Roadshow Asks: How did you get to be the Queen of Chaos?

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Pitell-Vaughan taking her Toyota race truck, “Lil’ T” by tech inspection on the Mint 400. 

Paolo Baraldi Fotografo

Nicole Pitell-Vaughan has earned the nickname “Chaos.” A girl with a seemingly infinite supply of power, she is an completed off-road racer and motocross rider, not too long ago taking fifth place on the prestigious Mint 400 and a second-place trophy on the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in Morocco. Each weekend you will discover her behind the wheel of her specifically prepped “Morocco Taco” Toyota Tacoma, or with a leg thrown over a Honda CRF 250 motorbike, catching air in rugged locales from the desert of Mexico to the mountains of Mammoth. Pitell-Vaughan is certainly residing her greatest life, having turned her ardour for off-road right into a profitable aftermarket provider enterprise, with a number of million in gross sales and 10 full-time staff. 

Pitell-Vaughan has a level in Enterprise Administration with an emphasis in Sports activities Advertising and marketing from Cal Poly Pomona. After studying all about unbiased entrance suspension in trucks from her then-friend-but-now-husband Matt Vaughan whereas serving to him prep his race truck for the SCORE desert collection, the 2 went into enterprise collectively, opening Total Chaos Fabrication in 1998. The corporate manufactures beefier management arms and lengthy journey suspension, largely for Toyota vehicles, but in addition for Chevrolet, Ford and Nissan.

I caught up with Chaos on the cellphone to speak about how she turns filth into gold. 

Q:  What was your first automobile?

Pitell-Vaughan: I had a 1989 Toyota V6 standard-cab pickup once I was 16. I liked Toyotas since I used to be a freshman in highschool due to Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. (Editor’s be aware: Ivan Stewart raced off-road for Toyota and is legendary for profitable the Baja 1000 desert race, having pushed all 1,000 miles himself.) Ivan was the person! He might make his truck fly, and I completely thought I might do the identical factor. I rolled it in, like, the primary six days and needed to drive it round all wrinkled for eight months earlier than I might get it fastened.

What was your first automotive job, and the way did you get it?

Pitell-Vaughan: My very first automotive job was as a cashier and DMV liaison at a Nissan dealership in Temecula, California. I went in to select up some components for Matt’s truck and simply requested the overall supervisor for a job. After two years, I moved to a Toyota dealership processing all their service orders. I discovered the company and dealership aspect, I discovered all in regards to the components and I discovered the mechanics with Matt within the storage. These abilities, plus my enterprise diploma, set the stage for Whole Chaos.

Whole Chaos fabricates their very own designs. What’s that course of like?


Measure twice, reduce as soon as.

Whole Chaos

Pitell-Vaughan: Our aim is to reinforce journey and experience high quality. We generally begin by buying the particular half we try to enhance so as to get preliminary measurements. We additionally get a truck on-site, often from a non-public occasion. 

In relation to design, we do not do something on a pc. Ever. We design utilizing a paper and pencil after which use cardboard templates to verify our half will work with correct tolerances round all the prevailing components on the truck, like brake strains, tie rods, and sway bars. We do not change the manufacturing unit steering geometry ever. We’ll add caster to the tires if we have to because it’s misplaced while you carry sure fashions. That helps steadiness steering effort, high-speed stability and front-end cornering effectiveness, however no, we do not do something on a pc.

Every step of the R&D course of is documented, so we’ve completed items pictures for the web site, half numbers, inventory measurements and the measurements for the aftermarket Whole Chaos half.

As soon as we’ve a brand new half put in on a take a look at truck, we beat it within the filth for 500 off-road miles earlier than it turns into out there to the general public. It means we’re usually not first to market with our merchandise, however we all know our merchandise can face up to hard-core off-road abuse.

What’s the most tedious factor about your present job?

Pitell-Vaughan: Making an attempt to abide by the California guidelines. I do not like guidelines. Guidelines are made to be damaged.

How does tech have an effect on the way forward for your job?

Pitell-Vaughan: It makes it more durable for the aftermarket to change a car. For instance, while you put a long-travel equipment on a truck, it amplifies the yaw sensor and causes the ABS to have interaction for no cause. We’re all the time coping with ABS integration in our components. The development of electronics has its place, after all, however it’s good to return to the straightforward stuff. Analog buttons and dials… what I imply?

What automotive pattern makes your blood boil?

Pitell-Vaughan: I strive to not let something drive me loopy, as a result of I am already there. Nonetheless, I see lots of aftermarket corporations design their components on a pc and never take a look at them. There’s a firm on this business that simply constructed 50 units of Chevrolet management arms. They by no means did a take a look at match, and it turned out they could not get the wheel again on after set up. I simply chortle, however that is what’s going on on this business. Except you are in it, you do not know about among the shady R&D that is occurring. All people thinks they’re an engineer.  


Pitell-Vaughan’s four.Zero-liter supercharged Tacoma, nicknamed the Morocco Taco as she and Chrissie Beavis took second place within the prestigious Gazelle Rally in Morocco. 


What’s the one challenge you’ve got all the time needed to deal with professionally however have by no means been in a position to do?

Pitell-Vaughan: I am residing the dream, however I might wish to race the Dakar. I might must construct a Toyota Hilux with four-wheel drive. Perhaps the Morocco Taco may very well be transformed. Man…you bought my wheels spinning. I am gonna make the Morocco Taco a Dakar truck.


Pitell-Vaughan flies so excessive on her motorbike you possibly can’t even see the bottom. 

Troy Snider

For those who weren’t working within the automotive business, what would you be doing?

Pitell-Vaughan: I might be working in motocross. The opposite half of my coronary heart is totally enthusiastic about it. I really like two wheels. I really like being within the desert. I really like journey and solitude. I simply love being within the filth. 

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