Hooked on cars since age 2, Andy Lilienthal is now Warn Industries Strategic Communications Manager. That seems like a mouthful, what you need to know about Andy is that he’s a cars and community kinda guy. He can talk about them, write about them, and work on them. Our kind of human. Listen in as Andy gives us some background on how he got to this point in his career.
2:44 – Hot Wheels were my jam.
7:34 – people swap sides of the desk all the time from editors to PR people
11:27 – united by horsepower
25:50 – basically, I was a toy tester
32:45 – there was a new way to talk to your customer
45:23 – the kindness of strangers
1:00:43 – this industry is full of lots of really awesome, passionate people
1:05:22 – we’re competing in the 2022 ARCA 5000 rally, a time-speed-distance rally through Canada and Alaska
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.Support the show
[00:00:01.150] - Speaker 1
Welcome to The Big Rich Show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the fourwheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back. Grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.430] - Speaker 2
Whether you're crawling the red rock of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two, Maxxis tires are the choice of Champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis tires deliver. Choose Maxxis tread victoriously.
[00:00:55.990] - Speaker 3
Why should you read 4low Magazine? Because 4low Magazine is about your lifestyle. The four wheel drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy. Rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds, and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4low on the newsstand rack, so subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
[00:01:20.170] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Andy. Lily. Andy has been around the off road and rock crawling world for quite a while. I know he got to start in some other things, media stuff, but I've known him basically for probably his entire career at Warren, which I thought was one stint, but ends up being a bunch of them. So we'll talk about that. We'll talk about Andy's personal life. Andy, thank you so much for coming on board.
[00:01:51.310] - Andy Lilienthal
It's my pleasure, Rich. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:53.200] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, no worries. So let's start off with where were you born and raised?
[00:01:58.990] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. So I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent about almost 18 years there. I lived in Mississippi, actually, for a short period of time, about 18 months as a youngster, and then moved back up to the fridged north and then went off to Wisconsin in 96, I guess. I went off to Wisconsin and I went off to school there and then ended up living full time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for about over five years and then made the move out to the West Coast in 2006 to take the job with Warn Industries. And that's where I've been full time ever since.
[00:02:44.700] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Well, let's dive deep into some of this history with growing up in St. Paul. It's Twin Cities area. Like you said, it's the frigid Northern part of the country. We have a daughter and a son that live up in that area. And yeah, it's cold. So what did you do growing up for entertainment or activity?
[00:03:11.410] - Andy Lilienthal
Oh, what did I do? What did I do? Boy, a lot of car stuff when I was a little kid, like Hot Wheels were my jam. Hot Wheels Matchbox stuff. As a young kid, I never really got into the action figure thing that much. My parents bought me my first Hot Wheels, I guess, when I was two years old and I was hooked on cars ever since. I played video games, mostly car racing, video games, that kind of stuff as a kid. And then when I was old enough to actually have a car, that's when the floodgates to my automotive passion really just kind of opened up. It's all I wanted to do was car stuff, whether that was just cruising around as a kid in high school or working on cars in College, that kind of stuff. Everything I've done has always been about cars. Even like when I was in College, I have psychology degree, which doesn't do much for me in the off roading industry.
[00:04:20.790] - Big Rich Klein
I beg to differ. I could probably pass and get a degree, having been an event promoter and dealing with everybody.
[00:04:31.350] - Andy Lilienthal
Fair enough. Fair enough. But I just remember, like, thinking when I was in College, how am I going to get into the automotive industry with a Psych degree? And I happen to have a I shouldn't say happen to. I planned and ended up with a minor in journalism as well as a minor in history. And I ended up getting a job working for the school newspaper back in the 90s. And boy, I found out that I really liked writing.
[00:05:01.860] - Big Rich Klein
Was that College paper or high school?
[00:05:04.030] - Andy Lilienthal
It was College paper, yeah. And I ended up being a writer for the entertainment section. And then the year after that, I became the editor of the entertainment section and had writers working for me. And by golly, I was able to sneak in some car content into that publication. And my editor at the time, Corey Klein, who is still a good friend of mine, good last name, too. And he once told me, you write best about what you know. And I still believe that very true. I think that's a very true statement. And so my passion I have a few passions, but my still number one by far, is still cars and trucks and automobiles and all that. And so when I graduated College a few months later, I was able to actually get a job as a magazine editor at a publication called Scale Auto Magazine. And that was all about building and collecting model cars and trucks before RC. Yes. This publication did not have anything to do with remote control.
[00:06:16.330] - Andy Lilienthal
It was all about mostly about building and collecting plastic kits. So maybe the younger listeners aren't as familiar with building and collecting plastic bottles. But golden era was really like the 60s and 70s, where you go buy a plastic model kit and you glue it together and paint it and detail it. That's how I really got into the industry, because a lot of these features I was writing, despite the fact that we made out of plastic, I was writing and editing features on the history of these vehicles and what you could do to, for instance, replicate a 392 or the right kind of throttle returns spring on a carburetor or the history of Mopar colors, that kind of stuff. So all those things gave me this background on full sized car stuff. So eventually I had wanted to move to Oregon for many years. My father had moved out here in the early 90s and I found this job working for Warn Industries. And I remember thinking, well, that would be cool. I wasn't into offroading at the time, but I respected off road stuff. I liked looking through four Wheeler and off road and all those publications.
[00:07:34.280] - Andy Lilienthal
And I certainly saw the Warn name on shows on Sunday, motorsports programming on TNN, Spike and all that stuff is probably before Spike. And so I thought, well, what the heck? I like cars and trucks and I can write, but this is for a PR position. But generally and very often, as you're probably very well aware, a lot of public relations people used to be writers and Editors, and a lot of writers and Editors used to be PR people. So it's a very revolving door. It's not necessarily a revolving door, but people swap sides of the desk all the time.
[00:08:12.540] - Big Rich Klein
[00:08:12.780] - Andy Lilienthal
And then I did and I got the job. And that's when I really got into four wheel drives. And I would say I really got into four wheel drives back in 2010, which is when I bought my first four wheel drive vehicle to work on.
[00:08:30.040] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I'm going to try to remember to come back to that. What was your first vehicle.
[00:08:37.390] - Andy Lilienthal
My first car overall or my first off roader?
[00:08:40.640] - Big Rich Klein
Your first vehicle that you ever got to drive?
[00:08:43.780] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. Okay. First car ever got to I'm just going to go with it was one of two to first ever actually drive by myself. It was either a 1990 Jeep Cherokee, five speed Laredo, and then an Oddball, which was a Mitsubishi Expo LRV. And that's a vehicle most people don't remember. It was only sold for a few years in the United States and we had one and it ended up being my first car. I took that off to College and I drove it in high school. And it was my mom's car, but she let me have it. She had another car to drive. And so it was not a cool car at the time. It was not something I had friends with four by fours, and I had some friends with muscle cars. Looking back and I remember at the time my mom saying stuff like this, but I remember looking back thinking, I'm just glad I had wheels. I was lucky to have wheels back then. Right. But at the time I saw this kid who had this lifted CJ in high school, and it was so cool. And then these guys that had the latest and greatest cars in College and I had this minivan has sliding door, but it wasn't even as big as a minivan and whatever.
