Left Brain Right Brain Car Strain

So…everyone has heard about the left brain/right brain thing, right? The left brain is our digital brain. The one that is more organized and systematic. That works for us with reading, writing, calculating and logical thinking.

Right brain, the analog brain is more three dimensional. Creative and intuitive. Full of artistic senses.

Which one is more dominant in you? This distinction impacts your personality and decision-making. Or are they sometimes at war with each other? Your emotions are dropping bombs on your logic. Your creative side is launching missiles causing analysis paralysis. Can a truce be declared? Or must the adversaries of the brain duke it out? Neurological warfare.

Leftie knows the words to a song. Rightie knows the tune. Leftie thinks of something in words. Rightie visualizes it. Leftie depends on facts. Rightie relies on feelings. Leftie analyzes it. Rightie imagines it. Rational versus emotional. Analytical versus creative. Logic versus intuition to solve problems. Yin versus Yang.


Car guy is at an auction and sees the car of his dreams (or shall we say the latest one). He’s salivating but calculating with caution if he should bid. Analyzing the pros and cons. All his thoughts are rushing together towards the final decision. His wife would kill him. He cannot afford this car. It’s insane to even consider it. It’s over. And then, he starts to sweat. His thoughts diverge. Right brain makes him imagine driving this machine with wild abandon. Self-control goes out the window. His wife doesn’t have to know. This is his new mistress. He’s in love! He has to have her. Sold!

Car guy finds an orphaned Bugeye Sprite looking ever so forlorn and old,  buried halfway down in the dirt alongside a house. It’s been neglected for twenty years. Left brain sees it for the wreck it is. A massive undertaking. Restore or deplore? That’s a no left brainer. Right brain, on the other hand, sees what it could look like, not what it does look like. Visualization. Imagination. Emotions take over. It sees the whole big picture. Left brain, cold and analytical, only saw the parts in minute detail. What a jerk. Or is it the adult and left brain is the child? But then there’s a struggle. Leftie claims to know everything. Rightie tells it you don’t know anything. Later, when car guy looked at a photograph of him sitting in the car, he responded with, “oh my god, look at that thing. What a pile of crap.” But then right brain took control again. He sees a beauty queen in his future. The right brain always wins with this car guy. Right is right.

Ilustration body part,human brain left and right functions, yin and yang, feminine and masculine

How about that guy (which one of you is him?) who has enough car projects for the rest of his natural life? And car parts: so many that he can’t find any! And this is after days of dumpster-diving in his garage, the attic, and every other conceivable haystack. And yet he wonders why he has no time to do ANYthing. Like relaxing for an hour. Loose lug nut whines about it. And then buys another project car. In boxes. What’s with that? Left brain or right brain making that call? Taking him hostage? Messing with his pistons. Left brain says, “now hear this: your blinkers have gone bonkers. You need a tune-up! Your bearings are not straight. Too much junk in your trunk.” Right brain is a free spirit. Right brain sees all this as art with motor skills. The more motors the better. He can move randomly from task to task versus in a sequential order. Too many cars are never a problem.

And here’s a case where left brain kicks down the door after many, many years. This is based on a recent, true conversation that hubby just had. Left brain friend says, “I’m selling stuff. I’m seventy-five years old. What am I going to do with it? I have carburetors, a Bentley, Alfas (several and he just sold two), too many other cars, projects and boxes and boxes of parts. What do you need?” Right brain hubby’s reply: everything that’s not running. Oh boy, I’m in trouble!






Calling All Car Guys Car Enthusiasts Car Crazies Car Dogs Car Junkies Car Lovers

Hello car guys! Car fanciers. Car fans. Car junkies. Car lovers. Car aficionados. Car buffs. Car fanatics.

Anything but car enthusiasts. That word is just awkward. And so generic. Like the food at Taco Bell. You guys deserve a name that is like the Beatles of music. A word that takes the checkered flag. But hey, I’m just a girl. What do I know? Nothing about cars. Is it two-door or four-door? What color is it? Is the mileage low enough to get out of town without worries? Those are my concerns in the motoring universe. But I love you car connoisseurs. Rolling art professionals (hubby came up with that one). I just spent ten days with you here in Scottsdale/Phoenix at all the car auctions, parties, and events. You are intensely devoted to these rolling works of art. You are ardent lovers of these mistresses. You deserve a better name. So let’s ponder this.

when-you-marry-a-car-loverAutophile: like bibliophile or Francophile. You know…lover of.

Accelerator Appreciator: no explanation needed. Pedal to the metal.

