By on March 3, 2014

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Upon my introduction on these pages several months ago, many commenters took it upon themselves to make some suppositions about my personality based on the photos that accompanied my first article. Some of them were funny, some were downright insulting, and then there was this one:

“You gotta look at the whole ensemble. Short-hair, skinny jeans, t-shirt, flip-flops = uninhibited.”

You might be surprised by this, but that commenter got it pretty close to being right.

Despite the bikini pic that JB stole from my Facebook, I’m pretty much a hoodie and jeans kind of girl. You’re much more likely to find me attired in Old Navy than Donna Karan. Most of my heels and dresses come from Goodwill, just because I can’t imagine spending a whole lot of money on that sort of thing.

Deep inside, however, every girl loves to feel beautiful. Desirable. Maybe even glamorous. And what could be considered more glamorous than a pinup girl?

Like many women my age, I’ve always had a certain fascination with Pinup photography. After all, there’s an entire subculture devoted to the Suicide Girls and the SG “hopefuls” who post their tattooed bodies on their Instagram accounts religiously every Sunday (if you don’t know what I mean by this, simply search the hashtag “Sundies” on IG. Men, thank me later). However, I’m not really the Suicide Girls type—I’m blonde, petitie, and largely ink-free. Plus, the overt sexuality of that culture doesn’t appeal to me. I prefer classy over trashy.

As such, I’m much more interested in the classic pin-up girl artwork from the Forties and Fifties, and of course, how it relates to Cars. Cars and pretty girls have been joined at the fender since the beginning. Boys headed to war overseas often fantasized about their girls back home and the cars they would buy when their tours of duty were over. Pinup photography was often an inspiration to our GIs, combining the best of both worlds. As I researched more and more about the connection between the two, it hit me—I wonder what it would like to be a car pinup girl?

My first idea was to take some pictures with the resident muscle car at TTAC—Bark M’s Boss 302 Mustang. Since my preference for Mustangs is well known around these parts, it seemed like a natural fit. However, Bark had another idea.

“What if we could find some classic cars for you to pose with?” he pondered. “Like some genuine American Muscle?”

So I posted up on the TTAC Forum, looking for a reader with a muscle car, but nobody with a classic ride was within driving distance of my hometown. Oh well, maybe we’d have better luck finding a photographer first.

I struck gold with my first Google search. Coastal Expressions Photography, headed up by Kevin Myers, specializes in pinup and boudoir photography. After reviewing his work on his website, I was impressed with the quality of his work. Plus, they were located in Myrtle Beach, which was within driving distance for me.

I gave Kevin a call and explained what I was looking to do. I let him know that I wanted to do some pinup-style photography with some vintage cars, and, most importantly, that I was a complete rookie at all of this. I told him that I wasn’t looking to do anything over-the-top or risqué, that I just wanted to have some fun with it. Kevin immediately put my mind at ease. He assured me that he frequently works with newbies, and that he even had an idea about where we might be able to find cars for the shoot. By the end of the call, I was incredibly excited about the fact that my dream of becoming a pinup girl was about to become reality—but I also got incredibly nervous. I really hoped that the pictures would turn out the way I always dreamed they would.

I booked my appointment with Kevin for Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. He sent a list of suggested outfits that he thought would work nicely for my concept, and I rummaged through my closet (and the local Goodwill) to find the closest matches that I could. He also asked me to send a picture of my current hairstyle. When I arrived at his office in my normal t-shirt and jeans, I was greeted by his hair and makeup artist, Amanda Short. She took one look at me and realized that she had a big job ahead of her to make me into a glamorous pinup girl. She got out her makeup bag, her curling iron, and her hairspray, and went to work.

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Amanda used every trick in the bag to glam me up. The biggest challenge was getting the fake eyelashes to stick to my eyelids. After a couple of touch-and-go moments, including some scary applications of extremely adhesive glue quite close to my eyeball, we got them to stay put. After some serious hairspray and a flower tucked behind my ear, this was the final result.

