For Valentine’s Day, an Arizona couple shares tips on how to enjoy marriage and cars to the fullest
Through 44 years of marriage, Bill and Harriet Hickman have pursued their passion for cars. Their love of cars is so integrated into their relationship that everything they love about each other is reflected in the vehicles they drive.
Here are the lessons they’ve learned, which show strong correlations between high-performance cars and a high-performance marriage:
The latest addition to their driving legacy is a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS. But it’s more than just a car. To the Hickmans, it’s the culmination of 44 years of loyalty to each other and to the Chevrolet brand.
“Chevrolet has always been in our blood,” Bill Hickman said. “I’ve owned several Corvettes. I’ve had Chevrolet pickup trucks based on my particular occupation at the time. But my first experience with a Camaro was with my wife.”
In January, the couple entered their Camaros in the Future Classic Car Show in Scottsdale, Arizona, noting that these Chevys are certain to become future classics.
Bill met Harriet in college, and while they were dating, he convinced her to trade in her 1966 Skylark for her own safety.
“It had no brakes whatsoever,” he said. “It was a dangerous vehicle. So, we bought her a burgundy Chevelle, but that turned out to be dangerous because of its color.”
Bill was shocked when Harriet told him that her new Chevelle was more of a risk than the brake-less Skylark. Other drivers were running her off the road because the deep-brown car was nearly invisible at night. Sensing Bill’s skepticism, Harriet challenged him to take it for a drive to prove her point.
“It was true!” he recalled. “Nobody could see it at dusk, and I got run off the road into a flower median. The flowers went everywhere.”
Bill and the car drove away from their flower bed collision, but he was convinced they couldn’t keep the car one more night.
“We went to the dealership that next morning and traded it in for a 1976 Bicentennial Camaro.”
Wants and needs are not exclusive
Harriet was in love with the eye-catching red-white-blue Camaro, and it marked the beginning of the Hickmans’ diagnosis of OCD (Obsessive Camaro Disorder).
“When I got that first Camaro, I felt like I was in seventh heaven,” Harriet said. “I can’t even count how many Camaros I’ve had since then. It must be around seven or eight.”
Since that Bicentennial Camaro, Bill has worked with his local dealer to surprise Harriet with a new Camaro as often as he can.
“When we go to the dealership, they don’t talk to me, they talk to Harriet,” Bill said with a chuckle. “When she finds something that she likes, I try to work out a deal to make her happy.”
After years of surprise Camaros, Harriet decided it was her turn to surprise Bill.
Bill had left his truck with Harriet for the day so she could get it serviced at the dealership, and when he got an unexpected call from her in the middle of the day, he suspected an emergency.
“I just sold your truck,” Harriet said. “Why don’t you go and pick out something you like.”
Bill returned from the dealership in a matching orange-and-white 2018 Camaro 2SS to pair with Harriet’s red-and-black Camaro.
Appreciate the little things
The Hickmans complete their Camaros with all the optional extras.
“These are things that people typically leave off, but we think it just makes the car more special, and it really shows how much we care for each other,” Bill said. “We go that extra mile, we make that extra phone call.”
Sharing is caring
Harriet wasn’t passionate about cars before she met Bill, but since they’ve been together, she has absorbed his knowledge and more.
“What’s neat is to watch how Harriet has learned all the technical things about her car, and she can talk with the best of them,” Bill said. “She knows the motor displacement, compression, the exhaust, the tranny. She can go toe-to-toe with the old-school car guys.”
Whether the cars need work or just a good wash, the Hickmans do it together.
“Our relationship has grown because of our love for each other and our love for our hobby and being Camaro freaks,” Bill said.
For Bill and Harriet, the Future Classic Car Show was the beginning of the next evolution of their hobby. They had never showcased their Camaro at a car show before, and the Hickman’s fell in love with the atmosphere and community.
This inspired Harriet to buy Bill a membership with Goodguy’s Rod and Custom Association. Now they’re working on obtaining a true classic for showcasing and cruising down Route 66.
They said that they look forward to touring the country and spending time with their favorite cars, and each other.