FYI– Throttle Gals will be ‘closed’ for business for travel from Tomorrow, June 25 through July 14th. If you place an order on our website during that period, please understand we will not be able to get back to you until we return in July. Thanks!
Guess what? Girls CAN wrench too! Early this year, Sue Christophersen and I were brainstorming about empowering women to learn basic maintenance and functions of their vehicles. Face it: Many shops see a women coming and think, “Cool, add on sales starts Now!”. I have been frustrated for years hear
ing women come out of a shop for a routine tune up — only to have had said tune up cost over $500! When asked why they paid this, the answer is always the same: They said my car NEEDED this.
My buddy Kenny works at Madison Heights Tire and Auto, so I have been heading south to pick up tires when needed for a couple years now. While in the shop, I had been watching their interaction with clients and was impressed on how they were teaching their clients what was going on with their cars. And the sales were not pushy, just informational. When I was there picking up tires for one of our projects, I mentioned to Kenny this class idea. Turns out, Joe, the owner of Mad Tire was extremely interested in providing us hospitality and the shop for this purpose!
Several ladies showed up for class #1, learning how to use their own car owner’s manual, a few basics of general car knowledge, and finished by assisting on an oil change! It was great seeing the ladies gain confidence in tool usage and recognizing the elements under the hood.
Usually you lose people from one week to another, but all the ladies returned for week #2. Joe provided a food spread both
weeks, and stayed in the background to grab us tools or operate the shop lifts. The Gals learned how to find their emergency jack and how to locate a jack position on their vehicle. They measured tire tread, checked brake components and learned about fluids. As their understanding of the basics expanded, the Gals were asking some great questions! Our classes both ran over by about an hour, because there was so much the Gals were interested in.
These Gals left the class feeling confident, encouraged, empowered and asking for more! We will be offering this class again, and hope to be able to run in more locations to open this class up to other regions. But, for the first graduating class of TGCCC Spring 2014, congratulations! Remember: Girls CAN wrench too!
When Trish and I heard about Mary Barra’s promotion to CEO of General Motors, we were ecstatic! Finally! But then, I started to think about her situation. How many people were going to assume she got this position because of some form of Affirmative Action? Or maybe it was a position of title only to gain GM some positive publicity? Right away, I decided I wanted to dig into this story. I knew little about her, and was astounded by what I learned.
Mary Makela was born into a GM family, as her father, Ray, was a die maker in the Pontiac division, retiring after 39 years. She loved checking out the cars parked in the dealer lots, and especially loved the Firebirds, and desired one as her first car. She could only afford a Chevette, however, so the ‘Vette was her first car. She was educated in the public school system in Waterford Twp., MI. She attended GMI (General Motors Institute, now Kettering University) graduating in 1985 and entering corporate life at the lowest GM position, intern. Because GMI is considered to be a part of General Motors, Mary actually started with GM in 1980! Moving through the ranks, Mary literally moved all over the company. She worked in Human Resources, as a Plant Manager, with production as well as in the business side. Mary worked with Fieros. She worked in Flint, Pontiac and Hamtramck with many different projects and people. Unlike GM’s past leaders, Ms Barra is an executive who has come up on the product side of things. She brought diverse people together to create dynamic teams to encourage new results. She actually encourages healthy debate within her teams! Literally ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ this Gal did not have any idea she would become the CEO.
During my research for this story, I watched an old interview of Mary Barra during the INFORUM* (http://vimeo.com/38590869), where this question was asked, “What will happen first, a female President (of the US) or a female CEO of GM?” I loved that she was humble, and stated that she had no idea. She never hinted that she expected the position, or that she thought she was in line. She was already the Senior Vice President of Global Product Development for General Motors. She stated that she had the best job at GM and that she loved working with the team. She appeared to be very happy and content. And to top it off, she was already one of Forbes’ most powerful women.
Because of the research I had done on Mary Barra, there wasn’t much I didn’t already know or that I couldn’t find online. She is a mother of two teenagers, a boy and a girl. She has been married for almost 30 years to the same man whom she met at GM, and knows that her role, as a mother is very important. Mary stated that if there is an important family event, like a volleyball game for her daughter, she is there. It’s a balancing act, and she’s busy all the time, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything. When asked what she does with her free time, she asked, “What free time?” She figures, she’ll have free time when she retires and her kids are grown. For now, she’s living in the moment.
