You might recognize Sydney Sweeney from for her roles as Cassie Howard in HBO series euphoriaor perhaps as Eden Spencer in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. But did you know the 24-year-old actress has also become something of a wrencher in recent months? In fact, over the past year, she’s worked to rebuild her dream car, back to 1969 ford bronco.
Since February 2021, Sweeney has been rebuilding a vintage Ford Bronco that she rescued from a pile of snow on the East Coast. She documented the build on TikTok, with posts to her account, @syds_garageracking up millions of views.
Now, The White Lotus actress is in New Yorkwhere she is proudly showing off the handiwork behind the build of her “dream” truck.
“I absolutely always wanted one,” she says. “I’ve always thought that they were just such a beautiful, classic car. And truly all-American. It’s just gorgeous, it’s gorgeous.”
Speaking with Jalopnik at eBay’s New York Auto Parts Show at the Manhattan Classic Car Club, Sweeney walked us around the stunning red truck, pointing out everything that she has had to change, fix, paint and polish since she got her hands on the aging Bronco.
“I changed from drum brakes to disc brakes, so that’s safe,” she begins. “It was also a manual, so I changed the entire transmission and driveshaft to an automatic. The entire interior and chrome details I designed and changed those out.
“The roll bar is new, there are new springs, new suspension. I had to change out, not change completely, but revamp and fix the front and rear axle because they were a little rusted.”
And the list goes on, including re-covering the seats with tan-colored leather and finishing the vintage truck with a gleaming red paint scheme. It was quite the undertaking, especially as the truck had been left to rot before Sweeney began its resurrection.
“It doesn’t feel real, it’s so cool,” she says when asked what she thinks to the truck now that it’s on display in New York alongside five other custom car creations. At the Auto Parts Show, Sweeney is showcasing her Ella Bronco next to a V8-powered Tesla and a classic Ford Ranger that has been turned into a six-wheel-drive desert racer.
“Everyone is loving it, which is great, because I and so many people have put so much work into it,” she says. “And I hope that it inspires other young females to want to do work and become mechanics.”
And it does look amazing, especially when you consider that this is the first wrenching project Sydney has ever worked on. In fact, when she started to rebuild the truck, she says she had “zero” mechanical knowhow.
She says: “I knew how to change a tire and I knew how to change the oil and check different levels of fluid in the car. But this was a full learning experience for me.”
But a truck like this is no small undertaking for someone new to wrenching. Thankfully, Sweeney says she had an old family friend on hand to help her out of her with any challenges that arose.
“Rod Emory, he builds and restores classic vintage Porsches,” she says. I grew up with him, his son is one of my best friends of him. We went to school together, we grew up together, our parents are best friends and it’s just like a family dynamic.”
Emory kindly lent Sweeney an area of his shop for her to work on the Bronco, even though the space was usually “solely for Porches.” There, she was taught by him and his team from Ella as she learned the ways of her new Bronco.
“I had to actually learn her, feel her,” she adds.
Sweeney admits that there were times when the truck was “so mad at me,” such as when bolts were stuck and parts were fused. But, she says the rebuild was a “bonding experience” that she “had to have with the car.”
“I hate people saying things are given to other people,” she explains. “I like to work for my own stuff and I wanted to be able to lay claim, be independent and say that I had done all this work.
“It’s being able to say that I put my own sweat into it. I put my own heart into it. It’s not something that I bought and was able to drive straight away.”
With her first project now finished and proudly on display for all to see, it feels like only a matter of time before Sydney has a second knackered old car taking up garage space while she tries to bring it back from the dead.
After all, once you’ve caught the wrenching bug it’s hard to shake it off.