Strickland finds relaxation in restoring antique cars

Strickland finds relaxation in restoring antique cars

Alyce Strickland walks through the auto tech garage completely at home. Her face lights up with a smile when her 1972 burnt orange Mustang coupe comes into view. Memories of being under hoods, working on various models and makes of cars run through her mind every time she walks into the shop. She detaches herself from the

Mrs. Alyce Strickland finds relaxation in getting under the hood of older cars and restoring them. (Xavier Goode photo)
outside world and puts her phone on a table next to greasy towels, car parts, nuts, bolts and her district issued ID badge as she relaxes doing something she says has been with her even before teaching.

“I started about 30 years ago and I mainly liked just sanding cars,” Strickland said. “After a long day of teaching I would just need something to stare at and do.”

Strickland teaches Honors and Academic English to seniors at the high school during the day and in the evenings and on weekends she likes riding her Harley and restoring older automobiles. She grew up in a home full of brothers, and admits that working on cars evolved from a simple therapeutic task to her favorite hobby. She said those who see her outside the classroom working on cars are amazed at what they see.

“People think it is neat that I do this for a hobby, especially since I am a woman,” Strickland said. “I work on engines and bodies of cars and people think it is cool.”

Most of Strickland’s work on her different car projects happens in the auto tech garage at school since she doesn’t have her own shop. Over the years she has formed relationships with various students. 2012 graduate Adrian Kerr helped her restore the ’72 Mustang last year and admits this was a different experience for him.

“Most people would just drop off their cars, but she would get her hands dirty and do everything she could to help out,” Kerr said.

Kerr said Strickland taught him a lot of things about cars and logic. He said after sitting down and getting to know Strickland as a person he found her to be a very unique and smart woman. Though Kerr admits the car was hard to work on, he said the final product paid off.

“I felt accomplished when the car was finished and I learned a lot of things from Ms. Strickland,” Kerr said. “She was in the shop almost everyday and she would be more dirty than most of the other people there trying to work on cars.”

After finishing a car Strickland said she usually sells her masterpieces, but she said she is considering holding on to her ’72 Mustang.

“I just like the look of this car,” Strickland said. “I have put a lot of work and money into this car. The whole interior had been redone, I put in a new gas gage and a new FMX transmission that allows me to drive in automatic or manual.”

Automotive teacher Tim Odom said Strickland is very knowledgeable about styles and culture of older cars. He has worked on a Dodge pickup with her when she had time during her off period.

“She really digs the well-built cool vehicles. She is very comfortable climbing in, on or under a vehicle,” Odom said. “Ms. Strickland is one of the most intelligent, well rounded people I have the pleasure of knowing. To put it simply, Ms. Strickland is just cool.”

Strickland wants to make sure other women are not afraid to try working on cars because of the stereotype attached to car repair and work. She said this hobby is something anyone can enjoy, regardless of sex.

“This isn’t necessarily only for guys,” Strickland said. “Women can do this too, and they can have a lot of fun at the same time.”
[flagallery gid=432 name=Gallery]