For the past several months, you may have noticed a white, rusty bus with blue stripes on the roads in Walker County. The bus, built by students at the Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT), will …
For the past several months, you may have noticed a white, rusty bus with blue stripes on the roads in Walker County. The bus, built by students at the Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT), will be on display at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels custom car show in Birmingham.
WCCT students began building the bus, also known as a “rat rod,” in 2016, as part of a challenge to compete in the Charlotte STEAM Rat Rod Challenge at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The competition’s challenge was to build a vehicle out of parts from many vehicles by using a minimum of 80 percent recycled materials.
When WCCT took their completed rat rod to Charlotte in April 2017, they had crafted a ‘63 Ford school bus with pieces from a ‘95 Frito Lay truck, ‘90 GMC pickup, ‘70 Corvette, ‘99 Toyota Sienna, ‘80 GM motor home and ‘70 Dodge motor home.
Since competing, the rat rod has been featured in Rat Rod Magazine and is part of a national 2018 calendar for KillBillet.com. WCCT collision repair instructor Anthony Myrick has reportedly taken the bus nearly 10,000 miles to parades in Walker County and car shows across the Southeast, and due to its popularity, the bus will be at this weekend’s World of Wheels car show.
Automotive Technology instructor Michael Craig said other student projects will be on display with the bus, as well.
“We just wanted to bring some recognition to the young men and women that are working in our classes and showing their creative sides,” Myrick said.
A few automotive technology and collision repair WCCT students will be at World of Wheels to talk about their projects.
“Public speaking is one of the hardest things for young men and women to get over in high school or anytime, and with this, it gives them something they’re passionate about to talk to people about as they come up,” Myrick said.
Currently the students are working to build a two-seat roadster out of a ‘64 Cadillac, which they hope to enter into a competition in Las Vegas. The students also plan to compete in two electrathon competitions in the coming months to race electric cars they built.
The Downtown Jasper Electrathon will not be held this year due to road construction in the district, so students will be traveling to an electrathon competition in Huntsville and at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.
Just this past weekend, WCCT was represented by Oakman High School student Cameron Billings in the King Acura automotive service competition in Birmingham, where WCCT placed in the top five. Carbon Hill High student Zachary Nesbitt helped with preparations for the competition, but was unable to attend Saturday’s contest.
Myrick said the primary focus of their students right now is studying to earn industry credentials.
“That’s our biggest push right now is to get people work ready, and the skills they’re attaining by working on these projects are what the automotive and body shop industry is looking for,” he said.
The World of Wheels car show in Birmingham will be on Friday from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult admission is $20, admission for children ages 6-11 years is $5 and children 5 and under receive free admission. Discounted tickets may be purchased at O’Reilly Auto Parts, along with a weekend pass sold only at the auto parts store for $32.