During my interview, I did learn a few interesting, personal tidbits. For example, Mary likes to drive fast! Although she loves all the vehicles on the GM line (great politically correct answer here) she drives a Cadillac CTS, but she has always coveted the sporty Camaros. She’s been known to drive some of General Motor’s hot models during weekends at the track. She also gives back to the community working with charities such as Karmanos in Detroit. Mary’s mother was a two-time breast cancer survivor and Mary feels Karmanos gave her 15 additional years with her mother. This is a personal passion of hers, and she loves giving back.
She gives great credit to her mentors and people who have assisted her along the way, ranging from professors, past managers and co-workers. She doesn’t pretend she ended up where she is all by her self. She is quick to point out the people who have assisted, and trained, mentored and encouraged her.
Mary’s mom was a huge influence in her life. Eva insisted that Mary go to college. No matter what she was interested in, she needed to pursue an education. Because of Mary’s strong background in math and science, she pursued an Electrical Engineering degree. She continued her education at Stanford earning an MBA. Mary’s mom was always there for her, and although she passed in 2004, Mary still remembers her mom as a huge supportive, driving force.
Mary’s motto is, “No More Crappy Cars.” She has been involved in new product development for a few years, and we have noted that GM has taken some huge leaps forward. With the new Stingray winning Car of the Year, and the Silverado winning Truck of the year, it appears Mrs. Barra and her team are on a roll. The new GM vehicles have great lines, and are attractive inside and out. GM is aware that there is a market for cars that are beautiful and powerful, and that some folks (like me) still love that rear wheel drive sports car. They introduced the Chevrolet SS, which fits that bill to a ‘T’. The GMC Acadia was designed by a woman, and I have to admit, I really enjoy driving it. Mary understands that women have the purchasing power of the country, and I personally feel that the new lines of GM vehicles have women’s needs in mind as well as men’s. They seem to realize that there are women ‘car guys’ out there as well. Why should a woman be relegated to a boring, predictable minivan? Although I do like my Montana, it isn’t for the normal reasons. I love that it can hold my whole family and my Harley. And it gets great gas mileage. I suspect we will see more ‘soccer moms’ driving sportier cars that show off their sparky personalities! I am a huge fan of the Holden Commodore, (from the Australian GM family) making the orphaned G8 a family favorite. So, I guess I have to agree; GM appears to be building more appealing cars!
Mary doesn’t take stock of gender when she walks into a room. She recognizes people based on achievements, ability and potential. And when a problem arises? She deals with it. “If you have a problem, you have to solve it. If you don’t deal with it, it will grow bigger and bigger until you don’t exist.”
Engineering requires a strong foundation in math and science. She deeply cares about getting the next generation into engineering and helping young gals get into math and science programs. She feels it’s important to provide initiatives and other programs to assist in learning, starting in middle school.
Why has she made it so far in the business world? She loves what she does!
By Doni Langdon
Naturally, I love cars. Of course, if you’re reading this you are aware of this already, being that you are on the Throttle Gals website. However, when you really love something, you find that you end up being highly critical of that item group. Like the food critic (Anton Ego) in the Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille states: “I don’t ‘like’ food; I LOVE it. If I don’t love it, I don’t swallow.
The North American International Auto Show
The Auto Show in Detroit is finishing up Preview Week, and going into full public swing next week. As media, we get first access to the cars, reveals and little ‘extras’ within the show. Most of the large displays had a latte/juice bar set up for folks to have a place to reflect and plan, with perfect spaces for meetings, interviews, or just to take a load off. Ultimately, I wasn’t ‘wowed’ by any of the displays; most were previous displays with different cars. Gone was the ever popular ‘Hot Wheels’ area in the GM display, although the track and the Z28 were there in full glory. A long row of the new Stingrays (which, by the way won the 2014 Motor Trend Car of the year award) were out for our viewing pleasure. Ford showcased their newly design Mustang, and the new Dodge Viper wowed the media. The Ford and Lincoln displays paid homage to their roots, with Ford using the 1965 Mustang and the 1962 Mustang Concept as the walkway to the new Pony car. Lincoln had a gorgeous 1932 Lincoln (with standing security) on the top level of the Lincoln display.
