A few days ago we published a small piece about the LX Festival in which a 24 y/o girl from Chandler, AZ stood out, that girl is Amanda Yantos (Mopar Mandy). The Motorward team decided to contact her for an interview, and she was very nice to answer positively. We hope you like what we came up with!
Mopar Mandy – Exclusive Interview with Amanda Yantos
Motorward (MW) – So Mandy, I understand you grew up around cars and Mopars in particular. Tell us a little about that…
Amanda Yantos (AY) – From the time I was born, my family always owned some sort of Dodge or Chrysler vehicle. I remember when I was a toddler my mom drove a Dodge Caravan and I will never forget that van because I was obsessed with the Pentastar emblem on the hood. When I was 4, my dad went out of his way to purchase 1 of 3 Dodge Intrepids in the state of Ohio when they were released.
Even though my dad appreciates classic muscle, he always had the newest Mopar that was at the dealership. I grew up playing with cars and Hot Wheels and I was always riding my bike as if it were a car. I was born to be behind the wheel 🙂
MW – Tell us about “Mopar Mandy” activities…
AY – I always dreamed of owning a muscle car because my dad taught me to appreciate ALL American muscle cars. He took me to car shows growing up and we attended a local show frequently when I became a teenager. My dad taught me the ins and outs of muscle cars, specifically old Challengers, Cudas and Chargers. Modern muscle cars were introduced when I went into college, around the time I was 18. However, my dad told me that if I wanted a muscle car, I had to go to college and get a good job so I could afford to buy one on my own. So I did. I graduated from Arizona State University when I was 22 and landed myself a very stable job.
When I was 23 I bought a brand new 2012 Dodge Challenger. That’s when I made my Facebook page – Mopar Mandy. (MW: If you’re not a fan already… you should!) I made the page simply to express the love I have for my car and Mopar in general. I got very involved in the car community, which is very abundant in Arizona because of our nice weather year round. As I started to meet people and go to more shows with my clubs, my Mopar Mandy page took off. I was discovered by Chrysler Power magazine in December 2012 and was published in the magazine by March 2013. By this time I had over 2000 followers.
As Mopar Mandy, my goal is to encourage people to love Mopar simply because it brings people together for one reason – the passion of our cars. Although I focus on modern muscle, I go to car shows frequently that showcase every car imaginable. I appreciate every vehicle for the artistry behind it. If the show is Mopar or muscle car focused, I will set up a booth with Mopar Mandy merchandise and Chrysler Power subscriptions. My favorite part is just talking cars with people and getting to know everyone. From all of this, I was able to quit my day job at a prestigious financial institution to pursue my dreams of becoming someone in the automotive industry.
MW – How many LX Festivals have you done?
AY – Spring Fest 8 was the first LX only event I have been to. Since I haven’t even had my Challenger a year yet, Irvine, CA was my first opportunity to go and I cannot wait to go back!
MW – The LX club has many female members now. What is it that attracts women to these manly machines?
AY – The best thing about LX is you will never see 2 cars that are exactly the same. I think women are attracted to this aspect because you can customize your car in so many different ways and make it unique to yourself. I grew up around cars and racing, so I feel like I was destined to become an LX lady. These cars are powerful, monstrous, different and they bring together the most fun people around!
MW – What are your thoughts on modification? Are women all about the visuals, or do they care about the performance too?
AY – In terms of visual and performance modification, I feel both are important. However, my Challenger is a V6 because my heart was set on the color – Tungsten – and I couldn’t get it in a V8. I don’t see Challengers as a race car, I see them as a show car. Everyone has their different opinion, but if I wanted a super fast track or drag car, it wouldn’t be a Challenger. I care a lot about performance, but not on an LX vehicle.
MW – I see that Mopar Mandy is now more than just a hobby. It’s a small business for itself, which makes you an entrepreneur. Did you have this in mind when you first started it?
AY – When I started my Mopar Mandy Facebook page, it was merely to show off my hobby and Challenger. Never in a million years did I think I would be blessed enough to make it a small business for myself. I can say that Chrysler Power and my fans gave me the encouragement and motivation I needed to take a risk and make this my full time gig. I am the luckiest girl 🙂
MW – Have you been approached by Chrysler officials yet? (And Ralph Gilles signing your shirt doesn’t count!) After all, “girls and muscle cars” is a unique and interesting niche with significant publicity potential.
AY – I have been approached my Chrysler/Mopar/SRT officials. I’m keeping all of that a secret for now 😉
MW – What does the future hold for Mopar Mandy? Any plans for expansion?
AY – The future of Mopar Mandy is unknown at this point. Since I never expected it to be what it is now, I’m sure the future holds some incredible opportunities for me. I would love it to expand and become something greater, and it slowly is becoming just that!
MW – Do you prefer Modern muscles or classics?
AY – Classics or modern Mopar…that’s a tough one. I suppose I would pick a 1970 Challenger over mine…but I say that with hesitation.
MW – What’s your current ride?
AY – My current ride is a 2012 Tungsten Dodge Challenger SXT.
MW – Can you describe your ultimate Mopar?
AY – My ultimate Mopar – 1970 Dodge Challenger completely restored to it’s original specs.
MW – What’s your favorite non-Mopar car?
AY – My favorite non-Mopar car is definitely a Toyota Supra. My fastest drag 1/4 mile was driven in one of those – 9.8 seconds. I will own one someday 😉
MW – How many car miniatures do you already keep in your collection?
AY – My miniature car collection is slowly growing! Right now I have only have about 150 diecasts and Hot Wheels. My heart rate goes up every time I find a new Hot Wheel at the store. It’s getting rare that I find a Mopar that I don’t have, but when I do, I get way too excited!
MW – Do you have any story or some final words you’d like to share with Motorward.com readers?
AY – (Final Words): I love Mopar because the community is exciting, kind and so welcoming to everyone. People from all walks of life appreciate these cars, which is what makes it such a great car culture to be involved in. It’s not all about the cars either – it’s about meeting new people, sharing a passion and enjoying the past, present and future that Mopar has given us. I am blessed to be living out my dream of being so deeply involved with Mopar and those that love them like I do.
AY – Small Bio: I was 16 when I got my first Mopar, a white Dodge Stratus. I graduated from Arizona State University with my Bachelor’s degree in history and culture (I was planning on becoming a professor) when I was 22 in 2011. I bought my Challenger on June 9, 2012, took her to her first car show the very next weekend, and the rest is history!
Name: Amanda Yantos
Date of Birth: 7/22/88
Currently live in: Chandler, AZ (been in AZ since I was 10). Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Finally, here’s a video of Mandy’s car made by Mandy herself, enjoy!