Girls’ Cars & Guys’ Cars, They’re All The Same
Meet Teresa

I’ve been out to Hot August Nights a number of times now, and there’s definitely always a lot going on. But this time on the calendar I noticed an event I’d never seen before: Women With Wheelz.

My initial reaction was that this could go very wrong indeed. While fewer in number, women have always been building cars and involved in motorsport, and they’ve arguably worked much harder to get there than any member of the opposite sex. Women in this arena, as in many others, have dealt with situations that guys like me can only vaguely begin to understand.

As such, I thought that this show could be in poor taste if organized by a guy like me. It’s not that I’m not supportive, but there really is no man who is really able to represent a woman. Luckily for everyone, Teresa Aquila from Teresa’s Garage Radio Show put the event together.


On her show, Teresa interviews women in the automotive scene and motorsport world, helping to energize the next generation. Of course, there were loads of others involved in getting her to this position and, yes, surely many of them were men. But what’s more important in this moment is that Teresa has never set limits on herself; she’s followed her dreams all her life and that is what has brought her to where she is today.


Ever since she was a kid, Teresa always wanted to be a mechanic or a cop. Today, she’s been a mechanic for over four decades and, in the course of working on cars, she also found time to become a Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy in Washoe County, Nevada. This year she was named Reserve Deputy of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association for her 41 years of service, a number she says will continue to grow as long as she’s physically fit for the position.


The car show thing, of which she’s organized several others, isn’t a money-making shtick either. All of the proceeds from her events have gone to local non-profit Moms On The Run, and during her seminar later in the evening Recycled Rides had a giveaway car for a family in need.

Keily & Carrie

Being a Speedhunter, there were two other ladies’ cars at the show that I took particular interest in. Because, you know, speed.


The first is 20-year-old Kiely Ricardo who races a Limited Late Model dirt car, an IMCA SportMod (not pictured), 600cc micro sprint, and the new sprint car in the center. She grew up at the racetrack and always wanted to drive, but it wasn’t until her cousin let her loose behind the wheel of his sprint car that she really got hooked.


She’s since been picked up by Mayhem Motorsport, and now there’s no stopping her. Learning the ropes piloting all four dirt track cars here she’s focused on a goal: asphalt. She’s taking steps to get there and I’m confident she’ll find her way, but it won’t be without a tremendous amount of hard work.

Like everyone else vying for a drive, she also has life to take care of; she works at the fire department and is studying to become a firefighter to pay the bills and keep the racing dream alive.


Likewise, Carrie Willhoff also spent her younger years around the a track, albeit a totally different one: the drag stip. For her the addiction became real as she started chasing wins in her own car, and from there she’s gone on to become the fastest woman in the Ultimate Street Car Association as well as one of the top 20 drivers in the series out of over 350.


In talking to Carrie I asked — in risk of making an overgeneralization — if she thought that, perhaps, statistically we would see women would have less outright wins and podiums but more points over the long haul. My thought was that women might make less aggressive moves, be better team players, and lack the part of the male brain that causes us to (somehow) destroy our cars.

Surprisingly, she agreed with me, and Teresa did too. Maybe it really is a male-only thing to go for gold or to go down in flames trying; Carrie pointed out that her husband Rich will either finish first or last and there’s not much in-between. She also mentioned that she would expect to see women being more consistent over a racing season. Food for thought…


But all through the years one thing didn’t quite fit: her racing suit. You might be familiar with Carrie without knowing it as she is the driving force behind If you aren’t familiar, this is where girls can find driving gear designed for, yep, girls. Who knew that women were shaped differently than men? Not men, apparently. As a professional fashion designer, Carrie partnered with Pyrotect to create shoes, gloves, helmets and full SFI-spec fire suits for women.

It just goes to show that we sometimes take everything in this industry for granted.

Car Culture

The event as a whole was probably more engaging than any other show at Hot August Nights. I talked to more owners, I heard more stories, and I learned more about the cars than I did anywhere else.


Teresa told me that this is very much a part of what she wants to do for women in the automotive world. She wants them to become engaged, to not give up, and to be true to themselves.

We all have a shared passion for cars and this, of course, includes women. For boys and girls alike it’s so easy for our dreams to be stepped on. Did you want to be an astronaut? An artist? A bounty hunter? A dog surfing instructor? What happened instead, and why?