Only one car really pulled me, and it was not one of the high display vehicles. Tucked away on the top level of the GM display, was the new Chevy SS. The new V8 rear wheel drive sport sedan appeared to be built with my new car complaints in mind. Gone was the cheap feel of the plastic dash, replaced with a rich embroidered leather. An egress was designed behind the shifter, under the dash with room for a small purse, and there were extra electrical built within the console. Hidden ‘pop-out’ cup holders were placed in the bottom face of the rear seat, perfect for use when you need them, but gone when you don’t.
I have not had the pleasure of test-driving this vehicle yet, however I fully intend on putting this car to the test as soon as possible. This is the fist car I have been exctied about since the Pontiac G8. It is powered by the LS3 Chevrolet V-8, delivering an SAE-certified 415 horsepower (310 kW) and 415 lb.-ft. of torque (563 Nm), and is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually using TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. I can’t wait to feel this car do 0-60 in 5 seconds.
As far as the rest of the show, there are some fun new reveals. The SMART display shows a SMART car with wings, showing that you can do many ‘customizations’. I guess this is the one for the Red Bull lover 😉 . The Mopar Garage is pretty neat, showing the new linup of Mopar accessories. Mini Cooper is promoting the ‘New Original’ and a new comer, VIA Motors is there with their
Electric versions of the GM trucklines (promoting 100 MPG!) As always, it will be a fun family event, and if you are in the market for a new car (or just like to sit in cars you can’t rationalize buying) it’s a GO! Have fun, and remember this is one show where you are allowed to touch the cars, but watch those belt buckles!
We get so many cool pictures of people doing what we do, and figure it is a waste to not use them… so we created a series of calendars, for your desktop! Using photo outtakes from the magazine, as well as dedicated shots of Throttle Guys and Junkyard Jewels for your enjoyment. I hope that our passion passes through these to you! You can get your calendar under “In Print”. Choose your style from the drop down. Photos will be added as they are complete. Currently Junkyard Jewels is available, the Throttle Gals and Throttle Guys should be available next week!
The other day I was requested to install an aftermarket tach to my father in laws ’61 Chevy with a 235 Inline 6. The issue for me was that this tach had been purchased from a swap meet a while ago, with no instructions or information.
Now, I am from the Google generation. If I don’t have instructions, I’ll just Google the numbers on the part for more information. However, when Googled, the number 997SW6V came up with nothing worth noting. I knew it was a Stewart Warner, however that was about it.
After a short conversation with a tach ‘expert’ named Chris, I had the instructions I needed to set this tach up.
The first bit of confusion for me is that the tach was set up with a red, green, black and another red (light) wire. I could easily see the second red wire was for the light installation, but didn’t know what part of the harness to tap into for the rest of the wires.
An internet search told me to wire the red (ignition) wire to the battery. WRONG! This red wire needed to be installed to the ignition switch to the ‘key on’ position. NOT directly to the battery!
The black wire, according to this article was to be rerouted to the negative of the battery. This is not necessary, the black wire is simply a ground. Because the body is grounded to the engine, a bare metal bolt going through the firewall should be sufficient. I used one, with an appropriately sized eyelet on the wire, and added a nut to the back side.
The green wire attached to the tach side of the square coil that was installed with the mini HEI from Langdon’s Stovebolt. This is the wire that actually sends the RPM information to the tach.
So, red= power, black= ground and green= engine data.
The point here is not that you shouldn’t research this type of application through the internet, but you certainly shouldn’t take the first article you see as fact. You may be looking at a different product, or a different application. Or someone who is actually installing said product incorrectly. So, do your research, check multiple sources, and if still in doubt, contact an ‘expert’.
Throttle Gals Issue 6 will be released at Autorama Extreme 2013 (basement). Ads are being accepted. Make sure you get in! We are currently an annual publication, and highly sought after! We are now also in Australia, expanding your advertising reach. Got ad questions? Hit me up at email@example.com.