Some people get into cars through a strong family love for four-wheeled machines. Some people meet someone later in life who shows them that cars are for more than just getting from Point A to Point B. Some people don’t have any of that, but they still dive in and start learning more no matter what. Who taught you the most about cars?
For me—and for what I assume is a lot of people—my dad was the first one to teach me about cars. He had a love for them that he passed on to my brother and I. We’d get Hot Wheels cars in our stockings for Christmas every year, and he’d take us out to the garage while he worked for as long as I can remember. At five years old, I could list the make, model, and year of just about every car that drove by.
My parents got divorced a few years later, and in peak angsty teenager form, I decided to abandon cars as Lame and Uncool and instead get really into My Chemical Romance and Marilyn Manson. After a while, most people just kind of left me out of car conversations on the assumption that I wouldn’t know much because I was a girl. And by that time, I’d forgotten a lot of what I knew. I had a passing interest in cars and speed, but I didn’t pursue it.
And then Rush came out my junior year of high school.
I will never forget coming home from that movie. I could not stop thinking about it. I couldn’t believe it was real, but I also knew that it was based in fact because I’d seen Niki Lauda’s crash before when I was younger and we finally got Internet access out in the boonies where we lived. I decided that I wanted to know everything there was to know about racing. As an extension, I decided I wanted to know everything there was to know about cars.
I’ve always been open about the fact that my specialty is in racing, that writing about the automotive industry came as a secondary thing by way of necessity. I’m still learning as I go, which generally involves a lot of research and also asking my husband why something is significant.
More recently, I’ve found my niche with women in the automotive industry—all the women I’ve met have been super helpful. If you have a question, they’ll answer it and then teach you how to answer something similar the next time around. Once I can mingle in small groups without fearing I’ll bring home a deadly disease, I’m planning on traveling to different female-led car car clinics to parse out that comfort.
But that’s just me. Who taught you about cars?