I must confess that I love to join in discussions with the guys at car shows. The surprised looks I get when I add a little known fact or quip is entertaining to me. In an industry dominated by men, I’m not sure that many expect a woman to know her stuff. I love proving them wrong.
In those situations, my husband Brian will often listen to my comment and nod his head approvingly. I believe he sees my knowledge as a direct reflection on him. Perhaps he feels that he is my Mr. Miyagi and I am his karate kid. Don’t get me wrong, he has good reason to believe that he is my source for all things automotive. Full disclosure: I went from thinking my husband's lifelong passion for classic cars was 'cute and nostalgic' to co-founding a high-tech classic car company with him.
I often ask Brian questions about exotic car histories, hot rod conversions, or engine performance simply because I saw a headline or overheard a conversation that might be relevant to a current project. More often than not, I forget to stipulate that he try to answer ‘in 20 words or less’. And more often than not, my attention quickly drifts off as my consummate engineer’s explanation goes much deeper than I had hoped. With a shout-out to my fellow Redditors, I am indeed thinking ‘Dude, just ELI5!’
How then, you might ask, have I learned so much about this industry? Enter Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC. Brian has this show on automatic DVR record, and I often play episodes of it in the background of my home-based office as I’m working on CAI business. On his show, Jay spends just enough time to keep my attention and yet provide me with vehicle history, mechanical knowledge, and little anecdotes to help me participate in engaging conversations. If I hear something Jay says that’s particularly interesting or relevant, Google becomes my friend and I do additional research. I like to save my new-found information for just the right moment in a conversation.
No, I would never admit that car shows are also on during the day. I tend to complain to Brian that shows like Leno’s are on all the time when he’s home (along with a myriad of others from networks like the Velocity channel). For a long time, this was just my little secret.
Then one day, Brian learned the truth...
To provide a better explanation, I have to go back to the 2015 SEMA Show. While there, Brian and I (and most attendees) were enthralled with the 2015 Valyrian Steel kinetic art car designed and built by Henry Chang and his team at Playaworks in Las Vegas. At 27 feet long and weighing 3 tons, it was designed for Burning Man, and absolutely makes a statement when coming down the street. Truth be told, I’m a Game of Thrones fan and it had me at ‘Valyrian Steel’.
In a July 2017 episode, Jay did a segment on this car. I was very excited to watch this bit of the show – I had actually seen and been mesmerized by this car in person! When Brian came home that afternoon, I met him at the door and told him I had the coolest thing to show him. I knew that he would be as excited as I was to see this work of drivable art featured!
I turned on the recording and fast forwarded to the exact time spot where the segment began. As I hit play, instead of Brian looking at the TV, I noticed he was staring at me. I’d like to say it was the Mr. Miyagi look of pride, but alas, it was more of a bewildered look. At that very moment, I knew my cover had been blown.
Brian also records Chasing Classic Cars ... sigh... looks like I’ll have to fess-up about my afternoons watching Wayne Carini as well!
About the author:
Pam Induni and her husband Brian are the co-founders of Classic Automotive Innovations. After spending years in high-tech marketing, Pam finally saw the light, helping to turn her husband’s hobby and passion into a business to help bring cutting-edge technology to classics in order to make them safe, drivable and reliable – and thus preserve these amazing pieces of history. Pam is also the author of an award-winning blog titled ‘Wire Wheels Wife: Confessions from outside the garage’. She still calls the little British cars ‘cute’, still has a soft spot for her very first car (an olive green Dodge Dart Swinger!), and is still waiting for an Austin Healey 3000 (tupperware bins and all) to show up in her garage…