’Vette No Vroom? See the Kid
LEOMINSTER -- If there’s a problem with your car, chances are Kenny Vancour can fix it.
He spends most of his time at DJ’s Auto Repair working on tires and changing oil, but he’s no slouch under the hood. Being a mechanic is a passion of his and something he grew up learning alongside his father.
The only thing he can’t do is drive your car into the parking lot when it’s ready.
Vancour doesn’t even have his learner’s permit yet.
“At first it was a little confusing and I wasn’t used to the environment here, going under the cars and stuff,” explained the 15-year-old Leominster Center for Excellence sophomore. “I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way.”
That was 10 month’s ago. Vancour’s gotten to the point where he’s learned enough, and garage owner Dan Pothier trusts him enough, that he now works on customer cars by himself when they’re brought into the shop.
“He’s been great. Right from the get-go he started and has always wanted to be busy,” said Pothier. “He’s a lot younger than some of the others, but he’s more ambitious than a lot of the older ones.”
As an LCE student, Vancour was initially looking for something to fill his internship requirement. He started at DJ’s Auto Repair last fall, then began working there 30 hours a week over the summer. He now spends about two days a week at the shop, but frequently volunteers for extra shifts.
“My favorite part of coming here is being able to learn new things. It’s never the same 12 cars in here. It’s always different, and I like hanging out with the guys,” he said.
Probably the only downside is spending all day with vehicles he’s unable to fully enjoy. Vancour loves cars, and sometimes not being able to drive them can be a bit tedious.
“We have a Ferrari out back. It’s a 308. When we get that finished, that would be cool if I was the one to drive it out. Or maybe a Corvette,” he said. “We’ve had Porches, Ferraris, Mustangs, Corvettes.”
However, he doesn’t have to worry about saving up the money to buy one for himself.
Wanting to make sure Vancour had something to work on when he was at home, Pothier gifted him a 40-year-old Mercedes Gazelle a few months into his time at the garage.
“I kind of could tell he really liked it because he was helping me clean it and get it ready when I was going to sell it,” said Pothier. “There were a couple of people who bid on it, but I got home and I said to my wife, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to give that car to Kenny.’”
It’s quite possibly the greatest homework assignment of all time and something that has made Vancour give serious thought to a career as a mechanic.
“When we first met, he was all about joining the Army,” said Pothier. “Now, the more he’s been with us, things are starting to change.”
“I have been slowly changing my mind,” he said. “I have learned a lot.”
Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53.