Car Krush Merges Classic Cars, Fashion, and All-Around Badassed-ness

The collective of local women and nonbinary folks is hosting a raucous car show/block party this August.

By Eden Dawn Photography by Holly Andres July 24, 2019 Published in the August 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

When Emily Olivia Tyler’s beloved 1989 Trans Am blew its engine, she didn’t head to a mechanic; she rallied Portland’s cadre of car-loving ladies to raise funds for repairs. Tyler’s loose circle of gearheads eventually became Car Krush, a collective of local women and nonbinary folks obsessed with classic cars, fashion, and DIY life. Six years in, Car Krush now throws a raucous car show/block party each August, hosts the automotive podcast Hot Boxing and “slumber party vibe” auto repair workshops, and hawks a cute line of tees sold at (wait for it) trunk shows. Inspired by the group’s Krush Club photos of members with their rad rides, we held our own fashion shoot, and asked Krushers to bring props that best represented their cars. Oh, they brought it.

1972 CHEVROLET CHEVELLE SS CLONE, A.K.A. NORMA JEAN THE GREEN KILLING MACHINE “I heard the engine and I was like, ‘I’m buying this thing.’ It was really dumb, but it’s super fun to drive—super loud and muscly and just badass,” says Mandy Lannon. She’s talking about her ’72 Chevelle, an $8,000 impulse buy spurred by the fact that her father, who’d recently died, owned the same ride. A new driveline, brakes, and distributor later, Car Krush’s education program helped her get Norma Jean into cruising condition. “Being a woman and having to go to a mechanic is really intimidating. You don’t feel respected,” she says. “[With Krush], we don’t have to depend on guys to help us fix our cars.”

1989 PONTIAC TRANS AM, A.K.A. LADY IN RED “While there is a very masculine aspect to cars, they always have girl names and are referred to as she. For us, the car is the ultimate fashion accessory. We’re thinking about our shoes and our nails and the whole package,” says Krush founder Emily Olivia Tyler, who spent three hours a day for months scouring the internet to find her own real life KITT from Knight Rider. “We didn’t really see ourselves represented within the
automotive community. We wanted to demystify it.”

1976 DODGE TRADESMAN VAN, A.K.A. HADES PLAGUE With its Elvira shrine, magic books, and bumper sticker reading “Support your local Satanic Cult,” Gina Langley’s Hades Plague has wheels in two worlds: Car Krush and Portland’s co-ed Rolling Death Van Club. “Every time some shit goes down [with this van], I learn something new,” she says of the long, bumpy road from scoring Hades, dead and stuck in a parking lot, for $250 to the hellacious, tricked-out party van she flaunts today. Her driving mantra? “Just stick with your passion. Whatever it is that moves you, don’t let anyone say anything otherwise. And have AAA because backup is important.”

1984 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER, A.K.A. BETTY WHITE “I fell in love when I saw one for the first time,” says bartender Lauren Wahlstrom of the classic ’80s era FJ60. She’s been rolling her own Land Cruiser around Car Krush for three years now. The boxy workhorse has recently become a hot commodity in collectors’ circles, but Wahlstrom’s not parting with Betty. “I just keep pouring thousands of dollars into her as my wifey for life. She’s priceless to me. I’m going to keep her forever.”

Filed under
Show Comments