Quick Stats: Lisa Ann Walter, radio host/actress/comedian
Daily Driver: 2002 Lexus LX 470 (Lisa Ann's rating: 9.9 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: N.J. to western Massachusetts
Car she learned to drive in: 1972 Dodge Dart
First car bought: 1970s Chevy Caprice Classic
Photo by Robert Robbins
Lisa Ann Walter -- a radio host, actress, and comedian -- loves her 2002 Lexus LX 470. She bought the big sport-utility, which she has nicknamed a "giant mom mobile" when her son was on a traveling hockey team and needed to be shuttled around along with his gear.
She gives her Lexus a 9.9 out of 10 rating. "It's been near perfect," she says. "I'm Sicilian, so I'm naturally pessimistic. It's hard for me to give anything a perfect score. It's really been a good car. I like being bigger than everybody else on the road, too. They see me coming and the little scratches here and there and they're like, 'Oh, this chick does not care!' and they move right out of your way."
With a daughter in college and twins at home, Walter is ready for that next cool car, something that isn't an SUV, which she likens to driving a den. "The only thing I dislike about it is that it's the opposite of cool. It's a Lexus, so at least it's sort of pretty, but it's like you're driving a family room," she says. "I guess for a soccer mom car, it's sexy, but it's not a sports car and I'm ready for a sports car again."
Before the Lexus, Walter had the polar opposite - a Mazda Miata. She sold the two-seat roadster when she had twins. Now, she's looking at BMWs as well as the new Camaro. "I'm looking at the resurgence of the new, retro musclecars," she says. "I'm liking that new Mustang, the one that Steve McQueen had, the Bullitt. I'm going to shop around."
Walter bought her daughter a 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class because she did well in school and got an academic scholarship to college. The car was delivered with a big red bow on Christmas. "I always wanted someone to do that thing when they deliver a car to you on Christmas morning with a big red bow, but my family was broke, so I never got that," she says. "I was able to get a really good deal on this used little C Sport, so that's what she got on Xmas morning with a big red bow."
Photo by Robert Robbins
For the time being, when Walter wants to drive a musclecar, she drives her boyfriend's 1967 Ford Mustang. Though it's been partially restored, it still has the original red leather interior. "That's my cool car. If I want to go anywhere and look cool, that's the car we go in. The car is in great shape, it's got the old-school seat belts. It's just super fun. My dream car growing up was always either a '65 or '67 Mustang or an old Coke bottle Corvette."
Walter gives the Mustang an 8 rating. "I love it, but it smells a little like gas, so when you get out, you reek," she says, laughing. "The nice thing about living in California is there are a lot of old cars that haven't rusted out, so every time you go by a used car shop, there's some great stuff."
Car she learned to drive in
Walter grew up just inside the north side of the Washington, D.C., beltway in Silver Spring, Maryland, and learned how to drive in her mother's green 1972 Dodge Dart. "I hated it. I saw someone driving one of them recently, the same light green and dark green body and I had a visceral reaction of 'I hate that car!'"
Although she learned how to drive in the Dart, Walter didn't have a car to drive to high school. Instead she took the bus. "That's what boyfriends are for," she says. "I noticed a van one time with a cool paint job, and I said, 'Oh, that's a cool paint job.' That was in the days when there were scenes painted on the side of vans and he went and bought that van and showed up at my house the next day." They would often load up the van with friends and drive out to Ocean City on the east coast of the Delmarva Peninsula, near the Delaware border. "We stole some benches from an Arby's and that's what we sat on. They'd roll around back there, because they weren't strapped down," she says.
Walter's dad had a Chevrolet Malibu that he gave to her sister to drive. "She was older than me. I didn't get a car. I had to buy my first car, which is probably cool by today's standards," Walter says.
First Car Bought
That cool first car was an early 1970s Chevy Caprice Classic she bought for $600 with money she made waiting tables. "It was huge, we used to call it 'the boat,'" she says. "My friends in college used to say that I should have worn a captain's hat when I drove it around."
One time, Walter hit a tree as she was driving to Lake Needwood, which sits northwest of Silver Spring. "I took a turn too fast and wrapped it around a tree," she says. "The entire right side of car was concave and I'm talking by a foot and a half. I drove that car away from the scene of the accident and continued to drive it for a year. My friends were picking bark out of the back of it."
They were going for a weekend picnic when that accident happened. It wasn't until later that week when Walter got her eyes checked that the eye doctor asked her how she managed to drive to the eye appointment. "I said, 'I drove.' She said, 'I'm glad I wasn't on the road.' I didn't realize that I needed glasses."
Besides calling her Chevy a boat, her friends also called it the "punk mobile" because it was painted primer grey. "It didn't have paint except for the primer and I drove it until the engine seized up because I didn't know to put oil in," she says. "The engine seized up on my way to college one day before a final and I left it there. When I came back to get the car, they were like 'When was the last time you put oil in?' I said, 'Oil?'"
After Walter lost the Caprice Classic in college, her mom gave her the Dart to drive. "I had it for a while, it was shameful," she says. "I really liked the Chevy, even though it was not a pretty car. You could lay down, it had bench seats in the front and back. So you could make out in it."
Favorite road trip
"I was a road warrior. I did stand-up for 10 years on the East Coast," Walter says. "We lived in the New York area, but my husband's family lived in Boston and my family lived in D.C., so I drove the East Coast for a good six years solid, on every highway you could possibly drive."
Her favorite road trip is from New Jersey through Connecticut to western Massachusetts, which she starts on Interstate 87. "It's just beautiful because you go through small towns and if you go in the fall, the foliage is just gorgeous," Walter says. "That's my East Coast favorite and the West Coast favorite is the Pacific Coast Highway, up north as you get close to Big Sur. I get carsick pretty easy, so I like to drive."
Author and radio show host
In addition to logging years on the road doing stand up, acting in TV shows and movies like 1998's "Parent Trap" and the Jennifer Lopez vehicle "Shall We Dance," Walter created the Oxygen network show "Dance Your Ass Off."
She's also been busy as an author with her book "The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It's Behind Me" which came out earlier this year. "It's liking yourself and all the stupid things, especially women, find to hate about themselves," she says. "It's about self-esteem. It's a funny book about loving yourself."
Walter also hosts a radio show on Saturday and Sundays at 4 p.m., heard in California on AM 640 and on KFIam640.com. "It's a huge audience between San Diego to Sacramento," she says of the largest talk radio station in Southern California. "On Sunday we do two hours of stupid news stories and we elect a 'Douchebag of the Week' and listeners get to vote. We cover everything from whatever's going on in politics, pop culture, interpersonal, relationship, sex stuff. But most of it is with a humorous point of view and my personal viewpoint, which is that of a mom and a chick."
For those who miss seeing her do stand-up, Walter still also does gigs at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. For more info please visit facebook.com/lisaannwalter.