Likewise, it’s so easy for us to step on other people’s dreams. It might be the small things, like simply making someone feel uncomfortable or wanting to make a joke we’re certain will be hilarious. It’s not that we shouldn’t have thick skin, but all it might take is a bad sense of humor for someone to finally say forget it and just stay away. And this is the worst thing for car culture.


In a world dominated by men, Teresa continues doing what she loves. And the Women With Wheelz event at Hot August Nights isn’t the first time she’s organized a girls-only show. With help from the National Auto Museum Teresa has held a number of gatherings “just for the ladies.”

If there are any of you reading who are thinking ‘but where’s the guys-only car show?’, I invite you to attend literally any automotive event anywhere. From drift days to Concours d’Elegance there’s no denying that these are guys’ shows. This is true to the extent that female friends I’ve had who did like cars would be discouraged from attending for fear of strange looks at a minimum, not to mention the endless jokes and, often, harassment.


I’ve never once felt that way at a car show, and no one should. This show, held in a side lot a the Grand Sierra Resort was a good opportunity for introspection and I think we should all take a moment for this.


What have done to make sure that car culture’s doors are open for everyone? Nothing specifically, and I should do something to change that. We all have plenty of opportunities to be inviting (to men and women alike) and we should take them. Be helpful and respectful instead of disdaining or ‘funny.’

We’re all on our own journey through car culture. What are you doing to make it a better place, rather than a worse one?

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto

Cutting Room Floor


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Like women haven't ruined enough hobbies.


Anon, your comment about women "ruining" hobbies is unwarranted. Since you seem to be such a chauvinist, why don't you tell us all about your amazing accomplishments in the auto related arena? How many vehicles have you built, customized, restored, or raced? My guess is none. Regardless if you have or not, you are in no position to judge. Its not up to you or any other male to decide what a woman can or can't do. The feature article was written about several very accomplished women in the auto industry. I've met them, and they are all great ladies. In fact they probably know more about cars than you ever will. And furthermore, if a woman wants to involve herself with cars be it as a profession or hobbyist , your approval or permission to do so is not required!
Have a good day.


Care to elaborate?


Personally, I wish there were female contributors at SpeedHunters as well (a-la Taryn or Suzie)... The other two automotive sites I frequent have quite a few top-notch journalists.


As do I (and it's something I'm working on), but it should be pointed out that Taryn & Suzy worked here because they were very, very good at their jobs not because they were women.


Women in racing and women car enthusiasts can only make things better for all of us. More aftermarket demand, fresh ideas and tastes, and robust competition, what's not to like?


I think this argument has been made so many times. However, I have not once in my life heard anyone say,"Girls can't be into cars." Yet, so many female enthusiasts have to constantly remind us they are a "car girl", or post a long inspirational post on Instagram how they are a car girl, use their gender/sexuality to push them forward in the community etc... I see all this 100% more than someone saying "Girls, can't be into cars."


counterpoint: to say "just be into cars, why do you have to be a *girl* who's into cars" is to deny girls who are into cars the shit they have to put up with.

example: a good friend of mine is super into racing - follows F1 and FIA, attends anything happening nearby, etc - but had never been on track herself. i invited her to a track weekend. she came along and had a blast, but the whole time her instructor was asking why she was there. "do you have a boyfriend here?" etc. and she's an engineer, so she has to put up with this condescending garbage from male engineers and technicians in her professional life, too.

being a woman in any male-dominated field means you're subject to unbelievable amounts of condescension, and i say that because i often catch myself doing the "mansplaining". i know you don't think you do it, but you do it too. when i have to deal with someone treating me like a pitiable idiot, it boils my blood. so imagine that happening all day, every day, in your professional life *and* your hobbies. us dudes do Car Stuff as a way to relax, a way to get away from the daily bullshit. and since we're dudes in a massively dudely field, we don't naturally make the space comfortable for women. for them, just sticking around takes a huge amount of patience, and they deserve that "car girl" scout badge just for tolerating the rest of us.

my opinion.


Thankyou. You are so right. For the most part, women are doing their own self promotion in whatever manner they can simply because there are still an inordinant amount of men who refuse to give credit where it's due. I've seen it happen across the board whether a woman is a car professional, or a hobbyist, some guys just can't deal with it. No matter how well a woman does, getting acknowledgement is difficult. So the byproduct
Becomes woman who label themselves as car chicks, garage girls, etc as a way to find common ground amongst other women who are into cars. We shouldn't have to struggle so hard to find out place in a so called "mans world". Car ladies are here to stay!


