Replica Lotus part of student life at Rangiora High School

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Under the hood . . . The McGregor Lotus 7 replica car assembled by Rangiora High School automotive students. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By DAVID HILL

Rangiora High School students’ labour of love is up for sale.

A McGregor Lotus 7 replica car, assembled by year 12 and 13 automotive students to give them real life experience, is now for sale through Waimak Classic Cars, with the proceeds to be used to fund the next project.

Automotive teacher Richard Smith says the school invested in a McGregor starter kit in 2004 and senior classes over the next three years worked on the car as part of their studies.

It has since appeared in the Muscle Car Madness car show and parade earlier this year and deputy principal Scott Wright says the feedback was “amazing”.

Mr Smith and Allan Barr, who has since retired, were the teachers who worked on the car with support from Phil Hays at Avon City Ford in Christchurch.

“All the technical parts were done at Avon City Ford while on a block (week long) course and they were full on days working on the car. It was just amazing to see those students grow,” Mr Smith says.

Mr Smith began the automotive class in 2000 after he was approached by Ann Wood, who was the school’s careers adviser at the time.

It was initially offered to year 12 and 13 students and a year 11 course has since been added with 39 year 11 students enrolled at the start of this year.

While the automotive courses attracts students with a range of academic abilities, Mr Smith is certain having the option has retained students at school who might otherwise have left.

“One of the things I think is important is that they really understand what it means to go and work with other people, to work as team and to be polite – life skills.

“I make them aware that drugs tests are part of being in this type of work, when you are working with electronics, fuels or machinery, you are working in potentially dangerous situations so you’ve got to be on the ball.”

Mr Smith says the students also do oil changes and replace the brakes for student and staff cars and recently fixed guidance counsellor Rob Courtney’s lawn mower.

“Rob was so pleased he bought morning tea for the boys – so it’s just those little things that the boys appreciate.”

He says one of the nice things about the course is the students keeping in touch and coming back to show him their cars.

“A number of them have ended up in apprenticeships locally – Rangiora Toyota has had five of our students.”

Mr Smith says he would like to get an old landrover as the next project, which the students could “pull apart and put back together”.

The McGregor Lotus 7 replica car is on the market for $23,500. Contact Waimak Classic Cars (03) 3106485 or mobile 27-4990020 or email info@waimakclassiccars.co.nz to arrange a viewing. See http://www.waimakclassiccars.co.nz/cars/463-McGregor-Lotus-7-Replica.html.