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Calgary Herald, Stars and Cars by Greg Williams

A story about Overhaulin’s Adrienne Janic written for the Calgary Herald’s Driving section, originally published in Feb./06

Californian Adrienne Janic is the 27 year-old co-host of the popular Overhaulin? TV show. Janic (also known as A.J.) gets to work with one of the brightest lights in the custom vehicle industry?Chip Foose.
OverHaulin? is the show where the owner of a car is tricked into believing his/her vehicle has been stolen, or somehow misplaced. The vehicle is in fact being tricked out over a seven-day period by hot rod genius Foose and a team of enthusiastic car builders.
We caught up with Janic on one of her rare days off?we chatted while she was stuck in Los Angeles traffic running her errands before starting to film another seven day Overhaulin? shoot.

What was your first car?
My first car was a 1990 Toyota Corolla. It was a demo model, one that had been used for other people to test drive. People had probably beat it up before I got it. You know how people treat a car when they are test-driving it; they slam on the brakes really hard and push it hard to see how it handles. The Corolla was all we could afford, but it did its job?I drove it for over 100,000 miles.

Do you drive/own a car now?
Right now drive I?m driving a Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 coupe–I just love two-door cars. Chip got a hold of it and gave it a mini-overhaul. It has Foose wheels, he lowered it a bit and tinted the windows.
I think he did it to welcome me to the show, and to make me feel like I?m part of the team.

Do you have a favourite car, and if you could have any car you wanted what would it be?
Having been on the show for the past six months I?ve really grown to appreciate muscle cars and hot rods. I?m eyeing the 1969 Camaro, and I also like Mopars, such as the 1969 Dodge Charger. I like the muscle cars from 1969?that was such a great year for vehicle design.
The one car I?d really like to have is a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda–it?s just mean looking and screams get out of my way.

Prior to co-hosting Overhaulin? you say you knew nothing about cars?but after six months what have you learned?
That would have to be metal work. We do so much rust repair and panel replacement on the cars we overhaul. The guys don?t have to baby-sit me anymore, I can grind panels and I?ve been taught how to weld. I?m basically given the work the crew doesn?t really want to do. Sure it?s grunt work, but if I work from the bottom of the ladder up I?m okay with that. They?re very patient with me and are teaching me all they can.
Before the show, the most I knew how to do was check my tire air pressure. I literally came into the show cold?I was pushed into the deep end to see if I would sink or swim.

What?s the best prank you?ve ever played on the show?
That was when I played the auto shop owner?s wife, and I was wearing the miniskirt and stilettos and had an exceptionally loud mouth.
We were overhauling a Chevy Tahoe?that was the show where the mark had donated his kidney to his best friend. He thought the work on his truck was being done for free, and I told him we needed to charge him 1500 bucks. I called him a charity case and it just went downhill from there. The mark was calling me every nasty name in the book, and he was yelling so much spit was flying everywhere.
That prank (this was one of Janic?s first appearances on Overhaulin?) got me back onto the show. Chris (Jacobs, Overhaulin? co-host) called me later and told me I had hit that one out of the ballpark, he loved it and the director loved it.

What?s your favourite Overhaulin? episode?
One that stands out is the 1956 Chevy Nomad we did with Jay Leno. That car came out absolutely stunning. When the Nomad came in I thought we had our work cut out for us–it really needed a lot of metal work.
But when it was done the Nomad looked like we?d opened up a package to reveal a Hot Wheels car, it was so beautiful.
The mark, David, is one of Jay Leno?s mechanics, and he couldn?t have been more grateful, he cried and he was so gracious about how much work went into his car.
That?s all we want. It can be disappointing when someone has been overhauled and all they can say is that?s cool, but everybody does react differently.
And, of course, it was such an honour to work with Leno.

Do you have a favourite road trip?
I get a little impatient in a car; I?m one of those people who has to stop every hour. I?d say going to Vegas from L.A. would be my favourite road trip–it?s four to five hours if you drive the speed limit, and only three if you push it.

Do you have other projects or what?s next?
I did a couple of feature films before I landed the Overhaulin? co-host role. I?m in National Lampoon?s Cattle Call, and I?ve got the role of the weirdo or the freak.
I will also appear in All-In, which is a poker movie and I have the role of an entertainment reporter.
Right now, I really only have time for Overhaulin?. We shoot one a week, and it?s a grueling and time-consuming schedule. I only get a day or two off between shoots, and all I do now is sleep or run errands on those days off.

Be sure to read my weekly Driving column, On the Road

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