Car Girl: Nicole James

Name: Nicole James
Car(s): 1965 Mustang, 2005 Ford Mustang, 2014 Ford Mustang 
Instagram: @nicoleeellan 

TGR: So you have three Mustangs who/what got you into cars and why Mustang?

NJ: As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my dad in the garage. He is a mechanic, loves American muscle cars, and I would ask him endless questions about the car he was working on and the service he was performing; but quizzing him on the role each different car played in society was always my favorite line of questioning. When the Mustang made its debut, it was a cultural pantheon and I think it’s because the car is fast, fun, and affordable, which transcends generations. Its always been a little rebellious, freedom, and road trips which is what I love. Driving my car is so empowering and gives me the freedom to go where I want, when I want, without any hesitation. To me, the happiest place on earth is really behind the wheel of a Mustang. There is no better feeling in the world. 

TGR: What are your future plans for the classic Mustang?

NJ: The car came with an inline-6. I have a 351ci Windsor for the car and my plans are to do theV8 conversion and stroke the engine to a 429ci. I also am a little bit of a purist with it and aside from the conversion and the necessary upgrades to make it safe, I don’t want any power steering or excessive deviations from factory specs. 

TGR: Do you work on your own cars? 

NJ: I work on them as much as I can and I can do the basics, but by no means am I an expert. When it comes to the more advanced things, I usually enlist my dad's help. 

TGR: When did you start writing about/photographing cars?

NJ: I always knew I wanted to be a journalist but it didn’t click that I could be an automotive journalist until I was in college. I was on the school paper and assigned a story about the local racetrack shutting down and I interviewed a bunch of people in the local drifting community. From there everything fell into place and gained motion. As I progressed in my field I saw the importance of being able to write well and take photos. Around the start of 2017 a good friend of mine, Charles Siritho, let me borrow his camera and taught me the fundamentals of car photography and “how to capture the moment." 

TGR: You were recently promoted at Power Automedia to be the editor of a magazine, what is the focus of the magazine and what direction do you plan to take it in as the editor?

NJ: I officially start on the 14th! I am going to be the new editor of Power & Performance. P&P is currently focused on late-model domestic performance and I want to incorporate Japanese vehicles and include Skylines and RX-7’s as well as get into European cars like those from the M series and Black Series. 

TGR: You had mentioned earlier you have been really getting into JDM car culture. What is it that you like about the JDM world?

NJ: Really, I like vintage racing. And I’m familiar with American muscle, a lot of the European stuff, but I'm starting to get into classic JDM and the cars that pioneered modern drifting as we know it. My best friend, Nico One from Alkuhmee Factory, is building a 240SX and has incorporated some retro aspects into it. Throughout his build its been really cool to learn the history and heritage of these cars. 

TGR: Since moving to the LA area, what is one automotive event that really stands out for you?

NJ: I don't know if I can really specify a particular event, but what I really love about being here is that I am where the cars are. Automotive culture in SoCal is so vibrant and for me, its rad I can drive an hour or two and be at some killer show or event. I love that I am finally able to cover a lot of the things I have wanted to and be able to meet a lot of the people I’ve known and worked with for years and see the cars in real life rather than the photos I am sent.