Street Machine - - Contents -

WE MET Kristin Cline cruis­ing around the pits at Bon­neville Speed Week, hav­ing just qual­i­fied for an of­fi­cial rac­ing li­cence af­ter mak­ing a 150mph+ run in a friend’s ’55 Stude­baker. She’s no stranger to span­ners or Stude­bak­ers, hav­ing made her 1000km trip up to the salt in a Stude she built her­self.

How did it feel to go over 150mph?

It was amaz­ing! Peo­ple al­ways talk about ‘salt fever’, and I al­ways felt like I had it just from com­ing out to spec­tate, but now that I’ve driven it’s a dif­fer­ent level. Turn­ing off from my first run I was al­ready think­ing: “I have to go faster!”

How did you get into the driver’s seat of a land speed Stude­baker?

I took a photo a while back with an­other Stude on the salt, and Jerry, who owns the one I raced, saw the photo on the in­ter­net and found out what an en­thu­si­ast I was and of­fered me an open seat. He didn’t have to ask twice! I’ve been work­ing my way through the rookie runs and now I’ve got a li­cence for rac­ing over 150mph. It’s in­cred­i­ble be­cause this is the first step for me to­wards build­ing my own salt flats racer.

What about your own Stude?

It’s a 1955 Stude­baker Cham­pion. I bought it 10 years ago hav­ing never even changed a tyre. It was my daily driver for about five years. It’s got a small-block 350 Chevy, which has been a re­li­able pow­er­plant and easy to learn to wrench on. The en­gine is hopped-up with World heads, Edel­brock man­i­fold and carb, head­ers and a Lu­nati cam.

That’s a de­cent up­grade!

I just fin­ished the en­gine re­build; it was a two-year task! All along, ev­ery job on my Stude­baker has been a chance to learn. Hav­ing just com­pleted the re­build, it’s awe­some to feel my skillset gain­ing and be­ing con­fi­dent I can fix what­ever breaks. My hus­band Ethan teaches en­gines and mechanics at a lo­cal col­lege, and he’s a great re­source in the garage, but knows to keep his hands off my Stude! I even over­came my feel­ing that cams were voodoo and chose the new one my­self [laughs].

Has that hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence changed the way you look at the car scene?

Right af­ter I first got the car on the road, I drove across the desert to at­tend Viva Las Ve­gas. I was so dis­ap­pointed that I didn’t find more girls who owned clas­sic cars or worked on car projects them­selves. I wanted more fe­males to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence I’d had.

How have you worked to­wards that?

The first place I looked was to­wards car mag­a­zines, where I’d learnt so much, but none of the writ­ers were fe­male. I wanted to start writ­ing and launched a blog called Grease Girl. It’s been great be­cause I felt like I could get away with ask­ing the ‘dumb ques­tions’ that guys were scared to ask [laughs]. I started it around seven years ago, and it’s opened lots of doors to both the car and jour­nal­ism in­dus­tries. Car life and writ­ing cap­ti­vated me so much I switched from head­ing into medicine to do­ing cars full-time. I’m now the man­ag­ing ed­i­tor for Driv­ing

Line mag­a­zine.

What’s next?

The goal is to open up my own garage to help cre­ate a space that would be good for girls to learn about cars, hope­fully in the next five years. I also need to make sure I’ll al­ways be faster than my hus­band!

Girls — wanna be fa­mous? Send pics, car de­tails and con­tact de­tails to: Iron Maiden, Street Ma­chine, Locked Bag 12, Oak­leigh, Vic 3166. Or email: street­ma­chine@ bauer-me­

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