[00:10:11.230] - Andy Lilienthal
But looking back, it was exceptionally practical. And it kind of put me on this road of what I like to call either oddities or oddballs or underdogs the vehicles that people just don't think about or had forgotten about or aren't the mainstream. And I'll never forget back in St. Paul, there used to be this area along University Avenue. It was a big, long stretch where everyone would go cruising. And I'm not talking just like kids. I'm talking hot rods and big dollar stuff. And there was a driving called porkies. And porkies is where all the hot Rodders hung out. And my buddy Dan Burdeski, he had a 65 Falcon with a Mustang engine in it. He'd put in it, and his parents had hot rods. And I remember going down there one time, I was maybe like 15, and he was 16 or something. Anyway, we were there, and there was a Mustang, a Ford Mustang convertible, but it was a McLaren ASC. So before Ford was making drop top, Fox bonding Mustangs McLaren ASC was chopping the cops off and making these convertibles.
[00:11:27.540] - Andy Lilienthal
And I remember seeing him in, like, road and track or car driver or something like that. And we went over to him and he started talking to us. And I remember saying, is this McLaren? He's like, yeah, he said something that has always resonated with me and really stuck with me was, you can see a brand new Corvette or a Ferrari or something like that on the road. You're like, well, that's a really nice car, but if you see something really out there and different, that's what's going to stick with you. You can see lots of Corvettes and Ferraris and whatever. But it's that guy with, like a 500 cubic inch engine, stick it out of the hood of a pacer or something like that. Really go, what is that like? That's crazy. And I guess I've always gravitated towards that both in on road stuff and in off road stuff that I totally respect and admire. Everybody's automotive passions. I tell people if we're United by anything, we're United by horsepower, right? I don't care if it's an on road, off road, gas, electric, whatever it is. We all have the same bond. We all tease each other about who's more capable on the trail, the guy in the Jeep or the guy in the land cruiser or whatever.
[00:12:51.790] - Andy Lilienthal
But at the end of the day, we're really all doing this for the same reason. But I've always kind of gravitated towards more unique stuff.
[00:13:02.390] - Big Rich Klein
I've been an underdog driver, I think, most of my life. When I grew up in high school, it was 74 when I got my first driver's license. And everybody, they had those 60 muscle cars, late 60s, early 70s muscle cars. I drove a 54 Volkswagen Bug.
[00:13:25.650] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:13:26.830] - Big Rich Klein
Then I ended up with a 71 Ranchero with a 351 Cleveland while everybody else was building El Caminos. Yeah, but like that Ranchero you're talking about horsepower and stuff. I was driving across Nevada on 50 on one of those long stretches in one of those valleys between the mountain ranges, and I saw some headlights coming up behind me. And the guy I was doing probably 105, just cruising. And I knew it wasn't a patrol officer because I had the radar going, radar detector. But all of a sudden this car just smokes by me. At least 151, 60. I mean, just basically blew my doors off and I tried to wind it up and couldn't catch it. At the next town I go to stop to get gas. And there's this Porsche, you know, the little pancake flat one. And it had a 350 Chevy that was all built up in it. Of course, it didn't really need to be built up. Just geared right to do those kinds of speeds because of the power to wait. But I just looked at that and was like, yeah, now that's cool.
[00:14:51.930] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:14:53.120] - Big Rich Klein
The first V eight conversion I'd seen in one.
[00:14:55.400] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:14:57.130] - Big Rich Klein
So then your first cars in those early years, high school, what was your thing? I know a lot of people in that area played hockey. If they did sports or bold, a lot of indoor stuff. Did you have that or did you do your own thing or were you more Scholastic based?
[00:15:25.970] - Andy Lilienthal
No. I was as a kid of the 80s and 90s, my friends and I'd hang out. We'd watch movies, play video games, and we'd cruise a lot. Summer, winter, we'd hop in somebody's car. And I had one friend with a TransAm. It was an 82 TransAm, which if he heard me say this, it wasn't that great, but he loved it. And then I had another friend that had a 74 Dodge Tradesman van with a 360 in it. And we promptly took out a Sawzall and cut the mufflers off on it and drove around for about an hour thinking this was the sweetest thing ever. And it was a 70s van, man. We called it Big fat. And it had shag interior, the wraparound bench seat, the portal windows, everything like that. It was at 70s Shagging wagon. It was hilarious. We did a lot of car stuff. I had a couple of friends that really worked on cars. At the time, I wasn't working on cars. We did indoor stuff in the wintertime. And yeah, even though I was an okay student, I was certainly no honorable student, that's for sure. But we tried to stay warm.
[00:16:47.410] - Andy Lilienthal
I did ski, which also, if you're going to live in that part of the country, it's a good idea to pick up an outdoor winter sport. I don't care if it's ice fishing, skiing, snowmobiling something. I am probably the only kid from Minnesota who's never been on a snowmobile, though.
[00:17:05.030] - Big Rich Klein
Really? I just did that for the first time.
[00:17:08.550] - Andy Lilienthal
I'd love to do it. Yeah. I just never had friends that had them and we didn't have them.
[00:17:15.080] - Big Rich Klein
Well, when I was really young, I spent a lot of time at Squaw Valley growing up, skiing, and I had a chance to get on a they had a little track in the middle of the parking lot that just went around. And you went around a little track around in circles, always making left hand turns and kind of like NASCAR. But they wouldn't let back in the 60s, early 70s, there snowmobiles were not anything like they are now.
[00:17:46.730] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:17:48.310] - Big Rich Klein
Never got a chance to do it. Well, Shelley goes, we should go snowmobiling. And I was like, yeah, I've never been. And she goes, really? So we just got back from Idaho in a trip that took us up there and we snowmobiled for a day. And it was really cool. I could see doing it again. I don't want to ever live in the cold again, to be completely honest.
[00:18:10.050] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:18:10.770] - Big Rich Klein
Are we ever going to move back to Idaho? Probably not.
[00:18:13.670] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:18:14.420] - Big Rich Klein
Are we going to move to Minnesota or Montana? Yeah. No, not unless the end of the world is coming and it's the safest place.
[00:18:23.820] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:18:24.730] - Big Rich Klein
But yeah, I like warmth, chase and 70s.
[00:18:29.290] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. The older I get, the more I appreciate warm weather stuff. So I highly doubt I'd be moving back to the upper Midwest anytime soon.
[00:18:40.330] - Big Rich Klein
But I highly recommend going on one of those renting a snowmobile. You and Mercedes would have a great time doing it.
[00:18:48.010] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. It's funny. One of her previous boyfriends, he actually raced snow cross and she's been on snow race snowmobiles and all this stuff. Just not me. Right.
[00:19:04.490] - Big Rich Klein
So then your car culture, building models. I grew up in the years that yes, we built models. We had Matchbox, then Hot Wheels came out and the Tonka trucks and everything. My front yard never had a great lawn in it because we had it all dug up for little cities almost. And we built Ravell and amp. Models were the companies that I remember, if I'm correct.
