By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Staff Writer

Cars—only part of a man’s world, right? Wrong. I am living proof that you can be a woman interested in cars.

When I was younger, I observed my dad’s love of Car and Driver magazine and the television show, “Motor Week.” He also used to work on Mazda RX-7 rotary engines. Why did these metal contraptions that swerved along the asphalt curvatures of asphalt fascinate him so? Well, I seem to have discovered the answer in feeling, not thought. I aspired my first car to be reminiscent of a classic, a 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle. Unfortunately, the one I got was so defective that we traded it in for a more practical car. At that moment, I started to believe beauty was unreliable, and a plain car was trustworthy.

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Justin and Savitre won an award at a car show last month.

Fast forward to seven years later, I noticed a neighbor zooming past us in this beautiful, moving piece of art, a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe, like from the movie Karate Kid. We, my husband Justin and I, then started accompanying our neighbor, Dale, to classic car shows. We finally purchased our own hot rod, 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. We knew from a more experienced point-of-view that this aged beauty was also going to be a high-maintenance vehicle, but maintenance that we could accomplish. Being able to enter the car shows became a self-rewarding experience. From there, I decided to trade my practical car for a 2006 BMW convertible.

I haven’t always felt gung-ho about working on cars. But my intellectual, hard-working side got a hold of me. I would pop into the garage, see what my husband was working on and suggest some way to fix a screw or access a tight spot. It was similar to troubleshooting at my job. I would look up videos on how mechanics would fix a similar problem. I would look up the cheapest prices for parts and most reputable sellers. I learned about classic versus modern cars, American versus Japanese versus German makes and metric system versus United States customary units.

I discovered Taryn Croucher, a car enthusiast who writes and records her passion through social media and websites, such as Speedhunters.

In her article, “Banishing the Female Car Enthusiast,” she encourages women by saying, “It might seem daunting at first, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Another website I found is called VroomGirls, which describes itself as the “top car website for women.” The website is easy to navigate and had a vast array of reviews for vehicles around the world.

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Justin’s and Savitre’s hot rod on display at Clearwater Harbor in February.

If you are a female who wants to enter this world, please get to know your own car first. If you don’t have one yet, get to know one that belongs to a relative or friend. What year, make or model is it? What is the make’s reputation? What kind of engine does it have?

Know your car’s strengths and weaknesses. When talking about your car with others, both men and women are glad to hear you talk about these factors. It is okay to say you are still learning and don’t know everything yet, but do share what you know and ask questions in return.

Then, start checking out car shows in your area. There are hot rod shows, truck shows, import shows and drag races. I would recommend going to a variety of events. When people put their cars on display, they are willing to discuss all the gritty details, maybe even provide display boards with all the statistics. Going to different genres of shows will introduce you to diverse demographics. Attending all shows may help you find your niche of car people, and you may find the car of your dreams!

Finally, try working on your own car the next time it needs some maintenance. Some tasks are not advisable for taking on alone, while others are low risk. Educate yourself with proper diagrams and tutorials before attempting anything alone. If you fear going into this alone, try getting your car examined at an auto parts store, such as Advance Auto Parts. The website boasts, “free testing…we’ll test your battery, starter and alternator, FREE of charge.” The auto parts store employee differs from a typical mechanic or car salesman because they are not usually trying to sell a product/service to a customer aside from the products they sell in the store.

The road to loving the automobile is long and winding, and one that I am still traveling. It would be great to have more women share my love and to meet them at future car shows and perhaps compete against me in their own fancy ride.

 


Featured and Article Images: Special to The Jade Times