The Grand Gearhead
Vintage sports cars, dashing adventures around the globe and luxury awaiting at every corner - you wouldn’t be far off to assume it’s the opening of a James Bond film. In reality, it’s just a slice of life for Michael Satterfield. Known to his online followers as “The Gentleman Racer,” Satterfield has taken the automotive world by storm with the success of his online magazine by the same moniker. Born in California, but now an honorary Texan, Satterfield has traveled the world in search of the most compelling stories, while holding himself to a high standard of integrity.
Satterfield’s roots are deep in Texas, with a lineage of native Texans going back several generations. The influence of his Texan descendants, with family members originating from Odessa to Corpus Christi, is evident in the larger than life attitude Satterfield applies to all of his works. Without a doubt, Satterfield’s assortment of talents is on a Texas-scale.
“Texas for me has always represented more than just a place, it is really a state of mind,” Satterfield said. “People are good, the food is great, and the diversity of the state is amazing.”
Satterfield’s love affair with the automotive industry can be traced back to his childhood. His father, who specialized in design work for automobiles, introduced Satterfield to the complex world that resides under the hood of a car. By the time Satterfield had reached his teenage years, nourishing his love for cars took precedence. Soon enough, the “travel itch” was added to the mix with a volunteer trip to Nicaragua at 17, cementing the interests that forged The Gentleman Racer.
With a dash of the “spirit of adventure” that Satterfield’s father is known for, along with Texan ideals ingrained by native family members, the automobilist’s career has taken off more speedily than a Koenigsegg Agera. Satterfield’s “just say yes” attitude is an undeniable confirmation that Lone Star blood runs through his veins. His passport may be cluttered with infinite stamps, having traveled to over 35 countries (and nearly every state), but Satterfield’s soul is Texan.
“My Great Grandfather C.P. Wallace was a character and would share all of his wild stories that were way too crazy to be true. But it turns out most of them were true,” Satterfield said. “I suppose it’s the larger than life aspect of many Texans that I remembered most and that spirit of getting sh*t done that still seems to thrive here.”
For Satterfield, being the architect of one of the most popular automotive lifestyle websites around has not stopped him from reaching new heights. Since beginning The Gentleman Racer over a decade ago, Satterfield has expanded his resume with titles such as photographer, filmmaker, designer, creative director, and founder. From Dallas to Tokyo or a Formula 1 Race to New York Fashion Week, every day looks a little different for Satterfield.
“It can be something as simple as a photoshoot or a story, to something as wild as building a SEMA show car to promote a brand,” Satterfield said. “When it comes to creative storytelling I get to have a lot of fun.”
Although he no longer considers himself a man of a single profession, Satterfield hasn’t steered away from what started it all - the creation of quality content on his online publication. The Gentleman Racer began as a hub for motorcycle and automobile enthusiasts, but it has grown into a center for award-winning journalism chronicling a lifestyle with which many people, regardless of gender or interest in cars, can identify. The site includes stories of a cross-country trip to a prison renovated into a whiskey distillery, a holiday at a serene English Countryside retreat and even descriptive walk-throughs of Satterfield’s experience behind the wheel of luxury cars.
“I love finding unique stories to tell about people who are chasing their dreams of building their own life according to their own rules,” Satterfield said. “From a bonfire builder in Louisiana to a woman who created an international fashion brand out of Yoakum, TX, I meet some very interesting people in my work.”
When Satterfield isn’t airborne, en route to a foreign country, the unforgiving Texan sun can make reconstructing cars and tinkering with a bike’s engine, a grueling task. Fortunately, his favorite cool Texas shirts like the Texas Standard Performance Hybrid Tee and the Standard Long Sleeve Tee are weaved with breathable cotton, allowing Satterfield to run his outdoor activities in comfort.
Although it seems as if he’s at a million different places at once, Satterfield’s heart remains in Texas. After some years-long search for “a new home town,” Satterfield has decided to set down roots in a quaint town, 40 miles outside of Waco - which speaks to the magnetic culture of Texas.
“I have been informed by my native-born girlfriend that I am never going to be ‘Texan,’ at least by Texas standards, but for me moving to Texas meant a return to my family roots. Most of my grandparents were born in Texas, farmed and ranched here,” Satterfield. “[Texas] means family to me, opportunity. The new frontier turns out to really be rebuilding the old frontier.”
As far as we’re concerned, Michael, you’re welcome to call yourself a Texan.
Photo Credit: Corey O'Connell
Story Credit: Ana Sierra
Nice story Ana and very cool photos Corey. Michael is an amazing man and I am glad we have him here in Texas. His passion is in everything he does. His photos are remarkable. I can take the same photo as he is taking and his is always better – how does he do that? His interest in all things benefits his readers as he asks the questions they didn’t even know to ask. I try to invite Mike to every event we have just to get his perspective as he helps me see what I am missing. Bravo Texas Standard.