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Meet The December ‘Guess The Car’ Champ: Sandy Van Hassel

Every month, Counterman’s “Guess the Car” contest challenges our readers to solve an automotive riddle, for a chance to win $100. And each month, we receive hundreds of responses from aftermarket professionals trying to guess the model of the vehicle depicted.

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The correct answer for the December contest is the Plymouth (or Chrysler) Prowler. The winner for December is Sandy Van Hassel, manager at Parts Authority in Redlands, California.

 Now, let’s get to know the December “Guess the Car” champion.

CM: How long have you been working in the auto parts business?

SVH: I started 22 years ago as a driver, and worked myself up through the ranks – part-time driver, full-time driver, counterman, assistant manager and now manager.

CM: What do you like most about your job?

SVH: Interacting with my customers. I’ve known a lot of them for the full 22 years that I’ve worked here. I met them as a driver, and now I’m helping them keep their accounts straight, making sure they get the right parts, and making sure my team treats everybody with the same courtesy that we’re known for. I enjoy helping retail customers on the counter too. It’s all fun.

CM: What’s the strangest question a customer has asked you?

SVH: Probably the strangest one was a customer walked in and she said, “I need a part for my car but I don’t know what it is.” And I said, “You don’t know what the part is?” She said, “No, I don’t know what my car is.”

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CM: How did that turn out?

SVH: We were able to help her figure out what she was driving, since it was sitting in our parking lot.

CM: What’s the coolest car you’ve ever owned or worked on?

SVH: The coolest one I’ve owned was a ‘72 Chevy Nova, two-door edition. I kind of grew up working on that. I took auto shop and worked on it there, and just kind of learned [how to wrench] on my own vehicle with my dad’s help.

CM: Do you have any interesting hobbies? What do you do for fun?

SVH: I am a third-degree black belt in karate, and my forte is teaching women self-defense classes.

CM: What’s your dream car?

SVH: Probably a ’52 Chevy Bel Air, something like that.

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