Street Rodding classes working on ’39 Chevy, more classes possible for spring

INA, Ill. (Nov. 15, 2013) – Most Tuesday nights in the Rend Lake College Auto Shop are bustling with vehicle enthusiasts and street rod buffs working to improve their skills during a hands-on workshop. With a growing interest in street rodding, plans are in the works to bring more classes to area residents in the spring semester.

Students in RLC’s Principles of Street Rodding classes focus on a wide range of topics that revolve around working on a 1939 Chevy Coupe. While learning the fundamentals, the dozen students ranging from high school age to senior citizens, both men and women, gain a broader understanding of what it takes to convert an old car into a one-of-a-kind.

Carbefore mA 1939 Chevy Coupe before students
in the Rend Lake College Street
Rodding class get down to the nuts
and bolts of fixing it up.
Click on the image for a larger view.

Carafter mA similar car after having Street
Rodding work done to the body.
The car pictured is a model for
RLC students to use as a hands-
on learning tool in the classroom.
Click on the image for a larger view.

First-time instructor Jody Martin said the first class covers everything from the brake system to the engine, from wheels to the transmission, and everything in between.

“There’s a lot of hands-on work that we learn about and then do later in the class,” said Martin. “It’s more like a mock-up before the real deal.”

In the second part – Principles of Street Rodding II – students touch up what they already know before moving on to metal work, primers, paint and buffing.

“That’s where we get into the fine tuning and fitting parts,” said Martin. “We have to cover the prep work first that leads to the more advanced aspects. We do a lot of metal shaping, fabrication of motor mounts and various brackets then prepare for installation of engine.”

Martin mPrinciples of Street Rodding Instructor Jody Martin, SECOND FROM LEFT, points out different parts and features on a model 1939 Chevy Coupe for a group of Rend Lake College students. Martin has been interested in street rods for more than 25 years and uses his experience to pass on his knowledge. Click on the image for a larger view.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

The former RLC student said that his interest in street rods started in 1984 when he bought an old car and started working on it. When he was asked to teach the workshop this fall, he said it was something he was interested in because he wants to share his knowledge.

Nigel Thompson, RLC Automotive Technology Professor, added there may be more classes in the spring semester due to high interest in the workshops. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

For more information on the current classes, contact the RLC Community and Corporate Education Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1267, or visit online at

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