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Old 07-08-2012, 06:31 PM
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Young guy wants a career in hotrod/speed shop

Hi everyone, not sure if this is the best place to post this but i'll give it a shot. I am fresh out of high school and I would like to get employed at a local speed shop or hot rod shop. I have taken the automotive and engines class through my local high school. I'm not sure how to go about doing this because I know that no employer will want to hire someone as green as me, so i'm looking for advice, ideas, or comments about guys who do this as their career and what is the best route I should go with this and what qualifications would you need? Should I take welding and more automotive classes for a year first at the local tech school? Or should I just try my luck and try to be trained in one of these shops? I know I have a lot to learn but i'm eager and I just want to dive right in instead of going and taking more classes.

Please give me some advice or ideas guys, thanks in advance.

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Old 07-08-2012, 06:43 PM
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young guy

I know you dont want to hear this but....take more classes...welding ,auto body and paint.possibly some basic engineering or design classes.all of these will make you a more sought after guy in this trade.,You can always work in a local shop or garage while you are improving your skills.advance training is your ticket in ahead of the guy who didnt want to continue learning.Its great to hear a young guy express an interest in rod building,we need more of you to keep this hobby on the road.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:47 PM
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It's alright I was expecting that answer. I can take welding and auto body here in the fall, but I have about two more weeks to sign up so I have to get this figured out. I've tried over 15 different shops, oil change places, and dealerships in the last few weeks and still nothing so we"ll see what happens. Thanks for the quick reply
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:50 PM
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young guy

best of luck in yuor future, welcome to hot rodding.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:34 PM
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Never quit learning and keep your ear to the ground - - - - there are people out there looking for you so just "keep on keeping on" - - - - as scfalk mentioned, we sure need young people carrying on the tradition.

Good Luck,
WR
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice guys. Someone told me to check out the SAM school. I was real excited about it until I saw the $30k course price
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:55 AM
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Your location ?

I took a class At UVU, street rod program. Us grandpa's only had to pay $ 200 per semester for Car space and fees. the kids pay a lot more, The instructor has had a lot of his stuff in car books and magazines. One thing he tells his students is running your own shop is a lot different than just doing quality work. Dealing with the gold chain guys with the money to hire you can be frustrating. My nephew used to stop by a one man body shop on the way home from Jr high school and watch thru the open shop door, The owner took an interest, answered a lot of questions, and by high school the kid could do good paint jobs.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:06 AM
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google

Google street rod technology
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:36 PM
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you'll need to work on bondo and welding. Those are two things shops DO NOT want to teach.

A general auto body class is fine and so is welding for at least the general information about welding. Might not teach you too much about sheet metal welding but that's what a garage is for. Practice your metal and bondo work and welding. Of course while you're learning other things but bodywork and welding are two things that take a long time and you'll want to get a head start. It's nearly impossible to get a job where you'll be doing a lot of bondo without experience but I did just that. I had too much attitude to sweep or detail so I made sure I got good at bondo and welding. When I got into the shop I had to lie about my experience and it worked, which it rarely does. I just made it sound believable but was honest about things I needed work on, and they appreciated that so they took me on. Skills got refined in the shop now I don't ever have to lie again. Never felt bad about it either. Shu, out here you'll be sweeping and cleaning cars for years before your taught a thing about bodywork...no thank you! I cheated the system and don't have one ounce of regret about it cause I never let anyone down and what I knew in my heart was the truth.

Stay hungry my friend.

Last edited by tech69; 07-09-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:35 AM
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Would "regular" automotive work turn you off or on? It may not look as flashy, but you know it's all the same really.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:13 PM
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it's actually a lot different. Back in the day body techs made really good money and mechanics didn't make as much. Now that the insurance companies have taken over the industry and you got all these insurance suck ups trying to get a bonus from them, mechanics are making much more. Grease on your hands is probably a lot safer than the stuff going on in a body shop. Ya see, the insurance companies run I-Car and so they set all these standards yet only premium policies will give you enough time to do all this stuff. I recently took a class where they talked about foam sound deadeners and where the factory wanted it placed on say a b pillar. Then with a wand you stick it in the pillar through a hole. They actually had a math formula to calculate how far down the stuff would travel down inside the pillar before curing by temperature so you can have it cure in the same area the factory suggests. The thought of doing this is a joke and if a shop wants to make money they have to ignore half the BS I-Car suggests. I-Car in my opinion is set up so the insurance company can see the techs are up to date with their knowledge but also to leave someone to blame cause most shops are forced to not do everything to a T according to I-Car. I'd say about half is good and the other half is only something you do to a Mercedes or a premium policy. Auto Body has a bleak future due to environmentalism regulations, the stronghold grip insurance companies have over the industry, and the length of time it takes to get good at it with a decent pay.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:41 AM
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LOL, I went to that same ICAR class. But I have to tell you Henry, it's all in how you "see" it. I dug that class, I thought it was very interesting and was thinking about writing a "Basics" on the subject and how it can be applied to vintage cars and hotrods. My Rambler for instance could REALLY use some foam in the pillars! LOL

But on the whole insurance industry's hold on the autobody industry it sure as hell is a double edged sward! If not for them, a LOT of repairs would go undone and we would never see the money. With them, we have to play a never ending game to make it happen properly.

Recently no more obvious example of that dance could be found than the aftermarket part crap. The AM part industry has sold the insurance industry a lie hook line and sinker and we in the autobody shops are paying for it dearly.

The two worlds of proper repair such as the ICAR and the use of AM parts mandated by the insurance industry are colliding like the big bang.

Below are an example of an AM bumper bracket for a Chevy pickup and the original, I don't think I need to tell you which is which. They want us to follow the ICAR standards and manufacturers guidelines of not heating a frame to weaken it yet they want us to bolt that bracket to the frame to hold the bumper?

I think your lies to get into the shop are no different than the guy who does crap work telling someone how much he HAS done. Lord knows all that "experience" sure hasn't done him much good.
If you can walk the walk to back it up, it is hardly a "lie".

Brian


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Old 07-13-2012, 02:56 PM
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I noticed something in that picture. You need to polish your shoes.

John L
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:50 PM
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oh funny!

i was gonna say that the high school auto shop used to work back in the day, like 1973, but now i think you got to go to a jc and take automotive there. like here we gots skagit valley cc. spozed to be the best in the country, but the ALL say that, don't they?
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:22 PM
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thanks for the info and ideas guys! I've really been thinking about joining a local national guard unit as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. There's a few speed shops around the unit's area so maybe I could give that a shot. Otherwise I will try to find a job as a truck or diesel truck mechanic and work more on bondo and body and welding.
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