Gas Monkey website — and Kaufman had long hinted to the Star-Telegram about a possible spinoff, although at the time he described it as a show that would be more of an adventure series where boats might be raced in one episode or cars might be raced across the Bonneville Salt Flats on another.
“The show would be around challenging ourselves,” he said back then. Well, there is still that.
“Joined by a dream team of hand-selected builders from around the country, Aaron makes it clear that his shop will pride itself on the extreme performance of its vehicles,” the release for “Shifting Gears” says. “His goal for every build this season is to test each vehicle in some of the harshest conditions known to the auto world. Aaron will be learning along the way, breaking out of his comfort zone and talking to some of the top experts in the country, all while pushing the boundaries of vehicle performance.”
Kaufman will be joined by a hand-picked crew: Josh Freeman, Jonathan Rodriquez, Jason Bowman, Jeremy Webster and Jonathan Mansour — who each has a specific skill. More from the release: “Putting their build expertise, stamina and creativity to the test, Aaron and his team work tirelessly to push the limits of custom car builds — even risking the vehicles’ destruction in the process.” That should get some ratings.
In the premiere, Kaufman proposes an Ultra4 tuck — transforming an International Scout into one of the toughest Ultra4 trucks ever conceived, able to perform on asphalt or off-road and ultimately competing in “King of the Hammers,” a road race that combines rock crawling and high-speed desert racing.
“He’s going to create a street legal beast that he can drive through some of the world’s most treacherous locations — even if that means it comes back to the shop in a million pieces,” the release says. Can’t wait.
“Shifting Gears With Aaron Kaufman” is scheduled to premiere at 9 p.m. CST March 5 on the Discovery Channel.