I have been a fan of Cherielynn Westrich since seeing her on the set of the hit TV show ‘Overhaulin’, but little did I know there was a lot more to this gear goddess then meets the eye and I was honored to have the chance to hear her story.
Cherielynn, thank you for taking the time to talk with me and Torqued Magazine.
TM: Most of us and yes that includes me know you from the hit series ‘Overhaulin’ but we will get back to that in a bit. You also have quite the musical background as well from what I have seen.
CW: You’re right I would say I’m most well-known for building cars with Overhaulin and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of. I participated in building over 65 vehicles and got to work alongside some of the most amazing car builders for a good part of 10 years of my life… It was one of the greatest learning experiences you could ask for and I count myself as being the luckiest duck in the pond.
I did see that you were part of the group ‘The Rentals’, What was that like for you?
Touring and recording with the rentals was A great experience, we traveled the entire country and most of Europe. I was very fortunate to be able to share the stage with some of the best musicians in the world. If I had my way I think I would stay on tour for the rest of my life to be honest. It is nothing but fun being a rockstar. There are some experiences you just never forget… Standing on the stage at Madison Square Garden or the first time you see your bands music video on MTV, it was huge and it was a lot of fun!
How much are you still involved in the music industry?
I recorded a few things over the past couple of years but it’s definitely not like it used to be… Every day was playing music and now every days having fun with cars.
So is music something that was strong in your family or did you just develop a passion for it?
My mom was a huge musical influence. She played classical piano and was interested in music from all over the world. There were always instruments in the house, a baby grand piano, xylophone, drums, bongos, Kalimba, harpsichord, trumpet, flutes, musical instruments of all kinds. She taught me how to sing songs in Chinese and other languages and how to harmonize with my sisters.
I think I was probably singing before I was talking. My sisters and I were all heavy into music right from the start, all five of us will try to harmonize together I think we sang every single day of our lives when we were kids. My older sisters both played in bands around the St. Louis area.
My uncle Mike Hamilton still writes and performs music and was a huge influence on me when I was a kid growing up watching him on stage, he’s amazing. My cousin Rich McDonough is also a quite well-known blues guitarist.
I know of a few musicians who are also car builders, I can honestly see how the 2 go together!
I think music and hot rods just go together and that’s why from the beginning we’ve had stereos in our cars there’s nothing better than putting on a song you love and driving fast!
What made you turn your sights to working in the automotive customizing industry?
I was always into fast cars from when I was young. At 15 my dad gave us a Fairlane 500 with a 350 Windsor for all us girls to share driving to school. I used to push that car to the limit. But only because I didn’t want to be late for school. When I got out on my own ,my first car was a 70 cougar XR7. From there I started buying lots of Mopar, Chargers, Superbee, Coronet 440 Then I got into trucks pretty heavy. I like the 60s and 70s era pick ups.
I know you have been a part of many builds but do you have a favorite?
I helped build over 65 cars with Overhaulin and to be honest it’s kind of a blur, you work such late hours sometimes 120 hours a week. Nick Lachey overhauled his brother’s 1967 Ford F100 for Drew’s 30th birthday. That truck just turned out beautiful, if I had to pick up fave.
I have heard you are a Mopar fan am I correct?
For years I was Mopar or no car, but after building so many different makes and models with Chip Foose you start to appreciate other vehicles. It kind of opened my eyes to a lot of things and I learned so much it’s hard to deny the quality and style some of those cars from the 60s… But I still really do have a love Mopar’s I cannot lie.
I am sure working with fellow ‘Overhaulin’ host Chris Jacobs that gave you both a lot to talk about since I know he is a Mopar enthusiasts as well.
I think I helped Chris Jacobs come out of his “Mopar closet”. The other guys in the shop would tease me when they figured out I was a Mopar chick they put up Mopar parking only signs in my workstation and gave me a lot of shit.
Yes, Chris and I bonded over our Mopar roots. And speaking of Chris Jacobs one of the best guys you ever want to meet, genuine smart and hilarious… Did you know he passed the bar exam. Yup. He gets the all-around good guy award.
Lol, signs huh? and no I did not know that, honestly that does not surprise me. I have had the honor of meeting and talking to Chris on several occasions, he is always professional and yes, he is a great guy.
Speaking of ‘Overhaulin’ Cherie, how did you get started with the series?
Before I started with Overhaulin I was working at North Hollywood speedometer, doing benchwork repairing gauges. A friend of mine Shanon Hudson from Redline gauge works knew I wanted to do something different.
He just suggested one day that I should work for Chip Foose. I had no idea who that was, but I knew I’d be building cars so I was in. To work on Overhaulin you have to build your first car for free to see if you are any good. By the third day they hired me and I worked with them for the next five seasons. Greatest job ever, thanks Shannon!
And of course I have to ask, what was it like working with the legendary Chip Foose?
Chip is a great teacher, he is extremely talented and I learned something every day from that guy. To be honest I learned from all the guys who I was fortunate to work with on Overhaulin’. It’s a real team effort and there were hundreds of talented guys who came through our shop I feel really lucky in that way. Chip was just one of the car guys there to have fun and Build cars.
Do you have any embarrassing moments from the set you can tell us about?
With all of the events and traveling you do every year, do you have a favorite place to visit?
I think my favorite trip was to Sweeden for the Power Big Meet. There were over 20,000 American cars all crammed into a small town in Sweden. The Biggest American show in the world in Västerås, Sweden. More cars, more people, more swap meet vendors than you can believe.
What about having a favorite event you like to attend?
My new favorite event is the yearly babes ride out girls only motorcycle camping weekend Going on the fourth annual this year.
What do you do when you just want to pack up and get away from it all and relax?
I think my favorite place to be is hiking in the mountains of Los Angeles it was my favorite get away… But if I have the time you’ll find me somewhere on the river with a fishing pole and a dog.
What music is playing in your car right now?
Getting back into some Gary Newman and don’t tell anybody but lately it’s been Tove low.
Your secret is safe with me! lol. Of course I have to ask as a fellow gear head, what is your current ride and what is your dream ride?
Right now I’m working on a project finishing my 68 GTS I’ve been dreaming of getting a jaguar XKE 1967.
If possible, tell us one secret about yourself?
In the words of Darby Crash… What we do here is secret.
(Well played Cherielynn lol)
Having achieved so much, what are 3 things you are most proud of in your life?
Definitely cars I helped build, I’m proud of songs I’ve written, I think my proudest moment was when Chip Foose and his dad Sam Foose told me that they admired my work ethic. Simple but it means a lot coming from those guys.
Who would you say has been influential for you?
As far as music I would say all of the 70s punk rock 999, stooges, the Clash, Black flag, and definitely growing up it was Zepplin, Black sabbath, Rush, Joan Jett.
Do you have any words of advice for other’s who want to follow in your footsteps?
Never be afraid of love or anything else.
Cherie, thank you again for taking the time to talk with me and I look forward to seeing what comes up next on your project list.
If you want to follow Cherielynn, make sure to follow her on her website and social media sites below: