As summer days begin to wane across much of the country, cool breezes replace the warm winds. Many classic car enthusiasts concede that before long their cruising days will be in short supply. Like many who live and breathe vintage iron, Sunday drives and cruise nights will be replaced with automotive reading and television shows to fill the void left by resting muscle cars.
There’s something wonderful about driving on the highways of America in a classic car. — Heather Storm
While many programs battle to remind us that our cars are valuable, the wildly popular Garage Squad, which airs on Velocity TV, rescues “weekend mechanics who may lack the time, resources or simple know how to get their project back on the road and enjoyed again.” Armed with skilled mechanics, talented craftsmen, and a can-do attitude, the Garage Squad team understands that every car has a story to tell and a value that cannot always be found on a for-sale sign.
Garage Squad viewers will undoubtedly recognize Heather Storm. Although one of the shows main personalities, Heather is much more than “the girl” who has no problem jumping into anything that needs to be done. Raised in a small Montana town with horses, dogs and cats, Heather credits her dad for first getting her into the hobby.
“My dad was always into cars and he owned several classics, but I particularly remember his red El Camino,” she explained. “I would help in the garage from the time I was just a toddler. I have a photo of me in a diaper handing him a tool.”
With Heather, you get exactly what you see on your screen. A down-to-earth, knowledgeable and likable friend who is at home block sanding a fender or promoting a brand. With an impressive television, commercial and global resumé to her credit, she is never far from her roots.
“My first car was a hand me down from my aunt; a 1986 Pontiac Bonneville,” she explained. “We lived at the end of a winding dirt driveway that careened off a cliff. A few times in the winter the car would get stuck on the icy driveway so I had to leave it there, only to come home from school and find it at the bottom of the ravine,” she said sheepishly.
“I was the friend with the car so we’d drive out into the country and see what the car could do, I beat the hell out of it and by the time I had to turn it over to my brother, I had a chain holding the hood down,” she playfully confessed.
Today Heather, who now calls California home, holds the reins to a gorgeous, Silver Blue, 289-powered ’65 Mustang.
“I love the classic pony interior on my Mustang,” she said. “The blue-and-white interior matches the silver-blue exterior and it’s just so pretty.” Plus, she says, “it sounds cool!”
On The Road Trip
When not working, Heather can be found piloting her pony on road trips across America. “In Drive Yourself Local, the new series I created, I drive on various road trips across America sharing local gems in small towns. There’s something wonderful about driving on the highways of America in a classic car. It’s like I’m transported to another time and I always meet the nicest people.”
One trip in particular stands out for Heather. “I was cruising down the highway though rural Illinois headed towards Hannibal, Missouri, when my car started making a bad clanking sound. I pulled over at a gas station in a very small town and within a minute a local was telling me Shane Butler, a local mechanic, is who I needed to have look over it. As I was lying on the ground trying to see why the pulley was making noise, a man in a patina’d classic pulled up to help and introduced himself as Shane.”
“We drove my car to his shop around the corner and he diagnosed a cracked pulley. After calling a few friends unsuccessfully to locate a replacement, he welded it back together and got me on my way,” she continued. “By the time I was driving my car out of his garage it was dark and after three hours working on the issue and wouldn’t accept my payment.”
She left it anyway, but experiences like that, she says, “restore my faith in the good of humanity!”
As more classic car owners enjoy driving their cars as they were intended, count Heather among the believers. “I love to turn on classic rock when I’m on the road.” She counts Tom Petty, America, Fleetwood Mac, and Jefferson Airplane among her go-to soundtracks for the road. “I imagine the era before cell phones and digital maps when life felt more free.”
From the cliffs hugging the Oregon coast and Haceta Head historic lighthouse to big cities and small towns across America, she urges you to “Take your time and soak it in.”
“I view cars the way I view cocktails, there’s one for every occasion,” she shared. “The newer cars are all about comfort, necessity and practicality. The classics are an almost lost art. They’re about craftsmanship and the nostalgia of an almost forgotten time.”
As evidenced by the success of Garage Squad, she urges others to “Surround yourself with other folks who are into classic cars. Join a car club and start lending a hand to others on their projects and before you know it, they’ll be doing the same for you. The best way to learn is with others and it’s a lot more fun that way too!”
Perhaps those early days in Montana helping dad work on cars and raising horses provided a bit of foreshadowing of Heather and her classic Mustang. Intelligent and approachable, strong yet classy, nostalgic yet current, Heather is both the girl next door and the friend you can count on. Who’s ready for a road trip?
If you want to follow along with some of her adventures, season five of Garage Squad is now airing every Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Velocity.