Last year, Vietnam veteran Jim Schneider, 68, of Taylor, got tired of watching his beloved yellow 1980 Chevy Corvette waste away in the garage. At about the same time, Trenton High School principal Michael Doyle began searching for a project car for the automotive technology students at the high school.
Doyle mentioned to his uncle, Schneider, the district lacked the funding to purchase a vehicle for students to work on. Before Doyle said another word, Schneider offered up his prized Corvette.
Now in the second year of restoration, automotive technology students at Trenton High School are in the driver's seat of a restoration project that has proved to be a long and bumpy ride.
Students began working on the car during the 2012-13 school year and continue to encounter challenging and important lessons along the way, according to Bryan Monaco, the automotive technology teacher.
"Every singe part on this (project) is a struggle," Monaco said. "The engine was seized. It took us two weeks to take the tires off."
Schneider takes care of any costs that accrue in the process of restoring the car, while students learn first-hand the difficulties in restoring a classic American sports car.
"It's neat for the kids because they get to work on a Corvette," Doyle said.
Schneider said the students can work on his car for as long as it takes to fix. He isn't in any hurry to put it back in the garage. Once work on the car is complete, Schneider said he will begin driving it right away.
"I really appreciate what they are doing," Schneider said.
"It (driving the Corvette) will be like being a kid again," Schneider said. "I'll take care of it for a while."
Monaco doesn't anticipate the project ending any time soon. The Corvette has several problems that need attention, including the brakes and rotors, the universal joints, the engine and the interior—just to name a few.
"The gas tank had a hole the size of a golf ball," Monaco said. "We tracked down a tank at a Corvette shop in Illinois."