I don’t know about you guys, but when I was at school I spent most of my time looking busy while day-dreaming about cars. Although we had industrial classes like woodwork and metalwork, automotive classes hadn’t quite made it into the curriculum yet which meant I’d have to wait until the final bell before I could go home and tinker with my toys.



Although many schools now offer automotive subjects, my experience of school is still the case for the majority of young enthusiasts; except for one lucky bunch at Miller Technology High School who have a project to be proud of.  Thanks to their teacher Jeff, the group are receiving hands on experience and training which most of us could only dream of, building their own race ute.



It has to be said that the group has gone about their task extremely methodically, setting up a couple of whiteboards with guiding notes and information, as any good workshop carrying out a build of this nature would.



“I am an Industrial Arts teacher and my specialty is Automotive,” says Jeff, the man who originally got the ball rolling on this project. “I am currently in the very fortunate position where my hobby is also my job. Over the last year or so I have been rebuilding a One Tonner Cabin with my junior classes as a way to teach them the basics of rust repair, panel beating and spray painting.”



Through a chance meeting, Jeff was put into contact with Jackie at South West Connect, a company who specialise in brokering partnerships between schools and local businesses. “During the initial conversations I was asked what would be the ultimate project,” Jeff continues. “I said I would like to build a race car with the students and race it with the students as a pit crew. I didn’t think it was going to happen at first but within 2 months Jackie assured me that this is what we will be doing.”


So far MTC Work Solutions, McGrath Holden, Yamaha Motors Australia, Bursons Auto Parts, Sultan’s Automotive, V&E Rigoli Racing and Instant Motor Body Repairs have all jumped on board to help with the task that the students have undertaken and progress has been surprisingly swift.



As Jeff mentioned earlier, it all began with the cab which was riddled with rust and gave the students a great project to hone their skills on in itself.



Both sills were replaced along with the floor, with the cowl also requiring extensive repairs. The doors were tidied up with holes already there for truck mirrors welded up along with the passenger side lock hole.



The cabin was then coated inside and out in Rust Seal from KBS Coatings before being sprayed in etch primer. You may also notice that in the photo above the cabin features a roll cage, one of the other projects carried out by the students.



Attention was then turned to the chassis, receiving a lick of paint and some new suspension components. The students also knocked up a custom tilting tray that will allow access to the fuel system and battery.



The chassis and body then met up and the hunt began for a donor car to provide some power.



Before long Jeff found a 2002 VU SS Ute and it’s LS1 V8 was quickly removed and mated to the chassis.



This basically brings us up to the present, with the drivetrain dummy-fitted to the chassis and the body ready for paint. We will be checking back in with the team once it’s closer to completion so stay tuned to Performance Garage. If you want to see more photos from the build, check out the build thread on the Street Commodores forum.


As with any build, the boys are always on the lookout for new sponsors, and anyone who may be willing to lend a hand, expertise or equipment. At the moment the boys are especially looking for a differential, stall converter, exhaust, racing slicks, paint and gauges. If you would like to help them out, shoot an email to dave @ and I'll put you in contact with the team.