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A Car Gal

October 5, 2009

I walk around car shows and realize I am in the great minority.  There aren’t that many women involved in the car show world.  Most are content to sit with their husbands or male companions on the day of the show ‘for something to do’ or ‘to spend time with’ the men in their lives.  Many of my husband’s friends do events alone. 

Many car shows are now evolving to try to include the whole family.  There are often events to keep the kids entertained or bring in their interest.  Quite often there is something specifically geared toward the women related to the show during the show.  The car show committees are trying to engage the entire family in the event.

This past weekend we were at Carlisle for the annual fall meet.  There are hundreds of vendors selling everything from ashtrays to zip strips.  They have just about anything you could want for working on your car: fenders, seats, fabric, tires, tools and fasteners. You name it, someone has it.  That is until you are looking for that one specific thing, in our case the vent window latches for our 1953 Dodge.  Maybe we just didn’t look carefully enough. 

I would say that 97 to 98% of the people walking around Carlisle are men.  I have enjoyed going to many events at Carlisle with my husband since before we were married. I am not certain I would go by myself because I enjoy walking the show with my husband.  We like to look; having each other to comment to about what we see and to play the other’s devil’s advocate when it comes to buying something we don’t really need. 

Now, we don’t have any young children and our daughter is years from having any of her own – according to her life’s plan.  We saw an Atomic Missile pedal car that we both fell in love with.  The gentleman had a price marked on the pedal car with OBO.  In our discussions, hubby and I came to the conclusion we wouldn’t offer any more than a certain amount for the toy.  The man refused our offer and basically would not counter to meet in the middle.  We went back to him hours later with a new slightly higher number and the man still would not accept.  It took the collective strength of both my husband and I to walk away from the deal we wanted to make.  During the show we did some research with other vendors to find the parts and advice needed to make the car complete. We were disappointed the man did not accept our offer, but it took the strength of both of us to walk away.

I like going to car shows and meets to see the different styles of cars.  I try to imagine what the designers were thinking of when they made certain decisions: hardtops versus posts, design of taillights, side trim, front grille designs, dash configurations.  It is interesting to go through the shows and note the evolution of a car: when did they first offer dimmable headlights, when was the first automatic transmission for this manufacturer, when did they develop cruise control, when did they change from carbureted to fuel-injection?  I like to see the interpretations of different designs, for example what was considered a ‘city car’ in the 1950’s brought about the design of the Nash Metropolitan, BMW Isetta, Mini Cooper and more.  In today’s standards they would be considered compact or sub-compact cars.

In no way would I consider myself a ‘gearhead’.  I enjoy working in the garage with my husband, and my father, watching as they fix things and handing them tools.  I do understand the general workings of a car and quite often can identify the parts and their function.  In that respect I think I know as much or more than the average man.  By no means do I consider myself a true aficionado of autos, just someone that can truly appreciate their style, beauty, design and differences.  I love to drive all my cars for their own ‘personalities’; my 1957 BMW Isetta is so different from my 1957 Thunderbird and my 1957 Pontiac Starchief.  They each have their own attributes which I enjoy.  The Thunderbird is a sporty car and handles well, the Pontiac is a great cruiser and fantastic for taking the kids to the drive-in theatre, while the Isetta is just fun!

There is a lot to know and learn about cars, and I will be the first to admit I won’t win any contests on my knowledge of cars.  I do, however enjoy driving and working on cars.  I can detail a car much better than I clean my house – much to my husband’s pleasure (when it comes to cars) and dismay (when it comes to the house).

People that know me realize I have interests beyond the cars and car shows.  I enjoy dabbling in crafts and gardening.  I also volunteer in the community.  I enjoy cars and car shows because they are a way to spend time with my husband and give me the opportunity to keep my hands and mind busy and out of trouble.  I can sand blast and clean parts like the best pro.  I am adept at figuring how things come apart or go back together.  Cars are fun and fascinating to me.

While I am in the minority at car shows I don’t mind. I have a great time with cars, at car shows and with my best car buddy, my husband.   See you at a show sometime …

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