[00:19:41.810] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:19:43.010] - Big Rich Klein
We would buy like two models at a time and then kind of enter Merry them so that we build our own monster creations, you might say.
[00:19:54.040] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, there's a term for that. They call it kit bashing.
[00:19:57.600] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I didn't realize there was a term for it. Interesting. I guess you would know that being that you were writing for Scalar magazine. Cool.
[00:20:08.890] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. It was a really interesting time because it was a hobby that was. And arguably you could say that it's dying. It's just people's attention spans aren't long enough. Everybody wants instant stuff and instant gratification and all that stuff. And it takes time to build a model. Kit, you generally can't even build one in a day. A lot of times it takes multiple days. But yeah, there's a whole culture around that. There are model car shows, and some of them are well attended. And it's just like going to a cruising or a car show of full size cars, except everything is about a foot long and on a table. And it's incredible the passion some of these people have and the details. There were people that were there was one guy, I think his name was Bill Gary, and I think he was from Ohio. And the guy had to have been six five. And he was just his hands were like meat hooks, just huge guy. And he did the most intricate models. I always wondered how he even did it, but yeah, it was a neat time. And as a kid, fresh out of College, it was a cool thing to do.
[00:21:31.160] - Andy Lilienthal
I built models as a kid, too. I remember going to Roberts. I think it was Roberts Drug, Snyder Drug. I don't remember the name of it. In Woodbury, Minnesota, and buying a model of a 68 Chevy Camaro. And I was so excited to build it, I opened the box in the car and lost the front right wheel. So I always had three wheels. But I remember my dad was a modeler. He grew up modeling airplanes, and then he'd hang them, like in dog fight positions over my bed as a kid with a fishing line. How do you say familiar with it, but being able to do it with car stuff was pretty cool.
[00:22:12.750] - Big Rich Klein
So then how do you use the psychology? I know we're bouncing around here, but how do you use the psychology in what you've done in your career?
[00:22:21.910] - Andy Lilienthal
Well, everybody I meet first gets a personality inventory. No, I'm just kidding.
[00:22:27.390] - Big Rich Klein
Just sit on this couch.
[00:22:29.210] - Andy Lilienthal
Yes. Look at this ink blot. Tell me what you see. So that's a really good question. I think that the coursework that I did in psychology is really sort of this adjacent thing that probably just helps with interpersonal communications between people. Just because I think that clearly the joke is, oh, you're probably analyzing me right now, and I'm not analyzing. No, it's not true. But I do think that the idea of learning about the way people act and quite literally the psychology behind people is probably advantageous to me being in communications. My father was a sociology major. He had a master's in sociology, which he was a salesman all his life. And it's probably one of those things where it absolutely has zero direct correlation to being a salesperson. But having an understanding of human behavior is probably a good asset to have as a sales guy, or as I am a communications or PR guy. It's probably a good thing I'm not digging through psychological studies, being like, well, why does he act like that? But just kind of an overview of I think I'd probably have a better understanding of that.
[00:24:02.230] - Big Rich Klein
And somebody that doesn't have a psych degree really trying to get people to react to the communication that you're putting out.
[00:24:11.000] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. And I think that pair that with the journalism minor. But nothing was more of an asset to me after graduating College, truly, than the fact that I had experience working at this school newspaper, because unlike a lot of other students, I had some experience. So when I went to interview for a magazine, I had journalism experience. I knew what AP style was when writing. I knew all the proofreading marks and I had published articles and had writers and all that stuff. And I know it was at a College level, but I took it very seriously. And there's, by the way, a lot of people who don't take it very seriously. And as somebody who runs a magazine, I'm sure you realize there are people that are adults that don't take it.
[00:25:10.390] - Big Rich Klein
That's why Shelley is the editor.
[00:25:16.610] - Andy Lilienthal
Back then, the student newspaper, page 1475, a story, right. That's some beer money for the week. Right. But a lot of people, they just didn't take it seriously. But yeah. Anyway, kind of cut them full circle. I think that having some psychology experience, it's probably a good thing when dealing with people as much as I do.
[00:25:40.050] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And then with the Scalar magazine after that stint, was that when you went right to your next stop was Warren?
[00:25:50.250] - Andy Lilienthal
No. After Scale Auto, I went to a trade publication for the hobby industry called Model Retailer. And Model Retailer went to hobby shops around the US, Canada, and I believe Australia as well. And now that actually included pretty much all the hobbies. So in addition to diecast and plastic scale models, it also included military models. It included board games, RC cars, slot cars, board games, books, all kinds of stuff. So basically I was a toy tester and it was a lot of fun. So we would get a new team, low C gas powered RC car in H scale monster truck, and they'd send it home with you and you had to write a review about it. And it had to be objective and all that stuff. This wasn't a paid placement. This was an objective pros and cons kind of thing. And then generally you got to keep it, too, which was fun. So I had a small fleet of RC cars, a couple of RC planes, and a lot of slot cars. I really got into slot cars. I was in the slot cars as a kid, like the little Ho scale Tyco stuff. But these were 132nd scale cars and trucks and a little bit bigger.
[00:27:10.600] - Andy Lilienthal
So I was actually on a flock car racing League back in Wisconsin, which was a ton of fun.
[00:27:15.630] - Big Rich Klein
That's cool. I can remember going to what was called Playland. I think it was in San Francisco. It was on the coast. Just right off of it was an area that was like an amusement park and stuff. And it had circle tracks for remote control, for slot cars. It had drag strip. So guys were building cars to run 100 foot with cutting and creating their own tires out of sponge material. The stuff that guys were doing back then was pretty cool.
[00:27:56.740] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:27:57.280] - Big Rich Klein
And I was blown away by it.
[00:27:59.720] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. Slot cars were a lot of fun. There used to be all kinds of commercial tracks where you'd bring your car to the track and they had these huge, elaborate layouts and they're almost all gone. There was one left when I was in maybe two there's, one left in Milwaukee and one in Chicago, I think, if I remember correctly. But yeah, that's a bygone era kind of thing, right.
[00:28:19.870] - Big Rich Klein
Because now people just do it digitally, which to me is not as much fun.
[00:28:25.420] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. No, I agree. There's something still fun about tactile analog failures these days.
[00:28:31.140] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. I think things are probably a whole another idea for a podcast. But the retro, everything goes retro. I don't care if it's clothing styles, but games. I mean, I saw Walkman, somebody walking around with like a Walkman the other day, and tapes are coming back. And the old stereo systems, that would be the countertop type stereo systems, record players, all that stuff is coming. Making a comeback after everything went.
[00:29:06.430] - Andy Lilienthal
Old is new.
[00:29:07.540] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. It's kind of cool.
[00:29:09.910] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:29:10.650] - Big Rich Klein
So maybe someday I'll be back in fashion. Doubt it. Anyway, so then the trade magazine, how long were you there?
