Not every senior internship takes place in an office. For Wilton High School students Harrison Toll and Alex Ackerman, the last four weeks of high school were spent building a car from the ground up at Speed Sport Tuning in Danbury.
A leftover Factory Five kit car that Toll’s father had lying around sparked the idea. It was for a replica of the discontinued Daytona 65 Coupe model — a race car. There were only six original Type 65 Coupes ever made.
“Despite the fact that the design never entered production, those six cars ... became symbolic of the end of an era,” reads a letter signed by Factory Five President Dave Smith on factoryfive.com. Factory Five Racing manufactures component kits for six models of race car.
According to Toll, the original 65 Coupe was built by Americans to compete with Ferraris in the 24 Hours of Le Mans — “probably the world’s best-known automobile race,” in the words of the Encyclopaedia Britannica editors.
Toll and Ackerman planned their internship around two criteria.
“One: We wanted to have a cool car. Two: We wanted to learn the inner workings of automobiles in general,” said Toll.
The duo worked for four hours each day, assembling paneling, rivets, electrical components and brake lines.
“A lot of building is thinking ahead,” said Toll, to which Ackerman agreed, pointing out that although there may be a perfect place for a part, putting it there without considering the entire design can be counterproductive in some cases.
“Several times, I wanted to put something somewhere, but Harrison warned that if we did, we wouldn’t be able to put something else in. It all had to be in order,” said Ackerman.