CEDARVILLE, Ohio — A group of Cedarville University mechanical engineering students hope their latest project of building a race car on a $2,000 budget will land them in the winner's circle later this year. 

What You Need To Know

  • The 14-member team is restore the body of a rusted out 1957 Nashville Metropolitan and placing an engine from a Honda in it to race

  • The Grassroots Racing Event takes place in Florida this October, where they'll be competing against teams from all over the U.S.

  • The team hopes their car will hit zero to 60 in 2.5 to 3 seconds for the drag racing portion of the competition 

  • They compete against teams from around the country and will be judged on show, drag racing and course navigation speed

Cedarville University senior Charlie Chung mixed up filler to restore the body of a rusted out 1957 Nashville Metropolitan.

“I've grown up just watching cars race, ... wanting to make one myself," Chung said

Chung got his first model car at the age of 4. Now at 24, he’s getting that chance to fulfill that dream.

“I've seen a lot of videos of people making their own cars, and I thought it would be easy.”

Applying the filler, Chung said it’s been anything but easy, yet, he’s grateful he gets to do it.

But he’s not alone. 

He’s a part of the Cedarville University Grassroots Racing Team that’s building a race car from scratch. Their spending limit to make it all happen is $2,000. Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jay Kinsinger is overseeing the project. He’s been advising automotive competitions for more than a decade, but took a six-year break from it. Now, he’s back at it, but they’re in a new competition with fewer rules, and less money to shell out.

“We bought a $400 Honda Civic and took the engine out of that. And we're putting it into this, this new car," explained Kinsinger.

So now for these students, he said, “It gives them a lot more creativity a lot more room to be free to design.”

But what took months to hammer out on the computer the first semester is now coming to life. Senior Cameron Gillette loves cars, too. He's never really liked racing much, but this project makes him excited.

“I knew this project, building an entire car in one school year was gonna be crazy, but I was all for it," Gillette said.

He said the most challenging thing about it all has been doing it from scratch.

“The fact that we've had custom designed this whole chassis and make it fit inside of the body — that's been tough, trying to get all the measurements accurate and trying to actually make it fit and be strong enough and embraceable that's been really a tough task.”

As tough as it’s been, students said it’s been well worth it. Filling in rusted spots on the back end, Chung said it’s incredible.

“Yeah, it's just crazy to see that it's all coming to light for me right in front of my eyes.”

And it’s something all 14 teammates can be proud of as they get ready for a win. 

Once the team finishes the car, Kinsinger is looking to take as many students as possible to Florida in the fall for the competition. They hope when it’s drag racing time, it’ll hit zero to 60 in 2.5 to 3 seconds. They’ll be judged on show, drag racing and a course navigation speed.