Fancier: a person who breeds animals, plants, etc., especially in order to improve the strain. Don’t car guys sorta do this?

Motor Votary: a person devoted or addicted to some pursuit.

Motor Rooter: a loyal and enthusiastic follower.

Hood Habitue: a habitual visitor to a place.

Spark Plug Swain: a male admirer or lover.

200-8Jack Junkie: not that you have a strong craving to jack up your car…it just sounds good.

Auto Adventurer: you encounter risks and adventures.

Pedal Patron: a person who supports cars with money.

200-4Dashboard Devotee: a zealous follower of the car religion.

Airbag Aficionado: do you talk too much? Do you inflate when you collide with another car enthusiast?

Payload Pundit: what is your carrying capacity for car experts?

Engine  Eccentric: erratic, peculiar behavior, personality and/or beliefs. Are we talking about the engine or the car guy?

200-5Wheel Worshippers: adoring reverence or regard for the car.

Tachnophile: speed lover. What are your RPMs?

Auto Advocate: cars are your case!

Carburetor Connoisseurdo you have Weber carburetors?

NOx Nut: what’s plugged into your exhaust system???

Gearhead: a British term.

200-3Auto Admirer: sometimes this is done secretly, right?

Blinker Tinkerer: for those of you with old cars.

Motor Lunatic: a quote from Norman Dewes, Jaguar test driver.

What name sparks your plug?








Fun For Fanciers Of Rolling Art

Gentlemen: start your engines! Seven days of seven-figure machinery at seven auctions. The Arizona Concours d’ Elegance is the starting line. Right here in Scottsdale and the surrounding area. Well over $100 million in sales. And parties where you will meet some that are one piston shy of a… Car week is the Burning Man festival on wheels with wallets. Debauchery with no owner’s manual. Shock absorbers required. In preparation:



This Is Very Simple. Make Me An Offer.

Lily-Livered Lubbers

It all started in 1995. For the summer (even though it snowed on June 1st), we were lily-livered landlubbers (taking a break as live-a-boards on our sailboat in Florida) in Flagstaff, Arizona. 7600 feet altitude with mountains all around. After living at sea level for so long, I did experience altitude sickness initially.

Hubby and I were painting a house for my brother and sister-n-law when he spied this forlorn orphan great white whale of a car next door. He painted and panted after this car. When our day was done, we went next door. The owner was home.

The Adoption

scan-5-1“Is your 73 Buick for sale?” he asked.

Her immediate reply was, “Make me an offer.”

“Does it run?”

She said, “Make me an offer.”

“Can you tell me something about the car?”

“This is very simple. Make me an offer.”

“Ok, $50.00.”

scan-4-1“Fine, I’ll take it.” Then, she proceeded to tell him a little bit about the car. Her husband was an astronomer. He used to put his large telescope in the back seat of the car to study the stars. Flagstaff has preserved the night for astronomy since 1958 with lighting ordinances. Lowell Observatory is located there on pine-crested Mars Hill. Flagstaff became the world’s first International Dark-Sky City on October 24, 2001. Distant galaxies, constellations, the Milky Way, planets and whatever else shines above will delight your eyes. Now back to the story. Therefore, there was no back seat in the car. The rest of the interior was pretty shabby. The rear fender arches were in the early stages of cancer. But the rest of the body was nice. The paint was old but still on the car. Most promising was the convertible top.

The Makeover

Hubby asked if it had any hub caps. The owner was in the process of moving. She said she would look and then pulled out a loose-leaf notebook, looked up hub caps and stated that they’re in box number thirty-nine. We proceeded to the garage where she gave us the hub caps. The Buick did not run because it needed a distributor. He went to the local car parts store and purchased a brand-new distributor in stock (for a twenty-three-year-old car) for $89.00. More than the car costs. But wait…it gets better.

When we opened the trunk lid, there was a treasure of $11.50 in pennies. Therefore, the car only cost us $38.50! Hubby eagerly got the car running in no time. He then searched the town for similar Buicks and found yet another abandoned orphan Buick. But this one had a nice interior. The two orphans were united into one.

Tangles With The Tank

Then it was time to go back to being sailors. The Buick and our Chevy Beauville average white van (we also met a Vanna White van of Wheel of Fortune fame at a rest stop) were put on the market. Whichever car sold first would determine our fate for the cross-country road trip. The Buick Centurion became our new commander; we were the soldiers.

file-oct-02-10-00-45-amBeing avid windsurfers, we had hauled a mountain of boards, masts, and sails with us which would not fit in the Buick trunk. Mr. Resourceful got creative. He found what I’m sure was the first original pop-up camper trailer. It popped out too. We named it Pop Tart. And piled it high with gear.

