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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