Rocklin teen, grandfather spend four years fixing up classic car

Four-year project taught patience, perseverance and family bonding
By: Anne Stokes, Placer Herald correspondent
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Rocklin High School senior Trevor McGoldrick’s blue 1969 Chevelle stands out in a sea of modern economy cars and imports.

The 17-year-old has put thousands of hours’ worth of work into restoring his classic American muscle car since buying the fixer-upper on Craigslist two days before his 13th birthday. With the help of his grandfather, Rocklin resident Dave Heminover, McGoldrick rebuilt his car from one end to the other, learning how to do repairs, replace parts and diagnose problems along the way.

“I’m so proud of him, the way it’s come out,” Heminover said. “It’s taught him a lot of life lessons working with a lot of different people that he’s had to pay to get things done, learning how to manage time, juggling it with school. It’s really a challenge to be able to do this, but he’s done really well.”

At the time McGoldrick took on his automotive project, the 13-year-old “literally did not know how to turn a wrench,” according to his mother, Angie McGoldrick. Trevor, however, comes from a long line of car guys, in particular his grandfather. A life-long car enthusiast himself, Heminover re-built two 1968 Camaros for both his son and daughter while they were in high school and currently has a fiberglass auto body part manufacturing business.

Yet even with the help of such an experienced adviser, restoring the car has been an exercise in patience.

“It was like they raised goats in the car,” McGold-rick admitted. “There was basically no interior; it was all ripped to shreds. It was running, but the brakes barely worked. The paint was faded; it would even come off when I washed the car. It was a mess.”

“We honestly didn’t realize it was in that bad of shape until we started getting into the project,” Angie McGoldrick said. “It was definitely a big project, which we knew going into it, but then as we got further into it, it got even bigger. But he proved his maturity with his pa-tience.”

Even though he has no problem fielding questions and giving car ad-vice to friends, Mc-Goldrick isn’t necessarily looking to transition his hobby into a career.

“I just like it as a side hobby,” he said. “It’s nice to go out and do my own thing, do something that not a lot of people do.”

Heminover, however, points out that his own interest in cars inspired him to go into the engineering field.

“I would like to see the schools put a lot more emphasis on vocational education for young people,” Heminover said. “I think that there’s an awful lot of young men, like Trevor, that would benefit from that. A lot of kids, if they don’t have that experience around mechanical things, get their exposure to that, building their own car and whatnot, they don’t get that interest.”

But for Trevor McGoldrick, this experience has done more for him that to teach him how to fix a car. It’s taught him patience and perseverance, as well as provided him an opportunity to connect with his grandfather.

“Before we started working on the car, I’d see Grandpa at family gatherings and I’d talk to him here and there, but definitely once we started the car, I started to get to know him better,” he said. “Every time I talk to him now, we can just talk for days. I really got to know him better.”

“It’s just such a feeling of satisfaction to be able to work with him,” Heminover added. “I try not to give him too much advice. We try to hang out and be buddies.”