[00:29:23.150] - Andy Lilienthal
I was there about a year and a half. And then I was just itching it to move out west. And I loved all the things that were associated with the Pacific Northwest, the outdoors, the skiing, the car culture, all kinds of things. And I talked to my wife. She knew I wanted to move out there. She'd been out there a number of times with me. And we just decided, well, if we're going to change our careers, we're going to do it out there. So I started sending out resumes, and I got this job eventually at Warren. And kind of like I was saying earlier, I was familiar with the brand, seeing it in off road magazines and on television. And Lo and behold, I went in for the interview and I got the call back while I was still out visiting my dad and got the job offer. And I was stoked. I was really stoked. So it was kind of the goal. The goal was to get into the automotive industry, the full size automotive industry, lot cars and model cars. And that stuff was fun. And you got a taste of the car culture, but it was different than actual cars.
[00:30:37.900] - Andy Lilienthal
I mean, this was what I really wanted to do. And Lo and behold, I did it. So my initial title with Warren was PR. Let's see, what was it? Copywriterpublicrelations. And so I was writing press releases and catalog copy, brochure copy back when we were doing primarily printed things. So it wasn't until a couple of years later where they went really heavy into digital like everybody else too, right? So I left Warren in 2008 after a layoff and clearly with lots of other people in 2008.
[00:31:25.590] - Andy Lilienthal
And I went freelance and I started my own business, which I still have, and started consulting and doing public relations and marketing copy on the side. Warren was actually a client of mine, believe it or not, so I stayed active with them. But I also started my first blog site, which was called Subcompact Culture, which was all about small cars. And there was kind of a niche. Small cars were becoming a big deal. As the economy was getting bad, gas prices were going up, and all this, people started getting rid of thirsty large vehicles that cost a lot of money and started moving over towards smaller vehicles. And I always had at least one small car. And I thought, well, let's try this. I don't do a whole lot with it anymore because of the decline in small car stuff, but I still do post to it. We still have a Facebook group, Instagram, all that stuff. And then I got rehired at one in 2010 full time. And I remember my boss at the time saying, what is it that you think this company needs from a PR standpoint? And I said, social media. He said, this is going to be a big thing for businesses.
[00:32:45.010] - Andy Lilienthal
And they had a MySpace account, I think at the time, and they had just started a Facebook account. But with the help of the Ecommerce manager and a number of other people, we really took social media to the next level for the automotive aftermarket. Warren had one of the biggest followings in the entire automotive aftermarket for a while. We were winning awards and competitions and stuff like that for social media back in the early 2010s. And that was exciting. There was this new way to talk to our customers and talk to our potential users. And we were getting feedback and we were getting requests and complaints and comments and everything. And it's kind of a big deal, I think, for people to get featured on our page because we were so big, people would come to us. Like, I was at Rally on the Rocks in Moab in like, 2011. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, it's a Utz event in Moab. And I remember taking photos and this guy said, these two guys were like, are you with Warren? Are these going to end up on your Facebook page? And I was like, yeah.
[00:34:01.510] - Andy Lilienthal
And he's like, oh my God, that's awesome. I remember, like, they were so stoked. Anyway, I kind of call that golden era of social media between 2010 and 2013 where if you were working it and you had cool content and all that stuff like, yeah, you were rewarded and you could grow your following and all that stuff. It was a big deal when we crossed over 100,000 Facebook fans and we still have a very large Facebook group. But social media has changed so incredibly much since 20 10, 20 13.
[00:34:32.430] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, no kidding. It used to be more personal.
[00:34:35.250] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:34:36.160] - Big Rich Klein
And now it's totally. Yeah. It's not so personal anymore.
[00:34:40.560] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. There's a lot of pay to play complain about how this incredible photo they're you took and posted. The Instagram completely tanks while this photo of your four X four at the grocery store gets like a billion likes. You're like why? This makes no sense at all. It's so frustrating. But, you know, everybody does it. Everybody's doing it. But you kind of wonder what the next steps are in social media and social media marketing and what's the next platform is going to be and Where's this taking all of us. I tell you, yesterday I've been writing an article on tires and I just had to step away. And I told my wife I got to do something analog for a while. I grabbed my guitar and start playing guitar for a while and acoustic guitar too. So not even electric. And I just want to just do something tactile. And I think that that's one reason why I love working on cars so much too. Is jokingly. Call it garage therapy sometimes. Although sometimes I feel like I need to go to therapy after working on a call, getting out there, stepping away from the screen, turning some wrenches and moving towards a goal, whether it's something as simple as replacing an air filter or just changing out a set of shocks to completely rebuilding the front end on an old four X four to take it on a crazy trip.
[00:36:21.110] - Andy Lilienthal
I was telling my wife Mercedes, who's also a full time Roger. I was saying to her, I get a lot of satisfaction out of taking something that needs repair, repairing it, and then doing something cool with it. We did this thing called the Alkan 5000 rally back in 2020, and we took this old Japanese domestic market. It's a beachy turbo diesel four X four called the Pinjaro. Took it from Kirkland, Seattle, Washington, all the way up to the Arctic Ocean and down to Anchorage. And I put a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money into this thing to get it to do this trip. And we did. We finished it. And there's a certain amount of pride that you get out of doing that. I don't get out of a playing a video game or chatting with people on social media. I like communicating and talking with people, don't get me wrong. But there's the satisfaction of being like, you know what? I put so much work into this and to be able to do it, I can't imagine that feeling of people who like, finished Koh must have after doing this, King of the Hammers, after doing this insane race and knowing that you put your blood, sweat, tears, you turned every single Bolt on this thing, and you welded stuff up and wired it.
[00:37:43.800] - Andy Lilienthal
And then you run this 200 plus mile grueling rally, and it did it. That must be such an amazing accomplishment. And I feel like I got a little taste of how that feels when I completed this rally after putting so much freaking work into this four by four.
[00:37:58.270] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And did it perform well?
[00:38:00.890] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, it performed great. We didn't have any breakdowns. We didn't have any mechanical issues, despite the fact it was 42 below up in UVic. Up in the Northwest Territories, we had 42 below. Yeah, 42 below zero. That's the air temperature that's without a windshield. And thankfully, we didn't have a whole lot of wind when we were up there. But it's dangerous. We got to drive the ice roads that were featured on Ice Road truckers, that kind of stuff. But we had safeguards on the vehicle, like a coolant heater. So Webasto makes this product called a thermotop Evo. And it's a pump with a heater in it, and it just pumps the coolant and heats it. We even want the cars off. It just pulls from the fuel tank and uses the batteries that we had twin Optima deep cell batteries on it for 90 minutes before we would start the thing. We'd circulate the coolant. We go turn it on immediately, fires right up, and we have heat. And we had some heated shieldman seats that were great. And the thing did fantastically. And, you know, when you literally completely rebuilt the suspension and the whole front four wheel drive system down to the needle bearings and all this stuff, when you don't have a single problem with it and you get home, you're like, yes, I did it.
