• The Big Secrets Behind Misfit Garage

There’s so much that we still don’t know about the hit Discovery Channel show

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Anybody who’s ever seen Misfit Garage on the Discovery Channel knows how popular the show has become since it first aired in 2014. The show has become a fixture in the TV calendar of car enthusiasts, and with its popularity still ever-present, Misfit Garage continues to roll along, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the car projects that happen inside Fired Up Garage.

The stars of the show, Tom Smith and Jordan Butler, have become household names in the business, but as much as we’ve come to know anything about these guys and the business they’re in, there are still a lot of things that we still don’t know about what happens behind-the-scenes. So let’s pull the curtains and find out a lot of interesting things about Misfit Garage.

The genesis of Misfit Garage involves a firing that may or may not have been staged

Tom Smith and Jordan Butler, the main cast members of Misfit Garage, didn’t start in that show. They were once cast members of the show Fast N Loud, which focused on the happenings of Gas Monkey Garage. Both were reportedly fired from the show after a disagreement with the show’s main cast member, Richard Rawlings, but there’s speculation that the “firing” was staged to allow Smith and Butler to exit the show and start their own spin-off show. Several reasons support this theory, including the fact that Rawlings, the same guy the two had an on-air disagreement with, is one of the executive producers of Misfit Garage.

Richard Rawlings holds a heavy hand in the show

You’ll hear a lot about Richard Rawlings when talking about Misfit Garage. There are several reasons for that. Despite the “squabbles” between the show’s two main cast members and their old boss from Fast N Loud, Rawlings is heavily involved in the spin-off show. Not only is he one of the show’s executive producers, but he also happens to be the landlord of Fired Up Garage. He’s also the financial budgeter of the garage, giving him a lot of control and clout over the day-to-day operations of Fired Up Garage, as well as Misfit Garage. Think of Rawlings as Ford and Fired Up Garage as Lincoln. One controls the other.

Tom Smith is a lot funnier than people think

Tom Smith knows his way around cars, but he’s also as adept behind a microphone and standing in front of a crowd that laughs and giggles at his jokes. Yes, Smith is what you consider a mechanic by day, comedian by night. The affable star of Misfits Garage regularly performs at improv clubs in Dallas and he’s even taken his comedy act to New York City where he occasionally takes center stage at the Manhattan Christie comedy club. It’s a shame that we don’t get to see this side of Smith in Misfits Garage, but as they say, don’t count the chickens before they hatch. Who knows, we might witness one of his patented zingers in a future episode of the show.

Fired Up Garage has a hidden meaning that’s NSFW

Fired Up Garage is a cool name, but not many know that like most made-up names for companies, there’s an easter egg behind this one, too.

Apparently, the initials of Fired Up Garage — F - U - G — consists of two letters that are more commonly used these days as a NSFW insult.

According to Tom Smith, this was done on purpose because his dream name as a kid for his future garage was “F&U Garage.” He didn’t get to call it the way he wanted to, but Fired Up Garage is still close enough. The message, as people say these days, hasn’t been lost.

Cars don’t make money, eyeballs do

You would think that a garage as popular as Fired Up Garage would make a killing with its restorations. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. As exciting as it sounds for someone to make a living restoring cars, the average profit the garage makes for every restoration sits at just $2,000. Considering all the costs that come with running a business like this one, Fired Up Garage would have to restore at least 50 car projects a month to make $100,000. Not only is that impossible from a time perspective, but the labor that comes with it isn’t worth all the trouble.

So, how does Fired Up Garage make money? Like every show that’s on TV, viewership is one of the biggest factors behind how much money the show can make. The more viewers, the more companies pay to buy commercial spots that run during the show. Considering that Misfit Garage averages 1.3 million viewers per episode, a lot of companies pay good money to have their commercials run during the show.

Kevin Clark’s can trace his roots as a (toy) car mechanic, too

Kevin Clark is an integral part of the Fired Up Garage crew, but unlike most of his peers on the show, Clark’s car education revolved largely around fiddling around with toy cars. See, Clark’s family wasn’t particularly interested in cars, including his father, who thought that cars were nothing more than a western conspiracy.

