My good automotive pal, Chris Baccus, and I teamed up…
About this time last year (in case you don’t already know this) I worked behind the social media scenes for Chrysler here in the D.C. area. During that time I built great relationships. One of those happens to be with Christa Shalhoub, who runs Mopar’s social media events.In July, the folks at Mopar implemented a multi-team, cross-country road rally and contest that integrated social media tools called “MoVenture.” With just 10 teams and 10 Chrysler-brand cars (yes, including Fiat), five duos set out to on a motoring scavenger hunt like never before.Thanks to Christa, I recently had an opportunity to chat with the only girl-powered team to successfully enter the competition. Here’s a recap of what these two bubbly ladies – Mandy and Jane – had to say about their time on their exciting cross-country motoring adventure together.The ultimate bonding experienceTwo gal pals, who met back in junior high, have never allowed their geographical distance (due to being from military families) come between them. Since the sixth grade, Mandy Mushlin and Jane Davis have been the best of friends. Today, Mandy lives in the Southeast and works in marketing and is a freelance writer. Jane resides in the Midwest and is an independent video producer, which helped with the last-minute video for submission.While, admittedly, neither has been known as an all-out “car girl” over the years, neither has been afraid of a little adventure either. That’s why these two sent in this video to enter the Mopar MoVenture rally competition.See Mandy drive. Hear Jane navigate.On July 15, the week-long journey launched from Detroit, Mich. with a final destination in Golden, Colo. Team Mandy and Jane (deemed the Black Team) set out to explore America’s countryside in a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee decked out in Mopar accessories.The duo selected the brand they’re loyal to, being that they’re both previous Jeep owners. Both Mandy and Jane were impressed with the features that their Jeep had, and they enjoyed having the opportunity to meet the vehicle’s brand managers. “It has so many outlets, USB ports, power chargers and even a regular outlet,” said Jane. “This was key for a rally like this – to be able to be plugged up the whole time.”
Girl-power meets road rallyAlong the way, there were certainly advantages and disadvantages for the competition’s sole female team. Challenges ranged from pit crew activities to a car inspection check-list. But the Black Team didn’t let their lack of knowledge stop them from giving 100 percent.“We may have been at certain disadvantage, because we didn’t know all the things about cars that [our male counterparts] did, but what didgive us an advantage was that we’re competitive,” said Jane. “But we didn’t let it get in the way of what we were there to experience.”As one of the more technologically savvy teams, Mandy and Jane actively maintained the social media components of the competition.“If we got points for entertainment value and creative photos we would have won the whole thing,” said Jane. “We were entirely, unnecessarily competitive when it came to the photos,” seconded Mandy.
A little smack talk never hurt anybody.Also competing in MoVenture this year were a few of my Motorama pals – Berry Lowman (and his trusty sidekick, wife Jennifer) and Sean Loh. Knowing these guys’ competitive nature, I asked Mandy and Jane for a few good-hearted jabs that I could pass along. Here are their messages to these rubber-burning gents:Mandy: “Let’s just say – on that pain ball round one – [Sean] got a free pass!”Jane: “We all knew that the white team’s [members] were the pranksters.”Encouragement for other women?Jane: “Because the auto world is historically male dominated – I’d say that intimidates a lot of women. [Knowing about cars is] one of those things. Don’t be scared because, in all reality, a car is like a house – it’s all little things that anyone can learn.”Mandy: “It suits women to be car chicks because it takes accessorizing to a new level.”Final impressionsWhile the girl-powered team finished in fifth place overall, the bubbly pair had a blast. “After the adventure,” said Mandy, “We learned so much more about Mopar.” Both ladies came away with a broader knowledge of cars and Mopar as a whole. Plus, their time in the Jeep Grand Cherokee only solidified their brand loyalty.Follow these newfound Mopar fanatics on Twitter at @Janerealtalk and @thebookofmandy. Both live with their husbands and their furry children.