At the beginning of August, we headed east with plans to attend hubby’s brother’s wedding in Cincinnati. The car’s air conditioning was cold as ice which made us and our two cats purr with happiness. Then disaster struck. Right at the New Mexico border, the car started overheating when the AC was on. We were doomed. No more AC. And getting hot and crabby. All four of us. Both cats were desperate to escape. We could not roll the windows down. Would you spend up to $2,400 for AC repair on a $38.50 car? And, who knows, would the car even make it? We decided to tough it out much to the chagrin of both cats. And they let us know. One of them tried her best to get adopted at a Shoney’s coffee shop. Thank goodness we found the escapee before she was successful. After that, she resorted to sitting on the dashboard, right in front of the driver, whenever she could. Her anger was apparent.

Danger In The Dark

Puma (17 Years) - Puma ConcolorDown the road, we set up camp in the middle of nowhere.  All was well. It was peaceful with the roar of a river nearby. The cats, afraid to explore, stayed right between us on the blanket with our sleeping bags. In the dark of the night, we hear this blood-curdling scream. A BIG cat scream. Hearts palpitating, adrenaline rushing, feet pounding the earth, we all rushed to the car. All were safe. The small cats liked us again. We did our best to sleep.

 The Clampetts Have Arrived

The next day, we arrived at a five-star hotel in Cincinnati for the wedding. I remember this like it was yesterday. All of us were exhausted, sweaty, and crabby again in this beat to shit car with a pop-up trailer in tow with all kinds of crap piled on top of it.  One of the cats had her face squished up against the window trying to get out as fast as she could. The concierge came out to greet us. I opened the door a bit, and all this trash fell out. The Beverly Hillbillies Clampetts have arrived! Totally embarrassing. I think the concierge was embarrassed too. He clearly stated that we would not fit in the hotel’s parking garage and directed us to street parking. How could I convince him that we were not white trash? After we had cleaned up for the wedding, I don’t think he recognized us. Thank goodness. And thank goodness for the family: they will love you no matter what you drive. A great time was had by all.

Flotsam And Jetsam

A few days later, we were at the end of our journey. As we pulled into Saint Augustine, Florida, both cats popped straight up. They smelled the salt air and knew they were home. They had this glory hallelujah look on their faces. We did too.

scan-4scan-5-2It was back to working on the boat. We had the steel hull built and then finished it out ourselves while living in the boatyard. We had an off-shore shipping container (looks like the trailer of a semi-truck) that served as our workshop, kitchen, and storage area while under construction. We used to sleep in the average white van until we had a berth ready onboard. There was a communal bathroom/shower for the boatyard. Some of our family and friends were quite shocked as to how we lived. We couldn’t have been happier.


Now despite the fact that storage space was severely limited, we still went out most weekends “garage-sailing” for entertainment. One sale after another. The rule was: we could not return home until the convertible was heaped high with stuff. We’d buy anything that maybe, just maybe,  could be useful to a friend or us. Or anyone in the boatyard. Or some guy walking down the street. Or maybe it just struck our fancy, like this industrial blue blob that was regurgitated from a plastic extrusion machine. It captured hubby’s heart. To him, it was artwork. To me, it was toxic waste. It didn’t matter. Sharing our loot was great fun! At least for us. The Buick served us well.

Get Your Beach On

parked cars on the beachscan-3-1The Buick Centurion was also useful as a  playpen for childish adults at the beach. We’d pile all our friends into it with the radio blaring the best of Motown and head for the beach. In Saint Augustine, you could drive on the silky, white sand beaches. The sand was so fine; it squeaked when you walked on it. Boogie boarding in the pounding surf, gobbling french fries and pounding down drinks at the beachside snack shack made for a perfect Slacker Snack Sunday. Never mind that we fried our bodies in the sun until we were candidates for a 911 call. Life was good. Except for the time I got a speeding ticket for going 21 mph on the beach. A sticky choke prevented compliance with the law of 15 mph. Tough enforcement on the playground.

It all came to an end in the Spring of 1996. The boat was finally ready to travel, and so were we. The beloved Buick was put up for adoption and found a very good home. And we sailed away. A happy ending for all!








The Ultimate Car Event For The Non-Car Person

Say What?

