HD Video Installation Goes Mainstream
Why the owners of Gas Monkey Garage—the focus of Discovery Channel’s hit TV show “Fast N’ Loud”—decided to install HD video surveillance.
- By Jamie Friedlander
- Nov 01, 2013
Gas Monkey Garage
went from being an unknown
auto body shop
in Dallas, to a tourist
destination for classic
car fans from all over the Southwest. After
Gas Monkey Garage’s two main men, Richard Rawlings
(owner) and Aaron Kaufman (lead
mechanic), landed the hit show “Fast N’
Loud” on the Discovery Channel, fans
and car aficionados began flocking to
With national recognition and fans
(more than three quarters of a million
on Facebook, in fact) comes a security
risk. After being on the air for about
a year, the guys at Gas Monkey Garage decided they
wanted to install a video surveillance
system. Their garage has open doors and
people constantly coming and going, so
a security breach was a high possibility.
Gas Monkey Garage got in touch with local security
installation company Advance Alarms,
who recommended the garage use CostarVideo Systems for their installation.
Advance Alarms has been using Costar
Video Systems, located in Coppell, Texas,
since around 1985.
“Gas Monkey just kind of blew up,”
said Keith Daulton, the national account
manager for Costar. “They were rolling
faster than they could get protection
for.” He added that some fans would just
stroll right into the garage, which could
cause a myriad of liability issues.
Due to the Texas heat, as Daulton
puts it, the guys need to have their
doors open all the time. Coupled with
their fervent fans, expensive hot rods
and unique tools, Gas Monkey Garage needed a very
specialized security system.
“They have a lot of overzealous
fans that will jump over the fence to
get a picture, things of that nature,”
Daulton said. “What they needed
was a two-fold system to protect
them and to protect them from the
customers as well.”
What Was Installed?
According to Zac Blount, the owner of
Advance Alarms, the guys at Gas Monkey Garage wanted
to install something top of the line. No
analog for Gas Monkey Garage—HD all the way.
“Richard said, ‘I don’t want the standard
stuff everybody has, I want the
best I can get,’” according to Blount,
who then showed Rawlings Costar’s line
of products. “They also wanted something
that could meet his needs when he
was off-site.” This is why, according to
Blount, Costar was the perfect fit—not
only were they located down the road,
but they also have HD cameras with mobile
The comprehensive security system
features a variety of network cameras
throughout the garage that are designed
to capture HD video everywhere from
the parking lot, to the merchandise shop,
to the restoration garage. Each camera
has 2- to 5-megapixel resolution and can
send video to a 16-channel iNEX network
video recorder, which can play in
real-time or be played back. Other features
include a height strip camera in the
merchandise shop and bullet cameras
with IP66 weatherproof rating outside
to monitor the parking lot and provide
One challenge of the installation, according
to Daulton, was ensuring that
the cameras weren’t obtrusive. “This is a
live studio and they are filming all time,
so the last thing you want is twenty cameras
hanging in the way,” he said. They
installed the cameras in places that didn’t
change the landscape of the facility, but
still covered the entire garage.
In addition to protecting the shop
from excited fans or possible theft, the
cameras help the shop’s owner manage
from afar through his iPhone or iPad.
According to Christie Brimberry,
Gas Monkey Garage’s office manager and Richard’s
right-hand woman, an added benefit of the
security system is that Richard can monitor
the garage through his iPhone while he’s traveling and looking for old cars.
“It really helps Richard micromanage,”
said Brimberry, laughing. “He’ll
call and say ‘Hey, why are you guys
sitting in the lounge? Why aren’t you
working?’ Or ‘Why are the boys jacking
around with this car when this is the one
that we’re actually building?’ So from a
management point of view, if you’re out
of town, it helps you keep up with what
is happening inside the shop.”
Daulton agreed with this sentiment.
“Richard is a very hands-on owner of
a company with a lot of employees,” he
said, adding that Richard has a strong
Type A personality. “With him traveling
all the time, he likes to be able to
look in and check on things.”
Another possible benefit of the cameras,
according to Blount, is using the recorded
video as footage for the TV show.
Though this hasn’t been done yet (copyright/
legal issues would need to be discussed
with Discovery), it is a possibility.
A Practical Application
Though the cameras were installed
only a few months ago, they have already
been used in a security breach.
When Richard went to work one morning,
his Ferrari looked slightly different
to him. Something was off—there
were splotches and dust where there
shouldn’t have been.
He went back to the previous night’s
security footage and lo and behold, the
two women from the night cleaning
crew had been taking pictures with the
cars. Not only that, they had laid on
top of them in lewd positions and even
climbed onto some of the hoods.
Needless to say, the two employees
were fired. Not only are the cars
at Gas Monkey classic and expensive,
they also have hours upon hours of
work put into them. Had Rawlings and
Kaufman not had security cameras in
place, they would’ve never known what
happened or who the culprits were.
“If stuff goes missing or if crews are
in your business after hours, you can go
back and see what’s really going on,”
Brimberry said. “[The cameras are]
helpful that way, as well.”
Overall, Gas Monkey Garage has been very satisfied
with the installation. According to
Blount, he and Daulton stop by on a
weekly basis not only to check on the
system, but also because the whole installation
created a sort of friendship
among everyone involved.
The shop plans on expanding in
the near future which, according to
Daulton, means an expansion of their
security system as well.
In addition to possibly expanding
their garage, Gas Monkey Garage has opened a restaurant,
aptly called Gas Monkey Bar
N’ Grill. Located just a mile away from
the garage, the 19,000 sq. ft. joint (think
beer and burgers) located on the water
offers lunch and dinner, as well as live
music shows at night. Though Advance
Alarms and Costar haven’t installed an
HD security system at the restaurant
yet, according to Blount, they hope to
do so in the near future.
According to Brimberry, everyone at
the garage has given a positive review
of the Costar security system. Not only
does it give the owners peace of mind,
but it also helps with everyday tasks,
such as trying to find someone or making
sure the t-shirt girl in the merchandise
shop isn’t overwhelmed.
Daulton couldn’t agree more. “From
everything I can tell you, they like it,
they love it, and they want some more
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Security Today.
Jamie Friedlander is an associate content editor at Security Products magazine.