By on May 1, 2013

One of the worst kept secrets in show business is actor Tim Allen’s legendary love of cars, an affliction that has almost reached Jay Leno proportions. In fact the Toolman made his car addiction a major part of the storyline for his classic situation comedy “Home Improvement”.

The role of Tim’s wife on “˜Home Improvement’ was played by Patricia Richardson and this talented actress was able to make her role as the beleaguered bride of an unrepentant car guy come alive in the show. We hear a great deal about Tim Allen’s real life fondness for cars, but what about the woman who played Jill (Mrs. Toolman) Taylor on “Home Improvement”?

We were fortunate enough to be able to contact Patricia and ask her about her real life philosophy regarding cars. We found that she had some interesting and funny answers to the burning question about whether she is indeed a car girl.

“You know, thinking about it, I don’t think I have met my favorite car still! I guess that would be the equivalent of never meeting the love of my life car wise. I hadn’t realized it until you asked. I didn’t have a car at all for many years while living in New York. Since living in Los Angeles I’ve had many different cars , mostly various Mom cars, and I had a Porsche for awhile which I was never really into. My guy liked it I guess. It’s definitely a guy car. I think I got it because of Tim probably and it had a little back seat that allowed me to get all of the kids into it if need be while allowing me to have a sports car, but it was kind of bumpy, and too low to the ground to be practical, and had soft tires that were always picking up the nails in my neighborhood that always had construction going on. And I’m not really interested in speeding around or going fast and don’t drive a car like a guy.”

Patricia confesses that she may have already met the automobile love of her life, but her sister ended up with the car:

“I have car envy instead for the car my sister has had for some years now which was that little Lexus sports car they don’t make anymore that also had the small back seat and had great mileage and was much less bumpy to drive. Wish I had bought that one instead of the Porsche all those years ago I would probably still have it and THAT would be my favorite car.”

TV’s Mrs. Toolman also notes that she was given pretty straight-forward car purchase advice from Tim Allen during their time together on one of television’s all time most popular comedies; “Tim wanted me to only buy American cars”.Tim’s advice probably made a lot of sense to Patricia when her import SUV inexplicably caught fire:

This guy helped me again when my- get this- Mercedes SUV caught fire in the engine for no discernible reason. We were coming home – my guy, one of my sons and me. Thank God this man had purchased fire extinguishers for all over the house and there was one in the garage”¦ When I got out of the car I noticed little flames and a little smoke through the tire on my side and told him. He started yelling at me to get Joe out of the garage. I’m stupidly standing around saying “shouldn’t we call the fire department?” He was already spraying all around the sides of the closed hood, the front wheels, etc and now REALLY YELLING AT ME TO GET OUT OF THERE. Which I did.”

Patricia came away from the “hot-car-for-all-of-the-wrong-reasons experience with this insight:

“What I learned from my boyfriend? Keep your house well supplied with fire extinguishers. He saved our lives and my house that day. Also, never open the hood if you see smoke coming out from your engine! Also, when someone tells you to get away from a fire, GET AWAY FROM THE FIRE!”

Tim Allen may have advised Patricia to buy American cars, but Patricia promised her children that she would purchase hybrid cars and instead bought imports that have this dual energy capability for her daily driver use. So far her hybrids have not caught fire during her time as an owner.

You cannot work with a consummate car guy like Tim Allen for all of those years without learning the most important lesson of all when it comes to cars:Â

The best thing I learned from Home Improvement? And this is from a still totally ignorant about cars person? Pay attention to the oil light. LOL.”

“˜Home Improvement’ fans will recall an episode where Jill ignored the low oil warning on her Nomad and cooked the engine. The lesson obviously took with Patricia because she is well aware of the need to pay attention to the oil pressure warning system on her vehicles.

We thoroughly enjoyed our opportunity to talk cars with Patricia Richardson and have concluded that she is probably a car girl in her heart of hearts. She just hasn’t met the perfect car quite yet.


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24 Comments on “Home Improvement’s Patricia Richardson Talks About Cars...”

  • avatar

    Nice interview. Maybe you can make the famous/showbiz type person interview a regular TTAC feature?

    As for Ms Richardson, her opinions about cars are typical of the average American female. Actually the average American male is just as clueless, but they won’t admit it.

