We’ll be the first to admit, more than half of the models we come across don’t know shit about cars. We’ve even talked to some girls who barely know how to pour their own gas. No joke! So when we heard through the grapevine that one of our past Super Street girls was getting into drifting, we were skeptical about the whole thing and murmured a few “yeah rights” and “bullshits”. But we were wrong…
Welcome back Melyssa Grace! If you’ve followed the mag since 2007, you’ll recognize her name and natural beauty in several issues. She was also Miss Formula D 2010; however today, instead walking around in a miniskirt with an umbrella in her hand, she’s dressed in a full tracksuit and helmet ready to take on the drift world.
While always an admirer of fast cars, the half Filipina, half German beauty got her start driving two years ago. Professional Formula D driver Taka Aono taught her how to drive through one of the schools he runs. She got addicted quickly and ended up buying a stock S13 where she planned to build from the ground up and continue to practice her drifting. But to save time, she came across this ’91 240SX already more than halfway built for a killer price.
At first, it was all about getting used to the car and making adjustments. From the chassis to the motor, it took a year till she was comfortable with everything. Vs Performance handled most of the installs and maintenance on the car which included ensuring the GReddy turbo’d SR20DET swap was running smooth and the suspension was configured properly. The rest of the work was left to Melyssa. She preps the car for the track herself including swapping out the wheels, changing out the oil and loading the car in and out of the trailer each time.
Becoming a regular drifter isn’t the easiest thing though. Like most drivers, she’s had a couple bad accidents on the way towards competing in the national ProAm series. “I hit my head and had a sore neck for a few days on one of the crashes,” she told us. “But it sucks more for my car than for me!” Spoken like a true car guy...ahem, we mean girl.
Small Talk with Mely
Tell us something interesting about you.
I’m 5’10” and I have only one cheek dimple.
What’s your favorite sport?
Driving fast or sideways! I’m an adrenaline junkie.
Any guilty pleasures?
Sugar, lace panties, Mary Jane and Starbucks.
What about pet peeves?
Cigarettes are gross and I don’t like brushing my hair.
What was your worst job?
I used to work at Chuck E Cheese when I was 16.
What do you like to do when you’re bored?
There’s always something to do around the house. Laundry, dishes, gardening…you know, the wifey stuff. I also have three dogs so they keep me busy. But when the house is organized and the dogs have a lazy day, I take my car out to the Willow Springs for some thrills.
What’s one thing you want to accomplish this year?
I hope to be close to finishing a project I started a few years ago in the Philippines building an orphanage.
Had any bad dates?
When I was 20, this guy I liked wanted to go to a Nelly concert so I bought front row tickets, got my hair did, put on some hot hoochie outfit, grabbed my helmet and waited for him to pick me up on his motorcycle. He stood me up and apologized three days later and told me he had a girlfriend that was four months prego!
Do you have any special skills?
I can do the splits. I’m also a bikram yoga expert and can make mean tacos.
What’s something wild you’ve done lately?
I slid a Bugatti Veyron on the track! It was a closed session and I really had to push the Veyron to make it drift. It was exhilarating just knowing one f*!k up could cost a mil and a halfers!
How’s it feel being a female drifter?
I haven’t gotten any special attention other than maybe get photographed more. I have gotten interesting reactions though. I love when a crowd collects to watch the drifter in the white car. Then I pull over, get out, take off my helmet and let my hair flow in the wind while I watch the people observing in shock. Priceless!
1991 Nissan 240SX
Owner Melyssa Grace
Hometown Los Angeles, CA
Occupation Model, Housewife
Engine SR20DET with HKS GT-RS turbo; GReddy intake manifold, front-mount intercooler, pulley kit, oil catch can, metal head gasket and extended oil pan; NISMO fuel pressure regulator; Sard fuel rail; 1000cc Injector Dynamics injectors; HPI intake; Apex M1 exhaust; Tabata radiator; oil filter relocation kit; oil cooler
Drivetrain D1Spec clutch; welded rear diff
Engine Management HKS F-Con EMS
Footwork & Chassis Apex M1 coilovers; TEIN tension rods, toe rods and upper control arms; Cusco rollcage
Brakes Project Mu front and rear big brake kits; steel braided lines; hydraulic e-brake
Wheels & Tires 18x10" Grenade wheels; 235/40R18 of whatever’s a cheap tire
Exterior S15 front-end conversion; 180-style taillights; V-Speed Version 1 body kit; 20mm front and 50mm rear widebody fender Interior carbon seats and dash; Sparco harnesses; Nardi steering wheel; STACK RPM gauge; GReddy fuel pressure, exhaust temp and boost gauges
WWW facebook.com/melyssagrace; twitter/Instragram @melyssagrace