One of the worst kept secrets in show business is actor Tim Allen’s legendary love of cars, an affliction that has almost reached Jay Leno proportions.


In fact the Toolman made his car addiction a major part of the storyline for his classic situation comedy ‘Home Improvement’.


The role of Tim’s wife on ‘Home Improvement’ was played by Patricia Richardson and this talented actress was able to make her role as the beleaguered bride of an unrepentant car guy come alive in the show.


We hear a great deal about Tim Allen’s real life fondness for cars, but what about the woman who played Jill (Mrs. Toolman) Taylor on ‘Home Improvement’?



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We were fortunate enough to be able to contact Patricia and ask her about her real life philosophy regarding cars. We found that she had some interesting and funny answers to the burning question about whether she is indeed a car girl. Patricia’s initial answer; “You know, thinking about it, I don’t think I have met my favorite car still! I guess that would be the equivalent of never meeting the love of my life car wise. I hadn’t realized it until you asked. I didn’t have a car at all for many years while living in New York. Since living in Los Angeles I’ve had many different cars , mostly various Mom cars, and I had a Porsche for awhile which I was never really into. My guy liked it I guess. It’s definitely a guy car. I think I got it because of Tim probably and it had a little back seat that allowed me to get all of the kids into it if need be while allowing me to have a sports car, but it was kind of bumpy, and too low to the ground to be practical, and had soft tires that were always picking up the nails in my neighborhood that always had construction going on. And I’m not really interested in speeding around or going fast and don’t drive a car like a guy.”


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Patricia confesses she may have already met the automobile love of her life, but her sister ended up with the car; “I have car envy instead for the car my sister has had for some years now which was that little Lexus sports car they don’t make anymore that also had the small back seat and had great mileage and was much less bumpy to drive. Wish I had bought that one instead of the Porsche all those years ago I would probably still have it and THAT would be my favorite car.”




TV’s Mrs. Toolman also notes she was given pretty straight-forward car purchase advice from Tim Allen during their time together on one of television’s all time most popular comedies; “Tim wanted me to only buy American cars”. Tim’s advice probably made a lot of sense to Patricia when her import SUV inexplicably caught fire; “This guy helped me again when my- get this- Mercedes SUV caught fire in the engine for no discernible reason. We were coming home – my guy, one of my sons and me. Thank God this man had purchased fire extinguishers for all over the house and there was one in the garage… When I got out of the car I noticed little flames and a little smoke through the tire on my side and told him. He started yelling at me to get Joe out of the garage. I’m stupidly standing around saying “shouldn’t we call the fire department?” He was already spraying all around the sides of the closed hood, the front wheels, etc and now REALLY YELLING AT ME TO GET OUT OF THERE. Which I did.”


Patricia came away from the “hot-car-for-all-of-the-wrong-reasons experience with this insight: “What I learned from my boyfriend? Keep your house well supplied with fire extinguishers. He saved our lives and my house that day. Also, never open the hood if you see smoke coming out from your engine! Also, when someone tells you to get away from a fire, GET AWAY FROM THE FIRE!”


Tim Allen may have advised Patricia to buy American cars, but Patricia promised her children that she would purchase hybrid cars and instead bought imports that have this dual energy capability for her daily driver use. So far her hybrids have not caught fire during her time as an owner.


You cannot work with a consummate car guy like Tim Allen for all of those years without learning the most important lesson of all when it comes to cars; “The best thing I learned from Home Improvement? And this is from a still totally ignorant about cars person? Pay attention to the oil light. LOL.”


‘Home Improvement’ fans will recall an episode where Jill ignored the low oil warning on her Nomad and cooked the engine. The lesson obviously took with Patricia because she is well aware of the need to pay attention to the oil pressure warning system on her vehicles.


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We thoroughly enjoyed our opportunity to talk cars with Patricia Richardson and have concluded that she is probably a car girl in her heart of hearts.


She just hasn’t met the perfect car quite yet.


Jim Sutherland

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