The automotive industry, whether it is selling, working on or manufacturing vehicles, has unfortunately always been male dominated In 2016 a study was conducted by Catalyst showing that women in the United States only make up 26.7% of the jobs in the motor vehicle industry.Only 21.2% of automotive dealers are women, an even less 7.3% are automotive repair and maintenance workers. Considering women make up almost half the workforce, most of them own and drive vehicles, how could this be possible?While the car world has always been male dominated, women are working hard to make a name for themselves.
Danica Patrick was the first woman the win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole at the Daytona 500 in 2013, she was also crowned rookie of the year in both classes that she competed in.Mary Barra, the current CEO for GM, was the first female CEO of a major global automaker.Jean Jennings was the former editor in chief of Automotive Magazine, who later went on to become the president of the company. Women are popping up all over the racing circuit, snatching up titles, showing the men they have something to compete with.
Women have a long ways to go in the automotive industry, but as history tends to repeat itself women will eventually be considered the norm.Here are some amazing women working hard to get us there. Women on the rise!
19 Sabrina Bolduc
Sabrina Bolduc is a mechanic who currently lives in Quebec, Canada. While Sabrina doesn’t have a project just yet, she gets plenty of practice wrenching on her friend's cars. She recently bailed her friends out after having issues with his clutch, Sabrina being the only one able to find a solution to his problem. Sabrina is currently working towards buying a Silvia S13 which she already has big plans to make into a drift car. Labeling herself a perfectionist, she knows her S13 will be just that.
18 Rachel De Barros
Rachel de Barros is the founder of GearheadDiva.com, where she posts do it yourself, step-by-step instructions on everything from rebuilding a carburetor to swapping out your shifter to game joystick. Rachel's love for cars started at a young age according to IMDB.com, helping out in her uncle’s body shop, which enabled her make a few bucks in college fixing fellow students cars.
After successfully running her own interactive marketing company Rachel decided to go back to school to peruse her passion for cars, combining the two to create GearheadDiva.com.
In addition to her website Rachel is brand ambassador, spokeswoman and product expert that contributes to many automotive brands.
17 Jessi Combs
We couldn’t talk about girls working on cars without mentioning Jessi Combs. Jessi has been featured and hosted countless car related shows in addition to being a talented fabricator and having her own line of welding helmets and accessories from Lincoln. Also a racer, on and off the road, Jessi has collected an impressive amount of titles throughout the years, and currently holds the title of “fastest woman on 4 wheels” after clocking a speed of 477.59 mph according to The Drive. Jessi even recently published a children's book that seems to be a bit of an autobiography, about a little girl who loved motorcycles and the hardships on not liking “normal” girl stuff.
16 Christmas Abbot
Christmas Abbot made history in 2012, being the first woman to be a part of a NASCAR pit crew, after being recruited by Michael Waltrip Racing. Christmas was a natural, according to Sports Illustrated and on her first day taking a stab at the lug nuts, she was finishing just a half a second slower than NASCAR elite level hand speed.
After a year and a half Christmas retired from NASCAR to peruse to other passion as a Cross-fit and weight lifting.
She is nationally ranked in both. What can’t she do!
15 Sarah "Bogi" Lateiner
Sarah Lateiner, better known as Bogi, who helps host the hit show All Girls Garage. Bogi has always been a bit of an overachiever. When she was just 17, with the knowledge she gained from her high school automotive program, completely restored a VW Bug which she still has today. According to her website, she completed her double major in just two years and was planning on becoming a lawyer. But it wasn’t her passion, so she enrolled in UTI and became a mechanic. After owning her own shop, Bogi landed a job hosting All Girls Garage, allowing her to continue her passion of working on car while spreading knowledge and empowering women at the same time.
14 Clara Yeung
Clara Yeung who resides in Vancouver, BC Canada is currently building her 1991 Toyota MR2. Clara swapped her engine out to a V6 2GR-FE after the car caught fire when they were working on it. It took her almost two years to find all the parts needed and get the MR2 back up and running.
Her favourite mods are her Recaro racing seats as they keep her comfortable but are also functional; equipped with both heating and cooling elements.
They’re also necessary to get Clara close enough to her clutch to bang through her gears, as she is only five feet tall. When Clara isn’t working on her car, you can find her cheering; as she’s a competitive cheerleader that competes at an international level.
13 Brehanna Daniels
Brehanna Daniels made history earlier this year in 2018, being the first black woman to be a part of a NASCAR pit crew at the highest level; The Monster Energy Cup Series. As if that wasn’t an achievement enough, according to Nascar.com, Brehanna and her best friend, Breanna O’Leary together made history for the second time that night. Both Brehanna and Breanna work as tire changers for Ray Black Jr pit crew; marking the first time two women to be a part of the same pit crew on the same team and the same race.
12 Patrice Banks
Patrice Banks once had a good job as an engineer, but decided to go back to school and start her career over as an auto mechanic. Patrice is now the proud owner of Girls Auto Clinic, where she employs only female mechanics at her full service auto repair shop; creating a place where women didn't feel like they were getting taken advantage of, like she used to. Patrice even added a beauty bar at the shop, where her female clientele can get two birds with one stone, oil change while getting a manicure. In addition she also hosts seminars at her shop, familiarizing women with basics like jumping a battery or checking and changing their oil.
11 Dani LaManna
Working on cars doesn’t have to be limited to wrenching. Dani LaManna is a professional detailer who lives on Long Island, NY. Dani has been detailing for almost 5 years now helping out when she can at her soon to be husbands detailing business, where they detail mostly high end exotics. Dani has had the opportunity to get her hands, literally, on so many amazing cars.