I have not once in my life heard a single woman describe herself as a 'car girl' or 'post long inspirational post on Instagram how they are a car girl'. Funny how anecdotes work, eh?


I don't know, I see a fair few cars locally with stickers in the form of pink lettering making it very plain that it is a girl driving and that she's into cars, sometimes accompanied by a bunch of random pink accent pieces to highlight the fact. I have no problem with women being into cars, I think it's just as great as any guy that is and that they're no more or less welcome, but I do see SOME substance in WutDaFuq' s point. Not all women, for sure, probably not many compared to the wide world of female car enthusiasts,
but certainly some do seem to feel the need to call attention within the car community to the fact that they're women in a "man's world." It's just a tad bit obnoxious in my opinion. I've been off YouTube for a while, but I think everyone here has seen the number of female car channels pushing sexuality in every thumbnail. Many times their content is far too good to need it, but they know that's what attracts views.


comment software ate my more detailed reply. my question to you is: why *shouldn't* women call attention to their being women who are interested in cars? i don't see the pink accents as being very different from the "shoshinsha" stickers Japanese car enthusiasts put on their cars. the green-and-yellow sticker signifies membership in a particular automotive-enthusiast subculture. if you're a woman who likes cars, the single most obvious subgroup you belong to is "car girls". it's a thing that connects you to others and forms an important part of your identity. why shouldn't women celebrate that?

this is not necessarily aimed at your comment, Mr Flinn, but as a commentary on the backlash to "car girl stuff": i sense a bit of a challenge in in it. there's an implied statement: "prove yourself worthy. if you're as much of an enthusiast as me, why do you have to rely on being a girl to get attention?" but i disagree with that mindset for a couple of reasons. first, it's absurd to complain about people trying to "get attention" when we are on a website - and, for many of us, participating in a social media and car show scene - about looking at stuff we like. cars aren't just about driving dynamics, they're about aesthetics and hanging out with friends and sometimes just looking good. so if women use their cars in part as accessories, it's really not that different from what the rest of us do, it's just a different aesthetic. and if they're "pushing sexuality", someone's clicking, right? someone's appreciating the content they put out. if you feel like this is unfair competition, well, it's not a competition. we put ourselves out there, and if someone is receptive, everyone's better off.

but the second reason i take issue with that attitude is that, when you're a minority population in a culture, you need to be able to take pride in that to participate. if you've ever been the odd man out in anything - maybe, like me, you were an awkward nerd in school - you know how it can feel to be different from everyone around you. and being able to embrace that difference is important. it's how you can bring yourself to a table full of people who don't look like you, don't talk like you, and don't think like you without feeling like you have to conform to their style, or hide what makes you different. it's a hugely important part of being happy with yourself. i can't imagine who i'd be today if i suppressed that awkward-nerd side of myself so i could "fit in" better in middle school. so to be like, "yo why don't all you women stop making a big deal out of being women and just be like the rest of us" is just an extension of the very same attitudes that are the reason we have so few "car girls" to begin with. in a male-dominated hobby, we cannot expect women to just bury their identity *because it makes us more comfortable* and then wonder why they don't want to participate.


Brilliant response. That first paragraph in particular - excellent way to look at things.


Danica Patrick is probably the best example. If she was a guy she would have got the boot years ago for under performing but becuz woman = marketing dollars we have to take a moment to applaud. Anyone who disagrees or says they arent as talented with be labeled a hater / bigot / sexist.

Are there any questions?


The idea that racing isn't intimately related to marketing dollars is very naive.
I'm not sure why people love to hate Danica so much. She's a better driver than many in NASCAR and IndyCar. I think anyone who follows racing can make a long list of names that aren't as talented as Danica, if race results and career stats are the performance metric.
But speaking of sexism, why ignore all of the backmarker male drivers with consistently worse results, but single out a mid-pack female driver as an underperformer?


...and per Paddy's argument, single out the ONLY female driver as an underperformer?


Interesting that you use the example of one woman to say that all women 'aren't as talented' as their male counterparts. It's akin to saying that all south American race drivers are shit based on the career of Pastor Maldonado.


