It’s been 1 year already!

What do you get when you put  a ’94 Suzuki GS500, a 2012 Custom Iron 883, a 1972 CL350 Scrambler, a 1968 BSA 650, a 1987 Suzuki Intruder VS700GL, a motorcycle shop owner,  a vintage brake-less 250 flat track racer and a 1959 Ford TBird  together.  Well, on Oct 22, 2013, one fateful fall evening, a year ago that’s exactly what happened —  a small group of avid motorcycle and car enthusiasts went on a ride and had dinner. This was no ordinary gathering of a bunch of bad ass beauties:  This was the beginning of The Miss Fires.  A Brooklyn, NY based Motorcycle Club/Car Club (MC/CC) was born.

HappyAnniversary MF _0

Erika ’94 Suzuki GS500, Rachel 2012 Custom Iron 883, Kim 1972 CL350 Scrambler, Corinna 1968 BSA 650, Ashleigh 1987 Suzuki Intruder VS700GL, Val owner of MotorGrrl, Kara vintage brake-less 250 flat track racer and Lori 1959 Ford TBird.

We are supporters of the community and especially of each other.10524316_10204423524698169_7931748305384206954_n

Tech Night Anyone?


There are no rules, just traditions:

ErikaAshleigh20141023_214531Corinna20141023_21444120141023_23022620141023_214458  20141023_214545 20141023_214625 20141023_214712Kim AwesomeRachel Inmen 20141023_214727 20141023_214754 20141023_21481420141023_22592720141023_23041020131022_215447 20141023_215012 20141023_215030 20141023_215100      HappyAnniversary MF _5

Getting in trouble with this gang is always a blast!


We are race car drivers, musicians, moms, sisters, aunts, founders and co-founders, designers, writers, photographers, entrepreneurs, horticulturist and probably everything in between. I cannot be prouder of these adventurous, breaking boundaries, pioneering woman who come from  across the globe, the country and NYC to ride and wrench together.  These bad ass beauties are truly inspirational.   I am proud to be a Miss Fire!  I’d like to thank each and everyone one of you for being a part of this crazy obsession for hot rods and motorcycle mania, sharing your fire and making a difference in all of our lives.  Happy Anniversary!

Valerie Figarella, proud Miss Fire and owner of MotorGrrl

1978 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker, 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit VT750, 1983 Iron Head 1000


Miss-Fires Gone Wild Wood

Easy wins at TROG  Photo: Amy Maxmen

Easy wins at TROG Photo: Amy Maxmen

I’m told The Miss-Fires are into cars, and not just bikes. But I don’t own a car and don’t know squat about them. Corinna, however, owns a beautiful blue ’62 Ford Ranchero, and when she offered to drive me down to The Race of Gentlemen, I couldn’t think of a decent reason not to join her.

Corinna with her Ranchero in Wildwood. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Corinna with her Ranchero in Wildwood. Photo: Amy Maxmen

In The Race of Gentlemen, hot rods race along the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, just after the tide goes out, while the sand is still compact. I took a bunch of photos, and to figure out what I was looking at I called a friend of mine who edits the hot rod magazine Mag-neto, Tony Dowers. He designed the posters and pamphlets for the race, and everything he’s told me is in italics below.

Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 999. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Sketch is the guy who owns this ‘33 or ’34 Ford with a flathead V8 engine. It’s a really old racing car that’s been in this condition for a long time.

I have no idea why the guy lining up the cars is wearing a tuxedo. The Race of Gentlemen is kind of like an old-timey circus. When Mel [the event organizer] asked me to do the graphics, he sent me circus posters for inspiration. He tends to surround himself with characters.

Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 81. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“81” has some beautiful design features, like that little lip in the frame, stretching from under the “8” up towards the exhaust pipe. The car is a 1930 Ford Model A roadster on a deuce frame, which they made for just one year in 1932. In the late 1940s, this combination of a Model A body with a flathead V8 engine—an AV8—was really popular. That’s the time period when hot rods started getting really fast. People had been hot rodding as soon as cars were invented—they were hopping up their Model T’s as early as 1918—but their cars were still pretty slow until the late 40s.

TROG "Scratchy". Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG “Scratchy”. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“Rolling Bones” is a hot rod group from upstate New York. Every year, they drive their cars to the Bonneville salt-flats in Utah. For some reason they named this car Scratchy. It’s is a 1932 Ford Tree Window Coupe, with an Italian flathead SCOT Blower engine. Basically, the carburetors sit on blowers, and the blowers spin around and force the gas and air into the engine at a much higher velocity than regular carburetors on their own.

