Leading Ladies: Catching Up with the Amazing Jo Coddington

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than three years since we last caught up with Jo Coddington. We initially spoke to her in April of 2014 as one of our first Leading Ladies, as part of the fledgling series at the time, but, she had been a part of the car world for many years prior. A few things have certainly changed for the hot-rodder over the years, but she still remains a major personality in the automotive industry, and we’re excited to be able to share with you what she’s been up to since we last spoke.

I respect anyone that loves any of your passions.        – Jo Coddington

There’s never been a limit to what Jo Coddington can do. An automotive enthusiast, practically from birth, Jo has made a name for herself in the industry by not only being a “car girl,” but also wrenching on rides, backing top products in the automotive scene, and speaking about the automotive industry everywhere she goes. From participating in an all-girl street rod build to traveling around the world as a spokeswoman for many different products, you could say Jo has just about done it all. But that hasn’t kept her from branching out and continuing to take on more than ever.

Classic cars, Concours cars, or even imports — no matter the vehicle, Jo can definitely respect the passion that all automotive enthusiasts share.

One of her more recent moves in the industry was working with good friend, David Smith of Factory Five Racing on some tried-and-true products, and some upcoming new reveals.

“I endorsed his [David Smith’s] steel-body ’33. I was honored to be part of that. This year, Factory Five will be unveiling some new and upgraded products that can go on the current products they have, and I am extremely excited about that. It’s right up my alley!” (Stay tuned as some of these new products are set to be revealed at the annual SEMA Show at the end of the month, according to a recent Factory Five newsletter.

Expanding The Brand

Speaking of endorsing products, Jo has continued her work with International Aero Products over the last few years, helping represent and expand the brand, but with some new twists. Most recently, Jo helped bring International Aero Products into the Australian automotive market.

“It’s very cool being able to have my product when I’m over there,” Jo explained of the company’s recent growth. In the next few years, Jo would like to help open up more new markets for both International Aero Products and Factory Five.

A car girl through and through, Jo makes sure to make time in her busy life to attend a number of car shows each year, including the Iola Car Show every summer!

Beyond that, there have been plenty of other new endeavors Jo has taken on, and some of them may surprise you. One of them is working in the insurance industry with Native American Indians for the past two years – an unforeseen career jump she added to her repertoire after Mike Martin, the man who introduced Jo to Boyd back in the day, asked for her help. So now, Jo is busy traveling 1,400 to 1,600 miles in her car, driving to insurance clients during the week and flying to car shows and other automotive events for the weekends.

“I’ve been incredibly busy going to car shows, especially with International Aero,” she told us. “Kind of through them, I’ve been able to go to more Concours shows, and see Porsches and other Concours cars. I’ve never spent a lot of time with Concours cars other than like Bentleys or Benzes. So it’s kind of a new avenue, but I’ve really been enjoying it.”

New To The Concours World

Not having had much experience with the side of the industry that says classic vehicles should be maintained in their original form, there’s a learning curve when it comes to the Concours stuff, Jo admits.

“I’m pretty new to this,” she explained. “ You look inside of these gorgeous cars and you want to look under the hood and it’s completely sealed, and you can only check the oil! There’s no way you could put oil in it without discontinuing the warranty. It’s like an expensive hot rod that you don’t get to play with. So I’m learning, and I respect it. I respect anyone that loves any of your passions. We still share a lot because of the culture and the passion.”

One of the Leading Ladies of the automotive industry, Jo still makes time to chat with and sign autographs for all of her fans.

Along with Concours vehicles, Jo has also been learning more about the import vehicle scene. But as they say, you can take the gearhead out of a street rod but you can’t take the street rod out of a gearhead!

“It’s very interesting,” Jo told us of the import scene. “They have a much different sound than V8s and V12s. But the people in general, through International Aero, I’m being introduced to different clientele of the same culture and passion, so I’m enjoying it.”

“Sometimes I sit back with my hands on my knees and just kinda go ‘you know what I could do to that car…’,” she continued. “You know, once you really get that hot rod blood and that hot rod instinct, you start eyeing a car from the front to the back, and things stick out and you just… want to remove them.”

Hot Rod Blood

Whether she’s looking at street rods, Concours vehicles, or imports, we doubt Jo will ever get far away from that “hot rod blood.” Speaking of which, there is a new 1940 Ford in Jo’s stable she’s already coming up with plans for.

A proud ambassador for International Aero Products, Jo has helped open up new markets for the company! Photo compliments of Jo Coddington and International Aero Products.

With 1940s Fords having a special place in Jo’s heart, thanks to a 1940 project car that Boyd was building for Jo when he passed away in 2008, it came as no surprise to Jo that at a recent Barrett-Jackson auction, she was instantly drawn to a 1940 Ford convertible that was up for grabs.

“I’m sitting at the next booth and there’s the ’40 convertible laying right there in front of me. I didn’t look at it. I didn’t go down to look at it. I didn’t walk around it, but it was so reasonable, and wala,” Jo explained. “So now I have it, and it runs. It’s got a flathead in it and I’m having kind of this angel verses devil sitting on my shoulder thing going ‘Hot rod it. No don’t, keep it original. Hot rod it. No, no.’ So until I decide, I drive it, you know, three on the tree and let her smoke, you know?”

When prompted that she had to be planning on hot rodding the car, Jo just smiled and replied, “Oh I will, to a point, because, like the brakes and steering, it’s a complete arm workout. It’s just safer that way – make it more road worthy. Also, because I don’t like getting kicked around!”

One thing is for certain, though – the car will remain fairly mild and definitely a cruiser.
“She just rides so nice,” Jo explained. “I just get in her and go.”

A great influence in the industry, Jo’s automotive bucket list has only just begun!

With the ’40 in her garage awaiting its fate, a house remodel she’s working on with her partner, and spending plenty of time with her family – including her young grandkids – all on top of her insurance and automotive industry work, Jo certainly has her hands full. But she seems to like it that way.

Completing The Bucket List

“I think someone once told me to make a lot of checks off the bucket list,” Jo told us, and she’s certainly doing just that. But don’t be fooled into thinking that that bucket list is getting close to being completed!

Though Jo would like to cut back a bit on the insurance side of things in the future, she still has many plans for the upcoming years, including possibly building a high boy like she’s always wanted, working on a land-speed car, learning new things in the industry when it comes to welding and body work, continuing on with International Aero Products and Factory Five, and of course, spending as much time with her family and friends as possible.

With a wonderful family of her own, Jo knows the importance of making car events a family affair.

Truly a mentor in the automotive industry, Jo Coddington is an inspiration to both males and females in the car world. On a daily basis, she proves there are no limits as long as you have passion and drive, which she partially credits life’s ups and downs for teaching her over the years.

Who knows where the next few years will take Jo, but one thing we are certain of is no matter if it’s automotive related or not, she’s going to give her all to anything she gets into and continue to be an amazing Leading Lady!

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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