Jason Aker Brings More To Gas Monkey Garage

Photo: Gas Monkey Garage
Photo: Gas Monkey Garage /

For fans of Fast N Loud and Gas Monkey Garage, sometimes it seems the staff gets overlooked. Jason Aker has brought a new skillset to the shop that is paying huge dividends.

When Richard Rawlings decided to move his Gas Monkey Garage to a larger shop in Dallas, he knew it meant not just more projects, but more complex ones. Richard needed to bring in someone who had vast experience that would compliment the on staff Monkeys. Enter Jason Aker.

For most, Jason was a new face. He came from the restoration world, not the typical custom shop that you might have expected. Having worked with the likes of Shelby restoration legends John Brown and Bob Gains, Jason learned from the best.

The resume of restorations that Jason brought to Gas Monkey is staggering. His work on the 1966 Shelby GT #001 might be one of the finest Shelby’s on the planet. The one of four red convertible 4 speed Shelby he also worked on is a show stopper wherever it goes. He came from a world where budgets were deep, and he had all the time he needed.

Gas Monkey Garage
Photo: Gas Monkey Garage /

As fans, our introduction to Jason was a project that was right up his wheelhouse, the twin Firebird restorations. After the unbelievable find of Firebird’s #1 and #2, Jason dawned a screaming monkey shirt and showed us why Richard had hired him as the new shop foreman. With a seemingly unthinkable timeline and not one, but two irreplaceable pieces of history, Jason led the team to one of the most impressive Monkey builds to date.

I had the opportunity to talk to Jason about his transition to Gas Monkey Garage and ask about his immersion into the custom world. I was not sure what to expect having only seen Jason on TV. His energy and enthusiasm reached right through the phone. After asking just a couple of questions, I could see exactly what Richard must have seen in him. The pride and excitement about his work was almost infectious. He makes you excited about the parts of projects that normally will put people to sleep.

When I asked what the most exciting project he has worked on since joining the shop, there was no hesitation. Jason loved the Gas Monkey GT project. He said he was not a fan of the GT in red, and the upgrades to the suspension and engine were a great challenge. The end result proves it out, what a creation. The 49 Ford pickup and Chevy wide range also were builds that Jason got excited Richard brought in.

On the other hand, we all have seen Richard bring in some real clunkers of cars that the guys in the shop were not too excited about. I asked about a time that the doors rolled up and he was not thrilled about what appeared. When Jason first saw the Pantera I think he felt like a lot of us, not a big fan of the car. We all know that head monkey Richard Rawlings is a fan and has a history with Pantera’s.

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With the extremely short timetable and the challenges of the build, Jason had questions about how it was going to turn out. As we all saw the time frame was too much to handle, but in the end, the car turned out amazing. The use of the EcoBoost in a 70’s design is a vision into what I think we are going to see more of in the custom world. The Porsche SE and the Cut Dog were a couple of other projects that he was not as high on but turned out very proud of.

I asked what was the hardest part of going from concourse restorations to time pressured resto-mods that Gas Monkey has become famous for. In the past, he would have 8 months or longer to do a complete restoration. Now he has deadlines that are 15 days to 6 weeks! What made Jason one of the best in the business was his attention to detail and knowledge of the intricacies of restorations. Now in the need to meet set time demands, he must pass over some of the smaller details that used to make a restoration special.

With all the cars that come in and out of Gas Monkey, I asked Jason what project would he really like to do. He mentioned that a 69 Mustang with Coyote motor. That sounded familiar, so I asked if he meant like the SkapPack Challenger. He said that the Challenger turned out to be one of the best driving builds they had ever done. He wants to try and do that at some point to a 69 Mustang, upgrade the suspension and modernize the powertrain in the big pony car. That is a heck of an idea, I know I would love to see how that came out.

Gas Monkey Garage
Photo: Gas Monkey Garage /

For Jason, coming to Gas Monkey Garage was not an easy decision. The married father of two has to commute each week to Dallas from Oklahoma. When he does get to be home, he finds it cool that people recognize him. What he says is most satisfying, is that fans tell him how much they appreciate his work. That is something that without Fast N Loud on Discovery he would not get as much of. For fans of Jason he keeps his own Instagram and Facebook pages for fans.

People do not realize that even when the show is on hiatus, they are still building projects. Gas Monkey Garage operates year round. I asked how hard it was getting used to being filmed while working. It was a bit of a shock to find out that they are filming almost 90% of the time. The only time they are not, is when they are working longer hours on cars than the film crews are allowed to. Jason said he started off a nervous wreck, but the film guys have been great and everyone works together very well.

One of the things that really came across from Jason is the fact of how close everyone at Gas Monkey Garage is. They spend so much time together at the shop, working on and off camera. The respect and teamwork of the crew are what makes it all come together. So many people think that the crew is put together for a TV show. It is just the opposite, it is a great team that works so well together it comes off great on TV.

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