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FeaturesMeet Bright Young Sparks winner Katie Bushell, the 'Wrenching Wench'

Meet Bright Young Sparks winner Katie Bushell, the ‘Wrenching Wench’

She discusses her current collection and experience of the classic car movement

Workshop technician, YouTuber and current Lancaster Insurance Bright Young Sparks winner, Katie Bushell, has been into cars for as long as she can remember.

Cars have been a passion for Bright Young Sparks winner Katie Bushell aka ‘Wrenching Wench‘ as long as she can remember and with a VW Scirocco GT2, a 1989 VW Golf GT and a 1990 Audi 100 Avant that she co-owns with her parents as part of her collection, that passion shows no sign of fading!

Coming from a car-mad family, she was bound to end up a petrolhead and here she discusses her current collection and experience of the classic car movement.

“I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t into cars to be honest. Both of my parents are into cars and I spent a lot of my childhood at car shows.” A quote that resonates and rings true for many classic car enthusiasts, including Katie Bushell.

“I was the kid at school that talked about cars to anyone and everyone. I was forever helping my dad in the garage on a weekend tinkering with our old Mondeos, or hosting car shows with my Hot Wheels on my bedroom floor,” Katie adds.

Nowadays, you’re likely to find Katie working on her own collection of five, which includes a 1990 VW Scirocco GT2 (don’t tell the others but apparently that’s her favourite), a 1989 VW Golf GTI, albeit in kit form, a 1990 Audi 100 Avant that she co-owns with my parents and the latest addition is a 1977 Lomax 223, a three-wheeled kit car based on a Citroen 2CV which was her great uncle’s only car for the last 25 years or so.

However, her passion for four wheels doesn’t stop there as she has her own YouTube channel (Wrenching Wrench) where she talks all things motors and her current job is a workshop technician.

“Cars are my passion. I own four currently, and I’ve only ever owned five, so I’m not very good at getting rid of them.

“My first was a 2004 Fiat Panda 1.2 Dynamic. I paid £400 for it, and it was that really nice bright blue colour. It was slow though. It had 59hp from factory but I think a few of the horses had left the stable! That’s the only one I’ve managed to get rid of, and I replaced it with a bright yellow Abarth 595.”

And why classic cars you may ask? “I love the simplicity. Compared to all the modern cars I work on in my day job, they’re a walk in the park. I love seeing how far technology has advanced too, and how early versions came about. The Bosch K-Jetronic system in my Audi 100 Avant is equal amounts fascinating as it is terrifying. I didn’t fully start working on older stuff until I got my own though and I still have a lot to learn.”

“The Scirocco is a real favourite of mine. After I finished my apprenticeship and was qualified, I started looking for a project and found my one just outside of Leeds and it was meant to be. I love any 80s coupe but particularly love how the Scirocco is a bit different and you don’t see it everywhere. That rear quarter angle with the spoiler is just to die for too.”

Katie is also passionate about being an advocate for women in the industry and championing and encouraging others to follow suit.

“I think women need to be shown (or even told) that the old car scene is a space for them, and automotive roles are jobs they can do. The only reason I ended up in the trade is because I grew up around cars and tinkering with them, and my parents encouraged me to pursue that passion.

I think a lot of women sadly don’t have that same support network, and from the outside looking in, it can look like the automotive world or classic scene in particular is a bit of a boy’s club, but in actual fact, a lot of those ‘boys’ are actually quite welcoming and willing to help.”

Katie was also crowned Lancaster Insurance’s first Bright Young Sparks winner earlier in the year at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show and is looking to continue to be involved in further initiatives and promoting the scene.

“I’ve been fortunate that for the most part, my experiences have been positive of the industry and I want to spread the message far and wide of what a welcoming community we are. Taking part in initiatives like Bright Young Sparks, which shines a spotlight on young enthusiasts who want to get into the industry, and attending car shows and being involved in the conversation is a great way to spread that message.”

“I attended the International Women’s Day car meet hosted by The Passenger Seat Podcast at Sywell Aerodrome on 5 March this year, and really enjoyed it. I didn’t realise how important a women-only meet would be.

“It was fantastic getting to know other women, hearing their car stories and how they got into cars, and being able to chat about our cars without having to prove ourselves, or worry about silly comments.

“Our community is a safe space for all and one I’m proud to be a part of.”

Entries for this year’s Lancaster Insurance Bright Young Sparks are now open. For more information and to see the criteria, visit: www.lancasterinsurance.co.uk/competitions/bright-young-sparks

Find more info:
Lancaster Insurance Services

Join the club:
Association of British VW Clubs
Audi Owners Club
Club Audi


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