With no way to express his fascination for cars, Clark turned to his toy cars to satisfy his obsession. Beginning with his old Hot Wheels, Clark, as a child, started tweaking and tuning his toy cars, eventually making his own creations by the time he turned into a teenager.

Clark remains a huge fan of toy cars and miniature models, so much so that it’s not uncommon to see him working on his toy cars when he’s not busy with his real job.

Thomas Weeks is a magnet for accidents

Thomas Weeks is another cast member of Misfits Garage, and while he is known more for his affinity for aeronautics, not many people know that Weeks also happens to be a magnet for accidents and injuries. His list of injuries covers the whole spectrum of the human body, and we’re not talking about the typical cuts, scrapes, burns, and pricks that are typical occupational hazards in any car customization garage.

Weeks has also suffered a herniated disc in his wrist, which explains why he constantly wears a glove over his injured hand. A metal rod has also sliced through his chin and, when he was but four years old, he accidentally fell into a spike-lined emission. As far as injuries go, Weeks has unwittingly become an expert in that department.

The show rotates cast members more often than it does project cars (probably)

Since the series debuted in 2015, Fired Up Garage has lost a lot of its OG cast members and partners. This includes Jordan Butler, who co-founded the garage with Tom Smith. Scot McMillan, another founding partner of the garage also left to focus on his own business, Scot Rods Garage. Then there’s Kevin Clark, who has also left the garage, largely because of all the drama that seems to follow the show. It’s not that much of a surprise to see the show run a revolving personnel door. Money and ego play big roles in that happening regularly.

John Klump helped bring the Batvan to life

Not a lot of people know that John Klump had a hand in bringing one of the most mysterious Hollywood cars to life. The Misfit Garage painter was one of a few people who helped bring the Batvan to life. The Batman-themed van was designed by the late George Barris, famously known for creating the iconic Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series.

The Batvan came with a slick black body with bright orange-red trim. It featured bat wings soaring from each side, as well as a few real/fake weapons in tow.

The side-mounted machine gun is fake, as is the missile casing on top of the van. But the Batvan also came with a built-in flamethrower, and that’s very much real. As the story goes, the Batvan was never finished, and it wasn’t until decades later when it was discovered rusting in a field by a local classic car dealer who tapped Klump to help finish the van. According to Klump, the restoration took almost four years to complete.

Misfit Garage has been criticized for turning vintage cars into gassers

Part of Misfit Garage’s appeal as a TV show revolves around the cast’s ability to restore wrecks and give them new life in another form. But the show has also been criticized for trying to get too creative with some of its builds. Jennifer Borama of TV Overmind commented that one reason why Misfit Garage hasn’t elevated itself relative to some of its rival shows is the cast’s penchant for not giving certain classics the respect they deserve. “One of the worst, if not the absolute worst, episodes (sic) of this show was when one of the crew decided to chop up a ’57 Chevy to turn it into a gasser instead of a traditional hot rod,” Borama said. “There are sentiments that are automatically associated with certain cars, and the ’57 Chevy certainly deserved more respect than it was given.”

What happened to Misfit Garage?

There’s still no word on a seventh season of Misfit Garage. There had been speculation that a seventh season would start sometime in early 2020, but those rumors haven’t amounted to anything concrete. The show’s 13-episode sixth season debuted on May 2, 2018 on the Discovery Channel.

What happened to Jordan on Misfit Garage?

Jordan Butler, one of the founding fathers of Misfit Garage, quit the show during the fourth season over arguments regarding new partners and the possibility of moving to a new shop space. While some believed that his departure from the show was staged, the split from his former partners was reported to be more contentious than what was depicted on the show. Since leaving Misfit Garage, Butler has kept a rather low profile, admitting on a Facebook post that he doesn’t keep contact with the show’s members anymore.

What happened to Fired Up Garage?

Fired Up Garage is the shop that’s featured on the show Misfit Garage. It was founded by Tommy Smith and Jordan Butler, but the people that make up the shop has changed since its creation.

Who Really Owns Fired Up Garage?

Tom Smith and Jordan Butler, as well as Thomas Weeks and Scot McMillan were the original people behind Fired Up Garage, though Richard Rawlings, the man behind Gas Monkey garage, reportedly owns majority control of the garage.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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