New Year’s resolutions aren’t my thing. I look at every day as a chance to improve myself or recalibrate my plans. I do like to take some time on New Year’s Day to reflect on the year just completed (and what a year 2020 has become!), to celebrate my accomplishments.
2020 was my first full year of retirement from the corporate world. Even with the challenges around COVID-19, I was able to remain focused on those things I cherish. In fact, “laying low” at home actually allowed me to explore new opportunities for Vehicle Nanny, which is officially one year old as of December 7, 2020. Wow…that went quickly!
First Year of Vehicle Nanny
What many people don’t know is that the original Vehicle Nanny concept was a classic car storage warehouse. In Michigan, car collectors typically put their babies to bed for the winter. Our overuse of salt on the roads and the cold temperatures make for undesirable driving. The “Nanny” was there to take care of your baby.
First Lane Change: 2020
For a number of reasons, the warehouse concept did not happen. It is still an idea I want to explore, but not right now. Instead, I found a means to talk about buying affordable (and fun) cars that you can easily fix or modify, or low cost things you can do to your car to make it more enjoyable. Here are a few topics on that front:
- Painting your own wheels and using Plasti Dip to change the color
- DIY Dent Repair
- Picking the right car battery
- Interior cleaning tips, including how to disinfect your interior from COVID-19 (who knew that would even be a thing one year ago?)
- Building a low cost roof rack
The roof rack article proved to be the most popular one all year, thanks in large part to some pictures I posted on Pinterest. It received over 7,000 views and a number of daily clicks to the article. Crazy!
As the website got more exposure, I encountered some great young people who have a passion for the car hobby. I found myself mentoring these young enthusiasts and helping them expand their skills and knowledge. As it turns out, the “Nanny” was truly helping to nurture their automotive interests.
While my goal was to keep the car hobby alive for the younger generation, I did not expect the reaction to be so positive. One appreciative Mom sent me the following message recently:
“There are still kids out there that eat and breathe automotive, or are possibly about to discover they love it. Your work helps make that happen. Thank you.”
Kinder words could not be said, and I am so happy this is making a difference.
During 2020 I have been able to appear on three fun podcasts…one of them multiple times. It’s fun to tell the Vehicle Nanny story and connect with some great people to boot! If you are interested, check out these podcasters:
This is the podcast about everything, and nothing at all. Hosts Nick Kubick and Jon Quade are in the automotive business and have a unique perspective on all things automotive. Ironically, their podcast is not meant to be car-related, but it seems they land on that topic often.
I was able to join the guys on the following two episodes this year:
Getting Lucky, Having Lucky and a Vehicle Nanny (July 21, 2020)
Flight Attendants, Coffee Cravings and Tire Talk (December 8, 2020)
You can find these appearances on their website EPISODES page, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was invited to join Cory Fourniquet and Matt Thorson on their automotive podcast “Garage Talk.” I got their attention from an article I wrote about a young car enthusiast, Grady Eger. Cory and Matt are pretty passionate car guys, and we cemented a pretty strong bond from our time together on their podcast.
Check out episode 44: Vehicles Have Nannys Too! We had a lot of fun on that one.
I found out that Cory names his cars, and is planning to name his next truck “Cheyenne.” I happened to have the original Cheyenne badge from a 1970s Chevrolet truck (Cheyenne was a trim package). I sent a surprise package to Cory, who filmed the opening of it on a YouTube video named Unboxing a Special Gift.
Everyday Driver Car Debate
As with the two podcasts listed above, I included this one in my list of Podcast Favorites earlier this year.
One of the features of this podcast is to help listeners pick the best car based on the criteria provided. The two hosts approach the problem from different angles, which makes it a fun discussion. While I did not appear to promote Vehicle Nanny, I did submit a fun car debate for the hosts to discuss.
If you are interested, my debate is in episode 542: Steeplechase and Phaetons, the Sparkling Crosstrek, Rhinoceros Sharks. My portion comes in around the 14 minute mark. I am “Bill T. from Michigan.”
All of the above podcasts are listed in all the popular podcast platforms. The links are provided for your direct listening pleasure!
Supporting Youth Programs Kicks Off
The reward in helping a few younger car hobbyists has really inspired and motivated me. It caused me to seek out other programs I can partner or align with that are positioned to help teens and young adults on a larger scale. I shared my plans around the support of the Hagerty Automotive Youth Programs in the article Supporting Automotive Youth Programs.
You can buy fun automotive themed t-shirts, hoodies and other stuff to support these programs from the Vehicle Nanny Merchandise Store. New designs will be added each month!
All proceeds are donated to Hagerty for their use.
Changing Lanes for 2021
That first year was action packed, and as events unfolded it became clear to me that mentoring teens and young adults is the lane I want to stay in for the foreseeable future. The personal reward is so great, and gives me an entirely new group who haven’t heard my stories!
I’m not giving up on the topics that I started in 2020, but it appears the more popular articles are those that show the connection of people with their cars. I’ll still share some DIY topics, but look for these kinds of features coming up:
- Low cost DIY projects (like the roof rack)
- Monthly “Drive-thru Interviews” that allow you to learn why enthusiasts of all ages love the quirky/fun car that they own.
- More project updates from young enthusiasts like AJ’s Project Fiero, Grady’s Mercedes Build and Will’s Cafe Racer motorcycle project.
I am working on one other big thing for 2021, which I should be able to announce toward the end of January. Vehicle Nanny may be going back to school, which could get very interesting! More to come soon.
I also was reacquainted with a lost automotive love in December. Look for an update on that next week.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me with questions, content suggestions and merchandise purchases. All of the above have kept me motivated and able to give back to a hobby that inspired my career choice, and given me pleasure in my off-times. This love of cars truly started in 1961 when I was born. It is not going away any time soon!