Anthony Cano-Luna: Cars, conversion, and community

Age: 19
Year at CHC: Freshman
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: McMinnville, Ore.

Anthony Cano-Luna can still recall his first car. It was a Datsun 280Z that was rusted, hardly moving, and appeared to be on the verge of crumbling apart. Using his family’s garage, he was 16 when he restored the car. His other prized vehicle is a 1990s BMW.

The history: “Growing up, I was always somebody who would just work on puzzles…figuring out how things worked and throwing myself into something new. When I got older, I got bit by the car bug. My dad and I started watching ‘Gas Monkey Garage’ and thought to myself: I can do that. I like that cars have so many aspects of other hobbies in it; making it infinite in what you can do. In the car community there's low riders, painters, there's stance. I think there's always something in cars for somebody, and to me it's just modifying them. Now that I’m in college, I come home every other week, not only to visit my family, but also just to check in on the cars. With cars this old, there is always something to do.”

Favorite job done: “Swapping the engine into the BMW was all-encompassing and the pinnacle of working on cars is: ‘Hey, like I can swap an engine and transmission and get this car running and driving,’ and it was ultimately 20 jobs in one. It was really challenging and something me and my dad had never done. The most challenging part was when the car wouldn’t start. We worked for another week after the engine had been sitting in the car. Then we found out that we just needed to rewire something. I tracked down that it was one pin, out of nearly 400 in the car, that wasn't connected to the right spot.”

How it helps with school: “It helps me de-stress from school and homework, and I use it as a creative outlet for me. It uses a different part of my brain that I don’t normally use in my classes.”

- Story and photo by Alex Rodriguez, Clark Honors College Communications


Anthony Cano works on a car's engine.