RCC class transforms student’s future dream car into reality

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After taking RCC's Automotive Body Repair class, Tommy Alderin is driving his dream car.

ASHEBORO (Jan. 4, 2021)

Tommy Alderin found his dream car in Yanceyville. He just didn’t know it yet.

For years, Alderin drove his rusty 1968 Mustang to church. One day, the pastor at his church, who was taking an auto body class at Randolph Community College, suggested that Alderin sign up for the course, and fix up his Mustang.

“I said, ‘Yeah, but they’ll laugh at me.’” Alderin, 58, said. “He said, ‘No, they won’t. That ain’t the way it is.’ So I went over there and took it and then, wham ... I stayed with the course. There’s a lot of work involved, but it pays off in the long run.

“I wasn’t a real car buff either. The [Richard Petty Education Center] is nice. You’ve got a paint booth. You’ve got a lift. You’ve got all the materials you need. I just enjoy being around the guys. They’re talking their car talk and I’m learning. Steve [Smith] is a very good instructor.”

Two years later, Alderin is driving around in his restored Mustang — and hooked on RCC’s auto body classes.

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Tommy Alderin and his fellow Automotive Body Repair classmates restored his 1968 Mustang during the 2020 fall semester at Randolph Community College. (Photos courtesy of Tommy Alderin)
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Thanks to hard work, Alderin now tools around North Carolina in his dream car.

“The first time I drove it, I was really excited,” said Alderin, who has been working at Ryder Truck Rental in Greensboro for more than 40 years. “I was on a little mountain top.”

The car needed a lot of work thanks to a run-in with a tree by the second owner (Alderin is the third) and age. But, thanks to Smith, who also works at Petty Enterprises, Alderin’s rusty dream car became a shiny reality.

“The first thing we did — we had to disassemble it,” Alderin said. “This was a rust bucket [pointing to the frame under the hood]. Of course, I put new parts on it while I had the opportunity. When you’re messing with paint and body and when you’re getting new materials ... they don’t line up. I tried to keep whatever I could original. We had a lot of adjustments. Steve had to cut the hood to make it line up just right on the edge.

“I was glad I took the class. You really get going when class starts. We’re sanding and grinding. We had to tack weld.”

Parts had to be sandblasted and repainted. The firewall and motor had to be steamed. The car needed a lot of new parts: carpeting, speakers, sound deadener, headliner, trunk pad, gas tank and lines, and gas cap. Anti-rust and urethane spray were added to keep the Mustang from returning to its former rust-bucket self. Several things stayed, though — the top, the seats, and the dashboard were in good shape. And some modern amenities were added like a handmade console with a drink holder. Alderin kept the engine basically the same (a 302 cubic-inch V8, which is interchangeable with the 289 someone put in before he owned it). He added Flowmasters headers and dual exhaust to give it more oomph. He wasn’t planning on adding a silver C-stripe down each side, but when the Brittany Blue paint went on it, he was convinced.

The result was a $14,000 tab, but Alderin was in a good place financially, and it was time.

“It was either go forward or don’t do it at all,” he said. “I really contemplated on it before I got going. I said, ‘You know, this is going to cost a lot of money. Am I going to bring it back to life or let it go to the graveyard?’ That was the choice.”

There are still a few things that need to be done — a few touch-ups and, because it is the South, air conditioning.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic starts abating, Alderin said he’d love to do some car shows, putting up a posterboard with the before pictures, showing what he did at RCC. Still, he turns heads when he’s on the road, especially in the summer when people roll down their windows and gawk.

“I’ve already got some family members that have said, ‘When you get that thing done, you come over, and take me for a ride,” Alderin laughs.

If you’re ever near the Petty Center, look for the Brittany Blue Mustang, but not for Alderin’s Husky, Lou. He’s only allowed in the pickup truck.

RCC offering Building Trades/Manufacturing courses this spring
RCC has several Building Trades/Manufacturing classes coming up this spring semester, including “Auto Body Repair Basics.” The class is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in the auto body repair field. Students will be taught how to identify and describe the current types of body/frame construction, evaluate vehicle damage through proper application of measuring and gauging equipment and sequencing techniques, and return the vehicle to pre-accident condition. Upon completion, students will have the knowledge base to perform hands-on repairs in the areas of nonstructural repairs, MIG welding, plastics and adhesives, refinishing, and other related areas.

The course (#74829) meets from 5:30-9:30 p.m., Mondays and Tuesdays, Jan. 11 through April 27, in the Richard Petty Education Center on the Asheboro Campus. The cost is $180.55.

For more information or to register, call 336-633-0268.

RCC’s “MIG 1” welding course will meet on the Asheboro Campus, beginning Jan. 11. The class (#74764) is from 5-9 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 11-May 5. The cost is $240.55.

This course introduces metal arc welding and flux core arc welding processes. Topics include equipment setup and fillet and groove welds with emphasis on application of GMAW and FCAW electrodes on carbon steel plate. Upon completion, students should be able to perform fillet welds on carbon steel with prescribed electrodes in the flat, horizontal, and overhead positions. This class prepares students to obtain an ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Welding Certificate (additional fee required).

In addition, four “Basic Welding” courses will be offered at the Asheboro Campus in the spring. These courses are designed to teach basic gas metal arc welding safety, fundamentals and techniques. The class is a prerequisite to the “MIG 1” class. The cost of each class is $110.55.

All of the classes are Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The first section (#74765) is Jan. 16-Feb. 6, the second section (#74766) runs Feb. 13-March 6, the third section (#74767) is March 13-April 10, and the fourth section (74768) runs April 17-May 8.

Grants and scholarships are available to help with the cost of these welding classes. Call 336-328-1750 for more information or to register.

“Agricultural Mechanics I” includes many subjects commonly found in mechanical systems at home or on the farm. They include small engine theory and repair, basic household electrical wiring, and basic arc welding for repair. Students will learn concepts for every day fixes around the home or farm. Upon completion of the small engines portion of the class, students will be able to sit for the Briggs and Stratton Basic Certification.

The class (#74740) will meet from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 12-April 22, in room 102 of the Building Trades Center and room 200 of the Administration/Education Building, both on the Asheboro Campus. The cost is $215.55. Students will be provided with a supply list upon registration.

Scholarships are available.

For more information or to register, call 336-633-0268.

“HVAC II (HVAC Systems)” provides an expansion of basic HVAC 1 theory and principles through the use of lab exercises, videos and text books. Topics covered include refrigeration theory and its application to HVAC systems, basic electrical theory and troubleshooting including electrical circuits, motors, basic controls, heat pumps, and gas furnaces. The class prepares students to sit for the Nate Ready-to-Work Certificate. Students who desire to obtain actual work experience can enroll in the associated Work Based Learning class as well. “HVAC I” or experience in the field is a prerequisite.

The “HVAC II (HVAC Systems)” course (#75549) is Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 11-April 28, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. in room 104 of the Building and Trades Center on the Asheboro Campus. The cost is $230.55 plus $192 for the required textbook — “Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology, 8th Edition,” which can be purchased through the RCC Campus Store. The Work-Based Learning course (#75550) costs $180.55 with the work schedule and location as determined by the employer and the student.

Scholarships are available.

Please call 336-633-0268 to register.