Classic Rides For Classy Canadian Car Chicks

classic_rides_for_classy_canadian_car_chicks.jpgThe members have names for their cars like LowLita, Veronica, Cherriot and Hanna. They use personal handles like Trouble Galore, Rat Pink and Hot Rod Girl. And they drive their cars nearly every day from May to October. This is an 'all-girl' car club and they call themselves The FenderSkirts.

These women are very much a part of the classic car culture and they won't be parked on the sidelines. They build and improve their cars in winter months and attend dozens of car shows in the fair weather. Their dress is often as unique as their cars and, when they put on a car club display, it's all pink and parasols.

Krista Tjorhom doesn't remember when special interest cars weren't part of her life. Her father Carl, owned one of B.C.'s best known hot rods in the 1950s and is an inductee in the Greater Vancouver Motorsports Pioneers Society.

She graduated from a 1956 Ford pickup to a 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 that rides low and just oozes North American high style.
She and her boyfriend replaced the original 371-cubic-inch V8 engine with a rebuilt 394 and just completed reassembling the car after a new custom ice-blue paint job by her boyfriend, Kelly Newell, the day before the Fraser Valley World of Wheels Car Show in late February.

"Air ride is next," the employee of Costco Distribution, in Langley, says. The car club is her support group. "We help and encourage each other with work on the cars and put on joint displays at car shows."

Tjorhom and Melinda Neil worked together to install a new heater core in Neil's 1963 Ford Falcon.

"It didn't take us long, just a six pack," Neil quips. Then Neil changed the exhaust manifold on the six-cylinder engine herself. The sports marketing coordinator for Electronic Arts drives her car every day from spring to fall and attends car shows every weekend.

Belinda Kelly's father was a mechanic and her husband Lyle is handy with cars. The 'Valley Girl' from Chilliwack is a cosmetician by day at Shoppers Drug Mart in Walnut Grove and works on her 1961 Thunderbird in her spare time.

"I always had a love affair with cars but just couldn't find the right car for me until this car," she says of her black Thunderbird with its red metal flake roof and scalloped hood.

The car was custom painted by Aaron Wilson of EyeKandyKustoms. It has air ride suspension so it can be lowered to the ground when Kelly isn't cruising. She regularly drives it to work in good weather. "I'm proud to be a FenderSkirt," she says.

"The club is my resource centre and we really enjoy cruising, learning and working on our old rides."

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By Alyn Edwards
Montreal Gazette
Photo Credit:
Arlen Redekop, Canwest News Service