Story provided by Meridian Technology Center
Revving their engines and rolling up their sleeves, a group of Meridian students have challenged themselves to go the extra mile.
Combining their passion, education and problem-solving skills, students in Meridian’s Collision Repair program restored a 1957 Harley Davidson to its former glory.
The program received the motorcycle from Nathan Forman with NAPA Auto Parts. Forman and his father Tom Forman of Forman Harley Davidson collect vintage bikes. Nathan Forman is a Meridian alumnus.
“Being involved with the program means so much to me,” Nathan Forman said. “I help out whenever I can because there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t use something I learned at Meridian.”
Forman had purchased the bike 10 years ago, but he hadn’t had a chance to complete the restoration on his own. After speaking with the instructor about a past project where the students restored a motorcycle, he offered to let them work on the 1957 Harley Davidson.
Restoring a motorcycle is different, the size of the parts and curves in the metal create a challenge for the students, who have been working on cars all year.
“I look for projects that are challenging and require hard work,” said program instructor Jordan Short. “If you can paint a motorcycle, you can paint just about anything.”
The Restoration Process
When the students first saw the old rusted motorcycle, they knew they were in for some challenging work. The bike is vintage and was originally for police or military use so the students weren’t able to order parts.
“There was a hole in the fender, so we took a piece of metal and welded it on,” said Kyler Hallowell a student at Guthrie High School. “With all of the damage to the bike most people wouldn’t have done the work on the bike that we did.”
The Collision Repair students worked on the motorcycle in class for about three months. Through the process students received a hands-on education. The students made mistakes while they worked, and they had to fix them based on what they learned in the program.
“If you mess up here, it’s a learning experience,” said Short. “If everything is easy here, when you get to your job and have a problem you won’t have the background and problem-solving ability to fall back on.”
Once they repaired the bike through sandblasting the rust and repairing holes and dents, it was time to paint. This process proved to be equally challenging.
“It was difficult to figure out how to get around all of the curves,” said Kody Lyons, an adult student at Meridian. “Cars have a big straightaway, so I had to figure out how to get around those curves while keeping it smooth.”
The motorcycle will join the vintage bikes Tom and Nathan Forman take to shows and events. It will also be on display at Forman Harley Davidson for the next few months.
“It looks great and everyone is excited to add this bike to our collection,” Nathan Forman said. “It’s just been sitting for years, and the students have done a great job.”
These students have found their passion in the collision repair program. Lyons originally thought his path would be in Culinary Arts, but once he came to Collision Repair he was hooked.
“I don’t think many students can say they’ve rebuilt a Harley,” Lyons said. “I learned so much from this hands-on experience.”
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
For more information or to enroll visit www.meridiantech.edu or contact a career counselor by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.