A recent press release from the Lufkin Independent School District documents how in the fall of 2022, Rodger Martin, CTE Auto Mechanics teacher at Lufkin High School, gave his Auto Tech students a choice of either attending a National Hot Rod Association drag race or taking a behind-the-scenes tour of Texas Metal, a custom automotive shop in Spring, Texas.

Senior Andrew Morgan was among the students who voted.

“We all voted on it,” he said. “The vote came out – I personally wanted to go to Texas Metal because it would help me see my opportunities.”

Andrew wants to own a custom auto shop one day similar to Texas Metal after serving in the United States Air Force.

The decision was made and the school bus with the auto tech students onboard was heading to Spring, Texas. Little did they know, when they arrived, they were going to be on camera. Texas Metal is a reality television show that follows Ekstensive Metal Works’ owner Bill Carlton and his creative team, who design and build outrageous cars and trucks.

Senior Soraya Zamora couldn’t believe they were actually going to be on the show.

“I thought it was crazy,” she said. “When I saw the cameras, I was thinking I didn’t even have time to do my hair!

“I also was thinking of my dad, because my dad watches the show – it was cool.”

Andrew enjoyed meeting shop owner Bill Carlton.

“Wow – you’re just a cool person to talk to!” said Andrew. “I have heard don’t meet your heroes because they are not who they really are on TV, but on camera and off, he’s the same.”

Soraya took Mr. Martin’s Auto Basics class last semester.

“I’ve known Mr. Martin since freshman year,” said Soraya. "I wanted to take his classes. My senior year I took basics. My boyfriend is a mechanic and has taken Mr. Martin’s classes. I thought let me just pick up this class and see.”

Andrew is rebuilding his own truck.

“A '76 F100,” said Andrew. "I’ve always liked them. My grandfather taught me some. He has a '55 Bel Air.”

Both students talked about the neat cars and trucks that they saw at Texas Metal. Singer Ted Nugent’s Jeep was getting some upgrades and professional wrestler and actor John Cena’s Bugatti was there.

“I just got to see all of the opportunities that are there, how far you can go with customization,” said Andrew. “When I open my auto shop, that’s what I want to strive to do.”

The students talked about how excited their teacher was to show them the possibilities of auto mechanics.

Contributed Photo/LISD
Contributed Photo/LISD

“Mr. Martin was really happy. For Bill (Carlton) to even let us go, he was very humbled by and appreciated it a lot,” said Andrew.

I love my students,” Mr. Martin said. “They’re the ones that represented. They paid attention. This was the best group.”

The episode aired last week on MotorTrend. It was titled “Bill’s Baja is Back”.

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