I work at a place called the Classic Car Club Manhattan; a private club where members get the keys to some of the most iconic cars ever built. I was recruited young, just 19 years old. Initially I was only meant to be a temp, but Mike & Zac (owners/directors) decided to keep me around. I developed a passion for the automotive world and a desire to learn everything there is to know. The last five years, being a chick in the car world has been entertaining, challenging and downright enlightening.
At CCC, our members have 24 hour access to our facilities which include a lounge and fully stocked bar. Members can only pickup/return cars during business hours, but they certainly can bring in a few friends to hang out after hours, watch a race, check out the cars and grab some beers. This year I set a personal goal to learn how to take apart and put back together a VW Golf engine (with the help of our trusty mechanic Mike G)—I have an attachment to these cars since I own one! The fact that a Golf was the first car I drove on track and the first and only car I’ve ever raced (24-hours of Lemons; what?!..its still a race!) might have something to do with it. Being that my day is normally tied up with event & car reservation duties, the only time I get to work on honing my wrenching skills is in the evening.
Our members are accustomed to my interest in cars and lust for grease under my finger nails, their friends are usually nothing short of shocked to find me wrenching away in the middle of the night. On several evenings I was entertained with condescending comments like “Do you know what your doing?” and “that’s hot, you're like the chick from Fast and the Furious!”.
It wasn’t the first and definitely won't be the last time people have been shocked when they find out I actually do have a clue about cars. The best is when CCC guests try to quiz me on our cars, saying things like “Did you know the 458 is naturally aspirated?” or “Bet you can’t tell me who made that 550 Spyder famous!”. Time after time I take great pleasure in proving them wrong, chicks can be into cars and can actually know what they are talking about!
Let me be clear though; by no means do I claim to be all knowing or any sort of mechanic. My bosses (and coworkers) have exercised a massive amount of patience when teaching me new things on a daily basis. My director Zac for example, trying to teach me why a limited slip differential is awesome, or Mike describing just how important tires are to a car and how many different types of tires there are out there for different kinds of driving and racing (man, R-compound tires are DOPE).
Working at CCC has no doubt shaped my taste in cars, amplified my love for the automotive world and all that awesome stuff that comes with it. Last year I attended my first Formula 1 race in Montreal. The year before that I had the chance to meet Mario Andretti, Helio Castroneves, and a handful of other ridiculously talented drivers. My bosses encouraged me to attend performance driving school and go karting where I've learned to better follow our skilled members when they turn in hard and grab a little oppo before powering out of a corner.
Not to mention I get to drive some of the most amazing cars ever built, on a daily basis. I mean everything you could possibly think of, from a Mercedes SLS and a Jaguar E-type to Shelby Cobra or the McLaren MP4. I live, breath, eat & sleep cars (seriously I have a re-occurring Zombie apocalypse dream and my getaway car is always an inconvenient convertible classic). What Classic Car Club started I can't quite explain, I just know that it is forever encrypted in my DNA and I hope, no I know; it will never go away.
Full Disclosure: CCC "Minister of Video Propaganda" JBH helped me edit this