Personal Photography Project: Women Who Turn Wrenches-Jen and Her 73 Dodge Charger SE 440

I’ve been trying to get this project off the ground for about 3-4 years now, to photograph women who are car mechanics, women who love what they do around vehicles.
No, you see I love cars. And if I could, I would own a hot rod myself, something like a 1968 Dodge Dart and have some fun with it. Of course I would need help doing this and that’s the point, learning, having fun and seeing the end result!
What I’m interested in is the women who own their vehicles and work on them as well. Or work at a shop, race, anything.  There are too many images of guys working on cars, and not enough showing women. Yeah we’ve seen the pin ups, and don’t get me wrong, I love that, however, it’s high time to show the world the beauty of real women, doing what they love. Basically I want this to as a woman empowerment in what’s been a “Boys Club”.

Now, I can finally say it’s started! Why has it taken this long? Well, getting people together, schedules, not emailing me back, life stuff, etc. To be honest, I was getting frustrated, so I took a leap of faith, dove into my Instagram feed and posted with this:

“For the past few years I’ve been trying to work on a personal project behind the scenes. But now, I need the help of social media in a big way. I’m looking for women who are car mechanics or who love cars and belong to car clubs and fix up their own for fun. If you’re someone who meets this or knows someone who does, please have them contact me. I have some goals that I want to work on and this is one of them. If they want to look at my work please go to my profile or www.deirdreryanphotography.com. This is not for boudoir or pin up. Thank you all so much!”
#carmechanics #women#womenempowerment #cars #carracing#hotrods #showcar
#photography#portraitphotographer#environmentalportrait#editorialphotographer#carphotographer
#thankful #grateful#carlover

I got quite a few responses out of that one post, and I was like YES!!!!
One of the first people to respond is a friend of my friend from HS. Her name is Jenni and just recently she and her “baby” were on Discovery Channels Sticker Shock. You catch a glimpse of Jen in the Sticker Shock promo below, the show with her and her car aired last night, Wed May 2nd, 2018.

Here’s Jen working on her 1973 Dodge Charger SE 440 a couple of weeks ago, these were her favorites. I have more photos that I want to show off, but I’m still working on a separate page for this project, and I need to figure out how to best do this.

Here’s what she was doing in her words:
” I was assembling and replacing my spark plug wires.  (Some assembly required haha). The old ones burned up against my headers meaning my exhaust pipes coming off of the motor. The The new wires that I installed our 8mm superconductors for my V-8 big block 440 Magnum high performance motor.”

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Everyone who agreed to this project I asked them to answer the same set of questions, here Jen’s answers:

Why did you decide to be a part of this project?
Sounds fun!
What drew you in to cars?
The movie Better off dead. When I was 11 years old I saw that little French girl fix the Camaro and I knew right then and there that’s who I wanted to be.
How did you learn how to work on cars? 
Friend
What is the most rewarding part of what you do with vehicles?
Turning the key and going! Well, and saving money on mechanic labor. Thats a big one.
How many hours do you spend in the garage or driveway working on your vehicle?
Ha, well if I had a garage Id be in there as often as possible.
How much money do you think you’ve spent? Loaded question I know.
Oh God I have no idea 😂
What would be your dream vehicle if money wasn’t an issue? Details please!
One of the new Challengers. Mamma’s comin!!!
Would you have your own garage as well? C’mon, the sky’s the limit here .
Does a duck dart in the water? OF COURSE!
If you race cars, what’s your favorite and why did you chose it?
My favorite obviously is my 73 Charger SE, but I will poser brake my little 4 banger if someone tries to pass me on the right at a stop light. Never try to pass a former street racer on the right.
How did you get into racing?
I have a sickness. It’s called “go faster”. And guys. Ever watch a man shift a 72 Cuda in blue jeans?
How many hours have you or can you spend at the track?
Not enough!!!
Is this a hobby, a full time job, or your full time business?
Definitely a hobby.
If you have another type of full time job, do you wish that you could do this full time instead?
Nah. I prefer to not worry about getting paid if I screw up
Are you good with fixing other things as well? Have you always tinkered?
Yes, I love figuring things out, although occasionally there are mysterious parts left over after the fact
What was your first “project” or “baby”?
My 1973 Dodge Charger SE
What was or is your most favorite car that you’ve owned? Mine was my 2001 Volvo V70 T5, she roared and purred….the photo below was taken on the day she died 🙁
My Charger of course
Do you remember each car that you’ve ever owned like they were your “babies”? I still have a soft spot in my heart for my very first, an ’81 Olds Omega.
First car was an 86 Chevy Caprice Classic nick named the Master Caprice Luxury Sedan. All my cars had names.
Which do you prefer?
Domestic
Foreign
Imports
Other:Detroit Muscle baby!!!
Why?
More unique, and comes with a whole elite group of people who own them.
Favorite brand of car? Fair warning: there are cars in here from all around the world, like the Ukraine, India and Australia. I just added everything for the fun of it. To find out more on them here’s the link http://www.autocarbrands.com/car-brands-information-list/ 

