Like most hobbies, it usually starts with someone close to you. In my case my love of cars started way before my time and even before my dads time. It started with my grandpa. A well-known Hollywood/advertising photographer, he was fortunate enough to afford some of the world’s most beautiful automobiles. He wasn’t like most in Tinseltown who owned nice cars to look at or be seen in but not really to drive them; he used these cars as his daily drivers. He had an array of automobiles but one of my favorites was his 1967 Ferrari 330GTC. A beautiful car that my dad actually learned how to drive on (lucky). He also owned two Jaguar E-types, a 1963 3.8 FHC and a 1965 4.2 FHC, which my dad became so fond of he now owns one.
Another big car of the day was his 1968 Hurst Oldsmobile. A rare car, only 515 were produced. My dad recalls the reason Grandpa bought it was because the Smothers Brothers raced the same car and it was very fast for the time. If you knew my grandpa you knew that he didn’t just drive these cars to and from work out of need, he was known to speed around the canyons of Mulholland and others in the Los Angeles area, driving to really experience what the cars were all about. Unlike my dad and I, my grandpa was a self- taught speed demon and had a way of controlling the cars at speeds that would make others cringe. My dad remembers laying in the back of the E-type being thrown from side to side and just loving it (but at times wondering how they made it back home in one piece). But my grandpa wasn’t reckless, just a thrill seeker. At the end of most rides he’d would turn to my dad and say, “now don’t tell your mother.”
The tradition carried onto my dad. He attended his share of racing schools and dreamt of owning some of his dad’s cars. Once I came along he only hoped I would be the kind of girl who would need the speed as much as he did. Lucky for him not only was my first word car but I started cleaning his rims at age two. I was taught early on you do not touch other people’s cars and how to detail ours. My dad would take me to shows where we would show our Alfa Romeo’s.
Soon it came time for me to drive. By then we had moved on from Alfas to acquire a car that my grandpa had owned, a 1984 Ferrari 308 Quatrovalve. This was a fun car and for the years we had it we enjoyed it. I attended my first racing school with my dad at age 16 and since then have attended ten more. To share those experiences with my dad has been a thrill.
The Ferrari came and soon left and to replace it my dad wanted a car that he had some of the best memories in, a 1965 E-type Jaguar FHC. This car was a nice driver and it ran well right until the day a careless driver turned left in front of my dad giving him no time to react or avoid. The car was completely smashed from the windshield forward. What we didn’t realize was that this accident was a blessing in disguise. We were able to completely restore the car. Now the E-type has won awards at every show we have attended and was even an honored car this past August at the Monterey car week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the E-type.
This family tradition has carried on to me. I cannot help but love cars. I fully blame and thank my grandpa and dad for making me love the thrill of a fast car.