Meet Phil Hill Scholar: Nate McLaughlin
December 1, 2020
Nate McLaughlin believes every car has a story to tell, and he wants to play a role in the story of many cars. That’s why he has been drawn to a career in automotive restoration.
“Each car tells a story of the time it was built, who built it, and who ended up with the car,” Nate says. “Being part of a car’s history, whether you own and drive it every day or you work on bringing it back to life, is what I like most about cars.”
The first car that sparked Nate’s interest was a Mustang that he purchased from his mom for one dollar. He began fixing it up and making it his own, but it wasn’t until he started restoring and painting cars with his grandfather that he discovered his passion. The first time he picked up a paint gun, Nate knew that he wanted a career working on cars: “Whether it’s a small hand-built aluminum bodied Porsche or a piece of Americana like a 1967 Camaro, you really get a feel for that time period as you work on these cars. It’s like nothing else.”
In addition to the history, Nate is drawn to the car world because of the community there: “I think the most surprising thing about the car world is just how willing people are to give you a helping hand. There will always be someone to help you when you’re working on your car. Not to mention all of the forums and videos dedicated to sharing information about cars.”
Through an internship at Vintage Car Works in Denver, Nate fell in love with Porsches — his dream car is now the 1974 prototype 922 RSR turbo — and he now hopes to have a career contributing to the restoration of early air-cooled Porsches by doing concours-quality paint jobs. “I would love to work for a high-end restoration shop where I can continue to build my skills,” he said.
For now, Nate, who hails from Ticonderoga, New York, and is a Senior at McPherson College in Kansas, keeps busy as a member of the C.A.R.S. Club on campus. An honor roll student, Nate also plays percussion in the McPherson College band, works in the admissions office and the advancement office, and is a resident assistant for the Student Life office.