You don’t need to like cars. Or even know anything about them to truly enjoy the world’s most famous and most important race for historical race cars. The Italian Mille Miglia (pronounced MEE-leh MEE-lia). Just throw open the shuttered windows above the Piazza Della Vittoria on race day in downtown Brescia in Northern Italy. Feast your eyes on the museum in motion below. Reverberating exhaust pipes rip the morning air with a deafening roar as the le belle macchine (the beautiful cars) come to life.

Bugatti T 13 Brescia Corsa (1924) Runs In Mille Miglia 2014Voluptuous Beauties

Since 1927, the 1000 mile Mille Miglia from Brescia to the eternal city of Rome and back occurs every May. The race features 1927-1957 cars from at least 25 countries. It is a colorful parade that includes Italy’s sleek red Ferraris, voluptuous blue French Bugattis, elegant racing green Jaguars from Britain and slick, silver German Porsches. These moving sculptures will take anyone’s breath away, car-crazy or not.

The thunderous roar of motorcycles and flashing lights of the Carabinieri (Italian police) signals the beginning of the grueling two-day challenge. Many of these pre-1957 classic race cars have no tops or windscreens. Drivers are flagged off at one-minute intervals, outfitted in driving goggles, leather helmets, and rain gear. They careen off through the countryside with gusto, sometimes in drenching rain. Drivers become unrecognizable due to the mud caked on their faces.

PESARO, ITALY - MAY 15: unidentified crew on an old racing car in rally Mille Miglia 2015 the famous italian historical race (1927-1957) on May 15, 2015

Ripping The Rally

The rally course  entails diverse terrain from the most dangerous Futa and Raticosa mountain passes to the low hills covered with vineyards and olive groves that surround Firenze (Florence), the cradle of the Renaissance and home to Michelangelo’s David. Then it’s on through Ravenna, the former Byzantine capital that offers the dazzling Christian and Byzantine mosaics on churches and monuments, rivaled only by those in Istanbul. The flashy caravan starts its return in the capital city of Roma (Rome) with the rally winding past baroque fountains, churches, and palaces that feature Medieval, Gothic and Rennaissance period architecture. The drivers then race on to Modena, home to the famous tenor, Pavarotti, and famous car makers: Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Lamborghini and De Tomaso. The race ultimately goes through fifty towns in the Italian countryside, many of which have been the inspiration for artists, writers, and poets.

Scan 1Ardent Admirers

At each of the fifty towns on the course, cheering local dignitaries, townspeople of all ages, tourists and beauty queens line the streets showering the drivers with gifts unique to that area. Gifts include espresso, pastries, produce, flowers and champagne toasts. Even brown-robed priests are there to offer their blessings with a wave. With great zeal, the drivers race through the narrow, winding streets while affectionate fans wave hankies, palm leaves, and flowers to urge them on. No one loves sports cars like the Italians do, and during the Mille Miglia, everyone’s Italian.

Scan 2Beauty Queen Qualifications

Participants’ cars are highly scrutinized by the selection committee. Preference is given to cars with a particular racing history and to those who have done the Mille Miglia in its earlier days. Cars must be original in their parts, authenticated and certified as such by race officials. The entry fee of $14,400 along with additional shipping and mechanic fees seems an inconsequential amount when you consider that few of these cars are worth less than $500,000 and many fetch multi-million dollar prices. Add up the values of about 450 entries and you have a remarkable, expensive parade, festival, show and competition.

Rally For The Rally

OLD CAR Fiat 600 MILLE MIGLIA 2014Now, the car-challenged might ask; what is a rally? A rally is not actually a race but a competitive run and a series of precise time trials over public roads under ordinary traffic rules. The objective is to maintain a specified average speed between thirty-four checkpoints. For example, one must drive 7.7 kilometers in ten minutes and sixteen seconds exactly. These magnificent machines slowly creep up to the checkpoint to get as close to the allotted time as possible and then with a deafening rumble of six cylinders, roar off to the next challenge. Every tenth of a second more or less than the fixed time is a penalty (reduction in points).

Heart Rumbles

After thirty hours of punishment on the road with perhaps four hours of sleep, the bleary-eyed but jubilant drivers return to the Piazza Vittoria behind a police escort. They hear their names blared over the loudspeaker as boisterous crowds close in around them with congratulatory shouts. While the actual winner of the silver cup is the one with the most points, each arrival is victorious. They finished the 1,000 miles and they brought these irreplaceable works of art to life. The wild enthusiasm of the spectators is as important and enjoyable as the cars or the race. It has been said that Brescia has the rumble in its heart. After a trip to the Mille Miglia, so will you!



