It won’t be hard to spot Lora Daughton in the Queen City Cruise this Friday: Just look for her bright pink car.
She’ll also be one of the only women sitting in the driver’s seat during the parade down Baker Street. When it comes to collecting and restoring cars, it tends to be a male-dominated hobby.
“It’s hard to break into as a woman,” Daughton said. “The guys just don’t believe a woman can love a car the same way a man can. They don’t think I could understand an engine.”
But Daughton has a good teacher — her husband of 30 years. The two of them worked side-by-side on Daughton’s 1972 Dodge Dart in their Balfour home garage.
It was Daughton’s husband that introduced her to the hobby.
“It was one of those ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ situations. My husband always loved cars and I guess it rubbed off on me,” Daughton said.
Each summer, the two of them travel to a handful of car shows around the Kootenays together. It’s become their favourite activity to do as a couple.
“We’re both very busy, but we know with the car shows that we’ll have the whole weekend together doing something we love,” Daughton said.
She loves the reaction her pink Dart gets at the shows. She has a life-size Pink Panther stuffed animal she put in the driver’s seat for show and shines and a “Girls Rule!” sign that rests in the window.
“The little girls call it the Barbie car,” she laughed. “It definitely stands out.”
One comment she can’t stand is when people assume her husband must have built the car for her.
“They’ll say to me, ‘your husband sure built you a beautiful car,’ when actually I spent hour-for-hour the same amount of time working on it as he did,” Daughton said.
Her husband is, however, responsible for getting Daughton her second car. For their 25th wedding anniversary he surprised her with a limited edition 2010 Dodge Challenger — painted pink, of course. He had to order the car two years in advance and kept it a secret until their special day.
“My daughter called me from Nelson Chrysler saying she wanted me to look at a truck she was thinking of buying,” Daughton recalled. “They’d parked the Challenger in the shop and when I walked in, I made a joke that I liked it better than the truck. Then my husband came up behind me and handed me an envelope.”
The envelope contained the registration papers and key to to drive the car home.
“I was in shock. I didn’t want to touch it, afraid I’d wake up from a dream,” Daughton said, tearing up a little as she tells the story. “It had to be one of the happiest moments of my life.”
If that isn’t proof that a woman can love a car, what is?
Road Kings Weekend events
4 p.m. Soap Box Derby time trials on Kootenay Street, between Silica and Baker streets.
6 p.m Queen City Cruise from Nelson Bridge to Baker Street.
7 p.m. Soap Box Derby finals
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Show and Shine on Baker Street
3:30 p.m. Trophy and prize presentations
4:30 p.m. Poker Run
7 p.m. Rooftop dance, featuring Rocky and the Rollers, on top of the Vernon Street parkade