Speaking in terms of pure wins then women aren't as talented as their male counterparts. Motorsport is one of the few sporting arenas where the physical differences between men and women don't stop us competing against one another, if anything women get a weight advantage of tens of precious kg, yet men consistently outperform women on the track.

Now, the reasons for this are less clear cut; maybe the male brain's natural talent for handling spacial problems gives us an edge and a natural point of interest, maybe it's purely a socialisation thing because far less girls are given the chance to get into racing and cars, though probably a combination thereof.


Science Paddy. UFC, football, etc.


hahahaha! Nice little jab at Pastor.


I am so proud to say that Teresa is and has been for many years, such a good friend to our family, we first met I believe in the second Hot August Nights in 1987. She is everything and more that this story says. She has a book due out soon that tells so much of her life that will be both interesting and so funny, we are so glad to have her in our life and you will be too.


literally who gives a shit stop this gender bullshit and stick to CARS because this is a CAR website not a feminism website trevor you shitstain


Did you not see the cars then? Like, I saw some pretty awesome racing metal up there. If you can't even see past the gender of the owners to notice the cars in the photos, I would suggest that maybe it's not Trevor who has a problem.


Can anyone on the internet really post as anyone else on the internet? This seems really odd that has no user authentication


Pretty cool article! Id definitely be interested in reading more about female subculture car stuff. (If they exist) it would be really cool to read about the different perspective of female lowrider crew or drifters or what not.


Bring back dino and axe this pc bullshit. Speedhunters, not cuckholders.


Because mentioning that the car you're taking photos of belongs to a woman is totally "PC bullshit," of course. And then people wonder why women have such a hard time getting into subcultures like ours.


I wasn't aware males were being handed recognition left and right all willy nilly like.

I must have been skipped, to whom should I send my complaint? Or is my complaint not valid because I have a penis?

I contest that if you feel the need to have your efforts recognized without actually like... winning something? you aren't in this for the right reason, car girlz/boyz of Speedhunters.
If you're doing something cool someone will take notice. Or, they wont! Sometimes life is hard, blaming it on your genitals makes you weak.


It's interesting how some people make assumptions without knowing the whole story. The women that the article is about are very accomplished and indeed "winning" at this car thing. As for me, I've also been winning, with numerous awards for the many hotrods and ratrods I've built, earning 3 Best of Show, 2 Best Interior, and a bunch of other awards, along with several multi page magazine features, not because I'm a female, but because I build super cool unique ooak stuff. So to your point, not all women blame things on their genitals when things are tough. You wanna know about toughness? You probably wouldn't last a fraction of a normal day doing what I do working on cars. Sparks flying, doing dangerous cut off wheel stuff, welding, fabricating, doing body work and paint, along with interiors,
exposed to harsh chemicals, getting bruised, scraped, covered in sweat, grime,
metal dust, chasing parts, and doing full frame off builds including swapping bodies onto different chassis at home with basic tools. Doubt that you could handle it and do it all, and get the kind of results I've been getting.
The fact is women are capable of just about anything auto related, and the only weak ones are the guys that can't handle it.
All you're doing is giving us more motivation to keep doing what we do, and beating you at your own game.


And on top of not wanting to spend free time with people who possess your attitude- could you imagine hiring someone who talks the way you do?
I doubt it. Maybe that's why you're in a home garage with basic tools.


You have commented multiple times in this thread about men likely being less capable than the women featured in the article, all while not knowing who they are.
Are you serious? YOU, madam, are the sexist.


Sounds to me like you're still pretty butthurt about something!
I never implied women weren't as capable or talented. It seems you are in fact quite adept at putting words into other people's mouths, for sure. You've got that going for you at least.

Let's be real for a minute here, though, honey. You just got all macho on me because I "don't know the whole story", yet there you went spouting off about my lack of skills I never claimed to have, and how you are sooo much better than I am. Bitch, I could be literally anyone. What do you know?

You are an absurd person and not helping whatever "case" you're trying to make.

Maybe you should focus on doing what makes you happy, and not on who is granted the most attention.

The primary exclusion of women that I see stems from women like you. Why would someone want to spend their free time hanging with people who brag about modifying cars?
This "game" of ours you are beating us at exists solely in your own mind, you lunatic.