    The interview illustrates why most cars sold in the US are as exciting as washing machines.

  • avatar

    More and more, I think I must own the perfect car…

    FWIW, I never watched “Home Improvement” except catching bits & pieces when the family was watching. Must have been on a night when I was out in the carport fixing our own cars, or in the basement painting signs for extra money, or fixing something else that broke.

  • avatar

    Mrs. Toolman is the MILF of my dreams….

  • avatar

    “Patricia promised her children that she would purchase hybrid cars and instead bought imports that have this dual energy capability for her daily driver use.”

    A Hollywood actress drives a hybrid? That’s unusual.

  • avatar

    Next time you see the episode where the beam drops on Jill’s Nomad…check the shot after the beam drops.

    They substituted a Handyman.

  • avatar

    She sounds like your typical porche owner, hence the prevelance of PDK.

  • avatar

    While I admire his push to have her buy American, Mr. Toolman himself was busted for speeding (or was it drunk driving…can’t 100% recall) in his native Michigan some years ago steering the till of a Ferrari…yep…very American, that.

  • avatar

    Are we running out of peple to interview or what? Why would you interview a B-lister (generously at that), who has no interest in cars, about cars?

  • avatar

    You have missed the point of this interview. She spent years working on one of the most popular sit-coms of the past 20 years with a legendary car guy. My angle was her perspective on cars, one which is the polar opposite of Tim Allen’s. There is no need to cheap shot her for her candor or her career.

    • 0 avatar

      FYI – I read every word and thought this was really interesting. I love learning about the car decisions people make, and that’s even more interesting with celebrities who have lots of money and presumably the need to buy something socially acceptable.

      I find it super interesting that she says she wanted an SC430 but “they don’t make it anymore” – that is a HUGE insight into how she thinks. No used cars for her! (Not a fault – just sayin’!)

      Totally would love any more of these you might have, with any number of celebrities.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      She’s just a person for which a car is for going to A to B, and it better be good at that. She also seems to enjoy a good driving car, which is something I would expect from anyone.

      There’s nothing wrong with that. The interview was actually quite interesting.

      And I miss her character’s snark. She was good at keeping the guy on its toes.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll put this alongside Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” interviews, which I find a lot more interesting than the actual laps themselves. Especially interesting are the interviewees who aren’t driving the ubiquitous German status symbol. Most interesting of all is Brian from AC/DC. My idea of a car guy.

  • avatar

    I enjoyed the interview. To me she came across as an open individual who was honest about her view of cars and what was important to her. Sometimes we forget that the vast majority of drivers out there just want a dependable vehicle with enough room for their kids/dog/home supplies, reasonable gas mileage and no drama. She seemed to leave open the potential that the “perfect” car might be out there; she just hasn’t found it yet. Even in this brief interview she managed to come across as a person you might like to have as a neighbor, much as she was on screen, and not some “I’m a Hollywood diva and you’re not” type. Yeah, I know she’s an actress but sometimes what you see is actually what you get.

  • avatar

    Maybe we could explore what kind of car Fonzie would use to jump the shark.

  • avatar

    Seriously, this was great…I was the only one in my clique who NEVER got to see “Seinfeld” because “Home Improvement” was on directly opposite it. This was by choice; “Seinfeld” was an exercise in brilliant writing, but “Home Improvement” just always seemed like a better show. Proven sitcom formula works for a reason.

    And yeah, Jill was an all-time great sitcom mom, too.

  • avatar

    I’m confused as to what Patricia Richardson’s actual position on cars is…

    She owned a Porsche “…. I think I got it because of Tim probably ”

    Then she says “Tim wanted me to only buy American cars.”

    next was ” Patricia promised her children that she would purchase hybrid cars”

    …but then concluded ” instead bought imports that have this dual energy capability for her daily driver use”

    (scratches head)…I wonder how many times she’s been married

  • avatar

    Nice article and I like the show back in the day, Paricia was the MILF of my dreams…

  • avatar

    We did an interview with KD Lang about her 1964 Meteor (Canadian Ford) that she has owned since her non-famous days back in the 80s here in Canada. She will let it go to auction in Vancouver this June and we covered her connection to the car on our site.

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