Distinctive blue and orange demolition derby cars will be crashing bashing at the Palmerston North speedway this Easter weekend thanks to the work of UCOL Automotive students.
Students from the New Zealand Certificate in Collision Repair and Automotive Refinishing, as well as the U-Skills Academy Automotive Panel & Paint Programme spent the past few months preparing six old cars for the Peter Barry Memorial Derby Teams Champs.
UCOL Automotive Panel & Paint Lecturer Phil Oswald says the students took rusty, run-down cars, gave them a new look, and made them safe and functional for the demolition derby.
“The students have worked on all facets of the cars and developed a variety of skills like welding, painting, repairing, signwriting, and fabricating. They’ve worked on things like suspension and electrical systems, and used their engineering skills to build roll cages.”
Phil and his fellow lecturers Ash McKenzie and Nigel Hughes will drive the cars in the derby, along with a few stakeholders connected with UCOL’s Automotive department.
Students will work on another group of cars for a November demolition derby, with a few of them given the opportunity to drive in the derby.
“The students get really excited about working on the cars. They know that the harder they work, they greater the chance they’ll drive later in the year,” says Phil.
“A lot of the skills the students have acquired is over and above the normal course requirements, which has added value.”