[00:39:27.290] - Andy Lilienthal
And it worked. So I love the pride associated with doing your own work on a vehicle. And if something does go wrong, you're the only one you can blame. And there's also you learn. You just learn so much. Back when I was in the hobby industry, and just as I was getting out of it, they were coming out with the ready to run RC cars. I was into RC cars by the way, back in high school, and I had bought a team losing junior team, which was the entry level. But you know what? Good truck, but it was like an entry level truck, but you got a box the size of a desktop, and it came with about 16 trillion parts. You were putting the balls and the ball bearing differentials. You were putting the shock oil in the shock absorbers. But back in the late excuse me, around 2005, mid 2000, they were coming out with ready to run stuff so the consumer didn't have to build it. So while that was great and all because you could get into this really fun, fast RC car, the first time you crashed it into a tree or a guardrail or something like that at a track, you did not affect it.
[00:40:43.280] - Andy Lilienthal
And so RC car shops were opening up service departments just like full size car shops and charging $70 an hour. $75 an hour. So when you work on a car or a truck, you learn how to put it back together, hopefully. And so I think that back when I got my first four wheel drive, I worked on cars. I was into the lowered car scene before I was in the lifted truck scene. And I worked on cars, but I never worked on anything with full wheel drive hubs, for instance, or a front drive shaft or anything like that. And they were different. They were a solid front axle. They were way different. But getting into working on a four wheel drive was a great learning experience. My first four wheel drive was a 95 Suzuki, and I was a sidekick, and I did everything on that. I had a lot of help along the way, but from basic things like doing a brake job on something with front hubs was much more involved than doing a brake job on a lower Honda and Nissan and then putting in a rear mechanical locker. I had my buddy Eric Bully of zookee World.
[00:42:02.980] - Andy Lilienthal
He went down to his place and he showed me how to do it. And I appreciate it when somebody isn't just like, I'll do it for you, I will show you how to do it. I have a great coworker at warning Chad, and he's super knowledgeable and he'll never do it for you. But he'll tell you. He'll show you how to do it, which is great because you just learned about how am I going to put these rock sliders on my Cherokee? Bring it in. We'll do it. Okay. He didn't do it for me.
[00:42:37.410] - Big Rich Klein
But he walked you through it, right?
[00:42:39.340] - Andy Lilienthal
But he helped, don't get me wrong, but I learned how to do it because he was showing me how to do it. I had the impact gun and putting the bolts in where he's holding it in place. Help me out. But for that kind of stuff.
[00:42:55.850] - Big Rich Klein
For example, I can't wait to get back to that. The one thing I miss about our lifestyle living basically on the road is that we don't have workspace. Shelley's art projects. She can't spread out and do a multiday art project because we don't have the space to do that. Sure. If she wants to spend 2 hours, it's like half an hour to set up, half an hour to tear down, and then 1 hour of doing the same thing with doing any repair or modifications on the vehicles. It's always like, okay, who's got a shop that I can use? And then some of the guys that I go visit their shops, they're like, well, just get out of the way and let me do this and we'll get it done. And I guess at my age now, I'm like, okay, I totally understand because I worked as a mechanic for years. I don't necessarily want the bloody knuckles all the time.
[00:44:01.790] - Andy Lilienthal
Oh, I completely understand. I've got a few vehicles, and there's always that one time of the year where they all need work. There's always one time of the year where all five vehicles need an oil change. And I'm like, usually like, listen, an oil change. Okay, fine, 20 minutes, half hour. We're done. But then I'm like, I got to do this five times. You know, some are easier than others. I got to pick up this ridiculous skid plate off one of the vehicles I have actually, they all have ridiculous skid plates, but one is just bigger and heavier than the others. But even I'm not getting any younger. I'm 43 and I just had an unfortunate back injury back in September. And I was sidelined for a while from doing anything car related. And I was on my back for two weeks straight. But yeah, I do have a driveway and a carport and a tool shed and all that stuff, but I don't have a lift and I don't have a garage. I am outside doing this if it's a mandatory thing that's got to get fixed. I'm out there bundled up. I've got my crappy water resistant jacket for getting grease all over.
[00:45:23.100] - Andy Lilienthal
And my wife, one year for Christmas, bought me one of these Milwaukee tool jackets. It's got the twelve volt heated pack. And okay, that thing is great, but I'm not in a heated garage with the Fox Ed floors on the left and beer fridge, unfortunately, someday maybe. But all my wrenching is done in the elements. But I had never really thought about it. Like, in your case, you don't have a place to do that stuff. You got to find somewhere. And I've had more times than I'm willing to admit. Times where I've had a vehicle that's broken down on the road and I got to find somebody that can help me because I'm literally broken down at a filling station in the middle of nowhere, Montana. And then you got to rely on the kindness of strangers to help out sometimes, or the amazing off road community that can be so exceptionally helpful. I get to want to bug people, but at the same time, we've had exceptional experiences with people who I barely even know that it helped get us back on the road when our Cherokee blew a radiator in Colorado, or when our little Honda, even just driving back from Wisconsin this year, lost an alternator.
[00:46:40.670] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's the one thing where I have to say that social media and having a community has been really helpful with what we do, where we're traveling all the time. And I don't care if it's the truck, the semi, or if it's the Jeep or the pickup or whatever. If we're on the road somewhere and something goes wrong. As long as I've got cell service, I can post up on Facebook and say, hey, do I know anybody around here? I have a lot of people that will contact me and say, hey, you know just about everybody. My daughter is stuck in this town. Do you know anybody? Yeah, I'll say maybe I don't know anybody in particular, but let's see if my network does. And then all of a sudden, boom, we got somebody over there pulling her out of a muddy field or something, whatever that just happened in a friend in Alabama. His daughter was in Alabama and he was like in Arizona. And he's like, I need somebody over in this area. And I'm like, oh, well, let me see what I can do.
[00:47:47.020] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, I totally agree. The community can be so good and social media is an excellent platform if you need assistance. And that's exactly what happened to us when our alternator went out in the town of 81 people in a Canyon in Montana. Thanks to the Offroad community and the network that we have, we're able to get a tow to Spokane and then get the thing fixed in Spokane and beyond the way the next day. And it was amazing. And like I said, I've broken down enough times to know how to do this now. But, yeah, it's an amazing thing.
[00:48:28.610] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. We lost an idler pulley on the Cherokee coming through. It was the Arizona Indian Nations. And literally we were two and a half hours from anybody that we knew. I made a post and I had what was a guy named Cody Folsom. Luckily, he's one of our racers. He's a Cherokee guy. And he goes, oh, I know what part you need. Boom. He went, bought it locally, handed it to me, helped me replace it, and then drove home.
[00:49:01.990] - Andy Lilienthal
[00:49:02.500] - Big Rich Klein
But I had two other people that offered to bring parts from other parts of Arizona just to help out. It was pretty cool.
[00:49:12.400] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, no kidding. Yeah, that's awesome. We broke down in our Cherokee, we lost an AC compressor pulley and we got scooped up by a trucker who was also a Jeeper. And we ended up with that Cherokee on the flatbed of a truck. And he took us to his house in Henderson and we offloaded it and we went to O'Reilly's, bought all the components. He's like, well, might as well just replace everything while we're here and his wife Cook us dinner and all this stuff. And he recharged the AC system and it was a late night, but he got us back on the road. This was just the kindness of a stranger who also was Jeeper. And you help each other out. We need more of that in the world.
