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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Building a car with his bare hands

Warrakan Nate’s journey in building his own car has finally led him to be able to drive his own creation.
LIGHT+IT+UP%3A+Nates+custom+built+1991+Nissan+240sx+illuminates+the+dusk.
THOMAS POLCE (@polcepics)
LIGHT IT UP: Nate’s custom built 1991 Nissan 240sx illuminates the dusk.

A person’s relationship with their car tells you a lot about them. For Warrakan Nate Reiwtavee, his car is his just about his whole life. 

Warrakan Nate Reiwtavee, who goes by Nate, is a junior. He is one of many students taking auto shop as an elective this year.

Unlike most people, Nate made the decision to build his car instead of simply buying one.  Having your own car can cause you to have an emotional connection to it, and Nate claims that his relationship to his car is something else entirely.

“My relationship with my car is like a person’s relationship with their dog. It’s very comforting being able to drive it and work on it. Just like how someone finds comfort in playing with or petting their dog,” he said. 

Nate was inspired by his dad, who is a mechanic, to join the auto shop program. 

“Just seeing how he provides for our family and works really hard inspired me to become a technician,” Reiwtavee said.

My relationship with my car is like a person’s relationship with their dog. It’s very comforting being able to drive it and work on it. Just like how someone finds comfort in playing with or petting their dog

— Warrakan Nate Reiwtavee

While he only worked on mostly the brake parts of the car, it was still a challenge to build. It took Nate about a year to build his 1991 Nissan 240sx. 

Reiwtavee recalled that the thought of driving it when it was finished is what kept him going.

“Just like being able to drive, it is really fun for me. I really like driving so just seeing how I could like to drive it after building it just kept my dedication up,” Reiwtavee stated.

Cost-wise, Nate explained that depending on what you’re building the car for, the price may vary.

“If you’re building it for performance, for it to be a good car better than production cars then it could get expensive, but if you’re just building your car to just make it work, again then I think it would be less expensive,” he stated. 

Seeing as his father is a mechanic, Nate’s dad lent him a hand with the project.

Reiwtavee said, “Me and him, we both built it but he definitely helps me a lot. I’m kind of discrediting myself for it but he did help me a lot.”

He aspires to be like his dad one day and is actively trying to follow in his footsteps and through the auto shop program, there are a lot of opportunities to get the experience needed to pursue this type of career.

Reiwtavee said, “Mr. Agruso has these internship programs that you could get through the class and I just see that as really helpful and there’s just like a lot of opportunities you could get from the class.”

Building the car wasn’t the only laborious part of this project, Nate also had to find a way to raise money to help out with buying the equipment.

He explained, “I sold candy and clothes in school to make money and then some of that money I helped my dad pay. Like I paid half of the car with him and the rest of the money I made I just try to help out with parts he buys and pitch in a little.”

Students who have jobs know how hard it is to maintain the school/work/life balance and building a car seems like a full-time job. 

Luckily for Nate, he built his car during quarantine.

“I built it mostly during quarantine and a little bit the year after so during quarantine I had a lot of time after homework to build the car,” he stated. 

Nate was inspired by a Japanese drifter named Keiichi Tsuchiya to build a car. He said seeing how he drifts and manipulates his wheels was really motivating. 

“He’s named the drift king, and seeing him drive his car, drifting it on the track is really cool.” Nate said.

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About the Contributor
Olamide Olumide
Olamide Olumide, News/Features Editor
From writing stories at the back of my elementary school notebooks to my unhealthy obsession with law-themed shows, (especially Lucifer), I've always loved telling and reading stories. As a returning staff member to the Mirror publication, I intend to explore my interest in writing in a more in-depth way as well as reporting stories in a dynamic and interesting perspective. Besides writing and law, I'm an absolute sucker for the kpop industry.
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