We’re in love with vintage cars. We’re also fascinated by the people who build and drive them.
I’m Sara, and along with my husband Wes, we’re sharing our love of cars with you through the Daily Driver Project. We’ve been in the industry for years, and our love affair (with cars) is far from over.
How did we fall in love with cars? Wes and I each found this industry in different ways. I was lucky enough to grow up in the aftermarket automotive industry, and spent most weekends at car shows, monster truck rallies (oh, how I loved Truck-a-Saurus!), and auto swap meets. At age 12, my first job at the family business was cleaning grease from blower cases.
As a kid, I spent a LOT of time at many monster truck shows – I was a little Bigfoot obsessed, but who wasn’t?
As I learned more about the business of superchargers and electronic fuel injection, I fell in love with the drag racing applications of our products, and at 14 had the opportunity to work on a pit crew for an NHRA Funny Car team (thanks to Helen Hofmann for giving me the chance!). Between all the greasy parts to clean, parachutes to pack, car bodies to sticker, and engines to re-assemble between runs, I was never happier (or dirtier – nitrous really does get into EVERYTHING).
Left: In July 1995, I was fortunate enough to appear on the cover of Hot Rod Mechanix Magazine with family friend Bob Barnes, of Vernes Chrome Plating and L.A. Roadster fame. True story: At the age of eight, I was riding in the back of one of Bob’s hot rods when a bought of car sickness came over me… and the back seat floor. Bob sold that car within a month. Thankfully, Bob didn’t hold it against me forever – he graciously provided us with a convertible hot rod for our wedding. Right: From my time helping on the pit crew for “Atomic” Al Hofmann.
So, what does a car girl need to make her life complete? A guy who is just as passionately crazy about cars as she is. Wes and I met while he was installing a starter on a 1955 Chevy at the hot rod shop next door. What can I say… I’m a sucker for a mechanic who can talk shop. The car bug first bit Wes when he took an auto shop class in college…. and it’s been all cars ever since.
Wes and I with our first two cars (which we still own), a 1957 Willys Utility Wagon, and a 1963 Chevy Nova.
So what happens next? Boy and girl fall in love and later plan their entire wedding around cars. Getaway car? 1959 Cadillac Convertible with pinstriped flames (and Bob at the wheel). Wedding favors? Hot Wheels. Cake topper? A car, of course. Honeymoon? Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca. Car crazy? Completely.
Over the years, Wes has enjoyed working on hot rods and imports alike, building show cars, and even appearing on several seasons of TV’s Overhaulin. Our idea of weekend fun always includes a car show, drag race, or auto museum. And when anyone mentions Vegas, we’re dreaming of the SEMA Show, not the casinos.
Projects by Wes: 2004 Scion xB and 2005 tC, both built for Hotchkis Performance. Both appeared in many magazines, ads, and at industry shows.
Since cars are nearly all we think and talk about, we decided to share our conversations and observations with you through this blog. We’re not experts, but we are wildly enthusiastic. At times we may be off in identifying the year (or other details) of a particular vehicle, but that won’t change the fact that it’s a gorgeous hunk of steel. We’ve been known to faint at the sight of an extra-curvacious fender, fall in love with the design of an unusual front end, and follow the smell of gasoline in the air as if it were a freshly-baked cookie. As for throaty engines, they make our hearts skip a beat.
If you’re married to your love of vintage cars like we are, then you’ve found the right place. We hope you will enjoy the entertaining factoids about the people and vehicles we showcase, along with the shops, garages, and companies we tour.
Wes & Sara Nielsen