Students, huh?" I'm sure that's what a lot of people thought when they heard that the Colton Camaro was being built by students. However, don't be fooled. Just because they are mere students doesn't mean they don't have some skills. If you remember last month, we unveiled what they had to start with, which wasn't very much. The '68 Camaro needed work from bottom to top and side-to-side. It was a true challenge that the students of Central Texas College were up to
Filled with the desire to build hot rods and help out the Colton family, these students attacked the Camaro like rabid dogs. They started off disassembling the entire Camaro. With the Camaro blown apart, they sanded, scraped, and grinded off over 30 years of old paint and rust. Once the Camaro was in the buff, it was apparent that some minor bodywork was necessary. Over the years, the Camaro picked up tons of dents and dings that needed to be worked out. In the areas that weren't worth salvaging, they called Goodmark, one of the many aftermarket companies that offered up product to the project. Goodmark sent the crew at Central Texas College any sheetmetal pieces they needed. Between the crew at CTC and the help from outside sources, the Camaro seemed to be coming along as planned.
Then, out of the blue, Gary Anderson, head honcho at SoffSeal and the main person who got the ball rolling on the Colton Camaro, received a call from CTC. It turns out the whole senior class was in the Reserves, and were all called out for duty. At that time they had seven weeks until the promised delivery at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. But the real kicker is that the car was only half done. After some frantic calls, Dave Mihalko Jr., chairperson of ARMO (Automotive Restoration Market Organization) put the project back on track, and spoke to Jim Barber of C.A.R.S. in North Carolina. Jim was committed to get the project done one way or another. As he was trying to figure out how to squeeze the Camaro into his busy shop, a random conversation took place. Jim was talking with a former employee, who is now an automotive class instructor at a nearby community college, Forsyth Technical College in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Jim sprung the idea on the Forsyth school administration. Joe Sechrest, Mark Walker, and Tony Southern said they would be honored to help with the Colton project and would do whatever it took to get the car done on time.
Anderson had assigned the job of point man for the project to SoffSeal's sales and manufacturing manager, Alex Tanish. After the go-ahead from Forsyth, Alex went to Texas, loaded up the Camaro and its parts, and headed out 1,200 miles to North Carolina. Within a couple of days, everything was at Forsythe, where a massive build and finish project began. Students and instructors came together to hack away on the Camaro. The first order of business was to wrap up the paint and body on the Camaro.