The "Twisted 550"

"In the Garage" with Michelle Rickels

Photo by Massimo's Fotografie: @massimosfotografie


Some of the most iconic driving roads lay in the west coast.  So if you're a car enthusisats, there's no way you can pass up a weekend drive.  So today, we step in the garage with SoCal wheel jogger, and Strada Wheels poster car owner, Michelle Rickels and her "Twisted S550."



Name: Michelle Rickels

Age: 37

Location: Orange County, California

Instragram: @Twistedmichelle


SG: So tell us, how did you get into cars?

Michelle: It all started at 5 years old, helping my dad work on engines. It was the only time he let me ask all the questions I wanted to without shooing me away.


So, I asked as many questions as I could think of while he was working on his jet boat engine. Those open headers and the amazing sound always fascinated me.


SG: What do you love most about cars?

Michelle: From the time I was young old helping my dad work on engines to being in high school and going to the street races and learning how to drive by my friends that were street racers -- going fast has always made me feel alive. It's the one time that I can truly relax. Completely filter out the rest of the world and focus only on being aware of my variables and surroundings at speeds that make me feel at one with the road.


SG: That’s a great reason! So what kind of car do you own now?

Michelle: Currently a 2015 Ford Mustang GT.


SG: Does it have anything done to it?

Michelle: Yeah. It has Eibach Sportline lowering springs with a 2-inch drop, Strada 20-inch Perfetto wheels with Toyo "Proxes" all around.  265x35ZR20's in the front and 305x30ZR20's in the rear, in case you're curious.


Plus, it has an Injen Cold Air Intake, grille delete and muffler delete kit with heat extractors, and the roof and rear diffuser painted gloss black.


Photo by: Erick Zarate: @ez.visualz


SG: Seems like a nice set up upgrades. Where did the name come frome?

Michelle:  Actually, “Twisted” has been my nickname for about fifteen years or so. I got the nickname because I was never one to shy away from a challenge no matter how crazy it may have sounded at the time. Haha.


. . . and S550 is the chassis code for the Mustang model that I now have. So I just meshed the two together and voila!  "Twisted S550."


SG: Nice, so we can assume you tw are  part of a local club?

Michelle:  Yeah, actually I’m one of the original members of the "70-Mile Saturday Elite Team."  Plus, I attend a lot of local events such as the regional Cars and Coffee and car shows.


SG:  So what’s the 70-Mile Saturday Elite Team?

Michelle: It's a group of driving enthusiasts ranging from everything including Porsche, Audi, McLaren, Camaro, Mustang and others that get together every couple of months and do either cruises; mostly on the Pacific Coast Highway or to hit the canyons.


SG: Nice, so there’s got to be some crazy stories from that.. right?

Michelle: One time we were doing a "cruise" without about 50 other muscle, super and hyper cars. I had and opportunity with a completely open freeway section at about 7am on a Saturday and took advantage of it to race a F1 and Porsche GT3.


I ended up beating both! But just a back story; I’m known mostly for my technical driving. So when we regrouped at the first stop a good friend of mine informed me that when I shot past him he was going about 140mph! haha.


Photo by: Ricky Hudspeth: @rhuds


SG: That’s crazy!  So what are your future plans?

Michelle:  Mainly cosmetic including a full body wrap and suspension mods. I’m thinking of going with coil-over struts and sway bars.


SG: Sounds like you have a lot going on.  Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

Michelle: There is one motto I drive by. It's all about knowing when, where and how to push your car. No matter how fast I drive I always as safe as possible to the drivers around me.


Yes, racing is about winning -- but not at the cost your or another's life. Push yourself to the limits, but at the right time and place and always surround yourself with people you can learn from. The worst thing anyone can ever do is drive with their "ego". This is when you become distracted and when accidents can happen.


In the end, driving/racing should be like breathing: All one fluid movement, with no delays due to thinking on how to react. You just have to react like it is second nature/instinct. To truly develop these skills takes time and above all the aptitude. The best advice I can ever give is to take some sort of racing classes/school. It forces you to learn so much about how the car reacts in different conditions and how to be truly aware of everything around you.




Photos by: (1)  Erick Zarate: @ez.visualz ,  (2,3) Massimo's Fotografie: @massimosfotografie,

(4) Strada Wheels; taken by @brandconsigliere , (5,6) Ricky Hudspeth: @rhuds




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