Mechanic Danie’s drive and determination inspire man
- Danielle Simpson struggled to get a mechanical apprenticeship so joined the Australian military instead
- A YouTube and Instagram sensation, she’s turned her passion for auto into a multi-faceted career
- Danie has been wearing Steel Blue work boots since 2010 and has pairs in almost every color and style.
In 2014, Queenslander Danielle Simpson wanted nothing more than to become a mechanic but was struggling to find an apprenticeship.
“I was having no luck, then a friend recommended I join the Air Force to do my trade,” she said. “So, I did.”
Danie has never looked back.
Now a qualified mechanic—and still an Air Force reservist—she runs a workshop alongside her partner in Townsville, in far north Queensland.
“I’m working on a lot of four-wheel drives now, mainly, which is a little bit different from working on trucks in the Air Force,” she said. “I worked on pretty much all the defense vehicles but my true love is four-wheel drives. It’s my passion.
“One of the most exciting parts of the job is finding a fault or a problem and being able to rectify it. Just being able to hand the car back to the customer and having them be so thankful and happy and driving away stress-free. I love that.”
A mechanic and her Land Cruiser
In 2011, Danie bought a 1991 Toyota Land Cruiser 75 Series to indulge in her love of camping. The vehicle, which she dubbed “Ol’ Boy”, will be very familiar to viewers of Danie’s YouTube channel and to her 124,000 Instagram followers. It’s Ol’ Boy she credits with inspiring her to become a mechanic in the first place.
“He’s been through a lot with me,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of him. I think he’ll be handed down in my will.”
Ol’ Boy has been modified for camping and off-roading including a canopy, a dog box and a rooftop tent.
“I love beach camping, I love driving along the beach and waking up to the sound of the ocean,” Danie said. “Obviously, living in Townsville there are lots of amazing beaches. We love to drive a few hours out of town, get on a beach and spend the weekend camping.”
View this post on Instagram
When your trade is your passion, the learning never ends
When she’s not working or camping, Danie is either creating inspiring content for YouTube and Instagram or studying.
“I started my YouTube channel in 2018 because it was an easier place to elaborate on things than Instagram,” she said. “I just started sharing the journey of my car with the main aim of inspiring other people. I think being a woman in the four-wheel drive industry, it’s just comforting to see other women out there doing it. I’ve been lucky enough to have people message me back and say, ‘Hey, you’ve inspired me to go get a trade’ or ‘you’ve inspired me to get a four-wheel drive and do these things myself’. It’s a cool feeling.”
Danie is also building on her skills by studying part-time for a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I don’t like it when I’m not learning and we do a lot of vehicle certification work now and that has sparked a new passion for the engineering side of things,” Danie said.
Why Danie choose Steel Blue work boots
Danie said she’d been wearing Steel Blue boots since about 2010, when she first joined the work force.
“It’s a comfort thing,” she said. “I’m quite small and I think finding boots that were comfortable and steel toed for the workshop, but not overly heavy on my foot, was probably the main reason I started wearing them.
“But now it’s grown into a bit of an obsession where I’ve got so many different colors and styles, and I wear them not just in the workshop but even in more casual environments. It’s become a bit of a collection. They’re so comfortable, and they just last.”
Danie said the jungle boots were her favorite.
“I wear them to lots of events or if I know I’m going to be out walking a track or something like that. They’re also great for driving because they have the cut-out at the back, so they don’t dig into your heel.”