There are car enthusiasts who read Internet forums and think they already know everything, and there are car experts who really are authorities in the field in the truest sense of the word. Paul Williamsen, Lexus's global manager for technical education and training, most definitely belongs to the latter.
We first met Paul during a media drive event for the GS sports sedan in California in November 2011. We met him a second time at the ES media event in Oregon in May 2012. On both occasions, he impressed us with his wide and deep knowledge of everything, including pop music. But his grasp of automotive learning was the one thing that blew us away. It felt like you could single out any one of a car's myriad parts and he'd painstakingly dissect it for you. Best of all, he can discuss technical stuff in a manner that will make you feel like you're listening to a nursery rhyme. Imagine Kuya Bodjie explaining viscous coupling.
Paul was in the country in June for the local launch of the IS sedan. We did a photo shoot with him for a Gearhead piece in our September 2013 issue, and for the interview we just had to ask: "How did you become a Lexus expert?" Or, more to the point, how did you become a car authority? How do you know so much about cars and their inner workings?
His answer was simple, and this could inspire the young car fans following this website:
"Study, study, study," he said. "Tear down and reassemble. Then drive, drive, drive. Study more and ask lots of pesky questions. Then drive some more."
That, in a nutshell, is how you become a car expert. Take it from someone who has made a (very good) living out of his automotive expertise.
Photo by Vernon B. Sarne