[00:50:05.000] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, we do. Absolutely. And that's the greatest thing. He's always come back to that with our industry or our lifestyle. The off road lifestyle industry is that there's a kinship there, unlike I think most. And I think what it is is that people can do this or are enthusiasts everywhere.
[00:50:34.210] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, I agree. I think that's a really good point. I wasn't joking. When I say we're United by horsepower, they say music is the universal language. Well, if there's a second universal language, it might be horsepower. And I remember just gosh, I don't know, a couple of years ago, I was looking on, I think it was Facebook and there was this group of people, I think they were in India or Pakistan. I don't remember somewhere in that area of the world. And one guy had a Jeep, one guy had a Land Cruiser. There were a couple of other Mitsubishi. There are all kinds of stuff. And they were just out having a great time on the trails, wheeling, and that is universal. I'm going, man, that looks like a lot of fun. And again, I don't care if I'm in Arizona or Japan. I mean, people who are into cars and trucks, they're into it. And I don't care if you're into low riders. And I'm into lifted Chevy. But we both respect the fact that we both love automotive stuff. Then I'm totally cool, right? Gear heads and all that stuff, motorheads and all that.
[00:52:00.110] - Andy Lilienthal
It's awesome. Today this is kind of ridiculous. But just today I had a brewing kid. Like, I used to brew beer. And I meet this guy, we agree on a price. And we meet at just the convenience store parking lot around the corner from my house. And I show up in my right hand drive turbo diesel. Jdm Mitsubishi, Pajero. And this guy, he's from Germany. And he's like, is that a diesel? I'm like, yeah. And he's like, did you bring it in from Japan? Yeah, it came from Japan. Well, then he starts telling me he's like, he's got an Xterra and he just put a new engine in it. And he starts telling him, we start talking about stories about going offroading and camping and traveling. And suddenly my wife texted me, she's like, did you meet a new best friend or something? What's going on? I'm like, are you okay? Send me a text if you're in trouble. And it just turned out to be another guy that was in the trucks and four wheel drive and camping and outdoor stuff. And we just kind of started hitting it off. And I'm like, yeah, this is so cool.
[00:53:13.770] - Andy Lilienthal
It's amazing how a common interest, like motor vehicles, motor sports cars, trucks, whatever, can lead to friendships. And I mean, listen, the guy who picked us up in his semi truck back in 2017 outside of Las Vegas, I was still friends with him. I see the King of the Hammers and stuff and still keep in touch with it. Another buddy of mine, Greg Gardner, who lives out in Colorado. We had another interest, another failure with the Cherokee. When the Radiator went out, it was like 100 degrees outside. I posted on Facebook and he's like, if you need somewhere to work on it, I got a shop and I'm like, where are you? And I think he's outside of Fruit, Colorado, so I never met him. We were friends on Facebook, but I didn't know him, but he opened up his shop. I think he may have even gotten coolant for us, and he let us dirty up his shop and all that stuff. And we've been friends with him ever since. My wife oftentimes rides with him at Jeep Safari. She's on the flat front around with him out there and met his wife and all that.
[00:54:30.710] - Andy Lilienthal
It's so cool. The friendships, lifelong friendships. I did the JP Magazine Dirt and drive a couple of times, and I have a whole crew of friends that I keep in contact with. I bought two trucks down in Texas and I drove separately but drove them back to Oregon. And a couple of those guys who I met on a dirt drive went out and looked at it, at it for me, and then we went and hung out with them, bought this truck and drove home. And we see them every year at Jeep Safari. And I think, too, with the events starting back up again and all that, a lot of these end up being almost family reunions, or at least off road family reunions. I know people that avoid events like Jeep Safari like to play because the trails are clogged up and all that stuff you can't get into, eat anywhere, and the camping is all taken up. I totally understand that. For me, going to events like Jeep Safari, King of the Hammers, Overland Expo, all these things, it's not for me as an industry person. It's not about the event as much as it is about the people.
[00:55:43.240] - Andy Lilienthal
And I know that sounds cliche like, oh, it's about the people, but it really is. When people like you and me live the lifestyle, we really do, this is what we do. Yeah, I do other things, too, but when I'm into car stuff, I'm into car stuff and truck stuff. So going to these events for me, I may only see some of these people once or twice a year. And so it's always great to catch up. From a business perspective, it's great too. But from a personal perspective, even if I'm in the booth, getting to talk to people, getting to know people, I've met people that I've become friends with simply because I was in the booth at Warren Industries at a show. It's neat. I just appreciate that.
[00:56:29.560] - Big Rich Klein
I totally look at those kind of events as I'm there for the people to see, friends to meet, friends, the whole social aspect of it. If I want to go trail wheeling or rock crawling or anything else, I'm out at that stuff at every one of our events, and I'm there the week before and for part of the week after. And I get all that I need of that just by setting up the courses and cruising around out in the areas. But when I go to Easter Jeep, I rarely ever go on a trail. And if I do, typically, I'll get asked by one of the companies, hey, you want to come along with us on this run? Sure. And we go out and do that. But it's about the people. It's not about the run. It's not about, oh, I can do this and see what I'm doing, that kind of thing. I don't know if it's ever been that way for me. And I guess it's maybe because of what I do in the industry, putting on the events that I don't need that part of it. It's more of the social end of it that I really enjoy.
[00:57:48.410] - Big Rich Klein
The like mindedness yeah.
[00:57:50.540] - Andy Lilienthal
It's that camaraderie, it's being with like minded people who we all have a common interest. And I hear every year about like some of the overlanding events where people go, why would I pay all this money to go camp and field? And you're like, well, you're missing the point. This isn't supposed to be a camping trip. This is a trip that is about camaraderie and sharing stories of what you've done. And yeah, you might hit some trails during or after the event, but that's not what this is about. Just like I look at Jeep Safari, I can go to Moab and go wheeling whenever I'm like. That's not what I think. If you go to these events with the wrong mindset, you're going to have a bad time. But if your idea is and this goes for pretty much all of the events in our industry, if you go with this idea that I'm just there to go wheeling, so everybody else is there too, and they're going to go wheeling. But what the best part of these shows is, in my opinion, is the people and getting to know other people who are into the things you're into.
[00:58:55.580] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And that's one of the things that we always talk about is in our industry. And I'm sure it's this way in other industries as well. But at the big shows like that, it is about meeting your friends. The people in the industry have a completely different view of it than the enthusiasts that are in the lifestyle as well.
