Stacie Armijo, Staff Reporter | Photo by Rene Thompson
The Auto Body Club has been working to restore a 1950 Ford business coupe as an ongoing project with no specific completion date, Barry Mills Jr., Instructor in the Automotive Technology department said.
The car was donated over five years ago and was painted by the club in June, he said. “Now that the car has been painted students are really getting more excited about it. They see that with a little bit of elbow grease, desire and effort, that they can do bigger things than they thought possible,” Mills said.
Michael Trujillo, Auto Technology major and President of the Auto Body Club said, “I like the body shape of it, how it’s sort of a gangster car. Its history, which is what I like about it.”
Trujillo said he has been the president of the Auto Body club now for two years. The club meets every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Restoring a classic car is a lot of work. In order to get the car ready to paint we did a lot of sanding,” Trujillo said.
Mills said the Ford business coupe was originally designed for business men that needed to travel around to many places, which makes this car so special.
“What makes it so interesting is that it was never built with a backseat or a passanger sun visor. It was designed for a single person to carry goods and drive around the county and sell things,” Mills said.
Students in the auto body program learn to change tires, do alignments, change oil, and learn other automotive details, Trujillo said.
“The most valuable thing I have learned here in the auto body department is how to get along with people; how to listen to people’s opinions and to solve problems,” Trujillo said.
The knowledge students learn in the auto body program is extremely valuable and useful in their career as automotive technicians, he said.
“It is important to learn because that is the kind of business I want to be in, I want to open my own automotive business,” Trujillo said.
Mills said one of biggest benefits of teaching is watching the light bulb go on and watching the confidence come alive in students that seem timid.
“They learn a new skill. Watching them overcome the fear of opening the hood and looking at the engine and saying, ‘I don’t know a thing about it’ and getting to a point where they are not afraid to take it apart and see what’s inside,” Mills said.
Mills said most of the cars that students work on are donated from companies such as Nissan Motor Company and Ford Motor Company. Cars are also donated from the local community.