Dream hot rod rolls to reality

It's not quite ready to hit the streets but Douglas High School's 1923 T-bucket took a victory lap around the school on June 13.

Instructor Cade Baligad said when his Auto Tech II class completes it, the rig could "safely" do 100 mph.

"It still needs lights, title and a windshield before it's safe to be on the street," said Baligad.

"It stops - we're good there," said Brad Colescott, although some of his fellow students said they wouldn't take it down Highway 395 just yet.

To be mechanically finished, the car needs adjustments made to the rear axle, gas pedal, front brakes and transmission gaskets.

An important decision to be made is what colors the T-bucket kit car will be painted. Douglas Principal Marty Swisher suggested the school's colors of black and orange, but the students would vote on the color scheme during regular class time.

"It should be white pearl with scallops," said junior Chris King. "Bright green metal-flake trim and steering wheel - '60s style."

Baligad said he hopes the car will be mechanically and aesthetically complete by Christmas.

To do it right, he said every nook and cranny should be sprayed.

"For painting, the next Auto Tech class will have to take it apart," he said.

Rob Simpson of NAPA Auto Parts donated paint and Jim Norris of Norris Auto Body will do the painting.

"Jim is going above and beyond," Baligad said.

The 18 students put in 180 man-hours during class and after school installing a stock Chevy 350 engine and working on the street rod since last September. Valley Cruisers Car Club donated money to purchase the kit.

"Auto Shop II will be the owner," said Baligad. "Then we can sell it, raffle it - a lot of people are interested in it."

The auto students found that the task of getting the T-bucket running by the end of the school year didn't always go smoothly.

"Grounding the transmission to the frame took us two days to figure out," said Patrick Eshelman, 18. "And there's just one chance to cut the body. There was a lot of cutting and welding.

"Last week was like 'Monster Garage' so Baligad could get in to drive it," he said about the last frantic hours getting the T-bucket ready for the test drive.

But unlike the Monster Garage television show, the students said there was no destruction because they reached their goal.

Steve Dey, 18, expressed the pride Auto Tech II took in having their car in running order.

"This was the coolest project to do in our senior year," said Dey. "It's like we left a mark here - it's cool."


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