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I could barely believe that the girl in the mirror was me! I was still nervous about being photographed, but the confidence that the makeover gave me was pretty amazing. Luckily, Amanda agreed to be my role model for the day, as well. As a veteran of several photo shoots, Amanda would go first and demonstrate the types of poses that I would be attempting to mimic, and then I would do my best to simulate them. I changed into my first outfit, which was a very pretty brown and white polkadot dress that I found at Goodwill for five bucks along with some brown and white spectator heels. I then followed Kevin over to the location for the shoot, which was the amazing Wheels of Yesteryear Museum, right by Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Wheels of Yesteryear is a rotating display of the wondrous car collection of Paul Cummings and his wife, Carol. Although there are typically about fifty cars on display, Paul freely admits that he has “no idea” how many cars he actually owns. The museum is worthy of its own article (keep an eye out for the next installment of The Truth About Caroline), but for now it’s barely sufficient to say that Paul’s collection is both impressive and astounding.

When we first walked into the museum, the first problem was selecting what cars we wanted to shoot. Paul is largely a Mopar man, and the vast majority of his collection consists of Superbirds, Challengers, Chargers, Cudas, and Darts. The problem wasn’t picking a cool car, it was picking a car that had enough space for Kevin to set up his photography equipment. The cars were parked nose to rear throughout much of the building, leaving little room for photography.

I took a quick lap through the museum and, as a car fan, I immediately targeted a few cars I wanted to feature. The first was a 1963 Corvette Stingray, remarkable for a few reasons. The first of which is, of course, the split “stingray” rear windshield, discontinued because of limited visibility. The second was a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang…you guys know how I love Mustangs, and this beauty was no exception. The third was a gorgeous silver 1957 Corvette convertible that belonged to Paul’s wife. The last one was a brown turbocharged 1962 Corvair Monza Spyder, partially because I know how much you guys love brown cars, but mostly just because I had a pretty brown dress that matched beautifully.

Kevin set up his lighting equipment to photgraph the Stingray first. Amanda had selected a pretty, vintage flowery dress for her first outfit, and she was the first up with the all-orginal Vette, scratches and all. I watched as Amanda transformed from a sweet, somewhat shy Southern girl into a sultry seductress, her eyes penetrating the lens of Kevin’s camera. I felt the butterflies in my stomach again as I wondered if I would be able to replicate the mood that Amanda was portraying.

After a few different angles and poses, Kevin said, “You’re up, Caroline.” I swallowed hard and got in front of the camera. I had no idea how to pose, what to do with my face—I felt like Ricky Bobby during his first interview. Kevin was incredibly helpful, suggesting poses that were well within my range of comfort. The first shot was me sitting next the the front wheel, pretending like i was changing the tire. I then moved to the front of the car, and finally, I wanted to make sure that we got a shot of me with the iconic split rear windshield. I tried smiling, pouting, laughing…none of it felt natural, but it wasn’t unnatural, either.

Kevin showed me a couple of the shots on the preview pane of his camera. “You’re a natural, Caroline.” Whether or not he was telling the truth, it did help me relax to see some of the pics and to get such positive feedback. I began to loosen up just a little bit.

We then moved on to the Corvair Monza, just because it was adjacent to the Vette. Honestly, of the cars we picked, I was least excited about the little 150 HP Spyder. However, when I tweeted out some of the camera phone pics we took with the hashtag #monza, they were immediately retweeted in a few different languages by Monza enthusiasts around the world. I didn’t realize until I researched it that this was the Corvair Monza Sypder was the first factory turbocharged model in the world. I felt confident enough at this point to join Amanda for some “Thelma and Louise” style photos, as well as some solo shots.

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Next up was the Mach One. Even though it had a sign that said “Under Construction” on it, with some clear exterior and interior work still needing to be done, THIS was the one I had been really excited about the whole day. What can I say? I’m a Mustang girl at heart. I switched into a new outfit for this one, more of a “Rosie the Riveter” kind of look. It was at this point that Paul, the owner, poked his head out to join us. I asked him several questions about the museum, including about the Mustang I had been leaning against for the last few minutes.

“Well, I’m not a money man,” he said in his classic Southern gentleman drawl. “I’m a car man. I didn’t go out and just buy cars that I wanted in my museum. Every single car in this museum is something I bought to drag race, pretty much. These things weren’t worth anything. We used to buy ‘em for 300-400 bucks, race ‘em until they blew up, and then buy another one.”

The Mach One had been sitting in his barn, untouched, for twenty years. “People used to come in here and say I needed a Mustang. I never was a Mustang man, but I knew that I had one in the barn. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Finally, a little while ago, I decided to clean it up and put it out for display.” I knew then that we needed to get a picture with him and his barn queen. I also made Nancy, the lovely assistant at the museum and walking encyclopedia of the cars, jump in the pic with us.

