Well, my name is Sam and I'm 13. I've been in love with cars for the better half of a year and a half. My obsession began with Corvairs of all cars, and it's now graduated to early imports. However, I don't own a garage, and I've never worked on a car. What should I do?
Star by finding out where car shows are being held. Go to them and ask ask and ask questions, car people love to talk about their cars and experiences. You mentioned Corvairs so start with Classic Car Shows and also Chevy Shows. I started washing cars at a gas station when I was 15 and helping the mechanic. Search who does Classic Car Paint. Stop by and ask questions, ask if they can use a part time helper. At Car shows you can find out who does repairs, paints, builds, etc. once again stop by ask if they can use a part time helper. Then after middle school see what schools have technical programs with automotive shop. heck out this site, www.spartangarage.org its a high school shop program. You've made the best first step by asking a question here, don't stop asking, and offer to help. You my friend are off to a bright future. Good Luck and keep striving. these are my two cars do all my own work, Joe
Start collecting tools. One at a time if that's how it happens. Garage sales, yard sales, auctions, many of these will sell for pennies on the dollar. Is there someone who can mentor you? They might even help you with a tool or 2. You will want the best you can get and they do not need to be new. Some of the best tools I have are over 50 years old. Starting with an old lawnmower that someone has given up on is a good start. You do not have to get it running. Take it apart, see how the pieces fit and work together. Get a repair manual if you can on your projects and be patient.
Don't go cheap on tools. Buy a good torque wrench and try to adhere to suggested torque guidelines as much as possible. Work carefully and thoughtfully. Choose your projects logically when it comes to modifying engines and drivelines. Every action has a reaction. Love your car and treat it with respect, even when you are pushing it!
I would assume you are in 8th grade. Have a talk with your guidance counselor about your school district's vocational program and, maybe, you will be allowed to attend a class or two to see if it may be of interest in for your high school years. Study the science and math involved in automotive manufacturing and go on to college and be an engineer in the trade.
As you progress from 13 up to 18 (college age) try and find a mentor that is in the automotive field at the same time any part time jobs that involve anything automotive or pre-automotive such as rental companies that rent lawn mowers, chain saws anything that is mechanical or electrical to learn how they work and at the same time take any automotive or technical classes offered by your high school. Over the next 5 years you should have a good idea of the direction you want to go. As to higher education and if your interest has peaked by 18 years old on college I highly recommend is McPherson College they have a wonderful 4 year degree program in auto restoration that may peak your interest https://www.mcpherson.edu/programs/auto-restoration/ I personally like older imports (foreign) cars that if your under the bonnet (hood) and drop a wrench you can hear it hit the floor rather than fall into a plastic maze of covers never to be found again - give up and by a new one from the Snap-On truck:) My only life's problem is as I get older some of the old pieces of iron have stayed with me for years 🙂 What ever your future holds for you get a college degree.
Best of luck to you, Sam
1, Start saving your money
2. Attend local car shows and look at cars you like
3. Pick up some Shop Manuals on cars that you like and read them
4. Take a mechanics class at a local school, if they offer any
That should get you started.
You have already have been given some great advice! I would have to say that starting with an old lawnmower that doesn’t run is great because you learn the basics of internal combustion (air, fuel, ignition). Once you get into High School an auto mechanics class will be very helpful. Finding a car club that specializes on the types of cars you are interested, joining, and asking to help and learn is great. The comment about True Car Guys being excited to help and teach the hobby to a younger person is very true! I am a member of three different car antique car clubs and at 56 years old, I am one of the youngest! There is so much concern within the antique car side of the hobby that all of the knowledge and skills are literally dying off that I personally know people who would jump at the chance to pass their skills down. Finally, the comment about cheap tools is correct. You do not need to buy Mac or Snap On right out of the box, but you also probably do not want to try to make a permanent set of tools out of Harbour Freight either. However, for just starting off on lawnmowers and such (BTW, you can turn around and sell the lawnmowers you get working again) you do not need expensive tools. Home Depot’s Husky and Lowe’s Kobalt tools are certainly good started tools. The last piece of advice is do not be afraid... A dead lawnmower you are not going to make any worse, so where is the worry! Just jump in with booth feet and above all, have fun!