In our latest Customer Spotlight, we meet up with the most influential lady of the internet automotive world. The one & only PetrolGirl, Ms. Aimee Shackelford.
Filmed on location at Protective Film Solutions, we sat down with Aimee to talk cars, family, and discover the origins of her widely recognized web handle. Take a look!
Aimee’s interest in automotive began at an early age. Growing up, it was stories of track days that got passed down from family members. Her great uncles built sprint midget racers back in the 40s & 50s. Like many car fanatics, the Petrolgirl started spotting cars with her dad, and the rest is history.
To learn the true origins of Aimee’s Petrolgirl name, one must fast forward to the rise of social media. Right around the launch of Instagram on the very first goldRush Rally, a kid approached her.
“You’re the Petrolgirl. You love cars, you’re all about cars.”
And it’s true. The title stuck, and her personal brand has grown forth from it. At this point, it’s evolved beyond the bounds of an ordinary screen name.
“Most people don’t even know my name’s Aimee” she jokes.
That said, the decision to run with the name was a brilliant one. It’s wide recognizable. Embodying Petrolgirl created an easy avenue for promoting her work within Cali car culture & the world at large.
Aimee’s introduction to the industry started with a popular automotive forum, Luxury4Play.com. In 2008. She joined the site as an enthusiast with no exotic ownership, and members took her in as one of their own. As she became more established, the site’s owners approached her to see if she could help them find sponsorship opportunities.
Without hesitation, she set to work. At first, the numbers were in single digits. By the end of the year, around 100 brands were on-board thanks to Aimee’s efforts.
Upon securing sponsors for the forum’s founders, she decided to bring Luxury4Play to Facebook. With the launch of fan pages, she soon realized she had a serious knack for growing things on social media. The potential for further opportunities with even bigger brands was evident, and Social Bolt was born. As a consultancy for marketing & promotions, Social Bolt grew rapidly from a mere four clients to a whopping thirty two – and it’s all cars.
“This is a dream job for me.”
The phenomenon that is goldRush rally began much smaller than many may realize. Near the end of 2008, the Luxury4Play collective decided to organize an official drive. At the time, the rally was a group of friends, enjoying their vehicles and the freedom of the open road. Traveling from SF to LA and ending in Las Vegas, the very first goldRush began with a mere 35 cars over 3 days.
“It was much smaller & easier to deal with, but it was a lot of fun.”
Nine years later, the rally has grown to a full nine days in length spanning multiple states & stops. It encompasses two track days, dinners, club nights, and all sorts of antics. The goldRush rally has become something truly larger than life. Many of the rally’s participants have been on-board since the beginning, too. With that, the friendships they’ve developed reach far beyond the nine days they spend driving.
Outside of her life in car world, Aimee focuses on caring for her family & personal health. She’s a San Pedro native through & through with roots spanning three generations. With a love of heavy weightlifting, surfing, skiing, and other action sports, the California coast is a perfect backdrop. On top of that, CA’s supercar culture is one of the largest in the United States.
Aimee would be hard pressed to find a more suitable locale to continue her Petrolgirl pursuits. Of course, as it has for many self-employed go-getters, the support of her family plays a major role in her life.
“If it weren’t for my Dad I couldn’t do anything I do — without him, none of this would happen.”
Certain vehicles attract people for a variety of reasons. With Aimee’s Audi R8, it was a mix of superhero status meets natural progression. After watching the first Iron Man movie, the gears started turning. Tony Stark had sparked her interest.
“I have to have this car someday – I need to be Iron Man.”
As with many auto enthusiasts, ownership is a ladder you work your way up. She decided to retire her BMW M4 and switch from roundels to rings. Now, the V10 R8 is her new everyday supercar. While she still misses the transformative qualities of her BMW, Aimee strives for more. What’s next on the list is anyone’s guess. A McLaren, koenigsegg, or LaFerrari rank high – but “we’ll have to wait for that,” she says with a widening smile. Hopefully we wont have to wait too long!
All in all, we had a blast on on our 3 day shoot with Aimee. Her insights about the ins & outs of automotive marketing are eye opening. She’s a force of nature within the supercar scene, and we couldn’t be happier to have her as a supporter of the XPEL brand. If you aren’t already, be sure to follow along with her on Instagram for a day-to-day look at all things PetrolGirl.
Special thanks to Ryan & the team at Protective Film Solutions for allowing us to use the shop for the interview segment. We greatly appreciate it.