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While Kevin and Amanda packed up and moved down to the silver Vette convertible, I stood and talked with Paul and Nancy for a few more minutes.

“This one is my favorite,” said Nancy, gesturing toward a black 1958 Impala, stunningly decked out with whitewalls and a gorgeous original interior. “If I could pick any of them to take home, it would be this one.” Since we had focused on muscle cars for the rest of the day, I thought that maybe we should finish up with a classic cruiser.

I went down and took a few shots with the gorgeous Vette. Paul was nice enough to let us sit inside it, a privilege that no other museum guests ever get. I felt incredibly lucky to be in the driver’s seat of such a beautiful car. I finally felt pretty comfortable in my own skin at this point, too.

The day was winding up at this point, but I wanted to get a pic or two with the Impala, mostly because I knew how much Nancy would love it. She occasionally walked by throughout the day and windexed the cars for us, remarking how she was checking out what we were doing with our feet in the poses. I wanted her to have some pics of us with her baby.

Although the exterior shots were good, the interior shots were amazing. Through a serendipitous stroke of luck, we were able to arrange Kevin’s lighting so that it looked like we were at a drive-in movie back in the day. I changed into a vintage-style black and white striped dress for this final car, and I have to say that I’m glad I did. Kevin worked magic here.

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Then, Amanda had the fantastic idea of laying down on our backs so that our hair spilled out of the passenger seat.

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It looked so gorgeous that I had to give it a try.

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Finally, after about four hours of continuous shooting, we called it a day. Kevin showed us some of the better pics on his preview pane, and I also looked at some of the quick camera phone pics that we had taken and posted to Twitter and Instagram throughout the day. I have to say that I have never felt more beautiful or more empowered than I did that day. Kevin and Amanda definitely worked their collective magic to make this casual chick look as much like Marilyn as I possibly could have.

At the end of the day, I am incredibly glad that I had this experience. Not only did I have a chance to hang out for a day around some remarkable cars and remarkable people, I got to experience something that every woman should at least once in her life. I didn’t have to do anything that anybody would consider risqué or burlesque to feel sexy and beautiful.

I want to thank Kevin Myers and Amanda Short at Coastal Expressions and Paul and Carol Cummings from Wheels of Yesteryear for making this all possible. If you’d like to see more candid pics from the day, you can check out my Instagram at carolinettac or my Twitter @carolineTTAC. We’ll have a post with all the pics from the session later today!

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96 Comments on “The Truth About Caroline: From Leggings to Stockings, or My Transformation Into a Pinup Girl...”


  • avatar
    levi

    So not interested.

    Hate that this post even counts toward a total count of posts.

    Really.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    One cannot forget in auto sales minutia and pictures of useless unveils from Geneva that will never be sold anywhere the special relationship that ties together a girl, a car (or, better yet, an old truck with a lacquered wood bed), and a camera.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Have to run to work so had to skim it, but a very nice original piece. Kudos.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “We then moved on to the Corvair Monza, just because it was adjacent to the Vette. Honestly, of the cars we picked, I was least excited about the little 150 HP Spyder. However, when I tweeted out some of the camera phone pics we took with the hashtag #monza, they were immediately retweeted in a few different languages by Monza enthusiasts around the world.”

    Despite its Rodney Dangerfield reputation in the US the Corvair put the contemporaneous Porsches to shame and influenced a decade of European design. The second generation went from swing-axles to a double-jointed multilink design, resolving the “unsafe at any speed” snap-oversteer issue. But it’s not like swing axles were archaic at the time. 300SL and 356 used them.

    Of course as a world class design, both mechanically and aesthetically, with its one Achilles’ heel resolved, GM had no choice but to kill the Corvair.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      My recollection is that the Monza turbo was rated at 160, or even 180 hp. There was a dual-carb n/a setup that was rated at 140.

      • 0 avatar
        Tinker

        The final year Monza was 180 hp as I recall, but the earlier editions were somewhat less. I generally preferred a non-turbo motor, about 115 hp, these were air/oil cooled, at a time when it was rare/difficult to find a synthetic motor oil.

        • 0 avatar
          BuzzDog

          Not to pick nits, but the 180 hp version was in the Corsa, not the Monza.

