3 Women Under the Tent

Me, Constance Smith, and Sigur Whitaker at the SAH book signing event.

I had the wonderful opportunity to return to the Society of Automotive Historians book signing event at the 2019 Hershey Fall Meet to promote my book Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars. It’s always a great time to connect with other auto history buffs, check out new titles, and of course, sell a few books. This year I was joined by two other female authors: Sigur Whitaker, who writes extensively about the people and places of Indianapolis, and Constance Smith, who authored the award-winning Damsels in Design: Pioneers in the Automotive Industry, 1939-1959. Constance spoke at an event in downtown Detroit last year, accompanied by Elizabeth Wetzel of General Motors and featured designer Mary Ellen Green, which I had the pleasure of attending. In Damsels, Constance has collected the stories of the women of Harvey Earl’s GM styling group of the early 1950s. These female designers were a significant –  and often overlooked – part of automotive history. A former GM employee herself, Constance provides unique insight as well as an inside look into the careers and lives of these groundbreaking women.

Traditionally, the SAH book signing tent has been filled primarily with male authors. Thus it was great to share the table with these two outstanding writers of the female persuasion. May subsequent years see many more women under the tent.

Have you read any automotive books written by women? Do you think female authors offer a new perspective to automotive literature and history?

PCA @ DC

The Popular Culture Association Annual Conference is always a great place to meet other auto-centric folks and check out their developing research. It’s one of the few conferences that has sessions devoted to things that move, so I try not to miss it. The topics are varied and interesting – this year included presentations on the Burning Man phenomenon, slot cars, and the legal implications of autonomous vehicles. For my own part, I talked about my newest project in the development stage – women’s cars in film. The comments and critiques I received gave me the impetus to move ahead. Looking forward to next year in Philadelphia.

Do you have a favorite women’s car/road trip film? What was the car and what was its significance in the movie? Feel free to provide a personal woman’s car film review in the comments section.

Points & Condensers

Book presentation at the Points & Condensers Restoration Society, Ypsilanti MI

I was honored – and somewhat intimidated – today to talk about my book to a group of avid car enthusiasts. The Points & Condensers Restoration Society is an organization that meets the first Saturday of each month to nosh, talk about cars, and attend a presentation on various car subjects. The meetings are held in a storage garage owned by Bill Milliken, which is filled with an ever changing array of new and old cars of every description. As I looked around while setting up, I noticed – to no surprise – that the attendees were primarily male. There were very few women in attendance; however, those that were there made a point of coming up to me and lending their encouragement and support. The presentation went very well, I sold a few books, and I met John Tucker – the grandson of the founder of Tucker automobiles – who, as it turns out, happens to be a neighbor. I was invited back to next month’s presentation which focuses on the Shelby. It was a great experience and hopefully I changed some minds about women and cars.

Are you a woman with a muscle car? Has the response of male car enthusiasts been positive or negative? Feel free to share your muscle car experiences in the comments section.

HAM Speaker Series

Today I had the pleasure of presenting my book – Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars – as part of the Hackett Auto Museum Speaker Series. The presentation was held at the Carnegie Library in Jackson, Michigan, an old historic building with an interesting past. It was a very cold day – with temperatures hovering around zero – which no doubt affected the attendance. But those who braved the frigid temperatures were polite, interested, asked good questions, and purchased a few books. All in all a good day.

Do you ever attend automotive book readings? If so, what have been some of your favorites? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

Book Signing @ Hershey

Under the tent at Hershey PA

The SAH [Society of Automotive Historians] book signing is an annual event prior to the Hershey Car Show, and this year I was privileged to be there as an author. It poured the entire day, so there weren’t a lot of visitors to the tent. But there was a lot of talking, sharing, and even a little book buying among those who weathered the storm. It was a great way to connect with other SAH folks – the close quarters and inclement weather resulted in getting to know other car folks better.

Do you read books about cars? What are your favorites and what do you like about them? You are welcome to share your best-car-book list in the comments section.

Autoline with John McElroy

Appearance on Autoline After Hours with John McElroy

Had the amazing opportunity to talk about my book – Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars on Autoline After Hours with John McElroy. I was nervous but John and his cohost Gary Vasilash asked informed and interesting questions and made me feel at ease. Throttle Gals editor Doni Langdon was also on the show and added another very much needed female perspective.

Are you a fan of Car TV? What are your favorite shows and what do you like about them? Feel free to add a best of list to the comments section.

Speaking @ Motor Muster

Signage at Greenfield Village to promote my presentation on women and muscle cars.
Motor Muster – Greenfield Village, Dearborn MI

Motor Muster is a longtime annual event held Father’s Day weekend on the beautiful grounds of Greenfield Village – part of the Henry Ford complex in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a car show like no other; there are no prizes, just hundreds cars from the 1930s-1970s parked all over the village. There could be no better place to present my work than the town that Henry Ford built. The presentation went well with many in attendance, and I participated in a book signing afterwards. It was quite a thrill to see my book – Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars – featured in the Greenfield Village bookstore.

Have you visited automotive museums? What have been your favorites? You are welcome to share your museum experiences in the comments section.

Drive History Conference

Presenting in Allentown PA

Attended my first “Drive History” conference as both a presenter and spectator. It was an interesting three days. I met a lot of new folks from the automotive community – academics, historians, collectors, and car enthusiasts. There were classic cars to drive, presentations on preservation, restoration, and automotive history, and an up-close-and-personal look at the infamous ‘Bullit” Mustang. It was a great chance to network, talk about my book – Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars – and mill around dozens of automobiles.

Do you enjoy looking at classic automobiles? What are your favorites, and if you could have any old vehicle, what would it be? You are welcome to share your best-car-list in the comments section.