Diamond in the rust: Enumclaw youth restores junker

Josh Sanders restored his '68 Chevy Malibu while attending running start and working 20 hours a week.

Restoring a beaten down car with little or no knowledge of car mechanics is quite challenging, and rarely even done by those with the necessary knowledge. However, at the age of 14, Josh Sanders decided he wanted to buy and restore his own car.

He spent hours online searching for the perfect car that, in his eyes, he would be able to fix up, restore and some day drive.At the age of 15, he finally found a rusty, old Chevelle and spent the next year learning how to fix it up from self teaching,mentors and of course his father.

His father had a lot of knowledge of woodworking and building that helped with the initial steps of fixing up the car. Josh said he and his father had built a wooden boat together that inspired him to build other things and expand his knowledge.

As the hours of work piled up and the money invested seemed to disappear, many people who looked at the rusty car thought Josh was wasting his time. They could not see what Josh saw; they didn’t see the daily progress being made and the potential ahead.

Even when nothing was done on the car, Josh was still learning techniques that would help him to build his perfect car and add to his knowledge.

“The hardest part for me was just sticking with it,” said Josh. “I ended up doing a lot of things over and over again until it was good enough for me. It was definitely frustrating at times.”

Josh continued to work on the car for three years, fixing and rebuilding pieces of the car until everything was perfect.

Exactly three years from the day he bought his car, he drove into town in his very own ‘68 Chevelle.

“I’m glad I stuck with it. There were times I was just sick of having so much money invested in a car I couldn’t even drive,”said Josh.

After all of the time, dedication, and hard work the beautiful car has done more for Josh than just give him a ride to school.Josh and his ‘68 Chevelle recently won the Good Guys Young Guys award at the Good Guys car show in Puyallup the weekend of July 24. This award is given to the best car with a driver under the age of 25.

It is from the hours of fixing his car over and over again that got “all of the tiny stuff that gets (the car) to win awards” done just perfectly, Josh said.

Josh stuck to his goals, even when times were hard and frustrating.

“I wanted that car and I got it because I built it,” he said.

During this process of repairing his car, Josh found a talent in mechanics that led him to more than just a hobby.

Josh now works at a car shop in Enumclaw called Street Rods By Denny.

Josh set a goal, found a talent, worked hard and completed his goal. “That’s what I love,” he said. “I’m ready to build something else.”