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High school students hone automotive skills through hobby

Anna Mayes

November 22, 2019

Car: noun, a road vehicle. Restoration: noun, the action of returning something to the former owner, place or condition. Several juniors and seniors at West Point-Beemer are known as the “car guys” around campus, and they dab in car restoration.  

Senior Trevor Dickson works with small engines, brakes, suspension, exhaust and other systems.  He says that the jobs vary in challenging capabilities; they could take 10 minutes or all day. Dickson will sometimes work with a friend or two on a project.

The modifications he makes to his automobiles don’t affect his insurance because the insurance company doesn’t know about the “mods.”   His subwoofers are his favorite project that he’s done. Subwoofers are attachments to the audio system of a car, enabling it to enhance the bass and drums. He works on others’ cars as well as his own and doesn’t usually charge people.

 Trevor’s father, Keith, and his grandfather, Earl Boston, were both in the car business; they inspired him to work on cars as well. He started when his dad taught him skills as a young kid. Dickson works on cars because “it’s fun and satisfying.”

Senior Quintin Stewart does whatever needs to be done. He makes sure that vehicles run correctly and safely down the road. The challenge depends on what needs to be done; it can take 5 minutes or several days. His favorite “mod” he’s done to his car is with the wheels.

Stewart’s dad, Jeff, and stepdad, Jim Stalp, inspired him to work on cars. He does it because it’s a stress reliever. Fixing and working on cars also makes him happy to get his hands dirty. He started getting into cars when he was younger when he helped his dad work on his vehicles. 

Quintin has worked on cars a lot more since junior year.  He works by himself or with others, depending on what the job is. He works on his car and other vehicles. Quintin could charge, or could not, depending on the job and whom it’s for.

“It’s worth it to get into working on vehicles. You may or may not like it but even figuring out the little things to make your vehicle run better will save you tons of money doing it yourself rather than a shop doing it,” he stated.

Junior Evan Peterson’s specialty is painting cars. However, he also changes spark plugs, coil packs, and C02 sensors.  “I make ‘em loud; it’s my favorite” says Evan. 

He’s currently working on a ‘67 Chevelle. He has painted it already, and says that it turned out well. On the same car, he took the chrome off to paint it, sanded it down, painted it, and put the chrome siding back on.

Next, Peterson is going to work on a 1969 Chevrolet c10 with an inline 6 engine. The third generation engine is lighter compared to previous years’ while looking the same on the exterior. He needs to paint this truck, take the bed out, add new wood for the bed, and make it run again. 

He says that his first pickup inspired him: it was really rusty, and he didn’t pay people to fix it. He fixed the rust when he was 13; he spray painted it after that. Evan’s most recent sale on his 2002 GMC 2500; he made $500. He typically works alone but works on other people’s cars and vehicles. Evan loves the challenge of making an automobile look better and feels, “Painting is easy. Prep work sucks; it takes 12 hours to paint a car the right way.”  

Peterson works on cars to keep his mind off other things. “It makes me feel accomplished.” 

Senior Christian Corrales tries to make the vehicle run as smoothly as possible by keeping up with maintenance. He makes sure that everything is up-to-date, and doesn’t need to be replaced. His dad inspired him to work hard for what he wants to do. His dad showed him how to regularly maintain their own vehicles. 

Depending on what the job at hand is, the time requirements vary from job to job. Something could be as simple as a light needing to be changed. Other jobs might require him to take apart the whole engine or transmission. The challenge is by how much experience one has to do the job. 

“I do it because I find it exciting- taking objects apart and making them work like they used to in the first place.” Corrales started rebuilding bikes. After bikes, he started on small engines in school, and it helped give him more knowledge on how things work. 

His favorite mod is adding a loud system with bigger subwoofers and making the quality sound good. 

Christian works with his brother, Jonnathon, if he doesn’t know what to do. An advantage to working with someone else is the workload can be divided, and it can make the job go a lot faster as well.  

            High school classes have helped the “car guys” as well. Technical Math has helped Quintin and Welding has helped Trevor and Christian. 

Trevor is going to Northeast Community College in the automotive field after high school; right now, he has an internship at Peterson’s Body and Paint Inc. in West Point. Quintin also plans to attend Northeast and work after that.

Evan is unsure whether his future will involve automobiles, but he is enjoying the time spent in the field now.  Christian plans to turn his hobby into a career by opening his own car shop. 

So if any students have car troubles, or need their cars restored, these four guys could definitely help.

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