If she had to choose her favourite she said it was when she worked on a McLaren P1.
Dani’s favourite detailing service is using the clay bar; she admits its’s a lot of work but the end result is so satisfying.
10 Andrea Romkema
Andrea Romkema who currently lives in Phoenix Arizona is currently building her lifted 1999 Subaru Legacy. In addition Andrea also owns a 2013 SS Hotwheel Edition Camaro, which has a custom exhaust that she installed herself and a 1957 Chevrolet hardtop. Andrea started working on cars with her grandpa, and she loves that she’s able to carry out his legacy and inspire others while continuing to do so. While Andrea loves to wrench; she is currently studying to be a doctor and wants to specialize as an orthopedic surgeon.
9 Cristy lee
What doesn’t Cristy Lee do? You may know her from hosting shows like “All Girls Garage” “SEMA Live” or “Barrett-Jackson Live.” Following in her father’s footsteps, Cristy’s father was a mechanic and owned a shop where Cristy spent her childhood days in. Cristy not only wrenches on her bikes she races them too; which according to her website, she’s been doing for over 15 years! In addition to all that Cristy models, serves as a pit reporter and speaks as a motivational speaker as an influential woman in the automotive industry.
8 Kourtney Oglesbee
Kourtney Oglesbee became obsessed with detailing after landing her job at Adams Polishes; an amazing detail company based out of Colorado. Kourtney’s job in customer service required her to answer consumers questions about products so it only seemed right that she familiarize herself with everything she could about detailing.
She quickly learned how to polish; practicing on her downtime and started researching not only Adams' but the competition's products.
Now she says she doesn’t trust anyone but herself with her paint on her 2016 MK7 Golf R, that she is also currently building.
7 Brianna Booska
Brianna Booska, a small town girl from Vermont, now living in Tampa, FL where she is building her 2014 Mitsubishi Evo 8. She recently had a hand in help building her custom turbo sidewinder kit equipped with a 6266 Precision turbo. That’s not all she’s had a hand in with her build, aside from some fabrication needed for her turbo kit, she has done all the work on her Evo. Before the age of 21, Brianna already owned her own shop where she does paint and body work. Before Brianna could drive she was competing on horses in the hunter jumps, “you could say I have a think for horsepower” she said.
6 Sondra Leslie
After the NMRA debuted its new class “Steeda Limited Street” in 2017 Sondra decided that was the class for her. Sondra purchased her 85’ Fox body from her former crew chief, and got to work on its modifications. According to Ford Muscle her powertrain consists of a sleeved 5.0. Coyote engine supercharged by a Vortech V-2 H/D Ti supercharger; shifted by a modified TH400. Sondra premiered her new and improved Fox body at the 2018 Annual CJ Pony Parts NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals, placing 6th with time of 9.454 with a top speed of 13.81.
5 Maria Gaston
Maria Gaston not only builds her Evos; she races them too. Thirds a charms as Maria is currently building her third Evo 8 to be a drag car, her first being a show car the second was built to rally. She bought her current project not running, nor could anyone figure out what the issue was.
After many early mornings in her garage and lots of sweat and tears, Gaston managed to take her whole Evo apart.
She replaced what was needed all on her own. After reassembling, the problem was solved; Gaston admits she still isn’t sure exactly what the culprit was.
4 Gabby Downing
Gabrielle Downing was once a successful high fashion model but decided to give it up to pursue her passion to build cars. Gabrielle, Gabby for short, resides in Alexandria Virginia and is currently building both her 2004 Subaru WRX and her 1986 Honda CRX si with a dual carb set up, making this the third CRX she has owned. Piecing the car back together as that’s how Gabby received the car, in pieces, Gabby hopes to have the CRX done by the end on this summer and plans on entering the car into auto cross competitions when its finished.
3 Nicole Chandler
Nicole Chandler, who currently resides in Aurora Colorado is building her 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR that she swapped to a 5-speed. Nicole rebuilt her engine after blowing a head gasket, bulking up her previous numbers to 530 hp and 428 lb/ft of torque.This season Nicole bulked those numbers up even more after a few changes including upgrading her injectors, now making 615 hp and 480 lb/ft of torque. Her favorite mod being her upgraded 6266 Precision turbo, but Nicole is most proud of the work that she has put into the Evo and being able to say it was built with her own hands.
2 Nina Zagozdzon
Nina Zagozdzon is a drift racer who lives in Slovakia, Bratislava. Nina has been drifting since she was 15, even though driving isn’t even legal until your 18 in her country. Nina currently drifts her 350z that she had swapped out with a 2JZ.
Nina's gorgeous motor is fully laced in pink, purple and red components, and it's what she says she is the most proud of.
While Nina says she has a hand in helping building her 350z she gives full credit to her team at Kageki Racing.
1 Erin Buhagiar
Erin Buhagiar is a drift racer from Sydney, Australia. Erin is currently building her s14a Kouki that she hopes to have finished in the next couple of months. Her Kouki will be getting a SR20DET; which came out of her old drift car, as well as making it into a widebody; which is also Erin’s favorite mod to add to any car. Erin is building her Kouki to be used at the track, but also to be intended for street driving as well. When Erin isn’t shredding tires on the track, you can find her at school teaching kids at a primary level.
Sources: TheDrive.com, NASCAR.com, GearheadDiva.com,