LEXINGTON (CBS) — When you see the 71-year-old truck rumbling down the road, you know it has a story. But would you expect its story to be written by an 18-year-old named Nina?
“Oh, I’ve been talking for years and years and years about how I wanted some old project car,” said Nina Michnovez, a student at Minuteman Technical School in Lexington. “I was originally thinking late 1960’s muscle car.”
Michnovez really likes fixing cars. As a little girl, she helped her dad change his oil.
But, she didn’t know then she wanted to be a mechanic.
“No as a little girl I’m pretty sure I wanted to be like a dinosaur. Not this,” Nina said with a laugh.
But her skills as ‘daddy’s little helper’ never went extinct.
And two years ago, Nina’s grandfather found a car for her at a junkyard in Nevada. A 1950 GMC pick-up.
“It was completely coated in like muck and tar and just all this nasty stuff.”
Nina and her grandpa would spend vacations and summers together, turning junk into gem.
“We got the engine running, that was the first thing we did,” she said. “We painted the thing, which was impressive considering neither me nor my grandfather are painters.”
Recently, the truck was shipped to her, and it became Nina’s senior project.
The senior automotive student really impressed her teachers.
“Nina is awesome. She really is,” said John Primpas, who is one of Nina’s instructors. “It’s a huge accomplishment to bring back life to something, to say you built this with your hands and brought it back yourself. It’s huge.”
As a 15-year-old, Nina dreamt about taking the truck to prom. A couple of weeks ago, she pulled up to the prom shining bright next to the truck.
“It definitely meant a lot to live the dream of my 15-year-old self,” she said.
But the truck represents more than a dance. It’s about her grandparents. They moved when she was younger.
“I rarely saw them, and we drifted apart,” she said. “Then we bought this truck, and I was spending months of every year out there.”
So the 71-year-old truck certainly does have a story. But it’s an 18-year-old and a 78-year-old grandfather that make it priceless.
“I bonded with my grandfather a lot while building it,” she said. “It means a lot. I don’t think I could ever get rid of it.”