A Painted Bottle and Pickup Place Teen on Possible Crash Course to Career

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Nathan Brown enjoys painting water bottles as a hobby. He enrolled in CV Tech’s Auto Collision program as a potential career.

Thrifty shoppers can buy an aluminum water bottle and a can of spray paint for less than five bucks.

Nathan Brown first paired paint and drinkware during a summer day camp project a few years ago at Canadian Valley Technology Center. Brown, 16, of Piedmont, gifted his artwork to his father, Michael, on Father’s Day. The younger Brown has not forgotten the personal satisfaction. He spray painted a water bottle as a gift to his sister, then two more for cousins and one for a favorite teacher.

Seeking a creative outlet and desiring to tinker, Brown, a junior at Epic Charter School, enrolled in CV Tech’s Auto Collision Technology program this year. The class location is the same as the camp project, and the instructor, David Venard, is the same also.

“I like it a lot,” Brown said of Auto Collision, “because of the hands-on nature of it. It’s problem solving and trying to figure things out.”

Brown is no stranger to CV Tech. He and his father enrolled in an evening auto repair class a couple years ago. Brown said they did it partly to learn but mostly to grow closer. The Browns now have a robust project in mind, and the skills acquired will be put to the test.

“My dad and I have a truck we’re going to try to rebuild,” he said. “We’ve had it as long as I can remember. We decided it is finally time to start on it.”

The pair have already stripped down the 1968 Chevrolet C10 to just an engine and cab. The truck is a second generation C10. The model year is significant, because Chevy began manufacturing trucks in 1918. That first production model yielded just 36 horsepower from a 2.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. Oddly, GM sold the truck as a chassis only with neither a cab nor a body.

Chevrolet introduced the C/K series in 1960. The difference between the “C” and the “K” was a two-wheel “C” versus a four-wheel “K” model. The accompanying numbers 10, 20 or 30 referred to half-ton, three-quarter ton or one-ton pickup. The C10 remained in U.S. production for over four decades.

C10s have enjoyed a recent renaissance with the car-buying public, according to information supplied by GM. That is possibly due to their budget friendliness for hobbyists when compared to repairing or rebuilding popular muscle cars, such as the costlier cousin Chevy Camaro or the Ford Mustang.

Brown said he is uncertain exactly which career path he will follow, though he is aware automotive painters are well paid. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows auto painters earn median wages (half earn more and half less) of over $20 per hour, or about $42,000 per year. For now, Brown is content to grow his skillset, paint a few more bottles and breathe new life into a classic.


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