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January 18, 2019

New column to feature vehicles and their owners

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
A 1957 Chevrolet station wagon’s will custom wheels and exhaust pipes.
Warrenton resident Toby Weir-Jones, who taught himself to repair a series of Mazda Miatas, will write about local people and their attachments to interesting machines.
By Toby Weir-Jones
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Hello, Fauquier Now readers. We’re excited to launch a new recurring feature about the stories behind the cars, trucks and other conveyances of the county.

I will be your guide through the interesting histories, unlikely circumstances and emotional bonds so many of us have with these machines.

I came by it honestly. My father built himself a Lotus Elan in university in the United Kingdom and then toured across Europe with my mom for their honeymoon. They used more room for tools and spare parts than for luggage!

When I graduated from college, I bought a sporty little roadster and couldn’t afford to pay people to work on it. But, I owned some hand tools and, thanks to the internet, I learned enough to make it to work the next day after each project.

Later on, I started racing and coaching sports car owners on high-performance car control and race technique. I’ve met some of the most remarkable craftsmen when I needed help beyond my skill level. And, I’ve helped friends and family keep their motley fleets on the road.

I’ve owned more Mazda Miatas (and bits of Miatas) than I can remember, even though nowadays it’s down to just one and sundry spare parts.

What I really enjoy, though, isn’t just the greasy fingernails and “enthusiast” stories. It’s about the connections, when a car transforms from a simple appliance into something with meaning. Exotic or modest, new or old, pristine or full of patina, the stories are what this column is all about.

Perhaps you’re the original owner of a car from the 1950s. Maybe you keep your Ford 600 tractor because it’s all you’ve ever needed on the farm. Maybe you never cared a bit about cars, until that one day when something changed for you.

Virginia’s Scenic Byways are a great VDOT program, but their lifeblood comes from the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It’s an apt metaphor for what we’re trying to do here. You won’t see tedious discussions of lateral cornering grip or 0-to-60 times. What’s most important is that we hear from you.

We’ve set up a new email address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), for you to get in touch. Please, tell us how to reach you, where you live and a little about whatever’s in your garage. It can be a car, an airplane, a piece of construction equipment or really anything else, so long as it’s “just” a motorized machine. And, yet it’s really so much more in your eyes.

We’re certain you’ll learn a little more about local personalities and why their cars and trucks matter to them, with plenty of detours and roadside attractions along the way. We hope you’ll hop in and come for a ride!

An IT professional, the writer lives near Warrenton. Contact Toby Weir-Jones at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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vipermike98 · February 20, 2019 at 8:37 pm
Great idea. I love my car, it gets me to work and back home.

Look foreward to reading.
Jim Griffin · January 24, 2019 at 3:49 pm
This is a good idea for a column, nice to hear you include tractors and other vehicles. I've little interesting to throw in the mix, but I see interesting vehicles around town that I'll be interested in attaching to their drivers and their history.

Don't forget pictures, maybe even audio/video. Thanks!
cars · January 23, 2019 at 10:19 am
Dear Mr. Huddleston, I'd be glad to hear about your Opel, and perhaps any other relics you have tucked away? p.s. bonus points for any endearing nicknames they've acquired over the years!
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