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Ms. master mechanic impresses her male peers

Old 10-02-2006, 05:09 PM
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Default Ms. master mechanic impresses her male peers

I always thought that a girl that could work on cars was pretty cool.


Ms. master mechanic
Teen's car 'refurb' project impresses her male peers


By MARCUS K. GARNER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 10/01/06

Car talk in high school is typically considered the domain of male banter. In hallways and around lunchroom tables, groups of adolescent boys hold authoritative how-to discussions about tuning engines, replacing struts, changing out head gaskets or repairing brakes.

Add a girl to the mix, and does the conversation change?

Not when it's Wheeler High School senior Heather Davis, who is restoring a '70s-era muscle car.

That's right. Davis, an 18-year-old from east Cobb, is rebuilding a 1974 Plymouth Duster that she plans to enter in national and regional automotive competitions.

Since July 2005, she has spent countless hours in her parents' garage scraping, welding, hammering and sanding on the car she intends to paint pink and call the "Pixie Duster."

Unlike tricked-out refurbish jobs done in seemingly no time at all on television shows like MTV's "Pimp My Ride," this has become an extensive labor of love four hours a day after school and at least six during summer breaks.

"I was so happy the first day we got the car, I got up early the next day to start taking out the interior," Davis said, looking at a photo taken after the work was done. "Nine hours later, [the inside] was stripped down, and there I was, completely tired."

From stripping the original interior and sandblasting the engine housing to tearing down and then retooling the 318-cubic-inch Mopar (Dodge) engine and welding on new vinyl top connector tabs, she has done 90 percent of the work on the car.

"There's so many little things that you never think about when you're looking at a car," Davis said, giving a nod to her parents, who "refurbed" their own car and are coaching her through her project.

"Every bolt was refitted, every nut has a place, and it wasn't easy to take it all apart. It made me really appreciate what my parents did," she said.

With the exception of the help Davis' father is giving her in priming and painting the car and the instruction her parents lend, the grunge work is all her own.

"Now I know that being a hard worker pays off in life," she said.

Family affair, family pride

Davis' parents, Chris and Laura Davis, provided the initial spark that fired Heather's love of cars. Her mom learned to work on cars as a child, and fives years ago the couple began working to restore a 1970 Dodge Challenger.

"I had a lot of options to do this or to not do this," Heather said, noting that when her parents began their project, they offered both Heather and her older brother Brian Davis a shot at rebuilding a car of their own. "Brian wasn't into it, but I was like 'I really want to do that.' "

With inspiration from her mom and helpful direction from her dad, Heather set out to find her Duster early last year, and by July she'd brought it home. Her initial goal was to have the car show-ready for this year's Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals in Pennsylvania.

But with time winding down, a mix-up with the custom white leather seats threw her completely off schedule.

"The seats were the wrong color white," she said, holding the eggshell-colored leather next to a true-white steering wheel. "We didn't find out until June and couldn't get new seats made in time. I was crushed."

Anticipating the July show, Heather had cranked her work on the car up to high gear, committing every moment she had to finishing. But her efforts lost momentum when the mishap came to light. Having taken a more leisurely pace since then, she reflected on some of the lessons learned.

"Having limited resources [in that situation] was frustrating," she said. "But if everything was available right when you
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Old 10-02-2006, 07:32 PM
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Default RE: Ms. master mechanic impresses her male peers

how does she get the money to put into it?

i make amanda help with all of the work on her truck...
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:57 AM
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Default RE: Ms. master mechanic impresses her male peers

Why can't I find more girls like that...and around my age for that matter. I like girls that aren't afraid to get a little grease under their french tips (for those who you who don't know what a french tip is, it is a reference to the tip of their fingernail in a fancy way or something. In short, it isn't anything dirty.).

So Patrick, does Amanda like working on her truck?
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