It was a painstaking process for Thomas Dickerson, a student at Athens Technical College, to transport his “homework” – a 1967 Ford Shelby GTO 350 Mustang – to and from campus, but the hard work of completely rebuilding the car has bearing fruit.
Dickerson will appear in an episode of “2021 SEMA Battle of the Builders” on the History Channel at 9 a.m. Sunday.
He is one of three recipients who won an all-expenses-paid Young Guns Golden ticket to compete in the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association competition in Las Vegas in November.
Dickerson was awarded the Young Guns Top 10 (builders under 27) and Top 40 overall for his work. It also caught the attention of TV show producers who interviewed him about his experience as one of the youngest to enter the contest at 21.
“I started with a stock 1967 Mustang Fastback and had to carefully craft parts to make it a Shelby (Tribute),” Dickerson said. “I designed my Mustang with many modern components, to the point where you can drive an all-new Mustang and feel no difference between it and my car. In some cases it will drive better and also perform exceptionally better.
“All of this took an immense amount of engineering and custom fabrication to make it work the way I designed it. I had to make many parts because they just didn’t exist or didn’t work. with my specs.”
The project took Dickerson about three years.
“This is the first car I’ve ever painted. It took over 26 hours to paint over two days, and I spent two to three weeks wet-sanding it afterwards,” said Dickerson “I created my own center console using the courses we have here – mechanical engineering technology – and I designed my entire console on SolidWorks.”
The car is equipped with fuel injection, LED headlights, electric cooling, digital analog gauges, 7-inch touchscreen radio, start button and holder. keys. Seats from a 2017 Mustang were used along with custom upholstery made to his hand-drawn design.
“Seventy percent of the car is new and every panel on the outside of the car is 100% new. When I bought the car, I was interested in mechanical engineering, but that wasn’t not as convenient as I had imagined, that’s when I enrolled in the auto collision repair program at Athens Tech,” he said.
“Thomas was an excellent student and worked very hard to master the skills necessary to achieve the dream he envisioned,” said Greg Thomas, president of the auto collision repair program at Tech. “Through his skills and hard work, he was able to build a really great car. He was also able to compete against the top builders in the country at SEMA with incredible results! I couldn’t be more proud of him for his accomplishments.