SHERIDAN — Nate Haworth first became inspired to build his own race vehicles after watching a movie about a man who arrived in the United States from Europe and built a record-breaking Indian motorcycle.
“He had an Indian (motorcycle) and he stripped the whole Indian (motorcycle) down and put a fiberglass body on it, took bicycle tires and skinned all the stuff off of them and ran a land speed record at the salt flats with tires that he skinned with a pocket knife,” Haworth said. “And since then I’ve always just wanted to go fast.”
Now, as a young adult, Haworth is in his first year at Sheridan College and plans to complete the school’s diesel, welding and machining programs in four years. In addition to his 16 credit hours each semester, he works full time at Plains Tire Company.
This work ethic and drive for success earned him a scholarship from The Model A and Pioneer Car Club of Sheridan and Johnson counties, a scholarship intended for assisting a Wyoming youth in pursuing higher education and promoting interest in automotive technology and classic car restoration, according to club Secretary and Treasurer Cassie Sundberg.
The $800 scholarship is paid directly to the student’s school for help with tuition and books.
Applicants are selected based on high school GPA, a 500-word essay on the candidate’s interests and educational goals and an interview with a committee of club members.
Sundberg said Haworth stood out to the committee this year for “his level of involvement and interest and the fact that he’s trying to get three degrees.”
Still, he’s found the time to own and rebuild “anything I can get my hands on.”
Though he’s excited to take advantage of the college’s shop facilities for his personal projects next semester, he’s done most of his work on the side of the road in front of his house.
“I do motor swaps in the street, I do whole rear ends in the street,” Haworth said.
Haworth’s vehicles so far have met various fates. Some he buys and flips quickly, others he rebuilds and sells, some blow up in the mountains and others he just gives away to friends.
His favorite car he’s owned so far was a 1965 Dodge Dart that met its end on a 100-degree day two years ago near Tongue River Reservoir when he pushed it well past the 120 mph speedometer.
“All of a sudden you hear it blow and seize and gears start grinding and I slap it into neutral and we roll down the hill,” Haworth said. “It was kind of impressive, you roll down one draw, up another draw, down another draw, and then up another draw, just coasting. That was fun. We almost rolled back into town.”
At the moment, he owns three trucks, two cars, a street bike and three snowmobiles. His current project is building a 2.6-liter four-cylinder motor for his 1977 Dodge Colt.
“A whole bunch of crazy stuff has been done to it,” Haworth said. “My goal is 1,000 horsepower in a 1,000-pound car, so I have a burnout monster.”
Haworth, who grew up spending time with his family at the drag track and watching the National Hot Rod Association has been interested in working on vehicles for most of his life. He first began learning on refrigerated trucks with his father and then started building and fixing bicycles followed by dirt bikes and snowmobiles and eventually race trucks.
Haworth’s dream car is a 1972 El Camino midnight edition with the Chevrolet 454 big block in it. The midnight edition came in matte black with gloss black racing stripes and just two pieces of chrome on the whole body. Haworth said he’s only ever seen one, and the owner told him he wouldn’t sell it for less than $10 million.
“It’s the best because it’s a work truck and a Sunday church driver all in one,” Haworth said. “Believe it or not, I still have the hot wheel to this day.”
Haworth said his goal is to own his own custom shop where he can work on anything with a motor.
“It’s amazing what man can make,” Haworth said. “The fastest guy can run what, like 20 mph, but we build cars to take us over 200 mph.”