How to convert a non car girlfriend to a car girl
...or at least a girl who cares a little bit more than she did before
During my junior year of high school I started to become known as the car guy of my class. I was the only one there who had something of an exciting car, since most people had the new Camry or Rogue that their parents had bought for them. I, on the other hand, had a 10 year old loud red Mustang that I had worked hard for and shared the cost with my parents, and had upgraded and worked on myself. Before school started at 8, I would pull up with the windows down and my subwoofers up and my glasspacks rumbling (it sounded great, even for just a V6).
At this time, I had just started dating a girl who I really liked. Like most of the people I knew, she knew nothing about cars. It took a lot of driving her around in my Mustang to get her to understand why I loved it so much, and once she drove it, she started to be convinced. She was there the night that I stayed out in the driveway working as hard as I could to install my new BBK cold air intake and my SR Performance throttle body, and then tune the ECU with a BAMA tuner for it. She saw me take apart the intake and throttle body for the first time and helped me see how we could put it back together again (she also calmed me down when I reached the breaking point of frustration with the spring that wouldn't go back in). When we went to drive the car after that and see what difference the upgrades had made, she was there to experience the fun in it. She was there watching the first time that I ever tried to do donuts (with medium success) and the time that I finished my second round of subwoofer upgrades.
I think seeing me have fun with what I was doing helped her realize that it could be fun to her as well. I also think that being able to hear, see, and feel the differences that were now present in the Mustang helped speed that process along. When her old Mini Cooper broke down (no surprise there) and it was time to get a new car, she and her mom decided on a V6 Accord coupe with a 6 speed manual transmission. Learning how to drive it was fun for her, and I think that through that process she grew to appreciate the car more than she otherwise would have. She then taught me how to drive a manual (yes, yes I know...up till now I didn't know anybody with a manual transmission car and I had bought an automatic Mustang because everybody makes bad choices in high school), which was a lot of fun for her because she got to brag that she taught her car-guy boyfriend a major car skill that he didn't already know. By the way, the Accord is surprisingly fun to drive.
I think that she thought I was crazy when I'd get up at 6AM to and leave at 6:30 to be at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA - Austin, TX) by 7 for Cars and Coffee or any track day events that were hosted there. I went to meet people and take pictures and get rides, and to me it was worth it. However, it was 105 degrees outside and there wasn't much shade and there weren't many food options within 20 minutes of COTA either. Regardless, I had a great time. I could talk about cars for hours upon hours if nobody stopped me. I could talk specs or repairs or just about anything. If she was around for that, there was a lot of "mhm" and "yeah" and head nodding that went on. If I was talking directly to her about something car related, I could tell that she wasn't exactly sitting on the edge of her seat in excitement, and that she didn't always know what I was talking about. I started to show her pictures I had taken of crazy cars that I had seen, and she was still never very interested....until one day.
One evening I went to her family's house for dinner after a Saturday at COTA and I was showing off the pictures I had taken to yet another lackluster series of responses. I found a picture of a McLaren Senna that had been at the track that day and when she saw it, she made a sort of surprised/enthusiastic *gasp* sound. I asked her what it was, and much to my surprise, she loved the Senna. I seized the opportunity and showed her each of the different Sennas that I had seen, and once she mentioned which one was her favorite, I started to show her the rest of the pictures of that specific Senna, while I also began to tell her all about it. As I ran through the specs of the car, I talked about Aryton Senna and lap times and she seemed to be interested in it. Progress had been made.
The first car I showed her that really grabbed her attention. PHOTO: @p_stang_ (me)
Another Senna. PHOTO: @p_stang_ (me)
The Senna that ended up being her favorite one. PHOTO: @p_stang_ (me)
After a while of talking to her (I'm not sure if I wore her down or if she became more interested, but it was probably a combination of both), she became more interested, generally speaking, in cars. She is a huge fan of Corvettes, and I am a huge fan of that, because Corvettes are awesome. I actually took her to a track day at COTA one Saturday, and she was able to recognize some of the cars that were there! My endless car talk was starting to pay off. The bright orange McLaren 720s in the main picture at the top of the article was her favorite one there that day (good choice).
We are 3 years into our relationship, and she understand my car passion now. She also understands that I want to, for the rest of my life, have fun cars or project cars and a massive garage, and she said she is okay with that, and she even thinks it could be fun! This did mean that I had to say I was okay with having between 4-12 of each kind of puppy that exists. Oh well.