[00:59:26.020] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, that's again, a really observant point, Rich. I think that I know that there are people and there's nothing wrong with this. There's some people that work in the auto industry, and again, there's nothing wrong with this. But there are some people who aren't enthusiasts who work in the auto industry. They could be selling blenders or they could be doing something in apparel. They're not in it because they love cars or in it because it's a good job and that's totally fine. There's the flip side to that. There are those of us who have gasoline and diesel running through our veins, and we love working in this industry and the lifestyle around it. And I left the auto industry briefly in 2014. I went to work for a company in the construction, mining, and oil and gas industry that made parts for those for machines. And I thought, well, you know what? I can always have the automotive thing can always be my passion and can always be my hobby, but I don't need to work in it. And I remember seeing people going to I only lasted like three months. There no six months anyway, it doesn't matter.
[01:00:43.480] - Andy Lilienthal
It didn't last a year, let's put it that way. I remember watching people going to Jeep Safari and Overland Expo and all these shows and thinking, Man, I missed going to those and seeing all the cool rigs and talking to people and getting being outside all the time. I have a fondness for the industry itself. There's lots of really good people in it. There's a lot of people who share so many of the passions that are universal for people who are into cars, trucks, SUVs, whatever. Again, it doesn't matter if it's a Lamborghini or if it's a Lincoln. If you're cool about shared automotive passions, then I think that's cool. So this industry is full of lots of really awesome, passionate people.
[01:01:36.510] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. And there's so many different things, aspects to the industry and lifestyle, especially somebody who wants to get on the industry side of it and go to work for either a manufacturer, retail or Fab shop or whatever. There's all sorts of different types of jobs out there, and people are starving for employees.
[01:02:05.670] - Andy Lilienthal
Oh, God, that's true. I'd urge your listeners to go to the Warren Industry's Careers page. Excellent opening positions. Yeah, no, it's absolutely true. So many employers are looking for workers, and most people start out somewhere and work their way up. I certainly did. And getting your foot in the door is a big deal. And trying to find those opportunities, it can be difficult. But now people are looking for employers so much that if you wanted to go work for a company that is in the automotive industry, there's probably more openings than there ever have been. And you might not start out as the owner of a Fab shop or an off road outfitter or something like that. But just getting your foot in the door is a big step. People ask me, just like I used to ask people, how do I get into this industry? A lot of times, it's being at the right place at the right time and knowing the right people, as well as having the right skills. But again, you don't become the lead mechanic. Generally, on day one, you don't become the head of the marketing Department at your favorite tire company with your first go round.
[01:03:37.070] - Andy Lilienthal
A lot of people make their way up. And I remember emailing people at companies and magazine outlets and stuff like that thing. So I'm a fresh College grad. How do I get into this thing? And people would go, oh, you're probably going to end up with a small magazine and just kind of got to make a pitch about what you can do and all that. I don't care if it's a Fab shop or what it is you got to pitch yourself right. I end up working alongside of some of these people that I actually sent emails to back in the day when I was 22 years old and 23 years old and trying to find my first career job. It's just funny. My late father used to say, you never know where you're going to end up. And that's so true. I didn't set out to become a communications person at a four wheel drive company. I thank my lucky stars for the opportunities that I've had, but it's an interesting journey.
[01:04:57.530] - Big Rich Klein
So what is next for the loan Lil and false? What is next Besides Warren and the job that pays the bills that you're doing full time, you know, the writing adventures, that kind of thing. What do you got on the horizon?
[01:05:20.650] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:05:21.110] - Big Rich Klein
What are you looking to do?
[01:05:22.730] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, well, our big thing that we have on the horizon right now as a couple, my wife Mercedes and I will be competing in the 2022 Arca 5000 rally. So that 5000 plus miles through Canada and Alaska and it's a time to speed distance rally. So it's not how fast you get there, it's how accurately you get there. It's so we're very much looking forward to that. We're not sure which vehicle we're going to do it in this year, but that's definitely on the docket. I think as the world continues to open up again from this whole covert craziness, continuing to travel and it's another passion of ours. Where are we going to go next? And the last big trip we did was the Alcane 5000 in 2020 that went up to the Arctic Ocean, but we were in Iceland in 2019 and we rented the brand new 2019 at the time, Suzuki Gymnast and solid front and rear axles, low range transfer case and all that stuff. It's a little mountain goat and it was fantastic. And so we got to do some of the offroading out over there and met some offroaders and all that stuff.
[01:06:45.370] - Andy Lilienthal
So I think keeping on traveling and continuing to write at a pace that I want to ride at as opposed to necessity. And yeah, I don't know, it's such a weird time in all of our lives right now with Covet and all the things going on. And I look forward to some sort of normalcy here in the next couple of months, hopefully getting back out on the road more and meeting more people and hitting the trail more hopefully. And, you know, that kind of stuff. So some big events, hopefully some more small events coming up and more travel.
[01:07:32.490] - Big Rich Klein
So that's awesome. The travel is one of the things that we'd like to do as well. We had planned to go to Costa Rica during the Christmas to New Year type this year. And because of the new thing, whatever it was that came out, that was really fast and went through everybody really quick. We were afraid of getting stuck. I don't know if stuck is the right word.
[01:08:01.960] - Andy Lilienthal
I totally get it.
[01:08:03.040] - Big Rich Klein
Not being able to get out of Costa Rica, let's put it that way.
[01:08:05.710] - Andy Lilienthal
Not being able to get home. Yeah.
[01:08:07.060] - Big Rich Klein
That's a concern. We backed out of that opportunity, but we do want to do those kinds of things. I want to get back to Australia, but the next time I go, I'd like to do like six months, you and me both 18 days or whatever. 16 days. Whatever we did in Australia last time, that's not even enough to see anything.
[01:08:31.350] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:08:32.380] - Big Rich Klein
It'd be like coming to the States and getting a rental car and saying, okay, good, go see what everything you can in 16 days. Good.
[01:08:40.130] - Andy Lilienthal
Exactly. Now, you've been to Japan, haven't you?
[01:08:43.190] - Big Rich Klein
[01:08:44.250] - Andy Lilienthal
So that's my bucket list trip. And we were going to do it in 2020 until Covet. Right. But there's a couple of people in Japan that I really want to meet and a couple of off road things that I really want to do and see, that's my bucket list. But there's some other places we want to go to, but Japan is just I don't even know how to say it. I say this with all due respect, but for the crazy car culture that's over there, you could probably just put me on the side of the road for a day and I'd just be like, well, that's insane.
[01:09:22.570] - Big Rich Klein
Do you know Naazumi Suda?
[01:09:28.150] - Andy Lilienthal
Oh, I know the name. I don't know him personally.
[01:09:31.190] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, well, when you get ready to go, he's down in the Nara area. It'd be what, the Southeast outside of Osaka. And he is a car guy. He's got a Fab shop. He builds buggies, they build Drifters. He's got a what is it? A Camaro that is like a Fast and Furious type set up. I mean, he's pretty cool, and I have to hook you up with him, but we went there. He has an off road event that he does every year. There rock crawl and then with his Fab shop and everything. And then we took the bullet train from there up to Tokyo. And that was insanity.
[01:10:24.770] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, that's what I hear. He's the guy that has the rock crawling course that you see in all the photos. Right. That's kind of like lined with bamboo or tall trees or whatever it is. And he holds like the gymnast rock crawl event there. That is tough.
