Stacks of car magazines neatly arranged on Richard’s coffee table are tell-tale signs of a man whose passion for cars is over the top. Classic Motorsports, Motor Trend, Hemmings Classic Car, Hot Rod, SCCA make up a full cadre of automobile magazines that are well-read and referred to on a regular basis. His passion goes past the mere reading of these magazines – as Richard is anything but an armchair mechanic. With his stable of collectible cars within reach, Richard spends much of his free time either rebuilding an engine, polishing and making his cars gleam, or changing tires and wheels according to the season and weather.
As a “female car enthusiast” I admit…I have never before given much thought to how clean the reverse side of my wheels are, or if I remembered to check the air pressure in my tires last month on the Edge. For me, my work car is my work-horse and I tend to take her for granted. However, when it comes to my show car, now that’s a different story. While some women are having their hair and nails done on a Friday afternoon, I can be found wiping the brake dust off the wheels of my classic ’97 XK-8 and removing any dust that perchance has had the nerve to accumulate on the dash.
When I show up for Cars & Coffee on Saturday mornings my car always looks stunning. Not only am I the only one there with an Antigua Blue Jaguar, but often I am the only woman who even brings a car. An added joy to my involvement is that over the years I have made some wonderful new friends of all ages who share my passion for the fast, the beautiful, and the valuable cars of yesterday and today.
Some women and perhaps even men wouldn’t understand this obsession with a car. However, Richard does. Not only does he understand, but he joins in and supports me with unmatched interest and enthusiasm. He lovingly teaches me how to deal with bug splatter, minor scratches, interior refinements, wheels and tires – just about anything I ask, he knows what it is and how it can be fixed.
Since acquiring my Jag a few years back I have learned how to wash and wax it properly, to preserve the quality and integrity of the paint and to snip the nips off of new tires. And when I show the car I understand how to enhance its appeal by taking time to trim the grass around the tires and use a lint roller to remove the lint from the soft top. After all, it’s the little things that add up to owning and tending to an award-winning show car.
The truth is, I could sit back and settle for riding shotgun in one of Richard’s beautiful automobiles, but that just wouldn’t do it for me. I want my own cool cars and I certainly don’t mind getting dirty in the process of making my own car show ready. I’m proud of my pretty blue baby. I intend to maintain her authentic production-quality status and continue to raise the bar in competitions until I can’t wedge my old decrepit self into the driver’s seat!
Learning how to care for and prepare my car for show has been nothing less than a total pleasure. I relish my time doting over the finish, washing the windows and even cleaning the wheels and tires. That being said, I might never learn to rebuild an engine, but I would enjoy learning about the process and of course, handing Richard all the right wrenches.
By Sheree Richnow
It’s all about the car!