SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 –
Remember when the classic car bug bit you? Here’s Callie’s story…
At six years old, Callie fell in love. Not with some cute boy down the street. Or with a new doll. She fell in love with a car, a pale yellow ’65 Impala convertible driven by her dad’s friend. “He took me for a spin, and I was overwhelmed with excitement and a rush that is not easily explained in words.”
Yep. She was bitten, and her passion for cars and hot rod culture didn’t fade over time. It grew.
Callie is an extremely driven young lady, graduating high school at 16, and being the youngest to enter her college where’s she’s studying to be a court reporter—so it’s not surprising that she tackled her first classic car project at fifteen. “My Uncle Mike was the one who really put the idea in my head. A member of my church, Hot Rod Church for Sinners, had a red Falcon convertible, which got me looking into Falcons, then Comets. After many weeks of frantically scanning Craigslist for a car that spoke to me, I found a listing for a 1963 Comet. When I saw my “Lolita” in person for the first time, I fell in love with her and all her potential.”
The car wasn’t in ideal condition- the interior was non-existent, it didn’t have paint, and the engine had obviously been sitting for a long time. But her dad Brian really wanted Callie to have this car. “She’s an amazing kid. I’m so very proud of her on so many levels.” So he let her buy the car with money she’d earned waitressing, and took on the challenge of helping her restore the car, something Callie says has been an experience. “It has been the source of a few fights, but more importantly I think it has given us some common ground. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but it’s really nice to be able to come home after a stressful day and work away on the car while listening to music with my dad and be on the same page.”
Lolita has gone through quite a transformation since her purchase in 2009. She now has beautiful two-tone bench seats, door panels, carpeting, paint, and a new 200 engine and a C4 transmission out of a Ford Maverick.
But… Callie says, “…it seemed like I was taking a back seat.” The restoration had become more of her dad’s project than hers. And Callie wanted more. She wanted to know what was going on inside her Lolita, what made her run, what exactly made that vroom noise that gave her chills. Plus, she wanted to be able to fix things that would go wrong along the way. “I always wanted to be the one under the hood. The Gasoline Girls gave me the courage and inspiration to stop asking permission, and start doing.”
Our kinda girl, right?
Before getting Lolita, Callie didn’t know the first thing about how an engine worked. But things are changing. Her dad told us, “I was barely out of bed the other day… and Callie was in my face asking if we could work on the car together.” She’s since learned the basics of what goes on under the hood when she turns the key. She can now install a radiator, as well as a starter, change the oil, adjust the knobs on the dash, check for leaks/cracks, tell when the spark plugs need to be replaced, and connect the battery—all very important things if you’re going to drive a classic.
The best thing for Callie about driving Lolita? “The feeling she gives me. I have more fun driving, and I love when other people get excited too. I enjoy standing out on the road. Even the force it takes to turn makes me happy.”
The worst thing? “Never knowing when something will go wrong, as well as worrying about the many fix-it tickets I have often risked.”
But for Callie, it’s all worth it. Like all of us, she can’t imagine driving anything different. “It’s not easy, but it makes me smile. I have my own tie to the hot rod culture, and I enjoy sharing that passion with others. I really can’t see myself ever giving it up.”
Next up for Callie and her Lolita? The transmission isn’t working too well, so she needs to get that straightened out, along with all the little shake out things getting a car back on the road entails, like brake-lights, speedometer, fuel gauge. Most of all, she’s just thrilled to finally fulfill a childhood dream, and be behind the wheel of her very own classic, her ’63 Comet, Lolita.