PLANO, Texas – First cars are unforgettable.
But what Adam Lansing, 17, did to his old ride is quite incredible.
"People are amazed. I mean, they see this and they think somebody actually did this,” said Adam.
It's a 1980 Toyota Celica with a tree branch still stuck inside the back bumper from its abandoned days behind a friend’s garage.
When Lansing got it, the vehicle didn’t have an engine. So he converted the 37-year-old import into an electric car.
It’s inspiration he got in part from his older brother.
"He would always come home and be begging for gas money. All of our cars seem to guzzle gas. It kind of inspired me to think I don't want to be in that position when I start driving. I want to enjoy driving,” added Adam.
The 17-year-old drives it to school at Plano East Senior High.
He has gotten it up to 60 miles an hour and believes all his improvements could lead to a lucrative future.
Adam has already turned this concept into a business plan. When the city asked for bids to convert part of Plano's fleet to electric vehicles, Adam made an offer. City leaders eventually went with Nissan but the opportunity gave this teenager valuable experience.
"I'm an engineer by trade and he talked way over my head. It's been incredible," explained Liz Lansing, Adam’s mother.
She said they've spent about $15,000 so far on the Celica, adding ten batteries, an electric motor, and several miles of wiring.
It’s an investment in her youngest son who wants to convert vehicles in the future.
“Elon Musk move aside,” said his mom. “That's where he'll be [in ten years]. He'll be dominating this field for sure."
For now, he's a bright kid with quite a car who's never been burdened to buy a gallon of gas.