Barrett-Jackson 2018: Behind the Hobby with ‘All Girls Garage’

Cristy Lee (Left), Bogi (Center), and symposium moderator | Nicole Ellan James Photos

“Behind the Hobby” collector car symposiums have been a fairly recent addition to the list of lifestyle-features included at Barrett-Jackson events. Each symposium includes experts in their respective fields and is aimed to provide tips, tricks, and insider advice as well as pass along knowledge to future generations.

During the 47th annual Scottsdale auction held in Arizona, Street Muscle Magazine took part in a one-on-one symposium with Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner and Cristy Lee, co-hosts of the Velocity show, All Girls Garage.

In its seventh year, each week Cristy Lee and Bogi along with Rachel DeBarros, deconstruct, repair and rebuild everything in a “do-it-yourself” format aired over 30-minutes and showcase everything from classic and contemporary motorcycles to late-model domestic and European performance cars.

SM: Where has your love of cars come from?

Cristy: I grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida and around a lot of cars and bikes. My dad had a shop and was a mechanic, but I didn’t spend a lot of time-wrenching. If I was at the shop my dad was like ‘stay away from cars,’ so I did a lot of admin work.

I really got into it when I was 18, I really liked motorcycles and that’s what a lot of my friends were into, so I got my first bike when I was 18 and I learned to work on it with them.

Bogi: I actually did not grow up around cars. My dad hates it when I say this, but he is not mechanically inclined. I don’t know where I got it from really, I remember I always loved VW Bugs as a kid. When I got to high school I was able to buy one and I learned to work on it during shop class.

I went to college and did four years of pre-law only to realize I missed working with my hands so I moved to Arizona and went to the Universal Technical Institute, graduated and then worked as a BMW tech for seven years and then started my own business. It’s been an amazing adventure and journey.

SM: How do you select cars to appear on the show?

Cristy: We are involved in the selection process as well as the production crew and Velocity. The cars depend on what kind of episode we are doing – Sometimes we will have an ‘integration episode’ which is when we have a part that will fit a certain type of vehicle, so we will look for those. Sometimes we use a car just because we like it and we don’t necessarily know what’s wrong with it or what it needs so that becomes more of a ‘how-to’ diagnostic episode.

SM: How much time goes into creating an episode and how is that trimmed to fit into 30 minutes?

Cristy: We take about a week to do two episodes, but there is a lot of planning that goes on before we even start filming. Ultimately the show is for your entertainment so we try to keep it short and sweet. If we documented every single thing we did to the cars you would be bored. After we finish filming it’s out of our hands and is edited by our team.

SM: Was it difficult to start narrating what you are doing as you’re doing it in front of a camera?

Bogi: It came naturally to me. I have always been passionate about sharing about cars so when I opened my shop I held classes for women and talked through it while I showed them how to change a tire, how to change oil, ext. And so when it came time to be on tv I just had to pretend it was one of my students.

SM: Do you see young people coming into the automotive industry?

Cristy: The millennials are very different from the baby boomers. It’s tough to get kids interested in cars, and I don’t want to say its an older industry but it kind of is. The automotive industry is changing and with the resurgence of the muscle cars, like the Mustang and Camaro, automakers are doing a good job of keeping the heritage in place and getting the younger generation excited about it. They may not know about the older Camaro, but they could get one and then learn all about it and I think that is cool to see and see those cars coming back and getting popular.

Bogi: I think its hard to know what your passion is if you have never been exposed to it. And I think our young people are not exposed to automotive like they used to be. Shop classes, woodworking, and all of that isn’t in high schools anymore so children aren’t exposed to it like they used to be and that’s a huge disservice because the country doesn’t function without those trades. I’ve made an incredible career for myself working in the trades.

We are starting to see that conversation shift where its like not everyone needs to go to a four-year college and get a degree, but that conversation needs to shift and we are starting to see high school kids offered shop classes again and with classes around the country. But that conversation is long overdue.

SM: How has social media played a role in your involvement in the industry?

Bogi: Social media has been an interesting thing to watch over the years, I think particularly for women in the trades. It’s been a huge asset to them. When I first started out there were no social media and I truly felt like and only because I didn’t know any other women in the trade. So now with social media, I get to watch this other women who are welders, mechanics, painters, connect with each other and form a community and support one another. I think social media plays a huge role in why we are seeing more women get into the trade.

SM: What are some of the challenges you face in this industry?

Cristy: You would think in 2018 that women wouldn’t have to prove themselves in any industry, let alone a male-dominated industry but we have to. We often get doubted, there are a lot of people who don’t even think its possible for us to work on these cars or know anything about them, that all the information we know is being fed to us by someone else and that we are simply there to read from a cue card and pretend to tinker with things. It’s challenging.

Bogi: I’ve had way more allies then people rooting against me. I struggled to get my first job in the industry, and I’ve had people not pleased with having a women in the shop, but I think even the people we run into who have the disbelief and the people who walk up to me and are like ‘let me see your hands, let me see your fingernails,’ like they are clean –  I’m sorry.

But its genuine curiosity for the most part because women only make up two-percent of technicians. They don’t believe it because they haven’t seen it before. With many of the guys I’ve worked with after a few months I’ve proven myself and I’m not a woman or a man at that point, I’m just a technician.

SM: What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?

Cristy: One of the most rewarding things to be told that we are positive role models and hearing from parents that we have had a positive impact on their kids in some way. I am happy that it’s not just that we represent women in the industry, its more ‘you can do anything, be anyone, go anywhere and do anything.’

About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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