By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA — If you saw it traveling down the highway, you might have to do a double-take just to believe your own eyes.
The project—a 2001 Toyota Tacoma that sports the front end of a 1987 BMW 325i—is the culmination of three years of work by automotive technology students at Columbiana’s Career Technical Education Center.
The one-of-a-kind ride will be on display Saturday, April 3 at the Birmingham Zamora Shrine’s Fourth Annual Zamora Wheelz Car Show in Irondale, in addition to other future events.
“Everything that’s been done on that car has been done by the kids,” said CTEC automotive technology instructor Robert Irwin. “My kids did all the body work, took the bed off the truck and put a fuel pump in it.”
The only exception, Irwin added, was the paint job, which was done courtesy of Mark McCary, collision repair technology instructor at CTEC. Irwin estimated that about 50 students had a hand in the project, which cost only about $600.
“Students just kind of fall in love with a project,” he said. “That’s a big thing in education is project-based learning. Students have a tendency to learn more when they’re doing a project because it’s a long-term thing.”
The Tacoma, which had significant front-end damage, was donated to the school in 2017. It had low mileage and happened to end up parked next to one of two BMWs from which the front end parts were obtained. Irwin saw the two vehicles side-by-side and suddenly wondered what they would look like combined. Coincidentally, upon measuring he found that it would work out just right.
Now dubbed the “Germanese L-Camino” with a letter “L” deliberately in place of the Spanish word