          The 150 hp mill made its debut in the the mid-model year introduction of the Monza Spyder, and remained at that rating despite a 19-cubic-inch displacement bump in ’64. When the all-new ’65 launched, the Spyder became the Corsa; a four-carb, naturally-aspirated 140 hp engine was standard, and the turbo was then rated at 180 hp. The Monza dropped to a mid-level series, equipped with either a 95 hp or 110 hp dual-carb engine.

  • avatar

    “good times never seemed so good”.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      The photography reminds me of an old episode on a BBC 4 called the “Cars the Star.” The particular episode featured restored 1959’ish GM Vauxhalls amongst others that now are owned by younger women who dressed for the occasion.

      GM and to some extend the long extinct Rootes Group of Britain had this crazy idea the time that women might influence car purchases.

    • 0 avatar

      Gotta love Neil Diamond :) I used to hate that song growing up, but I’m a fan now.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        My wife’s name is Caroline too so I have it as my ringtone when she calls (but the Elvis version). She embraces it now as well :)

        Always enjoy your contributions, keep it up!

    • 0 avatar

      For anyone not familiar with the back story, the song refers to Caroline Kennedy, and is loved in Boston, particularly by fans of th’ Saux (phonetic spelling), and loved not so much in New York City, for obvious reasons. More here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Caroline

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Firstly let me apologize for my few fellow Gear Heads who have poor manners and ever said anything insulting to you .

    For me , any Woman who drives or better yet wrenches on vehicles , is sexy and beautiful off the charts .

    Yes , you’re a very pretty Woman and you did a good job here .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks, Nate! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • 0 avatar

      Ditto Nate. Times 1000.

      I knew I had a keeper when my then-fiance helped me change an engine in my first ’57 Chevy.

      That was 33 years ago.

      She hasn’t wrenched in decades but she knows her ’05 Outback inside out. Any little change or anomaly and she lets me know…and has put more then one garage mechanic to shame with her “hunches” that turn out to be accurate diagnoses.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Nice pics. The black and white photo really captures that classic pin-up girl look.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Anyway, on the subject, shout-out to Car Kulture DeLuxe.

    http://www.ckdeluxemag.com/galleries/pinup-deluxe/?sort=rating&order=desc&perpage=150

  • avatar
    50merc

    A fresh and entertaining perspective for the TTAC guys.

    Oddly, it’s the one black-and-white photo that I would most like to frame and hang for display.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    how you doin…
    haha
    Not gonna lie, really dig the black and white pokadot dress and the last picture with the whit shirt tied up like a Duke girl..hubba hubba.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    A most enjoyable piece that will be remembered after luxury hybrid road tests are long forgotten.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Pinup girls are always a big part of a lot of the car shows I attend, so I am OK with this. Thanks for the unique article.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    This is right up there with Alex Dykes analysis of the ZF 9-speed.

    Great photos Caroline, and thanks for stopping in at TTAC.

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    Love the estrogen car interest. I was explaining to my wife the way a car lover’s mind works when driving and while sometimes, when she’ll be in the middle of telling me about something interesting (and yes I’m really interested! Here’s a hint for you fellas, when a woman *stops* communicating with you, even about the seemingly smallest things is when you are in trouble. So yes, when she’s talking, I’m usually engaged). So as I was saying, I might blurt out “Oh wow, there’s something you don’t see everyday! A Subaru SVX!” She used to look at me puzzled as if, “Were you not listening to what I was just saying?” Then I explained the “car scan.”

    Car scanning is what car-lovers do while driving. Consciously or subconsciously, we are constantly scanning the road, quickly identifying and classifying other vehicles that we see. In a couple of tenths of a second, we will see a car and make a quick mental note: “F30 3 Series”, followed by a note of the model number and the engine in it. When something really stands out, we might stare at it a couple of seconds until we identify it. Once I explained “car scanning”, she started to join in the discussion. She’s not a “car babe” by any stretch of the imagination, but she was appropriately excited with me the first couple of times I saw a C7 on the road. She knows that if I’m staring at something, it’s probably going to be an interesting car, and she’ll ask me about it.

    I say all that to say, in another universe, it would’ve been kinda cool to have a “car babe” partner, just for the discussion potential. Now I’ve said all that, I look forward to your future stories. As I’m all set on the hot-babe front, your pictures are interesting and cool, but not nearly as cool as I’m hoping your car stories are.

  • avatar
    360joules

    I liked the article. I like the variety on this site.

