Automotive students use expertise to create showpiece
Jeff Hill, program chair for Athens Technical College’s Automotive Technology Repair, turned the ignition key on the ultra-blue, 1991 Mighty Max Mitsubishi pick-up truck some of his students helped build, and an ear-rending rumble erupted from the vehicle’s engine. The deafening roar that echoed across the Athens Campus attested not only to the impressive power of the engine that students have installed in the truck, but to the knowledge they gained from the automotive programs at the college.
Students enrolled in Athens Technical College’s Automotive Technology Repair, Automotive Collision Repair, and Machine Tool Technology programs contributed to the project that involved taking a donated shell of a truck, an engine and other parts and rebuilding the vehicle. Automotive Technology Repair students retooled the engine, assembled the automatic transmission, and the rear axle. Auto collision students did all the paint, body work and custom graphics on the truck. Stuart Rolf, program chair for Machine Tool Technology encouraged his students to participate, and they helped by making custom mounts and spacers. All the students involved in the project used their spare time outside of classes to perform the majority of the work on the truck, Mr. Hill said.
The engine is a 406-cubic-inch, small block Chevrolet motor that generates more than 450 horsepower — an impressive output. The transmission is a GM turbo 350 that the students modified to handle the power from the engine by installing a 3,500-RPM stall converter. The rear axle is a GM 10-bolt with a 4.10:1 gear ratio and a positive traction differential.
The students essentially modified the truck as if it was competing in quarter-mile drag racing, but it’s unlikely to be used in that way, Automotive Collision Repair program Chair Greg Thomas said.
“Though it may never see the drag strip, the truck would likely post a drag time somewhere in the mid-10-second time frame, Mr. Thomas said.
Instead of racing the vehicle, faculty and staff with the Athens Technical College automotive programs plan to use the Mighty Max to showcase the automotive programs and as a draw for students, Mr. Thomas said.
“It makes quite a wow factor for a recruit,” he noted. “It will attend car shows, visit high schools and be in local parades.”
Photo caption: Students pose recently with the Mighty Max truck they put together. For more photos of the vehicle visit the Athens Technical College Facebook page at ATC Mighty Max.