Donation gives a boost to auto club’s 1931 truck

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 6, 2013

 Brandon Tregembo, a 16-year-old junior at Roseville High School, works on a 1931 Ford pickup roadster Oct. 29 at the school’s auto shop.

Brandon Tregembo, a 16-year-old junior at Roseville High School, works on a 1931 Ford pickup roadster Oct. 29 at the school’s auto shop.

Photo by Kevin Bunch

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ROSEVILLE — The Delivering Religion in Vocational Education (DRIVE) One auto club that meets at Roseville High School has gotten a boost in its effort to get a 1931 Ford pickup ready for a car show in California this January, with the donation of $500 from the Roseville Heritage Foundation — the group behind the Gratiot Cruise.

Paul Tregembo, the auto shop teacher, said the money received during the Roseville City Council meeting Oct. 22 would be going toward paint for the truck, and he hopes to see that part of the work finished before Dec. 1.

The vehicle was accepted into the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, Calif., Jan. 24-26, and the club is hard at work getting everything ready.

“If we can get it painted by the first of December, it will be on the cover of their program because they’re so overwhelmed by a school program getting in,” Tregembo said. “They only take the top 12 (nationally), and we’ve already been accepted. So all we have got to do is get there.”

He said that the $500 would not cover the full cost of paint, so the club is still trying to get the money together to cover the full cost of painting the vintage vehicle. It also is working on raising money to get a few of the students to California, as well — Tregembo estimated the cost at $1,200 per person.

“It’s been going slow, but the kids have been trying a number of methods, from selling tickets to the Tigers baseball games to a bowling event at Sterling (Lanes),” Tregembo said.

The schedule is tight. Tregembo told the Eastsider in September that the kids started working on the truck out of his garage July 8. Though a proper restoration job normally takes a couple of years, he said then that the number of students involved has sped up the process considerably.

“I’m just looking to build the best car we can possibly build,” Roseville High School senior John Solgot said in September. “It will be really cool to see how it turns out in the end.”

Once the paint job for the truck is complete, Tregembo said it will be sent to a shop to have the interior done — work that is outside the scope of the program. Ultimately, once the auto show is completed, he plans on having the truck auctioned off, with the money put back into the program for its next project.

Tregembo said that each vehicle worked on — such as a Camaro last year — is bought for a relatively low price for the students to work on, fix up, and sell, ideally for enough to make back the money spent.

That money is combined with money from investors or donors to purchase another old vehicle for repair, he added.

Tregembo said the classic cars, due to their relative simplicity, are great for the students to learn about auto maintenance and repair.

“It’s a different story for a new, computerized Taurus,” he said. “We give them some experience with the basics. We had (the truck) out in the parking lot, twisting wires to get it to run, and that’s as basic as you could get. You can’t do that with today’s computerized, fuel-injected marvels.”

Roseville Heritage Foundation President Bill Shoemaker praised the auto shop during the Oct. 22 council meeting, shortly before the foundation awarded the money, which was left over from this year’s cruise.

“We have a vocational auto shop that gets accolades throughout the U.S.,” Shoemaker said. “We think they are well-deserving.”

DRIVE One is based out of the Faith United Methodist Church in Macomb Township.

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