It’s Thanksgiving holiday Monday here in Canada and unlike most people I didn’t spend it relaxing in a warm house eating a Turkey dinner and watching football, instead I spent it in my garage doing a little maintenance and troubleshooting on my car. This isn’t the first holiday Monday I have spent in the garage working on my car while people drive by to go spend time with their families and it sure won’t be the last. As I was working my mind started drifting to how exactly did this happen to me?
My story starts off pretty young; like most boys I always had an interest in car that comes with birth, I also had a lot of hot wheels remote control cars, and my dad got me my first model kit at a pretty young age. This lead to me spending a lot of summer weekends watching what has now become the Power Block on Spike TV (TNN back in the day) watching Hot Rod TV, and whatever the truck show was at the time and incorporating those ideas into my models.
Once I entered high school my car obsession basically doubled. Luck for me Streetsville Secondary had one of the best equipped auto shops in the Peel Region and probably the best auto teacher. Mr Dinner, or Dinner, as we called him was basically a god send to anyone who has a slight interest in working on and building cars.
Dinner quickly figured out that the best way to keep kids interested in the Transportation Technologies course was to let them do what they want and keep the standard boring tests and lectures to a bare minimum. In no time I was quickly lowering shop cars anyway possible, cutting springs, heating springs, or just straight up removing them (most of these cars never saw the road), I also put together a few random contraptions as well.
Another thing that really helped keep Auto students (and the entire school) interested in the course was the Fiero/Countach kit car. Most kids born in the 80s male or female have had a brush with a Countach either via poster, model car, die-cast car, or barbie power wheels.
Even if you don’t like the idea behind a Fiero parading around as a Lambo unless you have personally been involved in the build of one you can’t really imagine how much work actually goes into them. It’s not quite as simple as slapping a body on the frame painting it and calling it a day, frames needs to be extended, hinges relocated/modified/ and adapted and body panels need to be worked and reworked. It’s nothing like a model.
Having an opportunity to work on a kit at such a young age was more than enough incentive to keep me in auto shop and once I got my own car I ended up taking auto more than I actually need credits for. Instead of skipping school to go burn j’s at the local spot I would skip law to go to auto.
My high school shop experience was so good that once I had my e30 I went back to the shop a few times after I graduated to do a little more work to it. How many people return to high school after their graduating year with intentions other than to burn it down?
While my high school experience in auto shop didn’t lead me to the automotive industry it did help me become the enthusiast I am today. The same enthusiast who will never be able to drive a stock car or leave well enough alone on a Thanksgiving Monday.