[01:10:38.280] - Big Rich Klein
[01:10:40.010] - Andy Lilienthal
I have a friend who lives up there. His name is Christopherson Domingo.
[01:10:43.670] - Big Rich Klein
I know Christopherson.
[01:10:45.260] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. He runs one immediate and I've talked to him quite a bit, and I definitely have to meet him one of these days. But yeah, it's also fascinating. The off road culture is so different in different places. Japan, with its Jimmy rock crawling versus Iceland with its big balloon tire super duties and everything else. It's so cool to just experience how everybody else does it because we're all doing it, but we're all doing it a little bit different. It's kind of like going to a chili Cook off. Everybody's making chili, but none of them are the same.
[01:11:24.180] - Big Rich Klein
Correct. That's a great analogy. I like that. So, yeah. When you get that life list trip to Japan, let me know.
[01:11:35.790] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:11:36.490] - Big Rich Klein
I've got some other friends over there, too that we can hook you up with and you guys can meet them and really immerse yourself in the culture. It's phenomenal. It really is awesome. So polite and helpful. I remember we were standing on a corner. We were outside of Tokyo in one of the suburb areas, and we were trying to get to one place, and the Ichigawa was where we were trying to get to. And Shelley goes, oh, I know where that's at. We saw it on the train yesterday. So we looked it up and we were going to sit at Ichigawa. We went to Ichikawa, all right. And we went like 45 minutes, maybe an hour in the wrong direction on the train to the other side. So instead of going west, we went east.
[01:12:36.770] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:12:37.340] - Big Rich Klein
Or something like that. And we counted and said, okay, it's going to be 17 stations. Well, the train line ends at 15 stations when we realize we're not going the right direction. So then we turn around and go back, and then we get off at the wrong one, which, because it was the Kawagawa thing and we're just standing on the street corner. It was Shelley, myself, and Josh England with all our luggage, and we just look like we're totally out of place. Three large Americans and everybody else is tiny, and we just like, help, and people would stop and help say, oh, okay, here's what you got to do. Whether they could speak English well or not, they were very helpful.
[01:13:33.110] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:13:34.140] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. So, yeah, it's definitely a place to go. And spending time in Tokyo especially, I guess it's like the largest train station, Shinjuku. I'm probably not saying it right. Train station at the time that we went 2.2 million people a day went through that train hub.
[01:14:04.430] - Andy Lilienthal
It's almost uncompromprehensible incomprehensible.
[01:14:06.920] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I mean, when you stepped out of the walking tunnel into the main corridors, it was like I. Equated. It to spawning fish running up the river. You just got in the flow and you had to keep up. Otherwise you got to run over and you had to find an Eddy, which right behind a pillar or something, and you would just sneak behind the pillar because everybody's going around the pillar and you catch your breath and go, okay, are we still in the right direction? Are we going the right way? It was just crazy how like a stream of people. Oh, absolutely. And, I mean, everybody was moving fast. And the one thing about Japan, especially in the Tokyo area, everybody queues up really well. They'll stand in line and be all perfect and just everybody waiting. But when that door opens up, you can't hesitate. You will get run over. It was like, everybody's just. And then doors open and it's just mad house.
[01:15:16.120] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:15:17.140] - Big Rich Klein
Pretty crazy. So is there anything that you guys, you want to talk about that you haven't can you think of?
[01:15:27.510] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, I guess one other thing that we do, I started a second blog in 2016 called crankshaft culture.
[01:15:35.110] - Big Rich Klein
[01:15:35.750] - Andy Lilienthal
And crankshaft culture really envelops this idea that every car is an adventure. Every vehicle is an adventure United by horsepower. It's like we're all in it for the same thing. So I started this just before we went to New Zealand, and I got a taste of some New Zealand in Australia. So we've been running that. My wife and I have been running that since 2016, and we've got a really good Facebook group and social media as well as our blog site. But yeah, I think that just that idea of automotive open mindedness. And you might not be in a Toyota. Maybe you're a Jeep guy and you're not a Toyota. But take a look at something you never know. You might be like, oh, you know what? That's actually really cool. Or you might not be in the stock car racing, but you might take a look at it. Maybe you might find something you like. Open mind. We're all in it together endless. You don't have to like everything. I'm not some, like, automotive hippie here, but I have certain cars and trucks that I don't really like that much either. But you know what?
[01:16:50.170] - Andy Lilienthal
Somebody does like it, and I'm never going to look down my nose at them because they're passionate about s ten Blazers, and I have zero desire to own one. I have a friend who's just nuts about him. He loves Blazers and s ten s, and it's just never been something I've been into, but I just think his passion for it is awesome. That's so cool. Here's this vehicle that I've always just never been into and never thought much about. And here's this guy. He just bought one that was up from Alaska. He had it shipped across the US and all this. I'm like, there truly is a fan base for everything with wheels. It's unbelievable.
[01:17:34.450] - Big Rich Klein
That's very, very true. That's very true. I may not be into what somebody is doing in that. Like you said, with the s ten Blazers or whatever they may be building, but the passion and the desire that they have to do it is still phenomenal.
[01:17:59.960] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:18:00.430] - Big Rich Klein
I don't know what drives that person or the people that are in that part of that niche.
[01:18:07.050] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:18:08.210] - Big Rich Klein
And to me, I've never been brand loyal to anything.
[01:18:16.410] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:18:17.050] - Big Rich Klein
I may say Chevy did a really good job on this or Dodge did a good job on this or Ford did a good job on this. And Nissan or Toyota, they all have their things that they did outstanding. And they all have things that they did that they screwed up. I mean, there's no doubt in that. And it's just cool. And I hope that when I do get a shop space again, that what I really want to do myself is collect specific vehicles that I've always wanted or had in the past and then bring it back to life.
[01:18:56.720] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah, that's cool.
[01:18:58.230] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm hoping I'll be able to do that. Shelley gets her art space so she can do her woodworking or jewelry making or whatever it is she wants to do. We'll have like 20 sections for her and then we'll have a shop section for me and then we'll meet in the middle for the welding and wood and metal cutting.
[01:19:15.400] - Andy Lilienthal
There you go. Next stop, world peace.
[01:19:18.780] - Big Rich Klein
There you go. That's it. Yeah. That's crazy now, isn't it? Anyway.
[01:19:22.600] - Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. No kidding.
[01:19:24.040] - Big Rich Klein
All right. Well, Andy, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board and spending some time with us and talking about your history and your passions. And I've always appreciated your willingness to answer questions for me and pick up that phone or like when you gave us the tour around the Warren facility there. I really appreciated that. Thank you.
[01:19:47.380] - Andy Lilienthal
Yes. You're welcome. And it's an honor to be on the show. I appreciate it. And I look forward to hopefully seeing you at Jeep Safari.
[01:19:55.600] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, you'll see us there. Excellent.
[01:19:57.470] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:19:58.670] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Take care.
[01:20:00.160] - Andy Lilienthal
[01:20:01.830] - Speaker 3
If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. Hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with big Rich.
[01:20:18.520] - Big Rich Klein
Thank you very much. Bye.