The first day of school is often frowned upon by students. It is the official end of summer vacation and means it’s time to hit the books once again. For students in Lakeland, Florida’s Traviss Technical College Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing department, arriving back to school may not be quite so dreary.
Just as other students are sharpening their pencils and trying to remember what all the buttons do on their calculators, Traviss Tech’s auto collision and repair students were greeted with a low-mileage, 1995 Corvette they were going to be giving a new, shiny paint job.
Traviss Technical Center is a cutting-edge facility that works closely with area dealerships, equipping their students with a knowledge of technologies they will see in the field. As technology moves forward, Traviss Tech is forced to update its fleet of vehicles to implement the more modern scenarios that a technician may see on a daily basis. Book knowledge is important, but having a hands-on experience with the product is invaluable. With Traviss’ limited budget, they rely on donated vehicles to help give their students the modern technological know-how they’ll need in real life.
The car has been around the Traviss Tech Center ever since it was donated many years ago. It mainly serves as a rolling classroom, where students learn the basics of auto body and some of the timeless areas of automotive repair. Parts have been removed and replaced, and a few components have been swapped out due to age, but the car remains relatively stock.
There is limited wear on the interior items since the car is not driven regularly and the car can never be put on the road due to insurance and registration concerns. But it has stepped outside of the fencing that surrounds Traviss Technical Center, on special occasions.
Keen-eyed readers will note that the car has a trailer hitch just under the rear bumper. That was installed because the car has served duty to pull the Traviss Technical Center’s parade float on several occasions. The car is drivable and does move around on its own power, but all those 300 horses that reside under the LT1’s intake will never be allowed to roam free on the open road.
Several years ago, the car was repainted by a previous auto body class and those wild flames were added to give the car some additional flair and make it stand out in the school’s parking lot. This time, a more reserved scheme is planned, where the entire car will be dipped in a solid hue of Arrest-Me Red.
More than simply a scuff-n-buff, the auto body students will learn the proper way to disassemble the vehicle so that all parts of the car can be repainted properly. This means all of the electrical componentry that ties the various parts of the car together will need to be addressed. The doors were removed to allow proper painting of the jambs and all the necessary body panels were disseminated to allow the paint to get into the appropriate areas. This will separate a great paint job from one that just looks good on the surface.
We stopped in to visit the automotive shop area of Traviss Tech recently and saw this beauty partly disassembled, waiting for the students to return and begin applying that new shade of Corvette red. We’ll likely be stopping by the automotive area in the future and we’ll be sure to check in on the Corvette and see how things are progressing.
We can’t help but think how much faster our high-school years would have gone if we had a cool project like a Corvette to help us burn up the hours. It sure beats the lawnmower engines and tractor differentials we used to get greasy repairing in our school’s technical program. Then again, our lawns were always clean and we could pull a whole LOT more than any Corvette. Although, if we had a Corvette in our shop, we may not have missed so many days of school!
With a new-found interest in skilled labor training, we’re wondering if there are many other schools or colleges that utilize our favorite sportscar into the curriculum? Do YOU know of any Corvettes used specifically for educational purposes? If so, send us an email. We’d love to hear about it!