Burbank students restore convertible Beetle in time for city parade

It took them eight months, but students at Luther Burbank Middle School have successfully restored a once-dilapidated 1979 Volkswagen convertible Beetle into “The Luther Mobile” for its debut Saturday at Burbank on Parade.

Teacher Joe Reed provided the car and oversaw the project. The students replaced the clutch, transmission and engine on the Warner Bros. lot where employees in the transportation department there coached students in auto restoration.

PHOTOS: Burbank Middle School students restore '79 Volkswagen Beetle

Reed said the majority of the dozens of students who worked on the car during his “Exploring Technology” class had no prior auto mechanical experience. Once split into teams, they became specialized in upholstery or mechanical repair.

Other students helped create the car’s logo, which was designed by Burbank High student Mariah Wood. Her logo was selected from 50 student entries.

Students also raised $1,000 to repair the car by selling slushies. The Burbank Arts for All Foundation granted the group another $1,000. And Cyril O’Neill, owner of Ghostlight Industries, which rents and fixes cars for the movie industry, donated thousands of dollars to restore the car.

Now complete, Reed said the Luther Mobile “will be part of the community and school for years.”

“What I learned, these kids didn’t need to be taught as much as they needed an opportunity to grow these skills,” Reed said. “Kids are ready to do so much more than we give them credit for.”

-- Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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