Self-Taught Teen Car Restorer Makes The Most Of The Pandemic

The recent pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. With school closings and many economies almost completely closing down, many people are stuck in doors with limited activities to occupy their time. If this has not been your experience, well then consider yourself lucky because the solitude and boredom can be maddening.

Although it has been my experience that hardship can lead to invaluable life lessons, and one that has stood out to me is that sometimes it is not about what you have, but rather what you make of what you do have. Just because the stores and schools are closed and many see social distancing as a civic duty doesn’t mean people can’t do anything. It just means they have to have to get creative.

That is exactly what 17-year old, Christopher Blair did. When St. Patrick’s High School closed due to the pandemic, the talented teen rushed to the garage and began restoring his fathers classic muscle car. Christopher’s father, Graeme Blair purchased the 1980 Pontiac Trans Am in 1987 and despite taking good care of what he refers to as one of “the last of the true muscle cars,” the car was in need of a little TLC. A lot of time was spent cleaning the “40 years of dirt and grime” from the car and repainting it. Additionally, Christopher rebuilt the suspension and power steering systems, replaced the transmission, and with the help of a professional mechanic rebuilt a 6.0 liter V8 for the car.

According to the Blairs, stores being closed in the area made sourcing parts difficult and impossible in some cases. A local junkyard and Canada’s largest online classified service, Kijiji, were both helpful for finding some of the parts while others had to be made on a lathe.

After many 10-hour days, the teen that honed his skills by studying manuals, watching YouTube, and picking the brains of veteran car buffs at a weekly Sarnia, Ontario Cars-and-Coffee club wrapped up the restoration and drove the muscle car to his teacher’s house for inspection. The impressive project earned Christopher school credit on top of a sense of accomplishment. He plans to move on to other projects, including a 1984 Pontiac Fiero.

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