Since a red 1980 was my first Corvette ever, that model year continues to have a special place in my heart to this day.
That’s why it was heartwarming to see this 1980 Corvette that has been completely restored by high school students at Warren County Area Technology Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
At a time when the average age of Corvette owners is supposedly increasing, it’s also good to see young people shooting down the image of the Corvette being an “old man’s car.”
“I’ve been teaching now for 22 years, automotive, and this is the third year of this program,” teacher Michael Emberton explained to reporter Cecilia Harrell of WNKY 40 News, “and this has been the most exciting thing I’ve had in 22 years.”
Better still, though, the kids are excited about the car. “It grabs the students’ attention,” Emberton says, “and when I’ve got their attention, then I can teach them some things. It’s been great.”
The National Corvette Museum donated the car to the school. Now the finished product will soon be getting national attention at the Mecum Auction in Las Vegas, where it will be auctioned off in November.
Students restored every part of the vehicle, Emberton says.
“They’ve redid the automatic transmission, the engine – completely built the (supercharged) engine, completely redesigned the suspension, completely redesigned all the braking in it,” he says. “It is an awesome car, and it’s performed well.”
Automotive student Albian Sadriji says working on the Corvette has fueled his passion and love for cars.
“Made me feel pretty good, made me feel like I did something, made me feel like I did something right,” he said. “I’ve always been something with a motor ever since I was a kid. I grew up with four-wheelers and dirt bikes and got into cars once I got 16, and that’s how it’s been ever since I started.”
Welding students did the fabrication work on the car, and automotive students took care of everything under the hood.
Welding student Johnathan Long called it a “teamwork thing.”
“It’s not just you,” he said. “You get to work with everybody, and it’s just piecing everything together. I mean you start with nothing, and you end up with something, as you can see. And it turns out nice and makes you feel good knowing that you did it, put hard work into it.”
After completing the car over an 11-month period, students took the Corvette to LS Fest in 2017 and 2018.
They’re so fired up about the program that Emberton says they’ll soon begin working on another Corvette, with completion set for April 2019.
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