Lisa Barrow's fortunes ride on the turn of the wheels


Lisa Barrow's fate was sealed in a little red Corvette.

"I remember, my father had a 1962 Corvette that I used to love riding in," says the feature reporter and associate producer for "MotorWeek" television program.

The automotive program is shown on Maryland Public Television and began national syndication yesterday on commercial television. In Baltimore, it will be on both MPT (Channels 22 and 67) and WJZ (Channel 13).

Ms. Barrow has been intrigued with the car world ever since riding in that treasured red Corvette when she was about 5 years old.

Now she's one of the few female broadcast reporters whose beat is exclusively automobiles. And as a female reporter in a traditionally male world, Ms. Barrow had to learn early to make her presence known.

"In the very beginning, I went to places like an auto factory, where I would be dealing with a foreman. He would direct all questions to my camera man. I knew I had to turn it around. I would say that I was the one that would be writing the story."

Since joining "MotorWeek" in 1987, those stories have taken Ms. Barrow around the world. She's covered an off-road race in Borneo, tested a Range Rover in Morocco and soon will be traveling to Japan for the Tokyo Motor Show.

Back at home, Ms. Barrow has discovered that being an automotive reporter is something akin to being a doctor. Everyone wants free advice.

"Friends say, 'I'm thinking about buying X car, so what do you think about it?' " she says. Ms. Barrow tells them what she thinks and hopes her friends are happy with their decisions.

"So far I've been lucky."

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