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I. Blame. Dad…How I Became the Hoonette I am Today

Redusernab October 12, 2010 Meet Your Hoons 19 Comments

That's me in back. Never did figure out why my cousin was dressed like that pretzel guy or why I allowed my mom to put me in a dress.

I remember it like yesterday.  Six years old, grease-stained pink dress, hair in pigtails, smudges on my chin from leaning against the dirty shirt covering the radiator.  As always, dad was working on someone’s car in the driveway.  I remember saying, “Daddy, what’s that?  Is that hot? Why are you saying that bad word? MOMMY! DADDY CUT HIS FINGER AGAIN!” and off to the emergency room we went – dad had stabbed himself with a screwdriver, again.

Stab wounds aside, my dad was always mechanically inclined.  Me being the tomboy of the sisters and dad’s first born, I grew up helping him work on any and everything that crossed his path.  He was always buying and selling cars so we probably went through about 25 before I was a teen. By the time I was 14 I was allowed to help do the oil changes on his beloved 1978 DeVille.  Much to my mother’s chagrin, I spent more time under the hood of a car than thinking about boys and really there was no need. I was in love with cars.

My current daily driver

Strangely, I was terrified of getting behind the wheel and didn’t get my license until I was 19. That may have had something to do with the fact that my mom drove a Chevette and is the most nervous Nancy I’ve ever known. (Don’t laugh people and yes her name is Nancy)  In the 15-someishmaybe years I’ve had my license I’ve owned everything from a 1969 Camaro to a 2008 Mazdaspeed3 and QUITE a few others along side and in between.

But how did I become a hoonette?  Rather unexpectedly in my 1985 Escort with my two sisters in the back seat courtesy of a large snow storm, a major downhill and only a few hours of driving a manual under my belt.  That didn’t go over too well (with mom), but the hoontastic 360’s brought on by dad’s voice in my head screaming “STEER INTO IT!” well made up for my first official coronary. As soon as my heart slowed down enough for me to grin from ear to ear, I realized I only wanted more of that feeling.

Since then, many cars have crossed my path, all hoontastic in one way or another. The Conquest TSi taught me about instant gratification and respecting the limitations of a car.  The 78 Caprice Classic taught me that cars really can drink more oil than I can afford in one paycheck and why it’s important to keep an eye on friends with spray paint. The many, many, maaaaaany aircooled VW’s have taught me patience, love and a few strings of cuss words I didn’t know I had in me. The Elise has taught me that it is possible to be a human pretzel and what a supercharger sounds like strung to its limits. And the 2010 BMW 335d has taught me what it means to add awesome torque to the finer things in life and what it feels like to slide along like a hot knife through buttah at 110mph.

Hell. Yes.

My dad taught me to love the guts of a car because without the guts all you have is a “chunk of metal that don’t go too fast.” Over the years as I’ve been introduced to German build and design I’ve learned what it means to appreciate every design and engineering detail. I still hoon, but with a little more sense and control. Rockin’ bedazzled safety glasses – I AM a girl, what’d you expect – I work on every one of the cars but I do more now, motor swaps, brakes and rotors, exhausts, and its still fun for me. Good thing too because my obsession with aircooled VW’s and the ability to hoon the snot out of them far outranks any other passion I have in life.  Even my dream car is an old VW and not a Zonda F Roadster or a Maserati MC12 Corsa, although those would be REALLY nice to have *sigh* but I digress.

I’m a thousand miles from dad now but I still call him for advice. He gives me a lot of insight into those old VW motors (even though he’s still a Cadillac man) and we always end up laughing ourselves half to death over stupid things I did as a kid helping him work on the cars.  If you ever get the change to meet him, ask about the roofing nails I sprinkled on the driveway right before he and the ’68 GTO pulled into the driveway and why.

Dad’s getting up there in years, but every time we talk he’s always telling me about how he raced some kid in a ‘vette or how he spanked some goof in a Charger and I realize all over again he’s the reason I am so in love with cars and why I’m the little hoonette I am today.

The Du Hast crew getting ready to roll out for the last show of the year

  • Great read.

    • DeadinSideInc

      Quite. I like these "Behind the Hoon" articles.

      • Why thank you – I think it's really really cool to find out who everyone is. I'd love to find out what makes all the commenters hoons too!

        We need a bonfire and some beers and all of us to be in a 10 mile radius – that would be good times.

        • DeadinSideInc

          1) I'm legally prohibited from mixing fire and booze, at least in Luxembourg (or what is left of it)
          2) Have a Redusernab Asks – What made you a Hoon?

        • zsm

          I want to third that I have been loving these articles! Yours really struck a chord with me. It was so sweet of you and your dad. I have a little girl of my own and if she grows-up and has the outlook on family and cars that you do, I know I will have done right.
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          You should show what you wrote to your dad if you haven't already, it will make his week!

  • Very cool. I hope my girls appreciate their fate as budding hoonettes.

  • Great read, now about those cars…

    • Yeeeeees? 😉

      • They are pretty… do we have write ups coming?

  • Nice read. Now, I think you need to bring that Elise up here to Detroit. Head for the farmhouse, turn left and head west for a while. When it stinks you know you're in Ohio, so turn north. Give me a call and I'll show you some twisty back roads.

    • dculberson

      Detroit doesn't have any good roads to drive an Elise on! She should head to southern Ohio. Some of the best roads in the country without the heavy hoon traffic that the Tail of the Dragon gets. I'll lead (then follow) on my KLR.

      • Oh, there are a few. And early on a Saturday morning they are virtually empty. This time of year is perfect to hoon on them, too, what with the leaves in full color and the crispness of the air. Once the hooning is done, it's time to open a beer and watch some college football.

        • dculberson

          [Dubious look]

          I spent a lot of time driving to and from Detroit, and found a Buick Roadmaster about right for the roads there. Anything smaller and lighter and it runs the risk of falling completely into the potholes.

          Beer is good, though! Let's go to the WAB.

        • If she's heading west, it really isn't that far to Kansas and the Ozarks, which has lots of cheap fuel and twisty boonie roads…

  • tiberiuswise

    Du hast mich ge-Hooned.

  • I. Also. Blame. Dad. Excellent read, and I completely identify.

    Its very funny when my dad regails me with stories of how he smoked some ricer, some GSXR, or got the ZX-10 down the 1320 in 9.6. The stories are usually very impressive, and makes me wish I was there for it.

  • dukeisduke

    Wow, I thought you had dropped off the face of the earth (I haven't seen your posts here in awhile). Great story. My dad was the opposite; he wasn't mechanically inclined at all. We as technical as he got was replacing a turn signal bulb or draining the water out of the radiator before a freeze. I had to learn it all myself, by reading Hot Rod magazine (every month, I dutifully walked down to the drugstore to plunk down my 50 cents), and poring through the Chilton's and Motor's manuals at the local public library.

  • Charles_Barrett

    Terrific write-up, Amber. Very pleasant read. I don't share your passion for automotive donuts, but you obviously love to tinker as much as I do…!
    Keep up the fine wordsmithing.

  • This olelongrooffan has been wondering How You Became A Hoonette since I stumbled on All Things Hoon. Thanks for sharing a great write up of your experiences. Keep On Keeping On here on the Redusernab will ya?