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    Nice work, Caroline – great writing, and great images, as well.

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    Another Mainer here. Thank you, Caroline! You are such a breath of fresh air. I have been a reader for years, but haven’t commented in a few years because it often seems pointless.
    But a young person, having fun, and stretching the limits of car enthusiasm, is very refreshing. It has been mentioned that you write very well, and I agree. My only complaint about your writing is that we don’t see more of it.
    Keep coming back. Your enthusiasm for life is palpable.
    Cheers!

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks to both of you Mainers! Sounds like such a beautiful place…I want to go someday soon!

      I am glad that something in the article inspired you to comment! We need more of your writing in the comments, too—deal?

      • 0 avatar
        baabthesaab

        Just promise that, when you come to Maine, you’ll contact me so I can get you behind the wheel of my ’36 Chevy station wagon. You’ll NEVER forget that!
        And, see, you have me writing more already.
        Keep having fun.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Nice story. Cool cars and hot women have always been a natural fit.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Something different at TTAC!

    Like!

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    As a 52 YO dude, I find most women in their 20s to be hot. Caroline? Not so much.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If I ever park my convertible with the top down and come back to find you draped across the black vinyl I promise I won’t even be mad.

    Now if there’s a 5’3″ dark haired Latina standing behind me I’ll act mad…

    Honestly I think every enthusiast pictures in his head a pin up girl stretched across his car. No offense to wives and girlfriends and it doesn’t mean we want to stray it just appeals to us on a visceral level.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    You seemed to enjoy feeling your inner beauty as it shows in the photos.

    The cars also looked great. You scrub up quite nicely.

  • avatar
    April

    Caroline, it seems you are trying awfully hard to convince yourself what you are doing is “cool”.

    P.S. Girl, time to grow up.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Welcome to Jalopnik. Wait, even they wouldn’t think this is kewl.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    It’s nice to see a woman want to snuggle up with America’s pride… it’s vintage cars.

    Seems like Generation X

    You and those cars look very nice together.

    Home run, thumb’s up, and thank you kindly for sharing your fun experience with all of us.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      As I was saying (couldn’t edit…?) seems like Generation X doesn’t give the vintage cars enough respect (I myself being Generation X). After all, if it wasn’t for the classics paving the way, we wouldn’t have cars of the caliber we have today.

      Don’t get me started on Generation Y. Did they know these cars existed? Lol

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Caroline, you’ve offended me. You went to the Wheels of Yesteryear and shot 3 Chevies and a Ford. Why no love for the abundant Mopar goodness? Not even a Superbird (which I’ve seen so many of in the last few years I’m getting tired of)? I.. I just don’t want to understand.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mopar stuff was not organized in a way that add it easy to photograph. Trust me, there was a pink Chally that I desperately wanted to shoot, but there just wasn’t room to set up the lighting. The Superbirds were in the windows, which made it impossible to light.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Very nice. I always love classic cars and the vintage look is certainly classy. I think the TTAC calendar is an idea to consider.

    And we’re all grateful you took on this assignment rather than Derek or Jack.

  • avatar

    This almost makes up for the High-Res Jeep Renegade photos

    Caroline your “What your car says to me” article was an eye opener, a very depressing eye opener

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    While I have always objected to a pretty grrl’ splashed over a beautiful car in a magazine feature shot, when the subject is, the pretty grrl’, I find it delightfully appropriate.

  • avatar
    jbreuckm

    Cool cool.

    I drive a Mustang by the way. Five point ohhh yeah. (You can’t see it, but I just raised my eyebrows to punctuate the ohhh yeah, and yes, this is self-aware irony).

  • avatar
    ArBee

    Well, I enjoyed this, even though I could be Caroline’s grandpa. My favorite shot? The last one, in black and white, in a black ’58 Chevy Impala, no less. As a Virginia gentleman to a Southern lady, “Darlin’, you put the dew on the roses”.

  • avatar
    firemachine69

    Wow, don’t we have a bunch of haters on here! Looking great, and the deep process into transformation for someone who can word it out is phenomenal. I watch my other half doll herself up every other day, and if you asked me to spell it out, I’d still just tell you “it just happens after an hour in front of the mirror”.

  • avatar
    CougarXR7

    Hey Caroline-

    I own two vintage convertibles- a 1965 Buick Skylark and a 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88. If I ever get either of the damn things running again, you’re welcome to pose with them any time :) .


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