Homegrown Canadian

Carmelle's Crafty Habits


The sedan scene is in full bloom and and the 4-door enthusiasts are modding up a storm.  A perfect example is this gear-head, and Canadian sweetheart, Carmelle with her '99, Toyota Aristo.  Step "In the Garage" and see what she's been up too.



Name: Carmelle Amber

Age: 22

Location: Kelowna, BC Canada

Instragram: @blondmelle



SG: So tell us how you first got into cars?

Carmelle:  My father was the first to inspire me to tinker at a young age on some of his older cars. Since I was three years old, we spent every Father's Day at the annual local car show, as well as attending local events at the Penticton Speedway and surrounding tracks. Eventually when I was old enough to have my own car, I realized how big the modern car scene was and haven't looked back.



SG: What was your first car?

Carmelle: I have had many cars, but my first was a 5-speed, 1992 Toyota Camry with 444,000 KM's. I got the car by trading a "Sunday-funday" BMX for it.



SG:   . . . And then you traded it for the Aristo?

Carmelle: I actually went through flipping cars to afford importing my '99 Toyota Aristo, V300 Vertex, that I own now.  So I've also owned a 1.8t Wolfsburg MK4 Jetta, a V70 cross country turbo Volvo, an E46 330ci BMW, a 2.6tt Audi A6 6spd, a 5-speed Honda prelude, a '92 Subaru Legacy and now my 2JZ-GTE Aristo.



SG: Wow, that's quite a laundry list of cars. Do you every place in any car shows?

Carmelle: Not currently, but I'll be attending many car shows this season!



SG:  So what modifications have you done to the Aristo?

Carmelle:  On the drivetrain, this winter I completed a full R154 5-speed swap. It now has a single piece drive-shaft and a ACT 6 sprung clutch with OEM flywheel an ARP bolts. I've also upgraded the brakes to the 4pot Mk4 Supra TT brakes in the front.


As for the interior I installed a SerialNine shift knob and actually handmade diamond stitched leather seat covers and the shifter boot out of leather jackets from "Value Village."




Carmelle:  For the suspension I upgraded to Tein SuperStreet coils paired with Serialnine front upper control arms. On the exterior I installed SSR Professor SP1 wheels in ivory white with a 1/4 step lip, along with full Artisan Spirits kit with widebody front fenders and a Quad Fog front bumper.


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

Carmelle: I've attended Formula Drift events in various locations pretty well every year since 2010. I go to our local Cars-N-Coffee events on most Wednesday's and my car has been entered in HIN Vancouver, along with the Boyd Autobody car show on Father's Day. This year I hope to attend Final Bout in Portland as well as Illlmotion in Calgary, along with other local events like Revscene etc.



SG: What the some of the best experiences you have had so far?

Carmelle: In BC there is some beautiful windy roads that are great for hard driving. But my favorite experiences are when people don't understand right hand drive vehicles or are intrigued by the car -- but know nothing about it. Or big cruises with other enthusiasts, I love the community aspect of it all.


SG: Do have anything planned out ahead from now?

Carmelle: Absolutley! I plan to get the suspension setup a little more perfect with some rear upper control arms. I've also begun gathering parts to single turbo my car. Already have a front mount intercooler, the blow off valve and a few other goodies. I just need a turbo, ECU, fuel stuff to get it going.


Plus, there are a few little exterior details I'd like to attend to as well! Like a roof wing, paint, and a  Serialnine CSL trunk.



SG: Is there anything else you want to leave us with?

Carmelle:I want to urge more women to take part in the car scene and not be afraid to shine! It's a lot of fun and it's been a huge impact to my life in a positive way. If I could inspire one chick to get into it, then I've managed to accomplish more than I could've ever hoped.






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