He’s chopped the roof down to make the car more aerodynamic and to make it look more racy. Ford built these super tall roofs so that men could wear their tall hats while driving. No one wears hats like that anymore.

TROG 667. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 667. Photo: Amy Maxmen

This guy’s such a bad ass. He usually drove around with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. And that number, “667,” is great. He’s got one up on the devil. He’s driving a 1930 Model A roadster with a flathead V8 engine. Henry Ford came out with that engine in 1932, and it was so versatile that everyone started modifying it to go faster. This driver added extra carburetors, to allow more fuel and air mixture into the engine. And then he had to modify the engine to use up all that extra mixture, like put straight pipes on it—which is why it’s super loud.

TROG Speedster. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG Speedster. Photo: Amy Maxmen

 That’s Corinna, she’s the Miss-Fire that convinced us to all come down to the race.

She’s watching a speedster race by. “Speedster” is just old-fashioned carnie slang. Or you call this car a gow job—an early term for hot rod. There are different theories on what that means, I like to think it means Go! Get Up and Go! This gow job looks like it’s from the 1920s.

TROG 167. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG 167. Photo: Amy Maxmen

I love this car. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a 1927 Model T with a 1951 flathead V8 engine. I like it because it’s the epitome of a 1950s racecar with punky black and white flames it. Flames were like this back then, before airbrushing allowed you to get so detailed and colorful. Once airbrushes hit the scene in the 60s, everything got candy colored. If this photo were in black and white, you’d have no idea you took it last week.


I couldn't resist.

I couldn’t resist.


TROG 117. Photo: Amy Maxmen

“117” is a crazy modified 1927 Model T with an aerodynamic nose on the front. The driver looks so goofy way up in front because the engine is behind him. But it makes sense to put the engine in the rear because you can get more traction that way—since these are all rear-wheel drive cars. I’m not sure why more cars aren’t built with engines in the back. Chevy tried it in the 60s and it just flopped. Maybe Americans just like sticking with what they know.

TROG Amanda Miss-Fire. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

This is Amanda Haase at the starting line of the race. Anything to see here?

Check out that ’32 Sedan with the white and black combination. Those were considered family cars back in the day.

TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Last year this speedster with a banger engine won the overall race. The driver comes all the way out from Washington state. He just nailed it last year, but this year I heard he had car problems. He had the engine splayed apart in the hotel parking lot Friday night.

TROG Miss-Fires. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda and Corinna, with bunny ears, at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen


TROG Miss-Fires. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Amanda, Suzanne, Corinna at TROG. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Here are my girls, watching the races. We had a pretty memorable night. It involved moonshine, sand storms, the Ranchero, the Ranchero, the Ranchero, small-town cops, some dude with a cane. I woke up with sand in my ears and Twizzlers in my purse.

Why aren’t you all racing? Your club needs to get an early motorcycle and race it. 1948 is the cut off. I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

Truth. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Truth. Photo: Amy Maxmen

Never truer words. Miss-Fires + TROG combo does not disappoint.

— Amy Maxmen (posting through Val’s account. Thanks, Val!)

Project CB350G

45639_685708924784009_651841843_nOn any (winter) Sunday, you can find The Miss-Fires working away on Stephanie’s 1973 Honda CB350G complete rebuild project at Motor Preserve. This bike came to her in boxes and we are determined to have her riding by her birthday this spring.


With the cylinder, cylinder head, and cam base installed we are ready to tackle the camshaft.  We installed the cam chain sprocket, camshaft, cam chain tensioner, rocker arms, rocker pins and set the alignment of the camshaft and sprocket with the alternator.

1549287_10151970478059608_926037277_nOil pump and filter were cleaned and all gaskets and o-rings replaced. Engine covers were cleaned and prepped.

oilpumpandfilterassemblyNext week, we will install the primary gear. Reassemble and install the oil filter and pump, as well as the clutch basket. We’ll set up the ignition timing; points, gaps, and check/adjust timing.  The alternator cover which has stripped screws will be drilled out.

1601227_10151970713559608_181491727_nStephanie and her engine block are coming together. Happy girl!

– Valerie Figarella, MotorGrrl

1978 Yamaha XS650 Custom Street tracker, 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit, 1974 Harley Sportster project