Learning the Traits

"In the Garage" with Annika Carter


Some of us just pay to have mods done to our cars.  But others, actually dive in and learn how to do it themselves. This is the case with this Georgian beauty and gearhead Annika.  So today we "Step in the Garage" as she shares her story.


Name: Annika Carter

Age: 20

Location: Georgia




SG: Tell us how you get into cars and start wrenching?

Annika:  I purchased a 2014 Ford Mustang and knew I wanted to modify it, but did not want to pay for labor. No one taught me how to work on cars, I just learned by doing. The first modification I did to my Mustang was a set of lowering springs. I didn't want to pay for labor to have them installed, so I found a how-to PDF Online and did it myself, although we all know that nothing goes as planned when you work on your cars. Something always has to go wrong!


But the rest is history -- I began working on my car and absolutely fell in love with working on cars and the car scene that my modified car then got me in to.


SG: Was the Mustang was your first car?

Annika: No. My very first car was a 2001 Acura TL that I shared with my brother in high school. My true first car is my 2014 Mustang.


SG: So is the Mustang your only car?

No, I own the a 2014 Ford Mustang, which I named "Sterling" and also a 1992 Miata named "Steve.”



SG:  Sterling and Steve? How did those names come about?

Annika: Sterling came about because her paint color is called "Sterling Grey." Steve got his name because I figured he needed a very generic and plain name because he is a Miata and it just seemed fitting. I jokingly said "Steve" when I was on the way to Warner Robins to test drive him, and it sort of stuck!


SG: So what modifications have you done to Sterling and Steve?

Annika: The Miata is easy.  I installed a cat-back exhaust, performed some general maintenance to stop everything from leaking, and installed a new radiator, wheels, tires, splitter, struts and springs.


But the Mustang is not so easy, so I will just list the major things which include an axle-back exhaust, 3.73 gears, Torsen differential, aluminum one-piece drive shaft, MMD 551C wheels, Mickey Thompson tires, tune, CAI, coilovers, full brake upgrade (drilled and slotted rotors, Hawk HP+ pads, braided lines, DOT 5.1 fluid), strut tower brace, sway bars and front end links, custom stripes, spoiler, grilles, functional splitter, diffuser...there's more but I won't bore you with the little details. (Laughing)


SG: That’s a lot of detail. From looking at the both cars, especially the Mustang you wouldn’t think the that it’s modified that much.  Do you do the work yourself

Annika: Yes! Everything that has been done to both my cars, except for the Mustang's rear gears, I did myself Whether it’s working on it in the parking lot of my apartment complex on jack stands -- where there's a will, there's a way!



SG: Have you attended, or do you attend any type of car events?

Annika: Yes, I track my Mustang at assorted tracks. This year, I plan on attending Road Atlanta, Atlanta MSP, and Barber MSP for track events. I also really want to drive the National Corvette Museum track because it just looks like fun! And many others. I also do autocross with SCCA at Lanier Motorspeedway in Braselton, GA. Both track days and autocross are with the Mustang. For the time being, the Miata is a daily.


Aside from that, I attend shows and this year, I attended large shows such as Import Alliance and European Experience. I also have attend local car meets.



SG: So then what are the plans for your future?

Annika: A lot! For the Miata, I hope to make him clean and keep him mostly stock. I see new seats, a Nardi steering wheel, some new carpeting, a wrap, and small details to make him super clean.


The Mustang is a track build and is almost done. She needs a big brake kit; I gotta get those 6-piston calipers!  Plus, racing seats, a harness bar and harnesses, racing wheels and tires, shorty headers and a mid-pipe, and some intake modifications, including a bored out manifold and a throttle body.


As for events, I plan on continuing to attend meets and shows, but I am also registered for SCCA Autocross and will be registering for #GRIDLIFE South driving. I just can't decide between SCCA TrackBattle Sprints or HPDE.  I am working towards my racing license. The only thing standing in my way is the cost of the course – and I hope one day to participate in SCCA Club Races with my Mustang.


SG: That is a lot sounds like you’re a racer in the making. All we can say is best of luck!





Photo credits: Graham Cain with North Deck Productions, @northdeckproductions





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