Girls in Garage and El Mirage

  MARCH 8, 2011 An action-packed Saturday!

We have two primary goals with the Gasoline Girls Car Club: one, to empower women to get greasy, and two, to learn as much as we can–not
only about our own cars–but about the wonderful, rich automotive history of Southern California. Saturday we got to do both, spending our morning in a body shop with a bunch of eager-to-learn ladies, and our evening walking though a sea of classic cars escorted by a lifelong car guy as the sun set over the desert. What could be better than that?

This was our plan for the day: Saturday morning we’d head to Torrance for Pati’s Girls in the Garage seminar (9a.m-11a.m), then caravan back to Lori’s shop in Orange (11 a.m.-12 p.m.), park the classics, and pile into Lori’s Lincoln for a pimp-style road trip to El Mirage where we’d tour SCTA legend George Callaway’s property (2p.m.-6p.m.).

Plans, schmans.

Here’s how the day really went.

Last minute, Becky Sue had to work. Drat! And Rosa’s little girl got sick. Poor Mia. So it would be just three for the day’s escapades: Kristin, Lori, and Pati. No problem. We could still have fun, despite our deep sadness for the absent girls.

Click pic to see more event pictures!

First to Torrance. Last December, Gasoline Girl participant Pati Fairchild started a program for women interested in learning about cars at El Camino College where she teaches auto body. In case you missed Becky Sue’s great write up for Chicago Pneumatic’s newsletter covering the debut event, check it out. The seminar again had a terrific turn out. Pati taught the ladies how to fix yellowed headlight lenses (superfine wet sandpaper chased by a buffer with rubbing compound)…

…and how to change a tire without needing the strength of Superman (it’s all about leverage, baby!).

She did a stellar job demonstrating, and even had coverage from the local cable channel and newspaper. Go Pati!

Toward the end of the event, attendees had the chance to pull their cars into the shop and practice what they’d learned. Fantastic! Nothing beats hands on experience!

While the ladies worked on their headlights, Kristin and Lori crawled under Studie and tried to figure out why the six month old tranny suddenly sprung a leak. The culprit? (Or at least our surmising) A broken pan bolt, something we couldn’t fix on the spot. It would have to wait until Monday. We topped off the fluid and caravaned off, at this point, over an hour behind schedule.

And of course Southern California traffic didn’t cooperate! We hit a major traffic jam en route to Lori’s shop—all due to a car with a tire blow-out and NO side median to pull over. Poor guy! We hate no side median roads!!


We’d told George to expect us around two o’clock, but as it happened, we didn’t hit the road for El Mirage until nearly three, and it was a two hour drive! But George, being a super swell guy, said no problem and to come on out anyway.


A couple hours later, with only a half hour of light remaining, we made it to the long and winding dirt road leading to George Callaway’s Place adjacent to the El Mirage dry lake (which wasn’t so dry due to the recent rain and might delay the racing season as a result). George and Monty gave us a spectacular tour of their acres of cars: Plymouths, and Lincolns, and Fords, along with the quirky ones they love–a Hudson, a Citroen, a Packard, a couple “Rutabegas”… (that’s George-speak for Studebaker).

Look for a full write up on our treasure-filled exploration in Chicago Pneumatic’s March newsletter.

So even though we got behind schedule and had to head out on our road trip minus Becky Sue and Rosa, we still had an amazing day. Women who didn’t know each other before bonded over tire irons and laughed over buffers. A twinkle came into the eyes of two men as they shared their passion for power and metal. And the Gasoline Girls soaked in every moment, basking in the glory of their shared obsession. Yes, some may consider cars simply tools to move from point A to point B, but really… they are so much more. Just ask someone like George Callaway.

Coming up next: Hey Girlies! Want to learn to weld? Come to Pati’s next Girls in the Garage event April 2nd. We’ll post details as we get closer. And of course, we’ll be getting our cars ready for a Vegas Road Trip to Viva Las Vegas!

Until then…

Later gators!


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