Cars, Beautiful Cars

A little known fact about me (well, maybe not little-known to anyone who has ever had to wait for a cab with me outside a bar while I drunkenly call out car models that pass by) is that I love cars. I can identify car makes and models by the shape of their headlights, I think car shopping is one of the most interesting things in the world, and I once ended a relationship because the guy I was dating mixed up a Hummer and a Tahoe. It was more of a tipping point, you know, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” since I’m not that cold-hearted, but still.

It’s not like I grew up in a world of antique car shows or even a world where my parents bought more than one car every 15 years. My friends’ parents all drove Sunfires and Corollas.

I’m sure it all spawned from listening to the dinner table talk, where my autobody-shop-working dad told stories of hilarity about rich people who kept wrapping their Corvettes around poles and whatnot. Do you even know how much paint costs for  a Bentley?!? Here’s a hint: Watch out for poles when backing your 150 thousand dollar car up.

So I took a passive interest in cars. It’s not like I sat there with flash cards every night trying to memorize the slight differences between a Blazer and a Jimmy, but I still knew that your parents drove a Ford Winstar, not a Dodge Caravan you idiot.

I even had my own dream car growing up! A very specific one, too:

Although, I would have to update those rims.

I remember almost crying when we got a flyer in the mail advertising the new 5th gen Mustang. The front grill! What did they do? Oh my god!!

Crying over pictures of cars? Normal 12 year old girl behaviour, right?

I learned to accept it eventually.

Although I can out-do, or at least keep up with, any of my macho guy friends when they talk about cars, sometimes my knowledge makes for an embarrassing moment.

Every industry has its own slang, I presume. Sometimes you don’t realize that maybe not everyone grew up learning about cars from a blue-collar father who worked in a body shop. Not everyone.

In grade 11, I rolled into my math exam looking extra frazzled, I suppose. There is a certain amount of frazzled-ness appropriate for writing an exam on advanced functions, but I guess I surpassed that because everyone was asking me what happened.

“My tranny died,” I replied.

The night before my car had broken down (at 11:30 pm, no less. I didn’t do so well on that exam.) Apparently the radiator went bust and the transmission seized since it was getting no fluid. I pulled over quickly so the transmission turned out to be okay, but at this point I was still under the impression I was going to have to pay 3 grand to fix a car that was purchased 3 weeks before.

My curious friends looked at me with blank stares on their faces and said nothing.

And that’s when I realized that to the minds of 17 year olds with bankers as parents, a “tranny” is not a transmission.



I’m looking forward to the Canadian International Auto Show this week. There’s something about shiny new cars that I’m able to sit in that makes me so happy. It’s the small things in life, isn’t it?

If I can somehow spin a post about the CIAS without making it some boring bueller-like “look at this car, now this one, this one, this one is black, this one is pretty” post, you’ll be seeing that soon.

28 responses to “Cars, Beautiful Cars

  1. I love cars also…can’t say like you do but enjoy going to antique and classic car shows. I feature cars in my blog often. Congratulations on making freshly pressed…it is exciting when it happens.

  2. How do you mistake a hummer for a tahoe? Seriously.

    Your story of the tranny reminds me of when I almost came to blows with a guy after a basketball game in high school because I was trying to fix the butterfly valve on my ’74 Hornet and this idiot thought I was just a stupid girl yet he didn’t know what I was talking about. Silly boys.

    • I bet you showed him! I have no idea how he got them confused…maybe he just generally thought all big cars = Hummer? Oh well, I will never know now. Thank you for stopping by!

      • I don’t even know what a Tahoe is! I suppose I am Australian; maybe it’s foreign here? I certainly don’t think I’ve seen a car big like a Hummer unless it’s a Jeep.

        So I can see where that guy’s coming from… unless I saw Tahoes all the time, and they really are different!

  3. Nice post haha. I also love cars – apparently when I was 2-3 years old I used to associate all of my parent’s friend’s by their cars, and would point out a “Dave car” or whatever whenever one went past 🙂

  4. I so understand what you mean! I may not know so much about cars, but i sure do love ’em! I remember crying my heart out when my dad’s friend backed our first car into a pillar….we had to get a fresh job on the paint, obviusly. My parents still laugh about the fact that I cried so much that I actually came down with a fever. So I totally know where you’re coming from!:)

  5. I can’t say I’m very into cars, my dad was a business man. But I do love your writing and really enjoyed your post.

  6. Crying over grills haha. I got that way with 3rd generation STIs. I didn’t know much about cars in my teens but after I got booted from the nest, unless I wanted to pay out the ass money to your old man, that it would behoove me to learn about cars, at least my own.

    As for mistaking a Hummer for a Tahoe… I don’t know about that one.

  7. Hey! 🙂

    I remember the day when my father started to explain me the way cars work… I was puzzled, I didn’t understand anything, but, still, I listened to him amazed as I was telling myself “He’s a wizard… How can he know so much about these things?!” I was about seven… Then, he realized the little mistake and so he started to show me the cars and their symbols in order to recognize them easily. Now, I laugh at my mom when she notice a Beetle (let’s say a “well-known” Beetle) and still she doesn’t know what is. “C’mon, it’s just a car!”…

    • Lol sometimes people never learn! What is worse is the people who don’t even know what kind of car they drive. How can you…how…why?!?!? I don’t even have words.
      When my parents were picking out a new car a few years back, she actually had no idea what we bought until we drilled the word “YARIS” into her head. It took a while.

  8. Based on these photos, you and my husband would get along just fine. He’s constantly tinkering with his Mustang. This is his 4th one, and I’d love to tell you what year it is, but am now ashamed to say I can’t. 200? is all I know, haha. But it IS a Mustang! Great post!

  9. 100% awesome post. I too have a dad who worked in a body shop, and I too can identify car models by their headlights! But I think that if you’re dream car is a 99-04 model Mustang, you should focus in on the 03-04 Cobra…just an opinion.
    Again, great post!

  10. This is so weird! I always wanted a Mustang growing up. When they came out with the newly redesigned models I was pretty miffed when my dad bought one. I’m not super knowledgeable about cars but I do know makes and models like you do. Among a group of girls walking around London I was usually the only one stopping to ogle a Maserati or a or a Bugatti.

    • Ah you’re so lucky, I’ve never been inside a Mustang (other than at the auto show!) in my life. All I can do is dream!
      I can imagine there would be some pretty nice cars around downtown London!

  11. That was extremely funny!! I was worried with that ‘tranny’ moment / comment of your’s, glad you recapped further on..! 😀 One hint though, perhaps if your knowledge is going to annoy a guy / boyfriend now… believe me ‘it’ would only get worse, over time… My perhaps needless advice is the one to ‘go for’, would be one that ‘lasts’ (if that is what you want 😀 )… Is a guy that loves and is ‘into’ the fact you have so much understanding of cars, encouraging you with it. 🙂


  12. Hola, Michelle – thanks for the comment! Are you making any travel plans yourself? 🙂