I have warned many a street rodder who would listen: "If it looks like we're having too much fun with our street rods, then the women are gonna want to play." Sure enough, I have begun to notice more and more women taking an active part in street rodding. I am not talking about the obligatory wife riding shotgun, but wives, and I suspect a fair share of girlfriends, who really do want to get out in the garage and try their hand at it.

For starters, there's my wife, who, while she isn't much into sitting around at events, totally gets into our Sunday drives. For that, she will generally help dusting the roadster and is always curious when I pop the hood. "What's that?" "What's this?" and the like. In fact, she has become very good at answering what I call "gas pump" questions. She will stop to fill the roadster with gas, and invariably a guy will come over and ask questions figuring she is, well, a girl and won't know a thing. The unsuspecting male is then overrun with great answers to all the questions. My wife may not know a quick-change from a dropped I-beam, but she knows what our roadster has and keeps the guys mesmerized.

Then, there are those wives who have graduated past the "quick detailer" process and already have a working knowledge of what's under the hood. These ladies want to move up and beyond "water cooler conversations." That brings us to staffer Jim Rizzo and freelancer Chuck Vranas, who are going through a learning curve of their own. Their wives not only want their own hot rods, but they want to be part of the process, as well.

According to Riz, "After 30 years as a self-proclaimed 'garage widow,' Candy finally decided to see for herself what was so alluring about spending so much time out in the garage building a hot rod." With that in mind, she sat down with a couple of issues of STREET ROddER, hoping to see something that struck her fancy. The rod would have to reflect her taste, and it would have to be within the realm of practicality. So many rodders' wives have experienced the build process more than once, but seeing and doing are two different things. Riz made sure Candy tackled something that was within her (and we suspect Riz's) level of confidence-cuz she was determined to do this herself.

Candy has always been a roadster gal, and after looking at pictures, perusing through catalogs, and visiting a few Web sites, she settled on the Total Performance King T kit rod. Remember, she has always liked roadsters and has a fancy for traditional-style track Ts. The Total Performance kit is a natural for her (and hubby Riz), as it is something she can "bust a few knuckles on." Candy, with wrenches flying, had the chassis assembled within 3 1/2 hours the first time, and she quickly found out she was correct. The next day, she tore it down and began prepping and painting the chassis and suspension components in preparation for its final assembly.

Having spoken with Riz, he's a bit dejected since it is becoming obvious which one will have their hot rod on the road first for the summer cruising. Of course, being the supportive fellow staffer, I told him he could convince Candy to help him get his car on the road if he played his cards right, but Riz didn't see the humor in my comment. Turn to page 192 to follow along with Candy's first build.

Next up is freelancer Chuck Vranas. Here's a hot rodder who thrives in the East Coast-build lifestyle. So, it should come as no surprise that his wife, Kim, enjoys the traditional build, as well.

Unlike Candy's ride, Kim has gone for the "build it from scratch" approach, meaning there's plenty she can do, but then again there will be plenty in which she has enlisted the help of her hot rod friends-who just happen to know Chuck! Kim chose a '27 Ford touring she has branded the Voodoo doll, which was once used in a circus, as it had spent a good deal of its life as a clown car.

According to Chuck, the design and thought behind the hot rod is all Kim's. Although husbands and their friends like to think they have contributed valued input, my experience has been the ladies more often than not "allow" their hubbies to contribute in an attempt to keep the frail male ego in check.

Resting between the deuce Factory 'rails is a dual-quad 425-inch Nailhead that will require three pedals to get it up and running, but all of this is "just fine" with Kim. The final appearance will see a root beer metallic for the body, a crme firewall, a crme flat-pleat interior, chocolate German square-weave carpet, a red engine, and 16-inch crme steel wheels with Firestone blackwall tires. Now, that sounds like a lot of hot rod for a gal. Our guess is the touring and Kim will be receiving plenty of attention from hubby Chuck and the rest of the local rodders.

Well, we rodders have only ourselves to blame for lettin' girls into the "He-Man Women-Haters Club." Now that the ladies are here, my guess is they will be staying and having their own fun with cars.