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Kathryn DiMaria working on her 1986 Pontiac Fiero


One girl's passion for a project car has inspired a whole community of gear heads. Kathryn DiMaria was only 12 years old when she came to her parents with the idea to refurbish a Pontiac Fiero. The car hadn't been in production for 13 years when she was born, but after spotting it at local classic car show, she knew it was for her.

The fact that the restoration would allow her to learn her car inside and out for several years before actually getting her driver's license seemed like solid reasoning to mom and dad. So using her babysitting money they bought a rough, but drivable 1986 Fiero for $450.

Her dad hit the Internet message boards to brag about his 'cool daughter' and her story became a source of inspiration for other Fiero lovers. Even though the pair aren't asking for help, assistance from the community has been pouring in ever since that first post. Members have followed the 2 years of updates and pictures of progress and have helped with their advice and even a few tools and parts.

For her 13th birthday members of the forum even sent her gifts just to be part of the build. When the DiMarias had trouble with the bumper, a user named James Schultz sent them some parts from his side business Fiero Fiberglass.

"Kathryn helps motivate things. We think 'She's gonna need this, let's make her something'" Schulz told CNN. The shop keeps her thank you note hanging on the wall.

Right now she's facing the biggest job yet, rebuilding a 3.4-liter Camaro engine to replace the 2.8-liter that came in the Fiero. Now 14, she is optimistic the car will be running by the time she reaches her 16th birthday in 2014.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 122 Comments
      macbenson5
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good for her!
      VIPRLARES
      • 1 Year Ago
      Super cool young lady.
      jkthomas97
      • 1 Year Ago
      A motivated, sharp kid, boy or girl at that age, with great supportive parents.
      ectullis
      • 1 Year Ago
      How is she paying for this?
      clearfashion
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a woman and a mother of 3 sons--I find this article to be sexest and an insult to my sons---who have done this task more than once they have all restored their own cars-- one girl has achieved what millions of guys have done and we make it like she just stopped the earth and making all the guys jelous? lol if you have to keep patting yourself on the back it says something about your so called accomplishment .. If you check you will most likely find out her father or broither was there 99%of the time.. ( Why do woman today always want to do everything a man does--are we that unhappy?)
        Gary
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        I'd not get too excited. It's the news (sort of) and the old maxim is that dog bits man is natural but man bites dog is news.
        salbue
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        Wow - you seem like a bundle of joy! LOL I'm guessing you're jealous you never had a daughter?
          uncommonsensesc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @salbue
          Doesn't have a thing to do with anything! Do we see articles praising teenage boys when they do laundry or wash dishes? Do we see headlines saying that they can do things that most teenage girls can't do? No! The woman is spot on with her observations!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        Well said --clear- you see a fake and tell it like it is --the hell with all the negitive replys -- her father did all the work and has all the knowledge -- someone just tried to make a story out of a lie.... (huff puff) is good for that... grease under your nails = not lady like .....
        uncommonsensesc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        You're exactly right! It's also an insult to females who aspire to "be as good as" males! You need to publish an article about your sons washing dishes or doing laundry - something most teenage girls can't do - and watch the snarky comments about that! What I also got from the article is that there's a whole lot of other people putting in time and money on this car that she's rebuilding "by herself!" Where were these people when I had my car apart in the yard packing wheel bearings in grease or changing the exhaust donut gasket when some mounts came loose?? My other observation about the restoration is that it's men helping her - didn't see any women helping! Is this a case of "poor little girl" needing some help from the men-folk? Have these guys gone to this effort for any teenage boys? I really, really doubt it!
        thinkofanamefast
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        The reason it's a story is exactly because of what you pointed out...millions of guys have done it and few girls. Your last sentence is weird and bitter.
        batatamata
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        Why should a woman do something if they can snooker a man into doing it!? LOL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        "Why do women today always want to do everything a man does?" My answer: why not? Sorry, but this isn't the 1950's anymore and the last time I checked, women were meant for more than just for having/raising children. Furthermore, your entire post is so full of negativity. Don't rain on this girl's parade just because you're miserable in your own life. It's sad and pathetic.
          uncommonsensesc
          • 1 Year Ago
          But that's the point! Females can do (almost) everything that men can do (only prohibited by size and body strength on some things) so why keep making the comparison? What's sad and pathetic is that females keep aspiring "to be as good as males!"
        marcarvel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        I agree 100% with your stattement, you really think deeply and you have the hability to see what is behind these fake stories. good for you, well done. You are a real, down to earth person.
        simplysmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clearfashion
        Give me a Break yes your boy's do mechanical work that's awesome and good for your Husband to teach them but How often do you see a Young Girl9Lady) interested enough to restore a complete car take your panties out of the bunch up there in and tell the Young Lady Good Job . Suck it up Cupcake .
      gpribble
      • 1 Year Ago
      i built my first guy at 12, a 78 blazer 4x4 with a 400 small block. bought it not running for $400 and then built it from the ground up from the money i saved from working while still attending school, big deal why is she getting all this credit
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gpribble
        She's getting all of this credit because most girls are not known for their interest in cars...let alone rebuilding a car. Especially nowadays. Congratulations to you for rebuilding a car at 12...but most boys are already interested in things like that...hence the reason it wasn't such a big deal to most. But awesome of you to do it with your own money.
        gpribble
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gpribble
        meant first car at 12 and im a guy
        jenjutz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gpribble
        She is getting credit because she started young. She is getting credit for showing other young girls that mechanical skills are cool, not something scary. I do not understand why people are thumbs down on something positive.
        kokujin37
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gpribble
        somebody's jealous......(hint: he built his first guy at 12). lol...CLOWN!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Inspiring for a young girl to achieve this at such an young age. This gives me new hope for the younger generation. I am a grandmother and I appriciate your drive.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think what she is doing is fantastic, for any 14 year old. I hate the headline!! Why is it anytime that a girl does something the media has to turn it to a slam against men or boy's!! She is a talented young lady pursuing her interest. I am sure that there are boy's and men that admire her for her skills and are not "shamed" by them. Teen Girl Puts a Lot Of Guys to Shame For decades, car-loving American males have set out to achieve a specific dream. It's not easy. Many quit. Kathryn DiMaria -- who is 14 -- is embarrassing all of them
      Curtis
      • 1 Year Ago
      My first car I built at 14 was a 37 Chevy with a Corvette motor. I turned 16 at the same time Dad got home from Vietnam. He drove it around the block for me to test it because I didn't have a license yet. He stomped on the gas pedal one time and it got sideways on him. First words out of his mouth when he pulled back in the driveway was, "Sell It, there is no way I'm going ot turn a 16 year old boy loose on the streets in a car with that much power..." So reluctantly I did. But it financed my next Hot Rod! And Dad bought me a 63 VW Beetle to drive while I buit my next one! Good Times! Made my Son build his first car too! And the second Son!!!! You go Girl!
      nomaddon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Obviously, clearfashion's hair and nail solon must be closed today and she's unhappy. I bet none of her sons even knows what a clutch pedal is for. Keep up the good work Kathryn!
      Michael
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a sweetheart! Good for her. There is no doubt this girl is going to accomplish a lot in her life!
      Barry
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey Kathryn, How about getting your sister to produce a you tube video to help fans keep up to progress? A big project reminds me of my first car, 1949 chevy business coupe. I was 13, I rebuilt it in a junk yard the owner said if I could get it running and drive it out, $50. took me all summer. and having no experience at all and no one to help. It was a miracle. I also was working 50 hours a week. I drove it for 12 years, 1958 to 1970. still running when sold. Stick with it girl. It is one bolt at a time.
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