SUMITON – Kassey Rodgers, 22, of Sumiton is into cars. When you walk in the garage at her house, you see hand tools scattered around. The smell of motor oil and brake fluid is in the air. She’s …
SUMITON – Kassey Rodgers, 22, of Sumiton is into cars. When you walk in the garage at her house, you see hand tools scattered around. The smell of motor oil and brake fluid is in the air.
She’s had grease under her fingernails since high school. After she turned 17 years old, she started round-track racing. A soon afterward she met her boyfriend, Jacob Hill, at the track. He loves cars, too
Rogers races at round-tracks in Huntsville, Montgomery, and at Sayre Speedway near Sumiton.
“I won the Buzz Rookie award in 2016, and last year I won the Buzz Championship at Sayre Speedway near Sumiton,” Rogers said. She was the only female competing against men.
In 2018, she competed in four races and moved up to the Mini Mod class.
Rogers knows her way around the tool chest, but Hill, who is a mechanic by trade, is an excellent teacher.
“All I know is racing. Before Davy Allison (the NASCAR driver) died, my dad worked on his cars,” Hill said. “While other kids were playing sports, I was in the shop working on cars with my dad.” Hill is a mechanic at R&M Automotive in Hueytown.
Rogers and Hill have other interests, too. They are modifying a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. She’s not sure why she decided on VWs to restore but she did. This is the third Beetle that’s she’s owned.
“I loved the one I had before, but it was going to be too hard to restore, so I sold it,” she said.
Six months ago, she found her current VW in Georgia. Rogers and Hill picked it up there and started to work on it.
Instead of keeping the car original, she decided to have a little fun. She and Hill replaced the original 36 horsepower motor with a 2180 Stroker motor which puts out 110 horsepower.
“That motor in a 2,300-pound car converts the old bug into a beast,” Hill said.
Rogers and Hill also lowered the chassis and installed new steering. “We’ll install a new transaxle in there, and the car will be pretty much new except for the body,” Hill said.
The paint on the old VW is faded and spotty. Rather than repaint the car, they left the original finish and sprayed clear coat on it to preserve the antique coloring. It looks almost camouflaged.
The Gospel Town Car Show on Saturday, Dec. 17, was her third car show and the first one that was judged. Her VW didn’t win any awards, but a lot of people stopped by to have a look at her unique car.
What is it about working on classic cars? “It’s something we can do together,” Rogers said. “We couldn’t have these cars if we didn’t work on them ourselves."