Riding in Style

by Aimee Plante

Phillips has fun driving his grandfather’s old Buick through the parking lot while Fricke proudly shares that they have made one full lap.

Phillips has fun driving his grandfather’s old Buick through the parking lot while Fricke proudly shares that they have made one full lap.

An image of teenage boys suited in all-black and the infamous T-bird jackets comes to mind when many think of auto shop; however, the work of student auto enthusiasts strays far from “Greased Lightning.” The most obvious difference? While John Travolta may slick grease into his hair, the students aim to use it in the engine.

This fall, the boys began their restoration of a luxury ‘28 Buick. The car had originally been owned by teacher Joe Phillips’ grandfather, but, after a series of transactions, it lies in the garage of Phillips’ auto class.

“My grandfather gave it to a guy, who sold it to a guy, who sold it back to me,” Phillips said. “It’s pretty awesome to have it in the family again.”

Since its purchase, the Buick has been stripped of its body and half of its engine in order to be sandblasted and repainted. The group hopes to finish the project within three years.

“The first year we are going through and reconditioning everything with the chassis, repainting [and] getting it to be an operational and a full-functioning car,” Phillips said. “Next year we will fabricate the body and, [in] year three, we will paint, make the interior and fix other minor stuff.”

One student, however, hopes to complete the first few milestones at a faster pace. Dustin King, a student currently working on the car, thinks “the engine might be put together by the end of third quarter, with what we have already gotten done in one quarter.”

“I think [he is] optimistic,” Phillips said. “Painting takes time.”

Despite the long process of restoring such an old car, the boys have been steadfast in their progress. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the group meets until five to work toward their goal; however, more helping hands are encouraged.

“We could use some volunteers,” King said. “Anyone can come.”

To those who have already contributed, the anticipation for the end product has already set in. Some students, such as Jake Fricke, have even brought their own tools to the shop to get the job done.

“It has been very exciting, but it can get really irritating at the same time,” Fricke said. “I will have to come back after I graduate to see how it is going.”

The auto shop boys may not have matching jackets like their musically-gifted counterparts, but they spend hours fixing up the machines which others rely upon daily. For them, working on cars is more than a letter grade; it is a hobby.