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War Rat most creative at Charlotte Autofair

By Will Marrs

Career Tech Ed Teacher

Davie High School

In 2018 Davie County High School students of the Career and Technical Education department worked together to create a display of the power of cross-curricular collaboration.

The “War Rat” was named appropriately as a combination of “Rat-Rod,” a radical, Frankenstein car culture with a nod to the Davie County High School mascot, the War Eagle.

The vehicle was built as a competition initiative with rules stating more than 10 parts, from 10 vehicles had to be used in its creation.  This project grew to include elements from art, fashion and apparel, carpentry, drafting engineering, as well as automotive classes.

Things such as a custom paint/patina scheme, upholstered door panels, 3D printed interior parts, a wooden bumper, and a 55-gallon drum turned barbecue grill are among the many student-fabricated pieces. Davie High CTE teachers led the project that comprised a total of more than 30 students.

This year, the War-Rat was entered into The Charlotte Autofair sponsored by Penzoil. The vehicle showcase is one of the premier automotive gatherings in the Carolinas held each fall at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This autoshow hosts gear-heads numbering in the tens of thousands each year attracting some of the industry’s top hot-rodders and car enthusiasts.

This year’s guests included ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, Speedracer’s Mach 5, the 1968 Mustang GT Fastback that Steve McQueen drove in the movie “Bullitt,” and recent celebrity vehicle of a Red Jeep Cherokee made famous by Hurricane Dorian and the Internet.

These were among more than 1,500 other examples of car culture old and new that lined the infield and track space. Upon judging, the student-built vehicle took “Most Creative.” The entry brought home a trophy sponsored by Tommy Pike Customs, a custom builder at SEMA Show each year in Las Vegas.

Seth James, automotive teacher at DCHS said: “No words to say how proud I am of my students and others, when they are able to put their passion fully towards their learning, and most of all, have fun doing it.”

The project finds home under the newly created War Eagle Motorsports club at the high school. The new organization umbrellas other student-led projects such as a solar race vehicle, and a “Hot-Rodders of Tomorrow” engine building team.  The club has a mission of building strong connections between CTE and STEM classes with authentic project-based learning.

War Eagle Motorsports is seeking collaborations with community-based partnerships to bring student opportunities within Davie County School System to the next level.

Follow the program’s journey on Instagram at DCHSAutotech and WarEagleMotorsports.