  • Alfa Romeo
  • Abarth
  • Aston Martin
  • Audi
  • Arrinera Automotive S.A
  • Acura
  • Aixam-Mega
  • AC Cars Ltd.formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd
  • Bentley
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Bugatti
  • Chevrolet/Chevy
  • Cadillac
  • Chrysler
  • Caterham Cars
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Citroën
  • Dacia S.A
  • Daihatsu
  • Dodge<——————–
  • Daewoo(remember them?)
  • Elfin Sports Cars Pty Ltd
  • Fiat
  • Ferrari
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • GAZ or Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod
  • Gillet
  • Ginetta Cars Limited
  • Geely
  • Great Wall Motors Company Limited
  • Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH
  • Honda
  • Hennessey Performance Engineering
  • Hyundai
  • Hummer
  • GM Holden Ltd
  • Isuzu Motors Ltd
  • Infiniti
  • Jeep
  • Jaguar
  • Joss Developments Limited
  • Koenigsegg Automotive AB
  • Lamborghini
  • Land Rover
  • Lancia Automobiles S.p.A
  • Lincoln
  • Lexus
  • Luxgen Motor Co., Ltd
  • Lotus
  • Lada
  • Maruti Suzuki India Limited
  • Maserati
  • Mahindra & Mahindra Limited
  • Mazda
  • Maybach
  • McLaren
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Mini Cooper
  • Morgan Motor Company
  • Mitsubishi
  • Mosler Automotive
  • Nissan
  • Noble Automotive Ltd
  • Opel
  • Peugeot
  • Pagani
  • Piaggio
  • Panoz
  • Porsche
  • Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Berhad(Perodua)
  • Pininfarina(Carozzeria Pininfarina)
  • Proton
  • Renault
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Rover
  • Rimac Automobili
  • Ruf Automobile
  • Reva
  • Scania
  • SEAT( previously stood for the acronym Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (Spanish Touring Car Company, in English)
  • Saab
  • Scion
  • Škoda Auto
  • Spyker Cars
  • Smart Automobile
  • Subaru
  • SsangYong
  • Suzuki
  • SSC North America (formerly Shelby SuperCars Inc.)
  • Tesla
  • Tata Group
  • Toyota
  • Tatra
  • The Tramontana
  • UAZ
  • Volkswagen
  • Vandenbrink
  • Volvo
  • Vector Motors Corporation
  • Venturi Automobiles
  • Wiesmann GmbH
  • ZAZ

How many cars do you own?
2
How many cars have you owned?
9
Do other members of your family work on cars too?
Nope. Just me.
If no, do you work on your family and friends vehicles?
Friends yes, family no. Don’t ask lol
Is fixing your car or racing something you do with family or friends?
Friends absolutely
Do you see more women doing this now than before? If yes, why?
I only know one other girl currently who fixes cars.
Years ago, high schools offered auto mechanic classes, home ec, and other trades and now they don’t. Why do you think they don’t and do you think they should still offer them instead of going to a separate vo-tech school?
Probably too afraid of liability and stereotypes. Which is stupid. They should definitely bring those back to school.
Are there any nicknames for women who fixes cars? How does it differ from the nicknames for guys?
I’ve typically been called a motor head or gear head. No gender identity in those names. But I’ve gotten marriage proposals from guys who called me a car chick.
Are there nicknames for women who race cars? How does it differ from the nicknames for guys?
Not that I’m aware of.
Being a woman who loves cars and knows how to work on them, do you find that you have any problems with the “boys” at first or even now? Like when you go car shopping, if a guy is helping you do you see any differences in how you’re treated when you start telling them more facts about vehicles than they were expecting? When test driving?
Omg yeah. Testosterone overload makes them try to trip me up with questions they think I can’t answer.
Do guys respect you in your field? If yes explain? If no, why not?
Most men are impressed, but there are a few that it hurts their wittle ego. Poor babies.
Do you prefer older classic cars or the newer ones out today? Can you explain?
Older. Easier to work on. When this world goes all Mad Max Thunderdome, you ain’t gonna see any Prius’ on the road…

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My favorite cars since I was in grade school was the 1954 silver Mercedes Benz GullWing with red leather interior and the Duesenbergs from the 1920s. Are there any vehicles that still stand out in your mind from when you were a kid? 
Yeah, the Lamborghini from Cannonball Run.
Why do you think there aren’t as many women mechanics or race car drivers as men? 
Not sure, but we have better reaction times, so maybe it’s because men are too afraid of us beating them?
Do you feel that as a woman, you feel very much more in control when you are able to work on your own vehicle? That there’s a satisfaction in knowing you are accomplishing what is typically a “guys job” or do you not feel that way at all? 
Yes. It drives me bananas when a guy tries to take over after I ask them to break a knuckle buster loose.
Last question, what would you tell young ladies and girls today who might be interested in a career that involved cars?
Do it. Don’t be afraid to fix your own car. Saves money, and it turns heads.

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Jen, you totally rocked your photo session with me. Enjoy the photos and be on the lookout for your favorite to come in the mail for you to hang on the wall. You are one badass woman and I’m so happy that we connected with this project! Thank you so much!!!

Are you a woman who fixes cars, races them or knows of any who do? Contact me using the red pop up that says Chat Now.

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