Gas Monkey Garage transitions show-car facility to Dialight LED lighting

Sept. 24, 2018
The Dallas automobile garage made famous in the Discovery Channel Fast N’ Loud TV series now features an SSL installation from Dialight to highlight the show cars turned out by Richard Rawlings and his crew.

The Dallas automobile garage made famous in the Discovery Channel Fast N’ Loud TV series now features an SSL installation from Dialight to highlight the show cars turned out by Richard Rawlings and his crew.

Dialight has announced a solid-state lighting (SSL) retrofit project involving the famed Gas Monkey Garage located in Dallas, TX, that is featured in the Discovery Channel TV series Fast N’ Loud. The LED-based industrial lighting will enable TV personality Richard Rawlings and his garage crew to see fine details in their paint and fabrication work and will enhance safety with the crew using power tools. Meanwhile, visitors to the garage and TV viewers will get a better look at the show cars, hot rods, and other vehicles that pass through the restoration and fabrication facility.

The Gas Monkey Garage is certainly not the first automotive shop to convert to LED lighting. Way back in 2013, we featured an LED lighting project at the Richard Petty Garage in North Carolina. Still, the Gas Monkey project is unique in that filming of the TV series must take place on a regular basis, and the garage has a hectic production schedule turning out stunning vehicles for customers around the globe.

Indeed, it was a constantly growing business requiring expansion of the shop along with questionable light quality that led to the LED retrofit. The facility had been lit primarily with 8-ft T12 and 4-ft T8 fluorescent fixtures. But even with the relatively long life of fluorescent lamps, bulb and ballast changes interrupted the garage workflow far too frequently. Moreover, Rawlings wanted better visibility and industrial quality.

“We know a thing or two about industrial-grade performance and design,” said Rawlings. “When we saw the Dialight fixtures, that was it. The rugged design, performance, and longevity of these fixtures sold us, and we’ve been blown away by just how much better we can see now versus the fluorescent fixtures we used to have.”

Dialight worked with the garage to ensure the LED lighting would deliver, constructing what they termed a three-dimensional lighting level plan and installing a test setup. Ultimately, the main garage was lit with 152 DuroSite 4-ft linear LED luminaires (as seen in the full view of the garage below). The garage preferred 5000K CCT lighting for optimal working visibility and noted that the CCT comes close to matching Discovery Channel’s production lights. The linear fixtures are 80+ CRI rated.

Gas Monkey Garage, which headlines the top-rated Discovery Channel TV series Fast N’ Loud,will have brighter, more consistent illumination — improving visibility for both employees and the viewers — thanks to industrial LED lighting from Dialight.

Vigilant LED high bays from Dialight bring industrial robustness and improved light quality to the auxiliary areas of Gas Monkey Garage.

The garage also retrofitted other parts of its facility to LED lighting simultaneous with the installation in the work area. Vigilant High Bay fixtures (shown in the ceiling close-up) now light the Gas Monkey man cave and the outdoor lounge areas. DuroSite linear fixtures were also installed in the merchandise store. And Vigilant area and flood lights were used elsewhere outdoors.

The garage moved completely to LED lighting to leverage the energy savings. And the transition even allowed the operation to use fewer fixtures while improving the light quality. “Upgrading to Dialight LED high bay and linear fixtures meant we were actually able to use fewer fixtures, saving money on top of significant energy savings from the superior efficiency of these fixtures,” said Rawlings. “Plus, these lights will last for the long haul without any maintenance. I can’t say that for fluorescents.”

Now the colors pop just a little brighter on freshly painted hot rods. That trend has not been lost on the automobile dealer sector. Automotive dealers were early movers in the LED revolution because optics could precisely direct light to a row of cars, and because improving color rendering in LEDs made colors stand out. For example, we covered a Kia dealership retrofitting with GE Lighting luminaires back in 2013. We also covered a story at Michael Jordan Nissan in North Carolina involving Cree fixtures. Cree even offers what it calls a FrontlineOptic intended to highlight the first line of new autos on a lot.

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.