Never said you didn't have skills. And while its true my replies are full of attitude here on this forum, in real life, where it really matters, people are excited to meet me, see my projects and learn about how they came to fruition. The interaction we have is always fun. Being able to do it with basic tools just goes to show that it doesn't take a fully equipt garage with a team of people to get things done. So back to my attitude,
What about all the men on here making criticizing remarks about women? Is that okay? A lot of men seem to think they have license to dish out criticism towards a woman without getting any backlash? Well, its not okay, and I just happen to be the non wall flower type who speaks up. If that makes me all the names you called me, so be it.


All the men on here making rude remarks about women are trolls, doll. I don't feel the need to feed them.

You, are entitled. And I truly wish for you to stop focusing on what's between people's legs and just live.
There are plenty of men struggling just like you.


Really, guys? You're gonna delete what I had to say and leave what that maniac carol has put up?

Just because I made a woman embarrass herself doesn't mean I did anything wrong...

You know what I liked about cars? This victim culture shit didn't exist (in my eyes). Guess I was wrong.
Hope you've punched your nonsensical feminist card enough, Paddy. I'd like to read an article about something other than how wrong I am for being a man.


The fact that you cant wrap your head around this topic without losing it says so much more about yourself than anyone else.


Paddy, can you please delete all of my comments too? Evidently my comments are causing an uproar and Mr name caller is ready to blow a gasket.


I've been away all weekend, so only catching up on all of this today. If you don't mind, I'd rather leave the comments in place so people can see the exact sort of vitriol and thinly veiled bigotry that exists out there. Let me know.


Please delete me and my comments. Thankyou


Please delete me from this post. Thankyou


Thanks for your heartfelt deletion, Paddy. You just lost a reader.

You are allowing straight up inflammatory space in these comments but insist on deleting mine? No thanks.

Won't be coming back!


I didn't nor can I see any comment of yours that have been deleted. Although having read your condescending comments below, you won't be missed.




Speech* ;)

Although you may have had a point at one time, you might want to work on your delivery.


This article was written about an event, where women could show off their cars to other women. It was a day for the ladies to enjoy. It had nothing to do with proving anything, but for some male readers, it appears to be just that. I felt this article was well written and covered many points, not by us for the most part, but from the writers perspective. I have never once tried to prove myself, I only work hard to improve my skills. I am an accomplished mechanic, not because I used the "Woman Card", but by my skill and talent. Yes, I had to work harder because I was the outsider, the outcast. The men would sabotage my work, steal my tools and tear up my overalls, all because I threatened their manly hood, In their minds, never by mine. Many great men helped me get where I am today, not because I slept with them, but because they saw my self-worth and wanted to help me by offering encouragement, guidance, mentoring and support. I earned everything I accomplished, not given to me because of being a woman. How can you judge someone by an article? This is the same as calling someone names, being an Adult Bully. I never once in all my career went after any of the guys that waged war on who I wanted to be. It has been a dream since a young child to be a mechanic. I stayed true to that dream, no matter the obstacles or the roadblocks. This was my dream and I was going to live it. There is so much more about me that you most likely will find hard to understand. Thank you, Trevor, for a great article.


Thanks for your perspective Teresa! Hope to see you again soon.


For the record, I think you're awesome and I'm a dude.

I could wax lyrical about my dismay at the way others seem to think that building others up means belittling or emasculating yourself when it simply isn't true, but at the end of the day this site is about cars.

So what I will say is that the cars featured are freaking awesome. Thank you for helping to show them to us!


Thnx for writing this article. It's great to see so many (male) supporters of this view, too.
Cheers from a man.


I came to watch the dumpster burn.

I was not disappointed.


Two things come to mind:
1st: My hometown has had a vintage car-race in the city's central park since before WW2 ("Hamburger Stadtparkrennen".
Over the last few years, there have been a few female drivers, sometimes just because participation is a family effort.
This year, the events website announced that they decided to, FOR EQUALITY, introduce a women's only race into the event-list...

2nd: I have a fellow student who "revealed" herself as a car-girl when she saw a speedhunters-article about an old corvette on my laptop, and while she seems to be VERY interested she, too, mentioned that she thinks it would be "odd" for her to be into cars/turn up at a car-meet, since she feels like, still, most people would see her role as "can pose on the hood in needlessly high heeled shoes".


It is so good to be from Jamaica where we are used to seeing women at every level...

Leader of the country... Leader of the company... Leader of the race...

Doesn't seem to be an issue here like it is in the rest of the world.