Car Guys

Car guys, gearheads, shade tree mechanics, wrenchers, petrolheads if you’re British…all one and the same. Crazy car guys. Let me tell you about the ones I know. Some are missing a piston. Some have over-active exhausts. A few don’t have their bearings straight while others just have a lot of highway miles on them. One is an airbag. Another one needs a pressure check. More specifically:

Wayne’s wife was looking for him to do some yard work. He’s out tinkering in his garage. She was calling out his name. What does he do? He hides in the trunk of the car he’s working on. Wayne actually admitted this to me….the wife of a crazy car guy. Junk in the trunk? No. Look for bodies.


Cars are their mistresses. They sneak around with them and bring them gifts. I don’t know who is more excited about the gift. The mistress or the coolant giver. They are more interested in the horsepower that their mistress puts out than their girlfriend or wife. They love to give them lube jobs. My hubby likes mistresses that aren’t good-looking on the outside but they have a good heart. Their voluptuous bodies are important too. Especially the dashboards and the rear ends. A rough exterior might be acceptable as long as they are not missing a piston. High RPMs are more desirable. They, themselves, might have a dead battery. Maybe they just need a charge. Or a tune-up. Some of these car guys have no cruise control. They will tell you this is their last one, no more and then the next week, they find another mistress. Their new all-time favorite. And…they bring her home. Shameful!

Old Car In The YardConversation Translation

Have you ever heard a car guy conversation? It goes something like this:

“I sold the 356.”

” Why? For a 911?”

“No. Maybe an XKE or DB7. Or MT4.”

“MGBGT’s are nice. 280SL, sweet. How about a 2CV? Deux Chevaux, Primaquatre, Heynsdyk 2500, Borgward, Volga, Humber Super Snipe, Zaporozhets?”

Get the picture here? If you don’t know the language, you are lost. Like a needle in a haystack. And there is no way to fake it. Pinch yourself to keep your eyes from glazing over. Or just drink more wine and be a good listener. Or retreat at full speed to join the flock of “Normies”, the non-crazies who drive boring cars but that don’t give them too much grief. They can talk about things like the weather. Sometimes I wonder if car guys know any other language. Do they need to?

They share car photos like they are their children. Boasting with such pride over their accomplishments, their looks, their capabilities. Some of their children are named after the cars: Mercedes, Aston, Porscha, Royce, Enzo, Audi. I’m surprised (and relieved) that they haven’t yet named them Borgward, Talbot, Bugatti, Targa or Humber Super Snipe! “Hi, this is my son, Lamborghini and his sister, Topolino.”


Car guys are the only people that can get away with:

  • “Hey kids, do you want some speed?”
  • “Go home smart car…you’re drunk!”
  • Car parts in the dishwasher.
  • Buying an entire car in boxes that they are sooooo proud of.
  • Refusing to take their car out into the rain.
  • Parking in the most far away space. Ding prevention.
  • Inebriated chest-butting and bidding at car auctions.
  • Making their wives widows during car auction week.
  • “Look what I just bought you, honey!” (a car that doesn’t run and looks like hell.)
  • Hearing the muffler on a passing Porsche before he hears you.
  • Classifying his cars that don’t run as your cars.
  • Referring to a car half-buried in the dirt for years with flat tires and busted out windows as an orphan that so desperately needs a home.
  • Tearing a car dashboard completely apart in a parking lot because of some annoying noise.

Parts Unknown

Car guy hubby spends hours every morning scouring the internet for parts (and of course the sum of these parts: the whole car). This search is not just for him but for every single car guy on the planet that he might encounter. During these sessions: bills paid? Not. Take out the trash? Not. Eat breakfast? Not. Hear anything I say? Not. Evacuate due to a house fire? Not. Fuhgettaboutit!

The giddy look on his face when his buddy Fed Ex brings him gifts is the emotion of sheer joy. It does not matter that he can’t remember what he just bought or where the other gifts are hiding out in his garage. It’s the thought that counts.

Born To Be Wild

He walks in, after driving a convertible with no windshield, with crazy eyes, wild hair and the grin of The Joker. The bugs in his teeth are not a problem. Just kidding. A joyride without the theft: driving with no particular goal other than the pleasure or thrill of doing so. It’s an addiction. He can’t stop. Steppenwolf told him, “Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway, looking for adventure…”

The owner’s manual for a car guy is difficult to comprehend at first. Give it some time and your shock absorbers will be like new.